BOCA RATON, Fla. - "Keys to Success" is the theme for this year's 58th annual convention here of the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association (SMACNA). The convention and a "tabletop" format product show will be held October 21-24 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club.

Among the speakers is Douglass Mass, president, Cosentini Associates, who will discuss new office space options at the Hvac Contractors Forum on Monday, October 22, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Over the past 20 years, Douglas Mass, president, Cosentini Associates, has presided over the mechanical engineering operations of many new office solutions.

Mass is the featured speaker at the Hvac Contractors Forum beginning at 8:30 a.m. Monday. Some of the latest developments in engineering new office spaces, such as underfloor ventilation, fuel cells, photovoltaics, etc., will be presented.

Among Cosenti Associates' more high profile projects was the Owens Corning World Headquarters, a 450,000-sq.-ft. building complex in Toledo, Ohio.

Designed by architect Cesar Pelli - a recipient of the prestigious American Institute of Architects' Gold Medal - in a style called post-modern, the facility reflects the changes that have occurred within the company over thc past decade. It has moved from a traditional company to one that is change-oriented, from hierarchical organization to flat, from centralized to decentralized and from directive to collaborative.

The mandate from Owens Corning was to have an efficient and flexible mechanical system to allow instantaneous changes in space planning without bringing in outside contractors. Included in the design is a raised access floor that serves as an air plenum and wireway, swirl type diffusers that distribute air into the work space, and a system of movable floor boxes for power and communication.

The building includes general office space and specialty space with conference rooms, multi media room and Total Life Management space featuring a health clinic and other support facilities.

This was undertaken at a time when a shift in management practices was taking place among corporate America. Owens Corning wanted to get away from the typical 30 story glass tower approach to corporate headquarters, with the senior executives safely ensconced in the upper level floors. Instead, they opted for an airy, spacious low-rise, with an open floor plan but ample space for individual meetings or one-on-one conversations. Walls and other barriers to communication were removed from the business culture in favor of artwork, natural lighting and windows overlooking the park-like scene surrounding the headquarters, which is located on the banks of the Maumee River and Swan Creek.

The project included electric source cooling and heating. High efficiency custom roof top variable air volume air conditioning systems provide cooling. The system utilizes high efficiency compressors and motors, variable speed drives on the air handling units, an air-side economizer to maximize energy efficiency, as well as high efficiency air filters to ensure a comfortable and healthy working environment.

The Life Center is a 9,000 sq.-ft. fitness facility with a 2,400 sq.-ft. workout area and 1,600 sq.-ft. aerobics room with a spring-loaded floor. Lockers, towels, showers and laundry service are available. Managed by Johnson & Johnson, master's level exercise physiologists oversee and assist employees with their workout goals. Employees are encouraged to exercise at their convenience.

A separate Wellness Center is available to all employees at no cost. Blood pressure screening, weight management support and exercise counseling are all available. The Wellness Center also offers a computerized health risk appraisal system to gauge personal wellness and develop healthy living goals.

The dining facility, called the Courtyard Cafe, is intended is ease the pressures of managing meals. Nutritious hot and cold food is served at the Cafe for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is an on-site Market that provides snacks, carryout food, toiletries and dry cleaning services operated at extended hours.

The Discovery Center is a self-managed learning facility for employees. A certified career counselor is available to help employees use a wide variety of state-of-the-art resources.

The Commons includes conference rooms for formal training opportunities, video conference rooms, multi-purpose room, board room and Panther Hall. Panther Hall is the main assembly area with 200 theater style seats, 70 classroom style seats and the latest in audio visual capabilities. There are dual screens, hearing assisted seating, language translations services, and technology which allows you to plug in a computer.

The building utilizes under-floor air distribution. Air from underneath the floor is distributed throughout the room, and then exits through the ceiling. This cleanses the space with air, and is more efficient and clean than traditional methods. The system is modular, and flexible enough to meet the demands of the ever-changing configurations that the headquarters houses. Each workstation has a floor vent that is adjustable and can be tailored to the needs of the occupant.

Successful fabrication

"Making a successful transition from hvac contracting to custom fabricating and manufacturing of sheet metal products" is the focus of the Custom Fabricating and Manufacturing Contractors Forum at SMACNA's annual convention.

The session will be led by Alex Cunningham, founder of Profit Management Consulting, who will with members of the Custom Fabricating and Manufacturing Council, examine several areas to be considered in making this transition. Those areas include capital expenditures, business planning, cross-over training, code issues, bidding process differences, material differences, material handling differences, shop layout, scheduling, and contract issues.

For more information on the convention phone SMACNA at 703-803-2980.