Flexible Parking Garage Gas Monitoring Design Key to Safe, Profitable Projects
Whether new or retrofit construction, HVAC contractors can also be responsible for ventilation in parking structures. But to comply with building codes for life safety in confined spaces, parking structures require gas monitoring to prevent the dangerous accumulation of gases such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide.
However, design changes are almost inevitable because such structures are often built first and utilized as development occurs in stages. Specifications written at the start of a project can evolve, and as they do the requirements change. Also, local buyers, jurisdictions, and code officials may have different demands that must be accommodated.
Consequently, for HVAC contractors, working with a vendor with expertise in gas monitoring systems, along with utilizing advanced modular systems and even wireless alternatives that offer flexibility, can speed project completion while facilitating design changes later.
For large parking garage projects where interest on multi-million-dollar loans can quickly escalate due to completion delays, not to mention late penalties, this approach can simplify the completion of code compliant work.
“On almost every project, design changes occur so we choose to work with expert vendors that help us quickly adapt,” says Adam Hitchen, President of Atlantis Comfort Systems, a Rhode Island-based HVAC contractor that provides residential and commercial service across the East Coast. The company contracts up to 5,000 apartment units a year and is involved with about 30 major multi-unit housing projects at this time.
In regard to installing parking structure gas monitoring systems when requirements and specifications are prone to change, Atlantis Comfort Systems relies on a vendor that can provide engineering expertise.
Richard D’Amico, a project manager for the company says, “When we order a gas monitoring panel at the very beginning of a project, Acme Engineering always gives us the wiring diagram, the schematics, and the sequence of operations. We provide this to the fire department, to electricians, to plumbers, to whichever trade professional needs to see how it works, which helps to speed project completion.”
Acme Engineering is a manufacturer of environmental controls. The company has expertise providing equipment for monitoring a variety of gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, ammonia, and refrigerants.
When designing a gas detection network and after receiving a floor plan, the company creates performance-based specifications, identifies the optimal sensor locations, elaborates the most energy efficient activation sequence for the ventilation system, and prepares a job specific wiring diagram, usually within a day or two.
According to D’Amico, when design changes occur the gas monitoring company reacts quickly. “They start with the intent of the design engineer and when project requirements change, they rapidly revise it and provide what is needed. This helps with code compliance,” he says.
D’Amico points to an example of a parking garage change on a recent multi-residential project. “When the size of car spaces was changed in the parking garage, that altered the gas monitoring coverage,” he says. “So, their engineering department sent us a revised plan with the radius of their gas sensor coverage overlaying the parking garage, showing what could be done. They also added the additional sensors that were necessary, which made the change very easy.”
Although wired installations have long been utilized to install gas monitoring networks in parking garages, new advanced wireless systems promise to speed installation and reduce wiring costs when retrofitting or expanding detection in existing structures.
For large garages that are more than 100,000 square feet, the wireless capability dramatically reduces installation time and costs.
For more info, visit Acme Engineering Prod. Inc. at acmeprod.com or in the U.S. Phone: 518-236-5659; Fax: 518-236-6941; mail them at Trimex Building, Route 11, POB 460 PMB 10, Mooers, New York. In Canada Phone: 514-342-5656; Fax: 514-342-3131; mail them at 5706 Royalmount Ave., Montreal, Quebec, H4P 1K5.