Look at the Entire HVAC System to Maximize IAQ & Gain a Competitive Advantage

SMACNA's President outlines the need for contractors to understand how to leverage their skills and resources to deliver maximum value to their clients while also meeting their operational needs in this ever changing environment. 

Tony Kocurek, SMACNA President

I believe now more than ever, it is imperative that we, as signatory contractors, understand that HVAC works as a “system” and not just a bunch of pieces ... and I’ll tell you why. 

An HVAC system includes all the equipment, technology and processes that go into heating, cooling and ventilating a commercial or residential property.

HVAC can be easily confused with the term AC. Still, AC refers to an air-conditioning system on its own. In contrast, HVAC refers to the broader system, which may or may not include an air-conditioning component.

We need to understand that nuance and leverage our skills and resources to deliver maximum value to our clients and ensure that we are meeting their needs. But how do we do that in the current environment? 

First, advancements in technology have taken away much of our edge in constructing and installing ductwork. There are computer-aided machines that make the ductwork perfect, enabling faster and easier connections, as well as sophisticated mapping systems that aid in locating hangers and ductwork pathways. These tools are available to non-union contractors, as well as signatory ones, stripping away much of the advantages we had by going through the apprenticeship programs. 

One way to combat this muddying of the competitive waters is to embrace the understanding of the entire “HVAC system.” Knowing how an entire “HVAC system” works by design can help us be proactive in troubleshooting potential installation and comfort problems . Using our overall knowledge, we can be more beneficial to our clients. This will also give us the chance to ensure all HVAC system elements are properly installed and working to maximize the indoor air quality elements — things our clients, and most of the non-signatory competition, know little about. This higher quality and efficiency of our service will ultimately add additional benefits for the building owner in both lower overall operating costs and longer life expectancy of the “HVAC System” components. This is a huge advantage we can provide to our clients, helping us stand out from non-signatory contractors.

We are facing a historic time in our industry with the complexity of HVAC systems, the efficiency of these systems, and the actual functioning of entire systems that we have never faced before. To remain relevant and help our businesses thrive, we must stay ahead of this curve in our industry.