R & R Revs up Mechanical System at Daytona International

By From DuctSox May 5, 2005

Mechanical contractor R & R Industries gave the word “speed” a whole new meaning during the multi-million dollar infield buildings renovation at Daytona International Speedway (DIS)—home of the renowned Daytona 500 NASCAR race.

With less than six months between last summer’s Pepsi 400 race and December’s KartWeek race deadline, most building trades hurried on a project that would ordinarily take a year to complete. Dozens of existing 45-year-old infield buildings were demolished and replaced with over 200,000 sq. ft. of state-of-the-art garages, Victory Lane private club, a media center, an RV community center and other facilities.

Daytona Beach-based R & R Industries was a project hero when it managed to speedily install hundreds of linear feet of air-conditioning ductwork in just three days, thus helping other trades fast-track their respective work.As a design-build contractor, the 57-year-old firm’s suggestions of fabric duct were lauded by DIS officials and project architect The Haskell Company, Jacksonville, Fla., and project management team, because metal duct would have required a minimum of three weeks to install.

The Sedona model fabric duct manufactured by DuctSox, Dubuque, Iowa, not only enhanced the track’s showy image, but also saved upwards of 60% in labor installation costs, according to Wil Evans, vice president, R & R Industries.

The Daytona HVAC work was so successful, Evans already has completed a half-dozen more projects using fabric duct and predicts the category will command 15% to 20% percent of R & R Industries’ ductwork sales within the next five years. The irony of Evans’ comments is that R & R Industries has a full non-union sheet metal shop that started as a roofing company in 1948 and later added air-conditioning services to complement its sheet-metal capabilities.

This niche fabric-duct market is giving R & R Industries a competitive advantage, according to Evans. On design-build projects customers see R & R Industries as a leading-edge innovator when it specifies fabric duct for open-architecture ceilings. On plan/spec projects, R & R Industries is bidding lower with fabric duct while still maintaining good profit margins and providing the client with better air distribution than registers and metal duct.

At DIS, R & R Industries used fabric duct on four rooms that all needed different requirements. Mike Todd, sales engineer at manufacturer’s representative, Tom Barrow Co., Orlando, Fla., helped R & R Industries design the fabric duct air distribution layout. The 4,000-sq.-ft. Drivers Room in the Media Center, for example, needed perfect air comfort during drivers meetings, while keeping duct noise to a minimum ASHRAE Noise Control (NC) rating. The combination of sound absorbing fabric and linear S-Vents™—a linear line of small factory engineered holes—is considerably quieter than metal duct because it transmits less mechanical-equipment noise, and its linear vents reduce air velocity.Evans specified double-hung runs of 22-in. diam. black DuctSox.The duct will never need painting and can be disassembled in minutes for commercial laundering, if needed.

The 36,000-sq.-ft. Victory Lane Club, which offers race fans a third-story view, needed fabric duct for other advantages. Because of low 8-ft. ceilings, any kind of round duct would have partially blocked spectator views of the track. Plus, rectangular duct doesn’t have the sleek aesthetics of Sedona’s woven polyester-based fabric. Instead, R & R Industries specified DuctSox’s D-Shape model, a half-round duct with the flat side flush against the ceiling via a proprietary ceiling-mounted H-track suspension system.

Most of the HVAC system consists of four 25-ton water-source Trane SWUD units by Trane, Tyler, Texas, plus the manufacturer’s Tracer building automation system. Other facilities utilize Trane split-system rooftop dx units. R & R Industries also installed a variety of Loren Cook Co. exhaust fans throughout the facilities.

Evans sees a multitude of future applications for the fabric-duct niche including gyms, swimming pools, offices, industrial plants and any other facility going for an aesthetic look in open-architecture ceilings.

Another Daytona success story for R & R was a big job for Daytona Beach Community College. While speed wasn’t an issue, noise reduction, indoor air quality and the fact that fabric doesn’t attract condensation-producing mold and mildew, was critical for classroom air conditioning.

Designed by Hanson Engineering, Orlando, Fla., the project uses metal duct for corridor trunk lines, but most classrooms use fabric duct by DuctSox. The air conditioning was supplied by York chillers and air handlers and a Marley cooling tower, and controlled by a Johnson Controls Metasys building automation system.

The aesthetic portion of the project was the school’s curved glass atrium entrance. The white Sedona duct’s H-track suspension system was factory-engineered with curved radiuses that match the entrance’s contours.

Evans is already bidding many more jobs with fabric duct and sees a bright future for R & R Industries’ new niche.