James Johnson and Associates, the mechanical design firm for the project, specializes in large corporate clients in the private sector. JJA is a progressive
firm that stays current with industry trends and product advances. According to Walter Horn, President and Director of Engineering, "we had seen movement
toward Underfloor Air Distribution Systems (UFAD) and knew that many considered it to be the ‘end all’ in system technology, especially in buildings with
open office architecture and high ‘churn’ rates." The challenge would be determining if it was right for Radio Shack.
Having decided on a design approach, it was time to evaluate UFAD equipment suppliers. The group visited various locations where underfloor systems were
installed and operating. According to Kyle Holmes, Project Manager for Brandt Engineering, their contract with the owner required that they evaluate and
recommend the products to be used. Per Kyle, "we were more comfortable with Price's quality and service capability". They had seen a variety of installations
and schemes, but were not able to view a system that truly represented the environment at Radio Shack. One significant concern was the sheer size of the Radio
Shack floor plate. Per Walter Horn and David Pick of JJA, "There were concerns over how we would move the air from the plenum source to the floor diffuser with
minimal variations in pressure and temperature. The smaller system models we saw didn’t answer those questions".
Price associates Matt Daily and Joel Finney of MJ Air Products in Dallas stepped in to fill the void. This rep group is extremely aggressive and works hard to develop
strong, support-based relationships within their engineering and contracting communities. Matt Daily happened to be in contact with Walter Horn around the time that
JJA was seeking additional information. As Walter Horn recalls "Price was the most proactive of the various manufacturers we contacted. Many told us ‘just look at the
catalog data’, but Price worked with us to address specific issues."
MJ Air was able to coordinate an initial meeting that afforded Price the opportunity to demonstrate our capabilities, and resolve specific problems. The general design
approach would install an integrated system of circular swirl floor diffusers (Model RFTDA) for more stable interior zones, and linear floor grilles (Model LFG) with
Digital series underfloor air terminal units (Model FDBU) for more dynamic perimeter zones. The terminals would feature ECM motors for optimal performance and energy
Ryan Montgomery of Radio Shack observed that accessing underfloor terminal control enclosures wasn’t easy. The enclosures opened outward, an awkward position that
requires you to lie on the floor or stand on your head to peer in. At the client’s suggestion we relocated the enclosure opening to the top, making it easily accessible
from above – this is now our standard enclosure. Ryan later commented that he found Price to be very responsive and that we "showed pride in our product". We prevailed
at bid time and were proud to be selected as the UFAD equipment supplier. It was a massive project, as we supplied Brandt Engineering (mechanical contractor) with hundreds
of underfloor terminals, over 4,000 linear grille assemblies, and over 6,000 swirl diffusers. We began planning the logistics with Ted Dixon and Kyle Holmes of Brandt, who,
through their meticulous management of the details kept everything incredibly organized, which in turn simplified the process for us.
The only real drama came when we were told that the swirl diffuser was being reconsidered due to the labor requirements to install them. Price made a quick trip to Fort Worth
to demonstrate the "press fit" mounting option, which actually reduced installation labour and retained the order.
The project is now complete and Radio Shack has moved in. As Ryan Montgomery aptly states, "comfort control has always been the #1 complaint", and according to him, the
UFAD system is working fine. He and his facility staff like the fact that occupants can adjust their own floor diffuser.