Message for Contractors, Building Owners & Managers and Design Engineers
Trane, at the corporate level, has at last announced their plan for marketing Trane controls. Before now the policy was determined by the local Trane office manager. Contractors have been complaining for years because they never knew where they stood and the policy changed often. Some Trane offices indeed tried to encourage contractors to be in the controls business and offered training and access to software. These were the rare few. The new corporate policy assures there will be no competition from independent control contractors. The Chiller Systems Group feels this plan is a step backwards for most of us and at best a step sideways for a few.
Building owners should be aware that once they accept the bundled package of chillers and controls from Trane they are locked into Trane for the life of the equipment. It will be impossible for an independent contractor to service the system. Design engineers will be unable to make many upgrades to the system unless they use Trane. The loser here will be the building owner. Contractors and engineers will shift gears and find other things to do. Owners will be trapped and will be required to pay whatever Trane demands.
Over the past ten years, Trane has been mounting proprietary control boards on their chillers and packaged systems that are only capable of passing status and diagnostic information to the Trane Building Automation System. Trane has also been moving all safety circuit interlocks to the same board. This action, of course, eliminates the ability to utilize any control product other than Trane.
Trane has developed a diagnostic tool which is available only to the Trane service agencies. This tool plugs into a Trane control panel and provides system information. Trane does make a less capable tool available to contractors.
Attached is a copy of Traneís policy. Any contractor who is trying to build a controls business or would like to be able to provide service on Trane controls will view this policy as a statement from Trane which says we donít want you to bid against us and we donít want you to service our controls.
We urge contractors, building managers and engineers to express their feelings about this policy directly to The Trane Company at the corporate level. Registering a complaint at the local level may fall on deaf ears. We suggest you send your comments to Thomas W. Mikulina, Vice President, Industry Relations.
The Trane Company
3600 Pammel Creek Road La Crosse, WI 54601-7599
Tel : 608-787-3237
Trane Applied Systems Contractor (ASC) Program
To improve Traneís ability to serve Trane equipment owners by expanding its relationships with qualified design/build contractors who possess the required expertise and experience to ensure that installed systems function properly and with peak efficiency. Trane seeks to assure that customers receive the high quality product selection, system design, and installation services that they expect from all Trane products.
Qualified contractors can purchase all of Traneís controls product offering (as of January 1, 2004). In addition, they can obtain technical support based in St. Paul as well as attend Trane technical controls training courses.
Contractor qualification requirements include, but are not limited to, the following:
Training and supporting contractors in offering Applied Systems requires significant investment of time and resources by Trane. Accordingly, participating contractors must commit to make Trane controls their primary line.
As the program has been developed for the Design/Build business, Trane will not supply Trane control products for Plan/Spec projects (although the Applied Systems Contractor remains free to bid the project with an installed controls price from Trane or with non-Trane controls).
Contractor must complete a minimum of four Trane Building Automation training courses focused on system level operation and unit controller operation.
Contractor must complete installation of the first three systems with technical assistance of the local Trane office.
Contractor must install a minimum of six Trane Applied Systems projects or purchase a minimum Trane Control product volume of $200,000 on an annual basis.
Contractor must make an ongoing commitment for training to keep current with Trane control system products and their application.
Contractor must exhibit a commitment to meet superior customer satisfaction.
Contractor must provide $100,000 performance bond.
Contractor must pay an annual fee of $15,000 to offset some of the technical training and technical support costs. On an annual basis, $7,500 is available for rebate after purchasing (and paying for) $100,000 of Trane control products, and a straight-line scale is applied to the balance with full rebate of the $15,000 with purchase of $200,000 of Trane control products. No rebate is available beyond the $15,000 maximum.
Continued participation in the program requires annual review and recertification.
Other Terms and Conditions:
The overview does not address all of the terms and conditions of the ASC Program.
Contact your local Trane representative for complete details.