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Fire Sprinkler HVAC Collisions

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Old 12-09-2015, 10:51 AM   #1
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Fire Sprinkler HVAC Collisions

In 30 years of commercial construction I have never seen an entire FS design that was approved collide with HVAC. Maybe small issues here and there but not the entire system.
Seems someone didn't do an overlay at sometime during the submittal process.
As one of the superintendents I rang the bell as soon as I became aware of the issue, rang it several times yet now I'm being told we should have caught it before it got to this point.
All trades were late with their submittals. HVAC and FS were late with their materials, none of the superintendents were even hired at the time of the submittal process and it seems that there was little to no push in getting the subs to get their submittals off, obviously.
My question to you guys, as I have never seen such collisions as this is who dropped the ball?
I figure its the architect and his engineer that didn't do a layover when the fire sprinkler designer submitted his design.
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Old 12-09-2015, 11:27 AM   #2
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Re: Fire Sprinkler HVAC Collisions

I agree it is ultimately the Architect & Engineer's responsibility.

Pretty piss poor on their part not to have kept on top of submittals.

Now with all that being said it will come down to the Superintendent to pull yet another rabbit out of the hat pull this job together and make it work.


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Old 12-09-2015, 12:17 PM   #3
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Re: Fire Sprinkler HVAC Collisions

I don't know how it works everywhere but here the FP company design their own system. Then it is reviewed by the architect/mechanical engineer.
I have run into huge conflicts between the sprinklers/mechanicals and electrical systems on larger jobs.
Sometimes it is a result of the FP contractor not getting a full set of prints during the design stage and sometimes it's a matter of a intern reviewing prints. We have a few mechanical engineers around here that evidently never look at the structural print.
Another issue that comes up is the FP contractor and the HVAC contractor normally have to hire their own structural engineer to design the support systems ( seismic bracing ect..)
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:49 AM   #4
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Re: Fire Sprinkler HVAC Collisions

Around here we make the MEP subcontractors submit coordination drawings on larger jobs to avoid these issues. We typically like to set up bi-weekly meetings right as the job is started to iron out issues like this (Engineers, MEP subs, GC.. all attend).

Although some subcontractors are harder than others to get them to be involved. Obviously it is too late for this in your case.
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Old 12-12-2015, 01:54 PM   #5
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Re: Fire Sprinkler HVAC Collisions

Fire sprinkler is primarily design build in my work. Hvac layout reflected on M plans are 'ideal', never exactly what we end up with. And its on us... They always have themselves covered on the notes. Always.

We usually end up moving duct work in several places late in the game... Especially these days with the ridiculous size of the LED rough cans these days. Had a job recently where they were 22 1/2" x 24"... Wtf. 380 of them in 20,000 sq ft.

Best bet is too always be ahead of them. Know your submittals and shops. I buy 8 cases of layout, each a different color, and assign it to each trade. Lets find crashes.

On our high rises, we have in house BIM. Saves an incredible amount of headache. Takes a minute to wrap your head around it... But time and money are the same thing.
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Old 12-12-2015, 02:01 PM   #6
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Re: Fire Sprinkler HVAC Collisions

On another note, easy one with interns or project engineers... Do a weekly walk and review what revision each and every sub is working with, keep an rfi, submittal, and shop drawings binders at your area, and preach the availability to each sub at sub meetings.

Also keep a superintendent set, make them read yours, all highlighted a dozen colors, marked up for problems, lets them know you are ten steps ahead of them and they better get smart.

I also keep an 11x17 slip sheet set so I can look back through revisions easily when we have problems.

One of the 4 jobs I'm running now has an 811 page bid book, which a euro thing, nothing but design type drawings, then we have the 68 pages for construction drawings, all for a 6,000 sq suit store. Damn europeans make it real detailed, which is real complicated.
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Old 12-13-2015, 12:10 AM   #7
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Re: Fire Sprinkler HVAC Collisions

That's what Revits supposed to be really good at, catching clashes. Of course it only will if the information is inputted correctly but it's one of the big selling features on it.
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Old 12-13-2015, 12:27 AM   #8
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Re: Fire Sprinkler HVAC Collisions

You guys are dead on with having timely submittals, shop drawings, meetings etc....

But even having all that the job can be a challenge...

I don't have the experience on the multi gazillion $$$ jobs like Rio & Element have & do. My hat is off to those guys who run that kind of work.

My world as a Commercial Super was to resolve all the BS, be a designer, engineer, mediator & magician and build the job....

At times the hat got low on rabbits....
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Old 01-23-2016, 06:11 PM   #9
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Re: Fire Sprinkler HVAC Collisions

In commercial work I never really cared who's fault it was until we figured out the totality of the problem. It usually becomes very obvious after you figure out a solution.

ie, if the FS guy ran all his piping midway between the ceiling and the lid.
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Old 01-26-2016, 01:29 PM   #10
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Re: Fire Sprinkler HVAC Collisions

We are seeing most projects of size in our area requiring the MEP trades to work directly with the BIM models to coordinate this ahead of time. Some larger contractors are implying that even the interior finish subs will need to have someone BIM trained soon.
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Old 01-26-2016, 09:22 PM   #11
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Re: Fire Sprinkler HVAC Collisions

@ Elyrain: Some time the design specs ask for 50 lbs to be stuffed in a 20lb sack...

Just a little math/geometry/topology applied to the utility space provided and the size minimums of the various supply ducts ,pipes,conduits,and Fire suppression would give minimum sizes of bottlenecks to service regions. So much floor space = a known amount(volume/area) of utilities to fit in a Known area of overhead....thus it is the design team's baby to fix it in the crib on paper IMO.

High pressure HVAC can free up some space, especially on supply lines.
And some structural choke points can be mitigated at the design phase with the use of non-monolithic members such as open trusses vs. I-beams


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