Iridium Development


Category HVAC Design Critique

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Considering Renovating Spring 2024?

 Most people start considering remodeling projects and renovations in the spring. Here are somethings to consider:

  1. Create an overall plan   

  2. Build your team

  3. Obtain pricing from your GC 

  4. Leave enough time

  Create your overall plan and if needed do the work in stages. By staging the work you can do things that fit in your budget now or within your time frame between vacations or school etc.

  Build your team, You may think you need a designer or architect first. You really should put everyone in place early before you start designing. I have seen to often when I deliver a price to a client and they are shocked by the number. They tell me it is impossible the cost should be that much, when actually the cost is really the same cost I would pay for my home. What usually happens is a client will negotiate the Architect to charge $X percent over the cost of the project. The client provides a target construction budget and the drawings are suppose to reflect that. Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. Client’s many times cause increased budget costs. It is easy to love something drawn on paper, not so much when it blows up the targeted budget.

  On my end I would rather be involved early and give input to numbers while the design develops. If I understand what my client wants to spend I can help with value engineering while the plans are developed. How do you hire a GC early and protect yourself? Interview and screen your GC candidates. You want transparency and trust, knowledge, willingness to work and proactive. You can lock in your GC based on a percentage fee over cost. You can also hire a GC for pre-construction work and send the final plans out for bid to make a final decision. We usually wrap our pre-construction into the project rather than bang up the client for a few hours of time. 

  Time, drawings and design can take 3 months easy. Between selection and review and revision that is a generous time frame. Then permits can take another 2-3 months depending on the work and sometimes longer. Add the time to make GC selections and such and y0u could lose 8 months in preplanning and prep time. Goodbye spring!  

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Build your team and select a General Contractor who is knowledgeable and can provide you preliminary numbers.

Inside tip: The process of hiring a GC or Architect, Designer etc. is the same process and challenge we face when hiring subcontractors. We look for proactive attitudes, details written on paper, fair pricing, professionalism, and really try hard to weed out the BS.   

Construction Budget

  Details matter, when your G.C. provides your estimate there should be line items with details.  You should be able to see what is going into your project and the cost for each item. If you receive one line item with one cost for the entire project…stay away!  

  Some GC will submit very few line items and one price. They may tell you this and that is included, but if you choose someone who cannot put the details on paper you put yourself in a bad place. We stay away from subcontractors who try to do this with us. The gray area is where all the trouble sits. Full details reduce anxiety, surprises, opens up communication, and if everyone is on the same page then you eliminate problems.    

New Homes

Everything should be transparent when dealing with finances. This image is a budget for one of our projects based on renderings we received from the Architect. We have also contributed costs allocations prior to receiving money from this client. Our clients are able to login and view the finances and details associated with the projects we are completing for them 24-7. 

When you are seriously considering a new home or remodeling project you should put thought into the entire design. Know the cost as you design so you do not over design or over build for your neighborhood.

Stage the work based on financial decisions and how you have to live during the work. It may be better to move out short term or work on one floor (or area) at a time. 

Make certain you know what is included by the estimate and not what someone is speaking to you. Have everything listed with a value, this makes changes later much easier. Tile to plumbing fixtures, cabinet design and drawer count, hardware to ceiling light counts. Details, details, and more details. 

Give yourself time to plan and then execute the work, we spend more time planning the work then executing the work. Who wants to live in a construction zone longer than needed? Plan ahead of time as this saves you the most money and grief. Transparency, if your contractor is not transparent then stay away and part ways. To often clients listen to the sale of the project and jump into contracts that have no real explanation or detail of what the work includes. Some contracts have pages of what is not included and how the contractor is not liable for anything. That is a sign to stay away and pump the brakes. You can easily end up paying a deposit or your first invoice that reflects 50-70% completion of the contract work and only have 5% actually finished on site. 5-10% deposits are standard anymore than that beware. Progress payments are for progress. If there has been no work on your property then you should pay nothing. Be Careful to pay only for what you have received or what has been completed on your home. Do not over pay your contractor and only pay for what was completed.  

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Typical Itemized Estimate
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Set yourself up to enjoy the process and succeed. New homes, remodeling, and renovating can and should be fun. Work with people who know what they are doing and remove the stress and drama from your project. 

If you are considering remodeling or renovating or even building a new home please contact us as we would enjoy working with you. 

561-597-0021 or 

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Florida’s Love of the HVAC Vent

Air Vents

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The Design Focal Point

  I am still amazed by how fixated Florida is on Air Vents. They are everywhere and in your face wherever you are. $14M dollar homes or $6M dollar homes, even on my competitors website home pages. There is an abundance of air vents everywhere and I think 99% of the people do not see them. 

Take a look at these photos taken from houses on the market for over $5M and up to $14M. Seriously anywhere but here?

Building Inspectors Approve

  I took over one project in St. Petersburg where the HVAC company installed a huge return in the center of the Kitchen and Family Room Ceiling and surrounded the return with six supply grilles all within 5ft of each other.

  This was the first thing to catch my eye when I walked into the room. As I walked the house there were many issues all similar to this, I scheduled a meeting the HVAC contractor asap. We met and discussed the venting, and after the first circle the response was the inspector approved his work and he has completed many houses in the area the same way. I had to agree with him that the work was inspected and approved, why I do not know but when you look around this is common in Florida. Air conditioning vents are “boom!” in your face everywhere.  


Square Recessed Lights without Flanges
Air vents hidden in the light cove shadow box

We Need Air Vents

  It is true we need air vents, we just don’t have to have them in your face. They are not attractive regardless the register style and in most cases they are not positioned in the proper location. Air vents supplying cooling or heating should be placed on the exterior walls of the room. Depending on the structure they would be installed on the floor or ceiling but always should be on the outside perimeter. I have worked with numerous Mechanical Engineers and I have seen thousands of MEP plans and the majority of supplies are on the exterior walls.

The suction or return grilles usually larger than supplies should be placed opposite the supply vents.  The simple concept of operation is to circulate the air. 

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  The supplies can go on the interior walls and the return on the exterior wall as long as you are creating a circular motion for the air in the room. The ideal situation would be to place the one of the vents high and the other low on opposite sides of the room. You can achieve airflow circulation with vents in the center of the room so long as you are placing opposing vents in opposite areas. 

  The project I took over had the supplies and return vent close to each other which would only result in short cycle path of air and not room circulation. The HVAC contractor told me his supply vent fan was a very high velocity cfm so it could push the air to the outside walls without having to install the registers at the outside walls. The issue with his statement was the same fan pushing the air is also the same fan sucking the air so the flow is equal and if he reduced the suction the installation is still flawed as you would rather have the air travel in insulated ductwork and exit at the exterior location.  That is much more efficient then installing them 6 feet from the AC unit installed above and close to the return. 

Indoor Pools
Indoor pool requires a lot of air movement, yet the vents are not the focal point

The 1%

  There are many ways to do almost anything and I guess when you have registers connected to flexible duct it doesn’t matter to 99% of the people where they are placed in a room. The value of a home is not immune to the quality of workmanship or complacency to design. What is easiest to install is acceptable to many or goes unnoticed by the masses.

  For me or my clients we are not ok with complacency and adding more ductwork or increasing the unit size to properly cool or heat a space is what we do. We spend extra for a higher energy seer rating and we install the system correctly. Having a system installed the easiest way possible is inefficient making the system run 24/7 defeating the energy seer savings. Sometimes “good enough” is just not enough! 

For more information contact us at 561-597-0021 or