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What Are Your Standards?

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During ACCA 2013 this February, I was scheduled to make a presentation focused on the revision efforts of the ANSI/ACCA 4 QM Standard during the very last learning lab session of the conference.  In an effort to make sure my session wasn’t completely empty, I spent the first three days talking with conference attendees about the standards that comprise the ACCA Quality Initiative.

Was I in for a surprise!  Roughly 50% of the members I spoke with were not well-acquainted with the Quality Initiative.  So, as the manager of codes and standards, I invite you sit back and enjoy this introduction to the Quality Initiative and the standards developed for, with, and because of you.  If you’re already in expert mode, you can jump to the online article for a more detailed examination of each standard and how to use them to improve your business.

Quality Begins On The Inside, Then Works Its Way Out

For years our industry has been plagued by subpar field practices that result in uncomfortable indoor environments, poor energy efficiency, and even health and safety issues.  In 2002 ACCA began spearheading the development of consensus standards that would establish the minimum requirements for the design, installation, service, maintenance, and restoration of HVACR systems, as well as those for residential building performance evaluation and improvement.  These standards also identify the minimum core capabilities and competencies required of professionals working in the indoor environment and energy efficiency industry.

One Hand Washes The Other

ACCA doesn’t develop these standards unilaterally.  Throughout the years, we have relied on the time and expertise of a multitude of experts from all sectors of the industry – contractors, design engineers, distributors, OEMs, researchers, government, code officials, etc.

Following the public announcement of the development of a new standard, or the revision of an existing standard, a call for committee volunteers is posted through various industry outlets.   Every effort is made to achieve a well-balanced committee that will bring the input of various stakeholders to the table.  Each standard committee then works in concert to develop a document that reflect sound industry practices relevant to the particular standard’s purpose and scope.  It’s an intensive process that the committee undertakes in order to better the industry.

A Comprehensive Standards Effort

Quality Initiative standards focus on three industry areas:

System Installations

First and foremost, we want to make sure that an indoor comfort system is installed correctly.  To that end, the ANSI/ACCA 5 QI Standard sets the minimum criteria for residential and commercial system design, installation, distribution aspects, and documentation/owner education.  To bolster this, the ANSI/ACCA 9 QIvp Standard contains checklists that a verifier can use to evaluate an HVAC installation for conformance with the QI Standard.

System Maintenance

To address the issue of residential system maintenance, the ANSI/ACCA 4 QM Standard is comprised of equipment/component checklists that present the minimum inspection tasks and associated recommended corrective actions.  Similarly, the ANSI/ACCA/ASHRAE Standard 180 contains maintenance checklists for equipment and components in commercial applications.  They’re both designed so that a maintenance professional only needs to find the correct checklist depending on the project.  The next step in the maintenance portion of the Quality Initiative is the development of the BSR/ACCA 14 QMref Standard.  This new standard will focus on commercial refrigeration systems such as those found in supermarkets, convenience stores, and warehouses.

Recognizing that some HVAC systems may not have received routine maintenance, or may even have weathered natural disasters, the ANSI/ACCA 6 QR Standard details the procedures to significantly improve the cleanliness of the system and return it to a serviceable condition.

Residential Building Performance

The ANSI/ACCA 12 QH Standard is a comprehensive standard for identifying deficiencies in residential buildings, assessing the improvement opportunities, finalizing the work scope, implementing the performance improvement measures, and verifying the work done accomplishes the improvement objectives.

Supporting Documents

To support our members’ business interest vis-à-vis implementing our standards, ACCA has developed various tools including customer leave-behinds (ComforTools and QI/QM Checklists), the Technician’s Guide for Quality Installations, and accreditation programs for new and existing homes.  Obviously, the ACCA stable of design manuals for residential (J, D, S, Zr, etc.) and commercial (N, Q, CS, SPS, etc.) will continue to be maintained.  And we’re not stopping there; keep your eyes peeled for new tools and programs.

Remember, “excellence is not an act, it’s a habit.”

Luis Escobar

Posted In: ACCA Now, Technical Tips

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