Design and Consulting Services for HVAC Contractors
Specializing in Manual J Calculations & Manual D Duct Designs
Outsourcing your Manual J load calculations and Manual D duct system design work to ConsultAir can be a cost effective alternative to the fixed costs associated with adding, training and managing your own in-house residential HVAC design personnel. ConsultAir’s heating and air conditioning design service allows you and your employees to remain focused on your core business and not on additional employee administration.
It won’t be long before most local building departments will require that Manuals J, S and D be submitted prior to issuing the main home building permit. Since the HVAC contract is typically not awarded until weeks or months after construction has already begun, it should come as no surprise that more and more home builders are turning to independent residential HVAC designers for the heating and air conditioning designs for their homes. Doing this allows the HVAC contractors the ability to quickly perform detailed material and equipment take-offs instead of having to quote projects using old school rules-of-thumb. It also allows the home builder to compare HVAC proposals that are based on identical designs.
It’s quite common for a home builder to promise an HVAC contractor future work if they will agree to provide the Manuals J, S and D reports. If you accept a proposal like this, what exactly is it that you are agreeing to do?
Well, you are agreeing to invest your time/money into someone else’s construction project without clarifying who pays for the design services if the project gets cancelled and without clarifying who pays for the design services if the builder decides to use another HVAC contractor.
Instead of agreeing to the above, you could:
1. Refer the builder to a company that specializes in residential HVAC design services like ConsultAir.
2. Offer to invoice the builder for the design services separately, and if the builder objects;
3. Offer to offset the cost of the design services when the installation services are billed
There is no magic square feet per ton that accurately determines the correct system size.
There is no magic dollars per ton that accurately reflects your job costs.
Think about this scenario:
You’ve told your builder that you size your systems at 600 square feet per ton and that you charge $1600 per ton for the installation of an air conditioning system with a gas furnace.
3000 Sq Ft. = 5.0 Tons x $1600/ton = $8000 Proposed Cost to Builder
What happens when your builder calls you back to let you know that this same house is going to have several energy efficient upgrades that should significantly reduce the size of the heating and air conditioning system? Even worse, the builder is now insisting that you provide an accurate Manual J load calculation and that you size the system in accordance with Manual S.
3000 Sq Ft = 3.0 Tons x $1600/ton = $4800 Proposed Cost to Builder
You just made 40% less (-$3200) on a house simply because it was built to be much more energy efficient than the minimum standards required in the energy conservation code.
Does a 3.0 ton system cost you 40% less than a 5.0 ton system? Nope.
Does your duct material cost you 40% less? Nope.
Will it take you 40% less time to install this system? Nope.
If you have warranty work, will it cost you 40% less? Nope.
Did your permits cost you 40% less? Nope.
To be competitive in today’s residential new construction market, you have to know what your costs are and the only way to know what your costs are is to do a detailed material and labor take-off… but how can you perform a detailed labor and material take-off if you don’t know what size system you are installing or what the duct system will look like? Do you see where I am going with this yet? That’s right. Every residential new construction heating and air conditioning system installation should be based on an accurate HVAC design.