As was mentioned earlier in this article, there are only a handful of manufacturers currently making mini-split air conditioners. That number is expected to rise as patents expire and as the industry put a heavier demand on manufacturers to produce mini-split air conditioner systems. Until that happens you will be at the mercy of the manufacturers available for lead times, cost, and shipping times.
In addition, you will need to rely on them for technical documentation and information on how to maintain the unit. The start-up process for these units is similar to a traditional unit but more streamlined in nature. Generally, there will be a trained subcontractor for your area and they will be dispatched to train you on how to use the unit and what information to pass on to your owner.
Warranties and performing maintenance as the warranty requires will be an important component of the maintenance of the unit. Letting your owner know how this works is important and should not be left out. If you are working as the general contractor it will be your responsibility to ensure your owner receives the technical documentation on the units.
Larger projects obviously will have longer lead times depending on what the manufacturers currently have in stock. Getting the manufacturer on board with the project early on will help with managing lead times and keeping the project on track. In the design phase of the project, it is possible to get the split air conditioner systems designated as the approved mechanical units to be put on the plans.
This means when it goes out for bid to contractors and subcontractors, their bids will include quotes and service information for the split air conditioner systems. This is beneficial because it takes some of the work off of you and delegates the task of sourcing the units themselves. Often manufacturers will work with architects and MEP engineers to be the preferred vendor on plans.