Architects are capable of creating some nice looking buildings. But, when it comes to the nuts and bolts or construction… well, common sense and construction acumen may not be found. I have spent many years on construction sites and working with contractors, and I’m proud to hear a tradesman remark, “wow, you’re not like most architects I’ve talked to.”
We’ve got to build stuff….yes, it needs to look nice….but, we’re building stuff. And, we need to apply some common sense to our plans and details. I see things out there that missed the common sense bus, and when I do, they’re worth sharing. We think about common sense and constructability, I would venture to guess many architects don’t to the level they should.
I was recently on the roof of a shopping center taking inventory of the HVAC units serving the spaces below. On older buildings, there’s often no record of what each unit is and how much capacity it has, so we go up there to grab the make and model off the manufacturer’s name plate.
Here’s the issue….see the big ON/OFF switch? That’s the power disconnect for the unit. The problem? The electrician installed the disconnect directly over the manufacturer’s name plate with all the information about the unit. To see the information on the name plate, including the model and serial number, you have to call an electrician to remove the disconnect, or a HVAC technician to open up the unit in hopes of finding it inside. At least on this one, someone wrote the model on the side of the unit.
This is not the first time I’ve seen this, and it makes me wonder what the installer was thinking… or wasn’t thinking. Of all the places to install the disconnect, why here?