We’ve had clients ask us if they need engineering on their HVAC projects. They have a capable mechanical contractor, and they are trying to decide if they still need to engage an engineer.
As with many situations, it depends.
Here are a few cases where you should engage an HVAC engineer for your projects:
- Large Scale Equipment replacement Are you replacing a chiller or a boiler? Even if you’re considering a like-for-like replacement, you should engage an Engineer to calculate the building heating and cooling requirements, review controls and sequence of operations, evaluate energy usage and recommend options for replacement. The useful life of a chiller or boiler is north of 18 years and there has been significant innovation over that time. We have also assisted clients in long-range planning so that funds can be earmarked for new mechanical equipment as the equipment nears the end of its useful life and before long service interruptions.
- Chronic Building Issues Do you have a building where experiencing chronic issues? This is a situation where an Engineer should be engaged to diagnose the root cause. Mechanical Contractors are very good at fixing issues, but typically the issues are fixed in isolation. Commonly, we see that over time, these fixes create unintended consequences because the building systems haven’t been reviewed holistically. The Engineering fee to study the issue and determine the root cause could have saved the client frustration, time and money.
- Energy Savings If building owners/managers are looking for opportunities to save energy, an Engineer can help evaluate the options associated with different system improvements. These could include add-on, retrofits or replacements. In looking at these options, the Engineer can determine the return-on-investment and payback period for each option, giving the building owner the information critical for decision making.
There are certainly situations where a capable Mechanical Contractor is the right answer. And, Timberhood Consulting partners with Mechanical Contractors regularly on behalf of clients. However, there are instances where it makes sense to work with an Engineer. Engineers are an added cost, but they are ultimately an added value to your organization.
At Timberhood Consulting, we are always here to help and guide you to the right solution.