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Thread: Let's Share Some Stories

  1. #21
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    I was assigned the job of redesigning some production lines at a well known manufacturer. The guy in charge of the construction met me there the first time I visited the plant to get an overview of the situation. He showed me around and we passed two production lines side by side. The lines were identical except one fan that pulled the binder through the mat was blowing mist all over the place. The other fan was working properly with no mist. He ask me why and I said the fan that is working properly was designed to do the job but some poor dumb SOB just grabbed a fan and had it installed on the other line and it is too big.
    He became agitated and I later found out he was the poor dumb SOB. We had design progress meetings every Friday and each time he tried to blind side me with something.
    No man can be both ignorant and free.
    Thomas Jefferson

  2. #22
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    Tons of stories here like everybody else.

    Years ago, I was part of a crew doing a two year EMCS DDC refurbish on one of the, (at the time), largest military hospitals in the country. The job entailed everything in the main hospital, except the patient rooms, which were to remain pneumatic, and a complete fiber loop from the power plant through to all the satellite buildings in the complex. A 5000 plus point job.

    We all got to know each other, and got along pretty well. One day, the EMCS foreman came to a couple of us and asked a favor. He told us about this woman officer who was constantly complaining. Too hot, too cold, always something. The woman was driving him nuts, and his guys couldn't satisfy her.
    We agreed to help. He then gave us a reverse acting pneumatic thermostat, and asked us to install it in her office so she could be in control of the temperature in her area.

    What she didn't know was the fact that yes, we installed the T-stat in her office, and we gave it main air, but nothing else. When she turned the dial it would go Psssst, and it really sounded like it was working.

    From then on, we were heros..... the woman loved everybody.

  3. #23
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    I have reread all the posts and enjoyed them again. I hope we get a lot more.
    No man can be both ignorant and free.
    Thomas Jefferson

  4. #24
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    I was doing Air Balancing for our company on a Job where our sheet metal crew had installed the duct work and placed the units. The Sheet metal crew were all of them pot smokers, were quite open about that fact, and over the few years I worked with them I had become accustomed to any manner of freakish disasters from them. So the install is a 10 ton SCAV unit (Self Contained Air cooled Vertical Package unit) and a 15 TON SCAV. Picture your standard issue rooftop package units - but with squirrel cage condenser fans that sit up on one end. They were installed on the 13th or 14th floor of a Manhattan high-rise - condensers ducted in and out of a window. The units were in a room that was big enough for the units, with around 24" clearance to walk around the machines - flanged ductwork.
    I get to balancing and I start to notice really quick that the 10 ton duct has 15 tons of air and vice-versa. I immediately suspected the Pot Smokers, but they were actually innocent - the engineer had just mixed the labels on the prints - so the prints said AHU1 (10 ton) should be in the duct meant for AHU2 (15 ton).
    The tenant for the space is moving in furniture and the space is going to open for business in a few days - there is no way they can break down the walls that surround the mechanical equipment and reset these. The discussion soon turns into an argument, and begins to devolve. The Sheet metal foreman tells the GC 'Give me $1500 and a day with nobody in that room and I will make it all go away - deal?' 'Deal!! ' he says excitedly. 2 days later I show up to do the balancing again - the units are switched and the little room is untouched.
    I asked around 'what happened in here?' the GC said 'Your guy came yesterday morning with like 8 guys and went into that room. It sounded like a brawl in there - they came out, had lunch, and went back in there and kept beating on everything, the walls the ducts the units, yelling and everything. Then at the end of the day, the ducts were back in place, the units were switched. they only had hand tools and a dolly - I would never have believed it if I hadn't seen it.'
    Hmmmm....smells like numbatwo to me.

  5. #25
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    If you had been in the room with them with a camera you could have made a lot of money.
    No man can be both ignorant and free.
    Thomas Jefferson

  6. #26
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    I was scheduled to balance a large department store and did heat balance calculations to make sure everything would work out as designed. The calculations for the office heating unit indicated that at zero F outside temperature the supply air temperature would 46 F. I called the contractor and told him that and he said "you don't understand we did a value engineering study and everything is fine". He wouldn't listen so I emailed him the calculations and told them what to expect. It got down to zero and the office staff was freezing because of the 46 F supply air temperature.
    I got a phone call from the contractor and reminded him about the email and never heard from them again.
    No man can be both ignorant and free.
    Thomas Jefferson

