As commercial kitchen ventilation systems become more technically complex to satisfy increasingly strict code requirements and environmental standards, coordinating the overall design with the mechanical engineer becomes critical.
There was a time when the foodservice consultant whose scope is traditionally below the kitchen ceiling and the mechanical engineer whose interest is above the ceiling worked in isolation. With technologies such as demand control ventilation systems, pollution control units and make-up air systems that are becoming increasingly prevalent, connecting the dots between all of the design disciplines is fundamental. The mechanical engineer has primary responsibility for mechanical systems.
In the case of a demand control ventilation system, for example, many of its components are physically installed in the hood(s) so it is often specified as part of the kitchen equipment package by the foodservice consultant. The demand control, however, interfaces with other components that are specified by the mechanical engineer. For example, when the foodservice consultant specifies the demand control ventilation system it is important to know the number and type of exhaust fans and make up air units to be operated as well as whether zoning of the system is required, the type of make up diffusers that are specified, the desired sequence of operation and whether there will be a BMS connection. If such details are not communicated early in the design process avoidable challenges will surely arise later on. It is also important to avoid a “mix and match” design where complementary pieces of equipment are specified from different manufacturers. Whenever practical it is preferable to coordinate all components from the same source to assure compatibility and commonality of controls.
The equipment manufacturer can serve the role of a communication conduit particularly between the foodservice consultant and the mechanical engineer. They will likely be supplying equipment in both divisions so he has the ability to oversee the design as a whole and tie it together. A complete set of schematics and integration drawings should be provided to each discipline and marked for scope responsibility so there is no confusion as to whose responsibility is to carry and install components of the system.
Communication with the mechanical engineer is a key element in assuring a successful project outcome.
Read our related article, Who is the “AHJ” and what authority do they have on a project?
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