The Difference between Mounting and Installing
By Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT
Assistant Director, MasterSpec
Mounting and installing are inherently different, as can be seen in their definitions. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, 5th edition, mounting, a noun, is "something that serves as a support, setting, or backing." Installing, from the verb install, is "to connect or set in position and prepare for use."
An example of a mounting is an object, such as a frame, to which a piece of equipment, such as an air handling unit, is bolted. The act of affixing the air handling unit to the frame is installing the unit onto the mounting.
It is important to differentiate between these two seemingly similar terms because all too often in project specifications, mounting and installing are used interchangeably. Sometimes mounting is removed in favor of installing. In specifications, describing the mounting to which the equipment will be affixed is a separate matter from the act of installing the equipment onto the mounting. In a BIM model, the equipment is installed on a mounting, which could be a concrete foundation, a manufacturer curb, or a steel support structure.
Think about the air handling unit example. In your project specifications for the unit, you may have to specify either an integral mounting assembly or a separately fabricated frame. The mounting itself may need to meet certain seismic or wind-load requirements, whereas installing the equipment may need to meet specific conditions: for instance, you may need to verify the alignment of the mounting and the bolt torque of the bolts attaching the air handling unit.
Even if you are working in BIM world, this is still an important distinction to make. Appreciate the difference between mounting and installing to make sure that the customer requirements are being met.