Enforcement and compliance

Commenting on whether guidelines and regulations related to HVAC were being enforced across the market, KIMMCO’s Mishra said: “In terms of leakages and related items, Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) and American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) have worldwide standards.

“These standards specify the type of sealing that you must use for each type of duct to reduce the amount of leakages, and the type of connections, such as herringbone or C-clips, as well as whether transverse joints must be connected and sealed, and so on. 

“These standards are based on static pressure, and leakage is a function of static pressure. The more pressure you have in AHUs, and the longer the duct is, the greater the chances of leakage. That has to be mitigated by implementing SMACNA’s and ASHRAE’s standards. 

“The onus lies on HVAC designers to specify the kind of pressures that we have in the system.  Be it insulation, or sealants, there are relevant standards for each – they just need to be enforced.  From a contractor’s point of view, there has to be a balance between design and cost. If the contractor is implementing what is specified, and if the consultant is checking that everything is implemented as per the standard, I do not see any reason why there should be a problem.” 

Groves said that “there is a big difference between knowing how to, and actually doing it”. Nair agreed, adding that although regulations and standards existed to monitor installation, there was no regulation that required consultants or the owners to actually prove that the specifications were being followed. 

“There should be a drive for everybody to save energy, some incentive to make it happen, and finally, clearly defined responsibility to ensure it,” Nair added.

Groves pointed to Dubai’s new green building rating system, Al Sa’fat, and its mandate to implement regular building audits. Mishra commended the system, adding that the promotion of energy audits would lead to increased awareness about consumption and savings. 

He added, however, that designers, fabricators, installers, and contractors must be involved in the process to ensure that the desired results were achieved. Meanwhile, Faisal Jassim’s Hameed said that all parties – including consultants, contractors, and operators – should be accountable. Nair disagreed, however: “If the consultant is being paid for the design, then they must take the project all the way forward, and be responsible for it all along,” he stated.

“A consultant is responsible for design, construction, testing and commissioning, and handover. Other parties may carry out the jobs, but the consultant is responsible for inspections. For instance, everything we submit to Dubai Municipality is through the consultant – it is not a contractor’s submission. The consultant is responsible for ensuring compliance.”