Project Management


HVAC Systems - Understanding the Basics

SMACNA's HVAC Systems-Understanding the Basics is a comprehensive non-technical manual written to provide an overview of HVAC systems used in residential, commercial, and institutional buildings. The manual addresses HVAC System Basics, Central Heating and Central Cooling Equipment, Hydronic and Air Distribution Systems, Central HVAC Systems, HVAC System Controls and the components that comprise these systems. This manual can be used for self-study, group training, or reference.

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Normal Project Duration NECA #5076-04

This document is an update to an original NECA report, which was published in the early 1980's. New data and information were collected and new methods are presented to provide contractors with additional tools to track productivity using the data in this report as a baseline. Excerpts from the original Normal Project Duration report are used throughout this document. Results shown in this document indicate that electrical contractors are performing work using much shorter durations than 20 years ago. Reductions in project durations were achieved by increasing manpower and using new tools and equipment.

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Overtime and Productivity in Electrical Const. NECA #5050-04

The difficulties resulting from overtime work might lead many to question the wisdom of using overtime under any circumstances. There do seem to be compelling reasons for adhering closely to the standard work week whenever possible. However, situations do arise in which there is no alternative to working a longer than standard week. In order to assist its membership in managing these situations, NECA has studied the problems associated with overtime work. This publication embodies the significant conclusions produced by the study and where appropriate, offers recommendations for coping with the issues that arise.

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Book Jan 01 2013

Achieving Spatial Coordination Through BIM

This guide is an industry reference for HVAC and MEP contractors who are doing spatial coordination in a BIM environment. This guide addresses how contractors can incorporate leading-edge technologies and workflows into the spatial coordination aspect of their projects. It provides contractors with an outstanding educational resource for their employees who have to make these decisions.

This guide explains:

  • How to review, use, and contribute to the many documents that establish the scope of that work.
  • How to set up a BIM coordination program in your company.
  • How to manage the BIM execution plan.
  • BIM technologies for an IT infrastructure.
  • Proven best practices for profitably implementing spatial coordination through BIM.
  • Evaluating spatial coordination contract language.

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Contracts Bulletin Apr 17 2020

Contracts Bulletin: COVID-19: Increased Construction Costs

Many subcontractors have faced additional costs associated with performing work at jobsites during the COVID-19 outbreak. These additional COVID-19-related costs come in many forms, including extra hand-washing stations, before-shift health checks, and larger quantities of personal protective equipment such as gloves, masks, and goggles. Learn more about several common construction contract provisions that could allow subcontractors to recover costs incurred as a result of COVID-19.

Podcast Mar 05 2020

Let's Talk Shop, Episode 10: Carol and Ashley Duncan of General Sheet Metal

In Episode 10 of Let's Talk Shop, Angie Simon, CEO of Western Allied Mechanical and SMACNA President, talks with Carol Duncan, CEO, and her daughter Ashley Duncan, mechanical division manager at General Sheet Metal to celebrate Women In Construction Week. The three talk about how General Sheet Metal continues to grow and thrive and how women continue to emerge as a driving force in the industry. 

SMACNews Feb 28 2020

Preparation Is Half the Work

Brandt promotes early coordination efforts during the preconstruction phase to lead to successful projects. With early involvement, this is where Brandt’s BIM (Building Information Modeling) team shines.

Podcast Jan 09 2020

Let’s Talk Shop, Episode 8: Integrated Project Delivery

In Episode 8 of Let’s Talk Shop, Angie Simon, CEO of Western Allied Mechanical and SMACNA President, talks with Matt Cramer, President, Dee Cramer, on how he got started with integrated project delivery (IPD). Dee Cramer has completed eight IPD projects in Michigan and have noticed a great increase in customer satisfaction when using this process.

Contractor Spotlight Video Dec 12 2019

SMACNA Contractor Spotlight: Hermanson

SMACNA visited Hermanson earlier this year as they were embarking on a major shop redesign to modernize their equipment and improve shop flow during the fabrication process.

Contractor Operations Manual Dec 10 2019

Material and Inventory Management Guide

This guide provides member contractors with a resource on purchasing and inventory management systems. Whether simple or complex, these systems are a set of rules for deciding when to purchase materials and services and how much to purchase.

This document is free to members in the SMACNA Store.

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Podcast Oct 17 2019

Let's Talk Shop, Episode 7: What We Can Learn from Australia

In Episode 7 of Let's Talk Shop, host Angie Simon, President, Western Allied Mechanical and SMACNA President-elect, is in Australia with Russell Telford, managing director of A.G. Coombs and national President of the Air Conditioning & Mechanical Contractors Association (AMCA) and Sumit Oberoi, National Director of AMCA and SMACNA Chapter Executive. They talk about some of the similarities and differences in Australia versus the United States, particularly with prefabrication and modularization as well as workforce issues.

Podcast Oct 14 2019

Let's Talk Shop, Episode 6: Lean Construction

In Episode 6 of Let’s Talk Shop, host Angie Simon, President of Western Allied Mechanical, talks with James Morgan, President, and CEO of Worcester Air Conditioning in Ashland, Mass, about lean construction techniques.

Contractor Operations Manual Jul 19 2019

Strategies and Tools for Effective Procurement

Explore the importance that procurement has on the success of a construction project. 

