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Controls Specification Development
What is the right approach?
Paul Ehrlich, Ira
& Angela Lewis
past columns we have talked about the elements of a good controls
specification. As a re-cap a good controls specification includes
the following parts:
not at all unusual to see projects that include significantly less
detailed controls designs. One reason given for this is that
controls are viewed as “design build” and the designer has left the
design details of the controls system up to the contractor. For
simple systems this may be a valid option, but it is not recommended
for larger, more complex systems.
We are also seeing projects were the designer has decided to include significantly more detail. Examples of this include control logic diagrams (shown as flow charts) on project drawings. On the more extreme end some projects include full controls engineering as part of the project engineering including drawings showing point-to-point wiring and panel layouts (the type of detail that would normally be found only in the controls submittals). This typically occurs when the owner is adding to an existing control system and may be doing some of the programming with their in-house staff.
What is the right approach? It really depends on the project and the owner’s needs. We tend to favor a fairly detailed design with careful attention to specifying an open system that works with what the owner may already have installed (without going to the extreme of showing submittal level wiring/panel details). Our designs typically have detailed sequences and points lists to help owners get the most out of their systems. You can make a good argument that for a simple, largely unitary solution that less detail may be adequate. After all unitary systems typically come with factory installed controllers that have fairly limited flexibility. Providing more details can also be valuable in special cases, but does not necessarily replace the detail that is provided in a controls submittal and as built diagrams including portable documents which include schematics, sequences, valve and damper schedules, and wiring details.
About the Authors
and Ira first worked together on a series of ASHRAE
projects including the BACnet committee and Guideline 13 – Specifying
DDC Controls. The formation of Building Intelligence Group provided
them the ability to work together professionally providing assistance
to owners with the planning, design and development of Intelligent
Building Systems. Building Intelligence Group provides services for
clients worldwide including leading Universities, Corporations, and
Developers. More information can be found at www.buildingintelligencegroup.com
We also invite you to contact us directly at
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