Plug & Play HVAC – Good for Business?

It’s interesting to see the way the HVAC industry’s attitude towards Plug and Play HVAC equipment is moving. For instance this comment in a trade magazine about an article  in the USA shows the way they are thinking “Modular Central Plants are pre-engineered and pre-assembled, arriving at the site on a trailer, ready for simple installation’. We are responding with product solutions that reduce the tasks and requirements for installation and commissioning as well as limiting the requirement for on-site commissioning with the capability to do that remotely via Intelligent Equipment with our rooftops and chillers.”

Many manufactures are now integrating Control systems into their products all designed to make start-up and integration much simpler and quicker without the need for some specialists.

Modular Equipment has been around for some years especially in the residential market, however here in the UK we don’t get involved in many DIY self-installed residential A/C systems as there is only a small market, but we can see Whole House Plug and Play Heating systems being developed in the Energy efficient home market with systems.

Eventually we can see these being sold as complete kits (possibly in DIY stores) which a homeowner can easily choose and buy. If they have good DIY skills then possibly install the basic system themselves, however because of the possible warranty implications the manufacturers rightly will insist that the installation is checked, approved and commissioned by an approved manufacturers trained contractor.

In the Commercial HVAC arena things are rather different, with big strides being made and here at DPAC many of our system now incorporate many aforementioned pre-assembled components to make everything much easier to specify and install. Remote diagnostics make our systems easy to access so we can identify exactly what is happening in real-time.

Because there is a shortage of skilled tradesmen, the need for those already working in the M&E field will find their lives much easier to install and maintain these modern systems, and new entrants into the field will also find it easier to work on systems and get up to speed quickly.

Even with great advances in technology there will still be a need for skilled labour because of the potential technical hazards. Contractors choosing the equipment will want to work with suppliers who make their lives as easy as possible right from pre-sales selection through to technical support on the installation.

Many of the “Box Shifters” take a hands-off approach and leave everything to the Installer to take things into their own hands. This has caused many a system to be undersized or wrongly selected, eventually leaving the occupier with an underperforming system.

Clients often mistakenly put their trust often in the service engineer’s suggestions without proper thought into the future needs of the building and its occupants. Proper expertise and advice should be considered with experienced specialist M&E/HVAC equipment suppliers that take a much broader independent approach with no particular “axe” to grind.

As the saying goes “Buyer beware!”

DPAC UK operate nationally through their network of agents and specifier’s, technicians and clients include every well-known and established FM and Main HVAC/M&E Contractors, as well as direct for Building occupiers and Managing Agents.

This article is written by Simon Lamberton-Pine of DPAC UK Ltd

DPAC UK operate nationally through their network of agents and specifier’s,.

Why not get in touch to see if our technology can fit into your scheme. Or call us free on 0800 193 6288 to discuss your application.