Archive for the ‘Building Services’ Category

Is that mechanical ventilation, air handling or air-conditioning?

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

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It’s obvious, is it not (to mechanical designers, contractors, service technicians, fridgies)? Well, maybe not to building certifiers and the facility managers (and contractors) who suffer from the result of this common misunderstanding.

AIRAH’s maintenance bible DA19 HVAC & R Maintenance makes a clear distinction in the title. It’s about Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration systems. What brought this up is AIRAH is currently working with the ABCB on some really important work to reference the current (2002) or a modification of it in the BCA DTS provisions.

But sitting above this further up the regulatory “tree” from AS1668.2 are some key regulatory issues for successful application of building control measures. They are:

1/ the apparent confusion in application and interchangeability of the words ventilation/air handling versus air conditioning;
2/ the subsequent lack of understanding in the building industry (and particularly amongst building certifiers/surveyors and facility managers) of the relevant installation and maintenance procedures for mechanical ventilation / air handling systems; and
3/ the implications of this for installation standards and maintenance procedures in statutory certificates; and

Why is this important?

This needs sorting to ensure that the hazards (smoke and other gases of combustion, air contaminants, microbes and pathogens etc) which affect the level of risk for systems which handle air are more successfully allocated risk controls in statutory documents by building certifiers/surveyors to assist facility managers better communicate with mechanical designers and contractors.