HVAC – Post COVID Construction GrowthApril 9, 2021 | Construction, HVAC
Engineering and construction companies are used to cyclical downturns, but the speed and impact of COVID-19 on the industry has been almost unprecedented. Projects were delayed, cancelled and supply chains placed under threat. Furloughed employees faced an uncertain future and companies continue to struggle to manage financial commitments through lockdowns whilst dealing with different restrictions and approaches from governments.
However, an upturn could be on the cards as the pandemic and the restrictions potentially draw to a close. Whilst construction companies will face a continuing changeable world, the marketplace will adjust with it as respective governments look to invest in infrastructure projects to jump start economic recovery. Those requirements will continue to evolve with an enhanced emphasis on sustainability and environmentally friendly practices.
Our demands and use from cities will differ in a post covid world – we will likely see a continued increase in the number of people working from home, either part-time or full-time, changing the noise soundscapes of cities while increasing the demand on cloud and digital services via data centres. Wherever we encounter HVAC systems our expectations should be that the system is as safe, clean and is treated acoustically. All this presents an opportunity for industrial and construction companies emerging from this global crisis, with a willingness to adapt to a new market demand.
HVAC Noise Legislation
During the initial design process of any new construction project it is essential to consider the integrated HVAC design solution as this becomes much harder to incorporate efficiently and cost effectively at later stages of the design process. This is due not only to the complexities of a HVAC system but also making sure that it offers minimal contribution as a noise source relative to the wider the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005. The level at which employers must provide hearing protection and hearing protection zones is 85 decibels (daily or weekly average exposure) and the level at which employers must assess the risk to workers’ health and provide them with information.
It’s relatively easy to reach that noise level in an industrial workplace or facility with heavy equipment and process machinery noise sources. Even in modern light commercial and office environments, poor room acoustics, hard reverberant surfaces, employee conversations and poor HVAC acoustic implementation can provide a mix which makes for uncomfortable noise levels and consequently employee wellness and work efficiency.
Different industries will have specific needs and requirements and a range of options are available, for example packless silencers are reactive attenuators with no acoustic infill or lining materials. The advantage of packless silencers is they alleviate any risk of fiber migration and contamination. A perfect upgrade for all systems but essential in hospital operating theatres, food production plants and forensic laboratories. Similarly IAC’s range of Cleanflow attenuators provide a totally encapsulated attenuator for applications where the need for clean attenuation is combined with stringent low frequency dynamic insertion loss. Sound insulation throughout the HVAC system with correct attenuation and duct silencing will meet these requirements but calculating and selecting the correct equipment can be complicated and confusing when the integrated system has so many elements and considerations..
HVAC System Configuration Tool
Planning and designing a large complex HVAC system and selecting the correct attenuators requires confidence in the system being as effective as possible which requires access to certified laboratory data and software to manage the process. IAC Acoustics has developed a tool to help, Systemic Noise Analysis Procedure (SNAP) to simplify this process. Once the initial ductwork system build is completed the SNAP tool completes the complicated acoustic calculations and selects the correct attenuators for the specified HVAC system. It considers noise sources, air flow, straight & curved design features to give you a holistic approach to system configuration.
Working with and supporting the new demands of construction for cleaner and safer HVAC airflows with guaranteed acoustic performance, is a challenge IAC welcomes.
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