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  8. #27
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    A story I would like to share about a lady supervisor at a government building. I fell in love with her because she was really smart and didn't put up with BS from anyone. She was also beautiful but that didn't help or hinder her. They had paid for the design and modification of several multi fan penthouses because the fans had never tracked each other. The modifications didn't solve the problem and she ask the area supervisor who to get a second opinion from.
    I was ask to balance the fans but this cagey lady instructed everyone to not even tell me there was a problem. The first thing I did was look at the controls program and the fan current draw. It was obvious the fans weren't tracking each other in any of the pent houses so I went to the roof to find out why. It turned out the fans had inlet vanes all of which were being controlled by a single pneumatic controller. The sloppy mechanical linkage couldn't possibly get the fans to track. The fans had good quality flow grids on each inlet. My solution was to make the fans track each other using velocity pressure.
    I was told the engineer they used was highly sought after in the area and basically they trusted him not me. I responded if you want the damn things to work do what I'm telling you otherwise listen to him but I'm going home.
    The lady supervisor was impressed that I found the problem so quick not even being told there was a problem and instructed them to do one pent house the way I told them. It worked perfectly and the lady wanted me to come back and test that set of fans. I agreed and as before ask her to reserve me a spot in their guarded parking lot.
    I drove to the building and the guard wouldn't let me in the parking lot. I went around to the front (main) parking lot and ask the guard to call the lady in charge of the building but she called the head of security instead. He came out and I ask him to call her but instead he threatened to put me in handcuffs if I didn't leave. As luck would have it the head dog lady had looked out her window and saw there was a problem and called the head of security. He handed me the phone and she told me to go back to the back parking lot. I told her I had been there and the guard wouldn't let me in. She said go back and I guaranty you he will let you in. You have two spots reserved if you need them. I went back to the lot and the A-hole guard would have parked the van for me if I had ask him.
    She had ask me to come to her office first so we could talk and I did so. She told me you will never have that kind of problem again. You have good ideas and your solution to our problem appears to be working but I want you to verify everything is as it should be before we go any further with the work. The fans were tracking on the money and I let her know that.
    As previously said this lady didn't put up with anything but the way things should be and was smart enough to see the difference between BS and fact.
    No man can be both ignorant and free.
    Thomas Jefferson

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  10. #28
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    I was working at a defense contractor building until late one night. Apparently I left my lights on when I arrived in the day time. By now the battery was dead. I walked back into the front desk and asked the security guard if he could give me jump start - I had jumper cables. He said no he had a new car and would not take a chance on messing something up. I notice he kept looking down at a video monitor while we were talking. I asked him again if he would give me a jump start. He said no again. I leaned across the desk so I could see the video screen. I looked at the video screen. I looked up at him. I looked down at the video screen and I looked up at him. I asked one more time if he would give me a jump start and he said "Let me get my keys".

    There was an adult video drive in theater adjacent to the facility. He had pointed the camera toward the screen and was watching the movie on the security camera. I let him know I caught him by looking at the video, then him, then the video. I didn't say I would report him but he decided to not chance it.
    If "I have always done it this way" is a good reason to do it again, how many times do I have to do something wrong - before it becomes right?

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  12. #29
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    About 14 years ago we did the controls on a new Police Station. It had massive OSA Requirements so every VAV box had a Hot Water Reheat coil. Balancer had verified all the Coil and Air flows and set the K-Factors.
    The day before the Commissioning Agent (CxA) was scheduled I was doing Operational and Point to Point Check out. I was checking the Reheats and Heating Max flows and every box was discharging 140-150 degree temps. I had increased the Max Heat flow setpoint up to the Box Max CFM and was still getting DA-Temp over 130 degrees. WTF ? The CxA shows up the next day and I tell him the problem. We go through all the valve spec’s and sizing and he agrees that we had the correct valves per schedule. I always created my own “Box Schedule” with Sizes, Min/Max CFM’s, Valve Flows and other info. The CxA, who happened to work for the same consulting firm that did the design, asked for my Box Schedule.

    We rescheduled for the following day. CxA show up the next day and starts asking me if I can limit the stroke of all the valves. I tell him that I can and ask why as well as WHO is going to pay for it ? He hems and haws for a while and finally says “We will pay for your time” and here’s why; the engineer that spec’d the valves had over sized all of them by 100%. He had taken my 8-1/2 x 11 Box Schedule and expanded it to 20x24 with all of the design calculations showing the mistake’s. I had to change the Signal to every Reheat valve (something like 60 of them) from 0-10VDC to 0-4VDC. Ever since that job I always remember the quote from Ronald Reagan “Trust but verify” !
    If sense were so common everyone would have it !
    You cannot protect the Stupid from themselves !
    "Experience is the ability to recognize a mistake Before you make it again!" (Stolen Quote)

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  14. #30
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    I designed a tallow, oil and fat pumping and distribution facility for a foreign government. They ended up giving me four surveys and the ocean was in a different location on each. They wanted to design the pump building but never gave me a design so I could design the mechanical systems. I finally laid out columns where I would have put them and did my job. Near the end of the job they complained that there was no place for columns given the mechanical design. I sent them the column locations and got back a building designed around those column locations.
    The yard area was tricky because there was an airport close by and the tank height ended up close to the line of site angle of the radar. Everyone agreed the tank heights were all good. After the construction was complete I was ask why I didn't put a vacuum priming system on all the pumps and I told them because it wasn't needed. They said it was needed because they had to lower all the tanks by a meter to clear the radar line of site and when they shut the pumps off with about two feet of liquid in them they couldn't get pump flow restarted.
    I went to the file and found a letter from them informing us they had to lower the tanks by a meter and ask us to let them know if there were any problems with doing it. The letter was never distributed and never responded to so the owner lowered the tanks.
    No man can be both ignorant and free.
    Thomas Jefferson

