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  • Pete McGrath

"No Thanks, We'll Buy Our Own HVAC Equipment"

MSC has seen it time and time again. A business opts to handle a commercial HVAC equipment purchase on their own, but they have no idea what they’re buying.

Are the access doors on the correct side of the unit? Was hot gas reheat selected, and if not, why not? Did you purchase start-up? Can your roof hold the weight of the new unit? Are there sufficient service clearances surrounding the unit? What about a first-year warranty, and what are the maintenance requirements during year one? It can get very confusing and mistakes are easily made.

Thriftier business owners tend to choose this route to save money, but very often when the unit finally arrives, they realize they’ve bought the wrong one. Needless to say, it’s not a good thing when this realization happens after the unit has been rigged into place on a high rooftop and the crane is long gone.

Equipment selection on larger construction projects can be a thorny business, as well. It’s not uncommon for disreputable mechanical contractors to “go in tight” when bidding on a project in order to secure the award, then source the HVAC equipment from the lowest-allowable bidder to recoup the heavy discounts taken in their estimate.

These contractors do this in their own best interest, not their client’s. Owners are usually completely unaware that equipment substitutions have occurred and they won’t be getting what was specified in the project plans. A cheaper unit is almost certain to be a downgrade, and important options like DDC interface controls are likely to be sacrificed.

A far better avenue for an owner is to have a mechanical engineer or reputable HVAC service contractor like MSC handle equipment specifications and confirm the unit against the submittal after delivery to the rigging yard. This way, there are no surprises like wrong voltage or a damaged unit on crane day. Make no mistake, a 10% markup on equipment is mere chump change compared to the myriad of costly mistakes individual business owners can make on their own.


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