Project Management

SMACNA’s project management resources and educational programs provide members with the necessary tools to help them manage projects efficiently, safely and on-time.


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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Guide for Implementation of Total Quality Management

Responding to members' needs and requests, SMACNA developed its first Guide for Implementation of Total Quality Management for S/M & A/C Contractors. This Guide helps members understand the benefits of continuous improvement and the role and responsibilities of CEO's in leading the TQM effort in their companies.

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HVAC Bid Specification Reference Manual

Designed to help contractors interested in preparing accurate and competitive bids while guiding owners and designers in the preparation of a complete bid package, the "HVAC Bid Specifications Reference Manual" is organized around the Construction Specifications Institute MasterFormat.TM The book consists of 18 sections and is divided into two parts. Part One covers administrative requirements associated with bidding and contracting for the installation of HVAC Systems for commercial, and Institutional (CII) facilities. Part Two covers the technical requirements associated with specifying materials and equipment for HVAC systems-the basis for HVAC system procurement and installation.

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The Effect of Temperature on Productivity NECA #5072-04

The National Electrical Contractors Association has conducted a series of laboratory studies to document the effects of temperature and humidity on productivity. The objective of these studies was to measure the effects of extreme combinations of temperature and humidity on labor productivity and to present these findings in a maner that enables electrical contractors to use this data as a guide in factoring bid estimates, planning jobs scheduling work, and negotiating extensions of time.

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The Effect of Multi-Story Bldg on Productivity NECA #5071-04

The purpose of this report is two-fold. First, the report is designed to assist electrical contractors in evaluating the special job conditions found in multi-story building construction that cause an increase in the cost to install the electrical systems. Second, the report offers recommended estimating practices that will insure recovery of these added costs. This report is an update to an existing NECA study and survey from the 1970's. While the results of the original report have essentially been left intact, a new section has been added to further explain the impact of project size on labor productivity.

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Project Peak Workforce Report NECA #5074-04

The National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) published a report, Project Peak Workforce Report, in 1987 that used 120 projects to predict the peak number of workers for jobs based on the documented actual work hours for different types of electrical projects. However, the NECA report has become outdated and no longer represents the current construction scenario. The present publication is an update to the original NECA report, using current project data. The primary purpose of this publication is to assist electrical contractors with estimating the peak number of workers that can be expected on various electrical construction projects, including commercial, industrial, and institutional.

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Sheet Metal Made Lean and Clean

This guide is an introduction to owners, managers and workers in sheet metal fabrication and manufacturing shops to the principles and methods of lean production. It defines the application of lean production to sheet metal shop operations and provides the reader with an assortment of tools to begin the process of making their shop operations more efficient.

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Book Jan 01 1998

Alliance Project Management

Developed by the Mechanical-Electrical-Sheet Metal Alliance, the Alliance Project Management Manual covers 44 major steps in the project management process. It also contains over 100 sample project management forms and checklists. The manual may be used as a desk reference for project managers and, as an evaluation tool which contractors can use to review and modify their current project management procedures and make improvements. It is the most comprehensive project management resource available in the industry.

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Podcast May 23 2019

Let's Talk Shop Podcast, Episode 2: Solutions First, Full Service Design/Build

In Episode 2 of Let’s Talk Shop, host Angie Simon, President, of Western Allied Mechanical, and SMACNA President-Elect talks with Guy Gast, President, The Waldinger Corporation, Iowa Division. Their conversation focuses on their companies’ journey into design-build and how this system has benefited their businesses. They discuss the highlights of a solutions-first approach and the advantages of being a one-stop shop for their customers.

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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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: Prefab Time Lapse Video

J. F. Ahern Co. recently unveiled a time-lapse video that was filmed over several months, chronicling the assembly and installation of 32 multi-trade racking systems for the Froedtert CFAC project in Milwaukee.

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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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.

New Horizons Foundation Oct 01 2004

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Lean Production Principles

The study identifies what “lean” means in the sheet metal and HVAC construction industry. It also suggests how lean can be transferred and implemented in the construction industry and which techniques are most applicable. It compares and reviews sheet metal and HVAC construction companies that are successfully applying the lean principles discussed in this study.

New Horizons Foundation Oct 01 2004

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Tool and Material Management Systems

This guide provides practical considerations, tactics and processes that apply specifically to managing tools, equipment and off-the-shelf, consumable materials. It provides an easy-to-reference list of considerations, tactics, and processes for implementation and ongoing improvement.

New Horizons Foundation Apr 01 2004

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Quantifying the Cumulative Impact of Change Orders for Sheet Metal Contractors

The New Horizons Foundation formed a research team to focus on the impact of change orders on labor productivity specifically for the sheet metal industry. The team developed a model that can estimate the productivity loss on a project impacted by change orders. The model can be applied to projects to generate a percentage loss of productivity due to changes.

New Horizons Foundation

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Schedule Compression Effects on Labor Productivity

This study shows how schedule compression affects sheet metal contractors’ labor productivity, and quantifies the effects of overtime, shift work, and overmanning. Models that quantify the impact of each on the labor productivity of sheet metal contractors are presented. Recommendations for the contractor are included.