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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The Real Costs of a Sheet Metal Business

The Real Costs of a Sheet Metal Business is designed for journeymen and supervisors to explore the true cost of doing business while remaining cost conscious and competitive. Participants in the class will explore the biding process by analyzing the direct and indirect costs of doing business and the relationship of productivity to bid fulfillment. The program is intended to help employees realize the valuable (and expensive) role of personnel and overhead in the competitive marketplace.

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Successful Building Project Coordination

Provides a basic orientation on the key role HVAC contractors play in project coordination. Covering coordination and project delivery as well as coordination methods, the document concludes with an introduction to Building Information Modeling (BIM) as it impacts the construction team plus a short treatment on the problematic topic of data file transfer. The guide explains the critical importance of project coordination on commercial and institutional construction projects.

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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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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.


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.

Online Training

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SMACNA Seismic Restraint Manual

This session highlights the SMACNA Seismic Restraint Manual – Guidelines For Mechanical Systems 3rd Edition (ANSI) means and methods for seismically bracing ducts and pipes to meet the requirements of the regionally appropriate seismic hazard levels so that ducts/pipes are more likely to maintain their integrity and remain attached to the building’s structure during a seismic event.

Online Training

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HVAC Air Duct Leakage

This webinar presentation on duct air leakage will define what duct air leakage is and how it relates to equipment air leakage, accessory air leakage, and HVAC system air leakage.  Discussion about duct air leakage with respect to various codes and LEED® will be covered as well as common misconceptions and myths. 

Business Resource

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To compete in today's construction market, organizations will need to increase efficiencies in a time when project complexity is great and increasing, and project schedules are being reduced. BIM provides an effective way to do this.

New Horizons Foundation Nov 01 2008

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Thinking Lean - Tools for Decreasing Costs and Increasing Profits

This project updates research conducted in 2005. The need for the update was driven by the increasing complexity of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) and sheet metal construction industry. Advancements in technology, financial pressure, and customers seeking greater involvement and value from their projects are the main contributors to this complexity.