Why Underground Duct Can Make or Break Your Next Project
Underground duct may be something you’ve considered implementing into your project’s design. What you may not know is just how critical the underground ductwork is for a successful project. One of the numerous reasons for this is that installation delays can hold up the entire job and cause consequential damages. Underground ductwork changes the order of construction by moving the duct install from the back end of the project to one of the first tasks. One factor in selecting underground ductwork is finding a company that is well-versed in the challenges that can arise and ways to avoid them. AQC Industries has provided underground ductwork on thousands of jobs and has extensive insight into making your next underground duct installation go seamlessly.
Why Getting Underground Right Is Critical
AQC knows how to do underground duct right with years of experience on thousands of projects. The project timeline is one factor that can make or break a schedule. If the underground ductwork is late, it can hold up the slab being poured and delay the entire project. In addition to consequential damages, having to demo and repour a new slab is very costly. Once the slab is poured, the expense to fix underground ductwork skyrockets compared to resolving issues before the trench has been backfilled. Inferior underground ductwork can cause water leakage, corrosion and have a significantly shorter lifespan. All of these aspects can multiply the cost of ductwork and the project in the long run.
How to Make Your Next Underground Project Go Flawlessly
The team at AQC are experts in helping you make the process from quote request to installation flawless. There are some key considerations when planning your next underground duct project.
Know Lead Times
Managing lead times is an important task for underground duct projects because of how detrimental underground duct installation delays can be. Fabricating, handling, and shipping can all fluctuate on the time it takes to get product onsite. Often, projects will have custom or made-to-order underground ductwork that can add additional time. Fortunately, most of AQC’s BlueDuct® is on hand at our manufacturing facility.
Project planners must ensure the job site has room to store the ductwork. Duct systems often take up a considerable amount of space. Factory-constructed ductwork with longer lead times typically means products need to be onsite as soon as possible. This often leads to ductwork being staged at the job site. In order to receive the ductwork as fast as possible, onsite storage is a necessity. Onsite storage is not a luxury every project has, so it is important to reserve space in a shop or find a remote storage facility such as a crane yard.
Inventory Upon Arrival
One of the easiest ways to stay on top of your underground duct project is to inventory the shipment when it arrives. The unexpected can happen, including missing parts and shipping damages. Identifying shipping issues or missing parts early gives the manufacturer the ability to correct the issue with minimal impact to the project. Although issues are uncommon, performing an inventory will give the installing contractor the confidence to perform a quick install.
Coordination of Backfill
Coordinating the backfill in design and construction is an important piece of the process. Engineering backfill requirements may be necessary based on the above-slab load. Backfill is a key component of how much of a load the underground ductwork can bear.
Successful underground ductwork projects have a backfill plan that is scheduled and discussed beforehand. Extended time between the underground ductwork installation and backfill leaves the duct vulnerable to job site conditions. Confirm backfill requirements with the manufacturer, and ensure the team responsible for backfilling is aware of the requirements.
Factory training provides a significant benefit for the installing contractor, especially those that have not installed underground duct systems in the past. AQC has regularly scheduled live webinars in addition to a large online library for installing contractors. The trainers can also schedule special sessions if the regularly scheduled times are not ideal for the particular installation team. This knowledge is invaluable for the installers and makes for a quicker install. Contractors should allow ample time between the webinar and the installation to resolve any questions or issues before the install.
Have the Right Tools
When the right tools are available, you can boost productivity in the field. This means installation is easier, faster, and saves you money. If your ductwork requires transportation, plan ahead and have all the equipment available when you need it. AQC’s BlueDuct is lightweight and does not require heavy transportation equipment. The transportability of BlueDuct can decrease installation expenses when compared to other options.
Anticipate The Unexpected
Often during projects, the underground duct layout varies from the initial design. Field modifications happen, and it’s important to prepare for unexpected changes. Consider additional lead time for products that need to be ordered during the installation. It’s important to be extra careful with custom underground duct or made-to-order duct because changes in the field are costly to the project schedule and project profit margins. AQC’s standard products can ship quickly from the factory in Blaine, MN, or a regional warehouse, minimizing your project’s risk of unexpected changes.
Plan for Closeout and Pressure Testing
Once the underground ductwork is installed, it is important to close out that phase of the project. Pressure testing is strongly recommended for all underground projects. This testing gives everyone peace of mind and ensures correct installation. This also helps to avoid future issues.
Why Underground Duct Is Ideal
Underground duct adds tremendous value to the design and construction of residential and commercial buildings. It allows for a wide variety of design choices that may not otherwise be possible, such as floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Underground duct can reduce noise typically heard by classic duct options. AQC’s BlueDuct has industry-leading low leakage values and minimizes corrosion. BlueDuct generally has shorter lead times than made-to-order solutions. Additionally, it is fast and easy to install, saving time and money for your project. To see BlueDuct in action, check out this case study from one of our representatives.
Successful Underground Duct Projects
You’re now aware of the factors to consider when planning for an underground duct system on your project. Be proactive, know the lead times, have the right resources, and plan ahead to save time and money. AQC Industries has extensive experience with the entire planning and installation process of underground duct systems and how to make them successful. AQC is here to help your next underground duct project go smoothly.
AQC Industries’ owners and managers are leaders in the residential, commercial, and industrial HVAC industry. AQC’s mission is to transform an often overlooked but critical solution for the HVAC industry: underground duct systems. Furthermore, AQC engineers, technicians, and representatives work closely with customers to provide high-quality, consistent CAD services and training. Finally, its underground, outdoor, and indoor duct systems are available through a network of distributors and representatives across North America.
Click here or contact the team at AQC to learn more about how AQC and BlueDuct can help your next underground duct project.