No two buildings are the same. No two A/C systems are identical. Each design and layout will throw you a curveball, especially when you are asked to service them after construction. When faced with something you’ve never seen before or when confronted with a challenge that seems insurmountable, you either rise to the occasion or you don’t.
Over our years of cleaning HVAC systems, we have said many times, “NOW we’ve seen it all!” only to stumble across something we’ve never seen before. Such is business.
One thing we frequently do is rehabilitate the inside of vertical air ducts – vertical ducts that extend numerous floors and have shredded or contaminated internal liner. By this time, it almost seems old hat to us and, famous last words, we’ve seen it all. We had seen it all until this job. The building was not that tall, only 5 stories. The vertical duct was of a size that we could easily put the bosun chair into it, the crew could do what needed doing and that would be that. Easy-peasy. Following our normal procedure, we met with the rigging company several days prior to beginning the job to do a walk through, figured how to get the rigging equipment to the roof and work out how to do the installation. No problem. Finance, schedule and logistics were all worked out.
Everyone arrived on time the day of the job, things were organized and ready to roll along without a hitch, until, of course there was a hitch. The hitch came in the form of horizontal stabilizing rods straight down the middle of the duct preventing the installation of the bosun’s chair. The stabilizing bars were not shown on the prints. Well there we were, equipment on hand, crews on hand, the rigging installation crew on hand. At 10 o’clock. At night. Yay!
We opened the outer wall, opened the vertical duct and look what we found! Stabilizing bars smack dab in the middle preventing the installation of the bosun’s chair as we designed it to be installed.
This required some fast thinking. The rigging company (who is completely professional, service oriented and competent, by the way), arranged to get a separate set of equipment out to the job site that night. We needed a smaller chair to fit in the smaller space, a different motor for the lift and various bits and pieces to make it all work.
What we needed to do is set up the chair in two separate spots, threading the cable through the turning vanes so we could work on each side of the shaft. It was a pain, to say the least. Instead of working on the whole shaft at once, we had to treat it as two separate vertical shafts. Clean down one side of it by removing the mold contaminated liner, brushing, vacuuming and sanitizing the entire shaft.
And finally, repeat on side 2. This whole procedure was done on a second shaft identical to the first.
The project took about 4 days longer than anticipated and it was not by any means a big money maker, but it was most definitely a winner of a job. The client was totally jazzed, we figured it out and the tech crew was beyond proud of the product they got.
Sometimes you do what you have to do to get the product, and when all is said and done, that is what counts.