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Piping-Products Maker, Distributor, Contractor Form Service Triangle

May 1, 2005
Securing and successfully managing HVAC projects in today's competitive construction market takes more than a good bottom number and a promise of responsive

Securing and successfully managing HVAC projects in today's competitive construction market takes more than a good bottom number and a promise of responsive service. Each member of the construction team needs to provide added value to maximize success. A prime example of what can result from an effective manufacturer-distributor-contractor “service triangle” is the recently completed $58 million, 181,000-sq-ft Tyson Events Center in downtown Sioux City, Iowa.

The key to the success of the $3 million HVAC-piping-and-plumbing portion of the project was the teamwork exhibited by piping-products manufacturer Anvil International Inc.; distributor Central States Group of Omaha, Neb.; and mechanical contractor Hagan Co. of Sioux City.

The construction schedule was tight — 14 months — and the boiler mechanical room even tighter — 16 by 26 sq ft — but Hagan was determined to install all of the piping and plumbing for the facility's 13 boilers, two chillers, two cooling towers, and 30 pumps.

Anvil added value through its Design Services Group. Because of the tight construction schedule, John Prescott, Hagan's general superintendent, felt he did not have time to do the mechanical drawings and supervise the project both on site and at the office.

“In addition to saving me weeks of my own time by providing the mechanicals, I was extremely impressed with Anvil's ability to take the potential problems I identified and work with me on quickly devising workable solutions and accurate three-dimensional drawings,” Prescott said.

For instance, “With the height of the mechanical room only 12 ft and some major duct and vent work overhead, we really had to put the boiler pumps in with a shoehorn,” Prescott said.

The pumps were designed with 4-in. valves. After Prescott determined they were not going to fit, the valves were downsized to 3 in. Anvil's Design Services Group revised the drawings accordingly to accommodate the 13 pumps in the space.

Phil Schechinger, a key member of the Anvil sales team, said Anvil's design-services capability is flexible and can include welded or threaded components.

Hagan cited Central States Group's on-site storage trailer as another key to the success of the project. Hagan purchased 75 percent of the product prior to the start date. Central States stored all product tied to bills of material in the trailer and provided a dedicated salesperson to coordinate the delivery of additional product. This saved time and helped offset the shortage of storage space on site. Also, the trailer protected the product and facilitated just-in-time deliveries.

“If we had a change and product wasn't on the trailer, we would fax a list of needed items and heard back from Central States immediately,” Monty McCoy, Hagan's project manager, said. “It would then be shipped for next day or brought directly to us if we needed it right away.”

Thirty pump-valve and fitting packages featuring Anvil's Gruvlok brand of 2- to 12-in. couplings, triservice valves, check valves, and flex connectors, as well as hangers and Gruvlok AWWA (ductile iron) components, were shipped by Central once the project was under way, arriving “bagged and tagged.”

“All the pump-valve and fitting packages were assembled together, numbered, and labeled by Central States, which translated into a tremendous amount of time savings on site,” Schechinger said.

As the third side of the triangle, Hagan Co. knew the benefits of pre-planning and worked with Anvil to maximize product, time, and space efficiencies. Also, it was well-versed in the labor-saving advantages of grooved product.

“Our ability to use Anvil flex connectors instead of fixed connectors lowered our costs and helped us spacewise, as they take up less vertical room,” McCoy said, adding that the connectors' easy access and replacement also was important.

Information and photograph courtesy of Anvil International Inc.
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