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EMAIL INTERVIEW Craig Arnott and Ken Sinclair
Airmaster Australia Pty. Ltd.
Craig Arnott is the NSW Controls Team Leader for Airmaster Australia and the Project Systems Integrator for the Four Point project. He is responsible for all automation projects Airmaster carries out in the state of New South Wales, Australia. He has 20 years experience in Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, and Building Automation Systems.
The Integrator's View of The Four Points Project (See article this issue)
The challenge was to install new fully integrated controls in a 'live' building that consistently has hotel occupancy figures over 90%.
Sinclair: Why did you as an Independent Integration Contractor choose to offer the Tridium product for this project?
Arnott: Airmaster Australia as a company, has the benefit that we are not aligned to any one product or brand which gives us the ability to select the best option to offer, and with the number of interfaces (LON, Modbus, RS-232 to Dynalite Lighting, TCP/IP to Hotel Accounting, TCP/IP to in-house paging) proposed for this project there was simply no other solution than Tridium's Niagara Framework. Also the point that we keep in mind when speaking about Tridium is forward compatibility - at some time in the future a company is going to come to market with a new meter/controller/sensor/whatever and we know there is better than a 90% chance that it will be possible to simply 'plug it in' without have to re-engineer any of the system.
Sinclair: What was the biggest obstacle while carrying out the project?
Arnott: I would have to say there were no real obstacles; however the challenge was to install new controls in 630 hotel rooms, 18 function rooms/areas, 42 office and public area air conditioning units, plus the chiller and boiler plants - in a 'live' building that consistently has hotel occupancy figures of over 90%. When I first contemplated those figures my initial reaction was "it can't be done!", but after some quite in-depth planning and organising with the hotel's Chief Engineer Mr. Nigel Wright, we managed to implement the system with no impact on the hotel's operation.
Sinclair: What personally did you learn from this project?
Arnott: This was my first project for Airmaster, and also my first involvement with Tridium, so to say I learnt a lot is an understatement - probably the hardest single thing for me to learn (or should I say 'un-learn') was the phrase "that can't be done", it has been just over two and a half years now since I commenced on the Four Points project and I can honestly say I haven't used that phrase since.
Sinclair: When you set out in this project, did you envisage it being this large?
Arnott: No, that’s the simple answer. The more we learnt about Tridium - the more we expanded the project. It started almost 4 years ago as an upgrade for 10 function rooms, then became an upgrade for 50% of the hotel rooms, then the other 50%, then the public areas, then a total chiller plant upgrade, then security monitoring, then energy monitoring and reporting, then retail tenant billing, then ... got the picture yet - I don't think this 'project' will ever be completely finished as any type of upgrade the hotel now makes - they actively consider how to connect it to the BMS, and what benefit will they receive from it.
Sinclair: Why did this project turn out so successful?
Arnott: The answer to that is two-fold, first the technology we have used is simply the best in the market, but even more importantly are the people involved:
Airmaster Australia's Managing Director Noel Courtney actively seeks new cutting edge products so we can provide our customers with quality offers, the Tridium Niagara Framework and the Powerpax chillers incorporating the Danfoss TurboCor compressors are the two big examples in this case.
Four Points by Sheraton Darling Harbour's Chief Engineer Nigel Wright is actively involved in the project, suggesting and improving design, and also looking past the capital costs to the more important long term (or ROI) costs.
Tridium Asia Pacific's Lim Hoon Chiat can only be described as a genius, any questions I have Lim answer’s by email within about 2 hours – day or night.
Finally, Allan Roden also of Airmaster Australia and I have worked together for the past 8 years designing and installing systems, re-designing plants, and re-engineering equipment. In this time we have bounced thousands of ideas off each other to come up with the best solution for every job we’ve attacked, so whatever my share is of the credits for this job Allan definitely gets half.
So, the simple answer is: these products + the above people = successful project!
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