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HVAC Contractor Tips for Engineers

with Josh Krider of Howell's Heating and Air Conditioning


In this conversation, Kenny Shultz, PE, Carter Huddleston, PE, and Josh Krider, President of Howell’s Heating and Air discuss the challenges and considerations of HVAC design in commercial and residential buildings, including zoning, comfort expectations, control systems, wireless thermostats, coordination issues, and communication. They highlight the need for engineers and contractors to be on the same page about what is shown and not shown in drawings and the importance of considering construction tolerance. They also discuss the role of design assist (direct consulting between the engineer and trade contractor) in refining designs and catching budget busters early as well as focusing on effective communication and collaboration. They also discuss the impact of different projects on HVAC design and cost, such as commercial kitchens and smoking bars. The conversation concludes with a discussion of using technologies like destratification fans and bipolar ionization to improve indoor air quality and reduce ventilation rates.


  • Coordination is crucial in design-build projects, and good trade contractors understand what is not shown in drawings.

  • Design assist can help refine designs and catch budget busters early by allowing contractors to provide input and expertise early in the design process.

  • Effective communication and collaboration between engineers and tradespeople is essential for successful projects.

  • Projects like commercial kitchens and smoking bars have specific HVAC design challenges and cost implications.

  • Technologies like destratification fans and bipolar ionization can improve indoor air quality and reduce ventilation rates. Designing HVAC systems for commercial buildings can be more complex than for residential buildings due to zoning and usage differences.

  • Managing comfort expectations is essential, as many tenants are inexperienced in construction and may have unrealistic expectations.

  • Zoning systems can be challenging to implement in commercial and residential buildings, and keeping them as simple as possible is essential.

  • Wireless thermostats can be convenient in specific applications, but their use in commercial buildings is limited due to battery replacement and reliability concerns.

  • Effective communication and collaboration between engineers and contractors is crucial for successful project coordination and problem-solving.

Featured Quote

Sometimes, even the fanciest systems don’t achieve the desired results:

"Every single user had a sensor on the wall and it still was chaos." - Josh Krider


00:00 The Challenges of Coordination in Design-Build Projects
07:16 Effective Communication and Collaboration between Engineers and Tradespeople
14:52 The Importance of Construction Tolerance in HVAC Design
38:54 Challenges in HVAC Design for Commercial and Residential Buildings
45:20 The Pros and Cons of Wireless Thermostats in Commercial Applications

Where to find Josh

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Where to find Howell’s Heating and Air Conditioning

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Where to find PermitZIP

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