by Michael Heinsdorf December 21st, 2016 0 comments

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.

Michael Heinsdorf's picture
about the author: Michael Heinsdorf
A registered Professional Engineer, Michael Heinsdorf uses his extensive understanding of the technical and legal requirements for electrical and telecommunication specifications to maintain Division 26, 27, and 28 (Electrical, Communications, and Electronic Safety and Security) sections. He came to ARCOM with over 12 years of engineering design experience. As an active participant in the engineering community, Michael is a regular blogger for Consulting Specifying Engineer and takes part in speaking engagements.

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