Procurement on a construction project can account anywhere from 15% to 70% of a projects direct costs, yet this area is not often given the same weight as managing the risk of construction labor on a project. An effective procurement plan for any contractor should be focused on delivering the right material, at the right time, to the right location for the right price

This document covers the elements of an effective procurement plan, different methods for contracting materials, and tools to  manage that procurement. 

This document is free to members in the SMACNA Store.

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Contractor Operations Manual May 01 2019

Contractors Role in Preconstruction Planning

In the construction industry, project success depends on planning in schedule, cost, design, and other deliverables. That planning includes the organization of the resources (people, equipment, and tooling) and costs (materials and labor) to perform at the right time (scheduling).

The goal of preconstruction planning is to standardize the planning process, leading to predictability in resources, costs, and scheduling for each project.  This manual focuses  on the general processes a contractor must perform to implement preconstruction planning and how to manage a designer and the design aspects of the process. Also covered is the use of technology in preconstruction.

This document is free to members in the SMACNA Store.

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SMACNews Apr 29 2019

University Innovation Center Designed for Collaboration

The roof and façade design for a new academic building project created “the perfect blend of high-tech and natural esthetics” for the University of Maryland’s new Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Engineering, according to Scott Callaway of Overly Custom Metal Systems.

Contractor Operations Manual Dec 01 2018

Transforming Your Organization for the Future

Transforming Your Organization for the Future takes a hard look at why lean transformation using a “kitting strategy” is a true, long-term, strategic solution to manpower shortages, pricing pressure, and schedule compression.

This addition to the Contractors Operations Manual contains detailed case studies about contractors who have adopted this technique and experienced long-term, meaningful competitive advantages.

Companies that have adopted this strategy have experienced cost savings, labor productivity, increased manufacturing, reduced install times, less field manpower, material savings, improved safety, improved quality, schedule reduction, customer satisfaction, business growth, and opportunity.

This document is free to members in the SMACNA Store.

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Zahner’s South Korean Tower Sparkles

A dramatic curved stainless steel façade gave the A. Zahner Co. of Kansas City, Missouri, another opportunity to further expand its geographic reach to the Harim Tower in Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea.

Contractor Operations Manual Jan 01 2018

Establishing Overhead and Burden in a Sheet Metal Business

Sheet metal/HVAC contractors are unique in the construction industry in that they engineer, manufacture and install products made from raw materials. The scope of services provided by sheet metal contracts creates confusion and sometimes conflict with owners and general contractors who may not be familiar with the cost structure of a sheet metal/ HVAC contractor.

The purpose of this document is to detail the various types of expenses incurred by a sheet metal/HVAC contractor in support of a proper determination of overhead and burden rates.

This document is free to members in the SMACNA Store.

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New Horizons Foundation May 01 2017

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Enhancing Your Organizational Structure: An Approach to Profitable Operations

This white paper focuses on traditional and functional organizational structures. It offers a simple and easily understood contrast and comment on the appropriateness of each approach. In contrast to the traditional structure, the paper concludes that a functional analysis of a firm’s operations can be “a tool for designing their organization going forward. It views a contracting company as a system of various inputs coordinated to create one desired outcome.”


Lean construction methods: efficient work, happy customers

This article describes how lean construction is a way of working that reduces waste, increases efficiency, helps the environment, and allows for working smarter, not harder. But while the concept is one that has unofficially been practiced in the unionized sheet metal industry for years, the ITI is leading an effort to make the concept more standardized in apprentices’ training.

Contractor Operations Manual Jan 10 2017

Principles of Job Costing

An effective job costing system helps construction managers and business owners be more successful and profitable. It is also a critical tool for identifying and controlling risk. SMACNA’s updated book “Principles of Job Costing” will provide insight into improving your company’s job costing system.

Properly set up and managed, a job-cost management system will help make a company more profitable with less risk and the ability to grow and manage larger projects.

The updated book includes chapters on system set-up considerations, the estimating system, converting the estimate into an operating budget, progress reporting, change control, work in progress, and cash-flow forecasting. Appendixes include useful samples of general ledger structure, cost code structure, an estimating turnover checklist, and a sample accounts receivables escalation process.

This document is free to members in the SMACNA Store.

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What’s in it for me? Documenting the benefits of Lean

Documenting the benefits of Lean admittedly is a challenge, because no two projects are exactly alike. However, we have a substantial body of analysis that suggests the success realized on Lean projects is real and can be duplicated from project to project. This is Part II of a two-part series that explores the benefits and challenges of lean construction. 

J.F. Ahern: What is Prefabrication? Video

In this video, SMACNA member J.F. Ahern takes you through project stages including estimating, pre-planning, design/coordination, scheduling and purchasing, fabrication/assembly, quality control, and field installation to show how prefabrication works and benefits projects though improved risk, timing and cost.

Business Resource Jan 01 2016

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The Business Case for BIM

SMACNA’s white paper “The Business Case for BIM” can help contractors justify the cost of investing in BIM capabilities. This research demonstrates that the benefits of BIM can be substantial ̶ increasing profitability, bidding opportunities, and manufacturing efficiency and volume.

Business Resource Jun 01 2014

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Legal Implications of Building Information Modeling

This article will not focus on the technical aspects of BIM, but rather will analyze the legal implications and challenges facing projects using BIM. This article will examie the copyright/intellectual property issues, indemnity/liability issues, management and conflict issues, and will provide a brief conclusion regarding the future legal prospects for BIM.