Designated a National Historic Landmark, the 45-story CBOT building is an art deco structure consisting of two towers. For many years, the air-handling system — including two large supply fans and two return fans — provided airflow for floors 10 to 23 in each tower. Installed in 1970, these old air handlers were becoming a cause for concern. Maintenance costs continued to increase, and the building owners wanted to ensure uninterrupted HVAC service to traders and tenants.
Carrying out the replacement posed unique challenges for general contractor Alps Construction and mechanical contracting firm Competitive Piping Systems Inc. (CPS) of Chicago. “The age of the building, the location of the equipment in the building, the need to keep the old system operational with a single weekend cut-over, and access were the most unique items about the retrofit,” said Adam Smith, project manager, Alps Construction.