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Damascus High School HVAC Replacement – Phase 1

Damascus, MD

General Contractor:  Shapiro & Duncan, Inc.
Engineer:  Building Dynamics, LLC
Contract Amount:  $2,877,000
Contract Start Date:  6/16/15
Actual State Date:  6/17/15
Contract Completion Date: 8/7/15
Actual Completion Date: 8/7/15


In this first phase of a complete high school HVAC renovation to one of the oldest high schools in the county equipment installation was not the difficult part. The challenge in this project was the extremely tight summer schedule. Our team started work on the last day of school – June 17, 2015 – and we had roughly seven weeks to get the job done. 

And what a demanding job it was! The Shapiro & Duncan team had to replace eight boilers and 14 pumps in the basement and main boiler rooms, 37 unit ventilators and 20 fan coil units in classrooms (a few of which were ceiling mounted and concealed). In addition, we had to install a new dedicated outside air unit (DOAS), replace nine rooftop units (RTU), install three new variable air volume (VAV) boxes and replace and upgrade direct digital controls (DDCs) to match the systems being installed in new Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) projects.


Effective use of 3-D scanning technology in our field coordination surveys was one of the keys to meeting the tight seven-week schedule. We used this scanner, which takes a 360 degree digital view of a room, in the main boiler room on ground floor and in the basement boiler room.

The 3-D scans played a huge part in expediting coordination of mechanical systems in both of these rooms providing an accurate digital image of each room for import into Shapiro & Duncan’s Building Information Model (BIM), which is the foundation for the spool drawings created to begin our piping assembly prefabrication  at our 51,000 square foot fabrication shop in Landover, Maryland.

The reason this 3-D scanner proved to be so helpful in the coordination process was because we were building into existing boiler rooms. There were no preexisting models of these rooms. Normally, it would take days to take every measurement by hand with a tape measure and then input this data into the BIM database. But the new tripod-mounted scanner, which rotates and continually takes images which are pieced together digitally while pre-calibrated measurements are taken, saves this data directly into an external hard drive.  This hard drive is taken back to our planning department, where the data is uploaded to the BIM system and the drawings needed by the fabrication shop are produced.

Prefabrication using this new 3-D technology enhancement to our BIM planning process avoided time-consuming on site verification of existing conditions and construction in a piece-by piece scenario.

To make sure we completed the project on time, our team had to put in a considerable amount of good old fashioned overtime planned from the start, working two shifts, morning and evening. With Shapiro & Duncan as the prime contractor, all of the trades (including Plumbing/HVAC, Automatic Temperature Controls, Air and Water Balancing, Electrical, General Construction, HVAC Insulation, Sheet Metal and Rigging) worked under our umbrella.


The project was substantially completed on August 7, the contract completion date. The fact that the Shapiro & Duncan team was able to perform almost $3 million worth of work in seven weeks is exceptional. Even with overtime, we were able to stay within the budget. Needless to say, our MCPS customer is satisfied.

This is yet another project that demonstrates Shapiro & Duncan’s capability to adapt to a variety of unique mechanical design and construction situations using innovative technology. Not only that, but it further contributes to our reputation as the leading mechanical solutions provider for the MCPS.