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  1. #1

    HVAC System for my business

    How are you guys, I am new to the forums and HVAC systems are like another planet to me. I am looking to start a business (bar/lounge establishment) and realized that to be sucessful I must be knowledgeable on everything that entails an establishment as the one I am trying to open.

    I've researched a bit on HVAC, but I don't know where to start when it comes to the real technical stuff on it. My concern/question is, how knowledgeable should I be on HVAC when pertaining to my business (even though a contractor will install it?) and what factors should I consider? Also, what areas in operating an HVAC system should I become knowledgeable in?

    I know my questions sound general, but what I am basically asking it...what factors should I be knowledgeable about when it comes to installing HVAC in my business?

    Again, I am sorry if I am saying wrong things; I truly have no nothing about HVAC except for what it is. I am not asking for explanations, but rather whats should I research. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Youngfuture View Post
    My concern/question is, how knowledgeable should I be on HVAC when pertaining to my business (even though a contractor will install it?) and what factors should I consider?


    "Always keep your eye on de ball"
    Quote: Chico Escuela


    Jabs

  3. #3
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    Knowing what I know now, I can speak freely on this topic. We as contractors in general do not like dealing with this marketplace due to the following reasons. These types of businesses have a high failure rate, which can cause us to lose money that is owed to us. These types of businesses generally do not know whether they are profitable or not, and therefore, look to bargain shop any chance they get, there is no loyalty for doing good work. These types of business owners in general think they are smarter than the contractor and try to dictate "how many tons" or "dollars per square foot". This may seem to work for you, but in general does not provide for a quality install. In general, these types of businesses ask us to comprimise the installation to save a few bucks, but complain about the underperforming system after the fact. So to you, I say........have the project designed by a competent engineer, get bids from three or more "qualified" bidders, not your brother in law "on the side", keep up the progress payment schedule, and your customers will be delighted with your comfortable space year-round and spend lots of money. Please dont take this as bashing, just the truth from my vantage point.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by flange View Post
    Knowing what I know now, I can speak freely on this topic. We as contractors in general do not like dealing with this marketplace due to the following reasons. These types of businesses have a high failure rate, which can cause us to lose money that is owed to us. These types of businesses generally do not know whether they are profitable or not, and therefore, look to bargain shop any chance they get, there is no loyalty for doing good work. These types of business owners in general think they are smarter than the contractor and try to dictate "how many tons" or "dollars per square foot". This may seem to work for you, but in general does not provide for a quality install. In general, these types of businesses ask us to comprimise the installation to save a few bucks, but complain about the underperforming system after the fact. So to you, I say........have the project designed by a competent engineer, get bids from three or more "qualified" bidders, not your brother in law "on the side", keep up the progress payment schedule, and your customers will be delighted with your comfortable space year-round and spend lots of money. Please dont take this as bashing, just the truth from my vantage point.
    I agree with all your points. This type of venture has over a 90% failure rate in the United States. Fortunately though, we (my partners and I) understand this and are spending much time on the planning alone; it's not about lights, alcohol and music, that's the easy part. It's about small details such as the temperature and quality of air in your room taking everything (appliances, capacity etc) into consideration. And that's just one out of hundreds and hundreds of details.

    I really appreciate your answer. I have a few questions, and they may sound extremely green (and they are) but I am still learning the terminology within this aspect. Are you saying an engineer will design the type of HVAC system I need? And what do you mean by bidders? What type of bidders? So get an engineer to design the system, get a thumbs up from different qualified bidders and have it installed by who...the engineer?

  5. #5
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    Are you putting up a new building or gutting one? If you are remodeling you could go with a mechanical contractor that can design and build the system that you need. If they are any good.
    If at first you don't succeed; charge, charge, charge again.

  6. #6
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    For most new ventures you will need to have mechanical drawings in order to get a permit, let alone start construction. If you hire a mechanical engineer, or good design build contractor, they can look at your proposed spaces, customer occupancy, equipment, lighting etc, to determine your ACTUAL HVAC needs. Based upon the real needs of the space, a system will be designed. Once that is designed, you can work with either the design build contractor, or if you have plans, solicit bids to install the systems. In either case you should end with a good system and be trouble free if done correctly. If you find some yahoo telling you that you need x tons "because he does these all the time" you may end up with poor results. There are just too many factors today to consider. Depending upon how you structure the project, an HVAC contractor can be a prime contractor working directly for you, or a sub working for a general contractor. Since you are somewhat green, you may be better having a general contractor police the subs for you.

  7. #7
    John Culpepper's Avatar
    John Culpepper is offline CHANGE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS Professional Member*
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    The three contractors bidding on your engineered set of plans will competing(sp?) for your business. The control you have is picking three or more qualified contractors, then comparing prices and the opinion of the job of the three, and finally deciding which of the contractors best suits what you need. It may not be the top bidder that best takes care of all of your concerns. It is up to you to lay out on the table what you expect of the engineer and to the prospective contractor that will bring your vision to life.
    I have a set of construction guidlines that every contractor must adhere to. It is a thick set ,but it covers everyone from top to bottom.
    Nemo me impune lacessit.