  15. #31
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    I'm currently working on a job that's turning into a nightmare. The GC is furious because TAB hasn't finished yet. They have "hard deadlines", and everyone is behind schedule. Everytime we try taking measurements, we find problems, like ductwork leaks, a long branch that doesn't get enough air to the end. I stuck a camera in a few cells, and the dampers are homemade, with a 1" gap or more. We're about to start door pressurization testing, and I know it's not going to turn out well. They have perforated ceilings! How do they expect to get .05 dP across that?
    I'm afraid to put many details on a public forum. Is there a way to change my profile name so someone doesn't Google me?

  16. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertStephens View Post
    I'm afraid to put many details on a public forum. Is there a way to change my profile name so someone doesn't Google me?
    You just discovered why I have an anonymous handle and an anonymous email in my profile... hehe. Even your profile picture is a dead give away.
    You can PM the story to a freindly Htalker and have them post this funny story they 'heard'.
    Hmmmm....smells like numbatwo to me.

  17. #33
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    Document everything and send them your predictions along with calculations to back them up. Your hard deadline is predicated on the facility being ready to balance. If they finger point ask for a meeting with all hands present including the owner.
    You can not only get them off your butt but set the stage for the extras you deserve. If this is a government job all the better.
    No man can be both ignorant and free.
    Thomas Jefferson

  18. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertStephens View Post
    I'm currently working on a job that's turning into a nightmare. The GC is furious because TAB hasn't finished yet. They have "hard deadlines", and everyone is behind schedule. Everytime we try taking measurements, we find problems, like ductwork leaks, a long branch that doesn't get enough air to the end. I stuck a camera in a few cells, and the dampers are homemade, with a 1" gap or more. We're about to start door pressurization testing, and I know it's not going to turn out well. They have perforated ceilings! How do they expect to get .05 dP across that?
    I'm afraid to put many details on a public forum. Is there a way to change my profile name so someone doesn't Google me?
    You guys have difficult jobs no doubt. But child’s play vs getting a big mechanical job completed. Drives me nuts when the tab guys start nitpicking dampers, etc.

  19. #35
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    Meet the spec Scoobie and the problems will go away. How would you like to be a TAB guy that adjusts a damper and it blows out of its supports and blows down the duct? I had that happen more than once. How would you like it if you couldn't get any airflow and after 30 minutes of wasting time troubleshooting find that a branch duct tie in was made but the hole in the main duct was never cut out?
    I could ask how you would like it for a long time. You can make a TAB guys job impossible but doing your job is entirely up to you so just do it and don't whine.
    No man can be both ignorant and free.
    Thomas Jefferson

  20. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scoobie View Post
    child’s play vs getting a big mechanical job completed. Drives me nuts when the tab guys start nitpicking dampers, etc.
    That's like walking into a policeman convention and saying all policemen are pigs...
    Hmmmm....smells like numbatwo to me.

  21. #37
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    I was going to make a passionate defense of the TAB guys.... but that is really off topic. Make a new thread if you would like to have that discussion.
    Hmmmm....smells like numbatwo to me.

  22. #38
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    Scoobie, I couldn't care less about dampers. But we just turned in a report that showed dampers fully open with 50% of airflow. Others fully closed with 200% in the same branch. Which means a mech contractor will possibly be replacing hundreds of dampers, or maybe duct mods. And if the smoke pressurization test fails, the space can't be inhabited until engineers figure out something.
    I'm the new guy, so I keep my mouth shut in those meetings. Yes, we document everything. If the system isn't balanced, we just report what we find.
    Edit: ... And we have to be finished with the entire project in like 7 weeks

  23. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertStephens View Post
    the space can't be inhabited until engineers figure out something.
    This is the essence of a good TAB guy. Not only can I demonstrate that your stuff is out of whack (like any other TAB guy) I can tell you where the problem is and how to fix it.
    There are plenty of times when I want no part in the drama. And this may be one of those times. But the ability to point the high powered mech installation team in the right direction means those mech guys actually accomplish the goal with their labor.
    Hmmmm....smells like numbatwo to me.

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  25. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by WAYNE3298 View Post
    Meet the spec Scoobie and the problems will go away. How would you like to be a TAB guy that adjusts a damper and it blows out of its supports and blows down the duct? I had that happen more than once. How would you like it if you couldn't get any airflow and after 30 minutes of wasting time troubleshooting find that a branch duct tie in was made but the hole in the main duct was never cut out?
    I could ask how you would like it for a long time. You can make a TAB guys job impossible but doing your job is entirely up to you so just do it and don't whine.
    TAB guys love me.

    Had one guy a long time ago that nit picked everything. His job was to adjust the system....and he was taking pictures of screw holes that needed sealing.

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