Insight Articles

Cooling Tower Startup and Maintenance

Cooling towers are the most energy-efficient method available to reject heat from a building’s air conditioning system, but they are also the most maintenance-intensive option. Air conditioning is a way of life now; you rarely find commercial buildings without air conditioning in the mid-Atlantic region. We use it for human comfort, to preserve products, to … Read more

Don’t Let Lead Times Create Bad Times

If you are considering a new building or a major renovation in 2024, you are already too late.  You may even have difficulty finishing in 2025.  For structural materials, mechanical equipment, electrical gear, and many other critical building components, the time from when it is ordered until it arrives on site has increased dramatically since … Read more

Weighing a Delayed Project Start? Consider Changes Coming in 2024 

Significant changes are set to affect the building industry this year. National changes like refrigerant phase-outs due to global warming potential, and regional changes, like the tri-annual code updates. While increased cost of capital may have some owners thinking about delaying projects, other factors should be considered to have a full picture of what that delay … Read more

Solar Energy: Bright Idea or Not?

As energy resources become more scarce and global political issues threaten energy security and standards of living, the developed world has been focusing on alternative sources of energy. These sources of energy have ranged from renewable natural gas and “clean coal” to naturally renewable sources such as wind and solar. With any new energy transition, … Read more

Compounding Pharmacy Design, Construction, and Operation: Pharmacy Certification Standards

Certification that the cleanroom is operating within the ranges set forth is the final step before occupancy and use of the pharmacy.  The goal of the HVAC systems design is so that the users have a functional system that meets their requirements which they have verified is safe for compounding. United States Pharmacopeia (USP) <797> … Read more

Compounding Pharmacy Design, Construction, and Operation: Pressure, Temperature, and Humidity

Compounding hazardous drugs is a chemically volatile process, which means that tight control of air pressure, temperature, and humidity is required. Thus, when designing compounding areas, it is critical to determine an acceptable time delay before alarming and when and how often to report these values when out of compliance. Most mechanical systems are not … Read more

Compounding Pharmacy Design, Construction, and Operation: Changes Coming Fall 2023

Compounding pharmacies require tight temperature, relative humidity, and pressurization control to operate in compliance with the current standards. Those standards are set to change in the coming months, and we’ve put together a series of articles to help navigate the new requirements. Balancing and actively controlling the airflow to achieve the correct pressure relationships in … Read more

A Collaboration – Patient Care Area Classifications and Risk Assessments

There is an aspect of healthcare facility design that neither the design team nor the healthcare facility can avoid in any project – the classification of patient care areas and associated risk assessments. The Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) Design and Construction for Hospitals, and FGI Design and Construction for Outpatient Facilities, and NFPA 99, The … Read more

Safety First! Preventing Arc Flash Hazards

Every year, electrical safety accidents rank in the top ten of workplace-related fatalities and cause 75,000 plus workers to miss time to due shock and burn injuries. The threat of inadvertent shock, electrocution, and fire from electrical equipment has long been a known hazard in the electrical industry. In the last 20 years, however, the … Read more

Choose Your Own Adventure: A Step-by-Step Guide to Understanding When Lighting Control Upgrades Will Be Required

When planning for new lighting in your building, you will need to assess whether the current energy code will require new lighting controls to be included.  But anyone who has picked up a code book knows it can feel a bit like fumbling your way through a “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel.   So, to help … Read more

Combatting Low Occupancy in Office Facilities

Remote and hybrid work schedules appear to be here to stay in many office environments.  If you lease your office space, hopefully you can “right-size” your space requirements so that you can save cost the next time your lease is due for renegotiation.  However, what happens when you’re on the other side of that equation, … Read more

New Healthcare Construction Codes Effective 2023: MEP Systems Impact

Every four years, the Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) updates their Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities to stay up to date with current technologies and design concepts. From an MEP standpoint, the guidelines are updated to improve patient well-being, necessitate safer system operation, and to improve environmental quality in our health … Read more

Strategies for Achieving User-Friendly Lighting Controls

With energy codes pushing for more complex lighting controls in buildings, it’s no wonder Owners can feel overwhelmed when faced with questions about how they want their lighting to function. To make this subject feel less daunting, below are strategies to keep the systems simple and easy to use from an Owner’s perspective. Strategy #1: … Read more

Medical Gas Design – Is Your Team Certified?

Medical gas systems rank high on the list of resources necessary for a hospital to function.  Oxygen, medical air, vacuum, and other systems support all manner of life-saving and life-sustaining procedures, from providing oxygen therapy for a COVID-19 patient to providing vacuum during a heart transplant. In 1987, the American Society of Sanitary Engineering (ASSE) … Read more

When is Commissioning Required?

With construction costs rising across the board, every dollar counts when planning for a project. Lately, many owners are getting surprised by a substantial cost that presents itself late in the project. Commissioning. Did you know that your project may require commissioning even though it is not a LEED or other green initiative project?  Starting … Read more

New Construction Codes Effective 2022: Plumbing Code Changes

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will adopt the 2018 International Plumbing Code for construction projects, except for two municipalities (the City of Philadelphia and Allegheny County), on February 14, 2022.  There will be a six-month grace period during which some may be reviewed under the 2015 IPC.  Construction projects, regardless of circumstances, will be designed in … Read more

New Construction Codes Effective 2022: Mechanical Code Changes

As Pennsylvania begins enforcement of 2018 International Mechanical Code, it’s important to understand what, if any changes could affect your project.  This is particularly important if you’ve had a project shelved due to the pandemic and are planning to dust it off this year.  Whether it was a funding issue, price of materials, or just … Read more

New Construction Codes Effective 2022: Electrical Code Changes

The building code in Pennsylvania is known as the Uniform Construction Code (UCC). Enforcement of this code is handled either locally (by municipalities, townships, or contracted third-party reviewers) or by the state’s Department of Labor and Industry. Prior to 2018, the Pennsylvania UCC referenced the 2009 International Codes (I-Codes). In 2018, the UCC was updated … Read more