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    Don't look down on anyone unless you're helping them up.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by flange View Post
    For most new ventures you will need to have mechanical drawings in order to get a permit, let alone start construction. If you hire a mechanical engineer, or good design build contractor, they can look at your proposed spaces, customer occupancy, equipment, lighting etc, to determine your ACTUAL HVAC needs. Based upon the real needs of the space, a system will be designed. Once that is designed, you can work with either the design build contractor, or if you have plans, solicit bids to install the systems. In either case you should end with a good system and be trouble free if done correctly. If you find some yahoo telling you that you need x tons "because he does these all the time" you may end up with poor results. There are just too many factors today to consider. Depending upon how you structure the project, an HVAC contractor can be a prime contractor working directly for you, or a sub working for a general contractor. Since you are somewhat green, you may be better having a general contractor police the subs for you.
    I am looking to rent out a space. I suppose it is up to the owner whether he allows me to install a new HVAC system? Or can an existing HVAC system be repaired to fit my needs?

    And just to clarify; I hire a mechanical engineer to design the system, I then get a permit (I didn't even know you needed a permit for an HVAC system! ) then I should solicit bids or get the design build contractor (who is the one who designed the system-mechanical engineer? or are these two different people?)

    JohnCulpepper, is this "guideline" you have available in anyway?

    Thanks again guys for the great replies.

  9. #9
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    it's certainly possible that the existing hvac could suit your purposes. it would just take having a mechanical service contractor inspect it and determine if it will meet your load and control requirements.

    it almost seems like you could use the services of a consultant of some kind. even if you know someone in town who operates any other kind of food/bar type establishment who can give you some referrals to reputable contractors.

    as new as you are, I fear you could be taken advantage of

    try your local chamber of commerce for referrals as well

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Youngfuture View Post
    Are you saying an engineer will design the type of HVAC system I need? And what do you mean by bidders? What type of bidders? So get an engineer to design the system, get a thumbs up from different qualified bidders and have it installed by who...the engineer?
    Hope your skin is a little thick here but if you are asking these questions then you are gonna be way over your head during any type of construction or renovations.

    Who is going to design or install your plumbing? Your electrical? Refrigeration and kitchen equiptment?

    How about carpentry, flooring, fire protection, etc, etc,?

    You will need someone to coordinate all the designing, permit processes, engineering and construction.

    If you are asking what we mean by bidders than you may fall into that 90 percent failure rate that you mentioned.
    Edited by powerhead on more than one occasion

  11. #11
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    Most bars that I have seen do not have the AC sized for the maximum number of people that might be in the building. Then if you have most of them on the dance floor, dancing and jumping around at the same time, how much has the demand on your AC increased. I think each person in this case might be creating as much as 1300 BTU's for each person or more. I think that is the right number, somebody else may know the exact figure.

    How many times have you been in places like this with everyone dancing and the building be comfortable? I have seen a few, but most were sweltering.
    Of course it has been ten years or so since I've subjected myself to that, maybe it has improved. lol

  12. #12
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    Mechanical engineer/ engineer: is a person or group who takes the client/ customer's desired use of a bldg/ space and calculates whats needed to make it work from various standpoints. One is how much cooling/ heating, should be needed for the intended use. This includes everything from the environment the bldg is located in, to every piece of heat generating equipment and number of people,( we generate heat too) expected to be inside the bldg. And then design a plan for new, or alteration of the existing system to best serve how the bldg is going to be used, where it can be placed, etc. They make the plan, but don't build anything.

    Design build contractor : Is a person/ company that can do what's listed above AND build it. But may have to hire an engineer anyway, to draw a plan to get a bldg permit for your project, depending on the company and laws in your area.

    Contractor: is a person or company licensed in their area of expertise, and are limited to doing construction and work only in the type they're licensed for. But can be licensed for more than one. Kind of like doctors who specialize. Licenses include General, Heating Ventilating Air Conditioning/ Refrigeration (HVAC)(/R), Electrical, Plumbing, Carpentry, Landscape, among others.

    General is usually the main one on a project, that oversees/ coodinates the others. They know a little about all, but not enough to do the job of the others except carpentry, which is usually where they started, providing someplace to hang our stuff on. Having one isn't required, an example is homeowners can be the general on their own house. But the homeowner then has to accept responsibility for hiring the other contractors, overseeing, and the final result of the work. Depending on the size and requirements of the project, generals become increasingly necessary as project size grows. Considering your questions don't even think about it.

    Bidders are contractors who submit price estimates and sometimes their ideas of how their portion of the project should be done.

    Bldg permits are required for changes made to bldg s, to assure the bldg is safe for the intended use, through inspections by local gov inspectors. And so the local gov gets a little piece of the action. (fees)

    This a very general description of whos involved in what can be a complex process. Makes one wonder how anything gets done, and why it can't be as simple as setting a cardboard box on the corner and start selling lemonade.

  13. #13
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    We are trying to point you in the right direction for many reasons, the biggest is that if you dont do it right the first time, it will kill you longterm. Imagine having to fight with a contractor because your system does not cool properly, fight with your staff becasue customers want to leave due to being uncomfortable and not getting good tips, now try to "fix" the original problem while trying to stay afloat. This scenario sucks but many owners will try it to save a few bucks. It WILL contribute to failure. As far as renting space, there may be an allowance for fitout from the owner if you are signing a longterm lease, look into it.

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