3 Jobs Every Commercial HVAC Technician Should Sub-Contract Out

Posted on: 18 January 2017

Many people in the skilled trade industries dream of working for themselves, including those who install commercial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems to rooftops. Many imagine themselves as working for themselves, but it takes a lot of self discipline to be self employed and run a business. However, even the most experienced HVAC contractors understand that they cannot—and should not—do everything by themselves. Here are a few crucial things that many commercial HVAC technicians subcontract out to others. 

Crane Services

Cranes are often used to deliver heavy HVAC equipment to rooftops and remove old, unused equipment as well. Due to the various sizes and weights of HVAC equipment, combined with various height and radius requirements of crane delivery, one size does not fit all when it comes to using cranes. It would be far too expensive to purchase a crane, particularly because the HVAC contractor would have no clear idea of the functional and size requirements for future jobs. 

Also, cranes need to be operated by someone who has had training and, preferably, additional on-the-job training and experience beyond the basic certification requirements by state. They should also understand federal regulations and abide by them. When it comes to hoisting heavy HVAC equipment onto the roof of a commercial property, especially one that potentially has numerous people inside, safety is always the most important factor to consider, which is why it is crucial for HVAC contractors to hire a crane operator when renting a crane. 

Concrete Contractor

Rooftop HVAC systems often require metal footing to be set in place before the equipment can be delivered by a crane service to the roof. The footing, or mounting pads, are necessary because they help to protect the roofing materials from getting damaged by the HVAC systems by distributing the weight evenly. The mounting pads also work as a grounding device to prevent electrical shocks from permeating the structure of the building should the HVAC systems become faulty or get struck by lightning. 

These mounting pads are made by coating fiber cement over synthetic resin, which is usually done off site in a controlled environment. The finished work will need to be hoisted up to the rooftop by the crane service. Obviously, the mounting pads should be in place before the new HVAC system is installed but after the old HVAC system is removed. 

Sheet Metal Fabricator

Sometimes, particularly with large commercial properties, the HVAC systems are unique to the facilities, particularly the ducts. HVAC duct work for large systems are typically designed and manufactured by a local sheet metal fabricator. Some sheet metal fabricators also deliver the duct work they design. However, depending on the layout of the commercial property and the design of the HVAC system, delivery of duct work directly to the rooftop may be necessary.

Therefore, the HVAC contractor will need to coordinate the delivery of the duct work with the crane operator as well. Often, commercial HVAC contractors can subcontract the actual installation of the ducts to the sheet metal fabricator to save time and money. If not, the HVAC contractor must get the blueprints for the duct work from the sheet metal fabricator. 

The timing of all the sub-contracted elements need to come together so the crane service is only needed on the job site for a short time period. With the amount of movement of materials to and from the rooftop of a commercial property, the HVAC technician should keep the owner of the premises informed ahead of time as to the pending schedule, especially regarding when it's necessary to station the crane near the building. That way, any traffic and parking issues can be considered. 

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