5 Tips for Summer Building Maintenance

5 Tips for Summer Building MaintenanceSummer is approaching and now is the time to prepare your building for the extreme heat and humidity to come with the season. Adam Luensman, Business Development Representative with TP Mechanical, recommends regular preventative maintenance to keep your building’s HVAC system in top-notch condition.

Preventative maintenance is important to maintain and extend the overall life of your HVAC equipment and keep lifecycle costs down. TP wants to build a long-term partnership with each client to help them take care of their HVAC systems.

Follow these 5 maintenance tips to prepare your building for the summer months:

 1. Start Thinking About Summer Early

Ideally, you want to start thinking about your summer preventative maintenance now—April and May are months to have a certified technician check your systems for cooling. This way, you will have time to update or service any equipment as needed.

2. Have the Coils Cleaned

Clean coils will ensure that your cooling units will be running at peak efficiency while helping to minimize utility cost.

3. Change the Air Filters

The air filters are key for maintaining the quality of the environment in any building. Using high quality air filters, and changing them frequently, can extend the life of your HVAC system. While there’s a lot more that goes into regular preventative maintenance, changing the air filters should be a top priority.

4. Consider It an Investment

Preventative maintenance is a good investment for any building. Adam recommends thinking about it like maintenance on your car: If you don’t change the oil, the engine will lock up. It’s the same for your HVAC system. Regular preventative maintenance is the key to a long-functioning system.

5. Call a Professional

Don’t try to do your preventative maintenance yourself. A professional offers proven solutions and experience working with the complexities of HVAC equipment in our local environment. A professional can help you prevent costly downtime.

Regular preventative maintenance is the proactive way to improve comfort while reducing your operating costs. At TP Mechanical, we help customers optimize energy for high performing buildings. Call us today  at 513-851-8881 to schedule your preventative maintenance check.

 

TP Mechanical: Committed to Federal Work and GSA Approved

After an extensive application process, TP Mechanical is excited to announce we have been approved to provide federal work through the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). GSA Schedules (also referred to as Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) and Federal Supply Schedules) are long-term governmentwide contracts with commercial firms providing federal, state, and local government buyers access to more than 11 million commercial supplies (products) and services at volume discount pricing. For buyers, Schedules saves your agency time and money. For industry, Schedules are your direct link to the government contracting community.

Since receiving the Schedule Title, Facilities Maintenance and Management, TP is poised for work at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is one of the largest and most important bases in the U.S. Airforce. The base is headquarters for the Air Force’s worldwide logistics system, a state-of-the-art laboratory research function, and is the most prominent acquisition and development center in the U.S. Air Force.*

Stanley Garber, TP’s Government Contract Manager, leads TP’s efforts on the base for which he is uniquely suited.  With 24 years of experience at the base, he works on site in a self-contained office for TP Mechanical. Although TP was involved with work at the base in the past, our presence was limited.  Now, Stanley, who began working for TP at Wright-Patterson in November 2016, provides that presence. “I take the privilege to heart every day,” he says.

In the future, TP hopes to expand their GSA services beyond Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and develop business in other regions, including Fort Campbell and Fort Knox. For now, TP is looking forward to working on GSA projects as we head into the busy procurement season.

 *For more information about Wright-Pat Airforce Base visit their website at https://www.wpafb.af.mil/.

Apply Now for TP Mechanical’s 2019 Apprenticeship Class

TP Mechanical will be taking applications April 22 through May 3 for the 2019 Apprenticeship Class. Positions will be open at each of the four offices and include:

  • Plumbers—Kentucky office
  • Plumbers and sheet metal—Cincinnati office
  • Plumbers, sheet metal, and sprinkler fitters—Columbus and Dayton offices

What is the Apprenticeship Program?

The Apprenticeship Program is an important feeder for TP’s workforce. An Accredited Apprenticeship Program through Columbus State, it consists of a minimum of 8,000 on-the-job training hours and 576 hours of classroom learning over the course of four years. The best leaders and the best results come from the program – a direct result of TP’s investment in its employees and the future. The Apprenticeship Program is the key to recruiting and filling the field jobs; it enables TP Mechanical to educate their own employees and guarantees the highest quality employees.

The Apprenticeship Program is also an important part of TP’s history. In place since the 1980s, the Apprenticeship Program is where many of TP’s leaders got their start. This includes President and CEO Bill Riddle, who joined TP Mechanical 34 years ago as the company’s 38th apprentice.

Mike Kelley, who completed the program in 1987 and now holds several master licenses, says the program instilled a major passion in him to give back and teach others. “This is a very worthwhile program to go through,” he says. His wife, Teresa, joined TP Mechanical in 1999 and is now the Apprenticeship Coordinator. “Not only did the Apprenticeship Program give my husband an avenue to provide for our family, most importantly, TP Mechanical provided him with that opportunity to learn and grow in a skilled trade,” she says. We both are very thankful for that and hope we can pass along what our family gained from this program to the next generation.”

You can be part of the next generation of TP Mechanical Apprentices.

No qualifications are needed to join the Apprenticeship Program. We’ll teach you valuable, hands-on skills and you earn a paycheck as you learn.

The four-year program is held in sessions, one night a week, from August through May, at our Kentucky, Cincinnati and Columbus locations. Class sizes are small and made up of approximately five to eight apprentices. Classes are taught by TP employees, including superintendents and project managers—many who came up through the apprenticeship program themselves.

You learn all the technical code required for your particular skill, as well as other important topics for acquiring your licenses, such as:

  • Welding
  • Refrigeration (basic knowledge of systems)
  • Hydronics
  • Steam systems

In just four years, you can have your journeyman’s license in HVAC, plumbing and sprinklers and be on your way to a fulfilling career.

To learn more about the program, contact Teresa Kelley at 513-372-6210 or apply online by visiting https://www.tpmechanical.com/apprenticeship-program-detail/

 

Project Spotlight: Norwood Middle School Renovation for Norwood City Schools

 

The original building of Norwood Middle School, which houses students in grades 6, 7 and 8, was built over 100 years ago, in 1914. Although the school was renovated in 1965 and again in the mid-1980s, the school began another major renovation to update facilities in early 2018.

Charles Douglas, who happens to be a Norwood alumnus (‘91), serves as the onsite superintendent for TP Mechanical. The TP team, including Douglas and project manager Michael Schneider, started with demolition of the existing mechanical systems followed by new duct work and the installation of a VRV system. This project is a significant upgrade as prior to this renovation, the 148,000 square foot school building used steam radiators for heat and was without central air conditioning.

The age of the building has revealed several unknowns and challenged the team to think creatively. SHP, the architect & engineer, and Monarch Construction continue to help provide imaginative and cost-effective solutions enabling the team to stay on schedule and minimize disruptions to the occupied facility.

Currently TP Mechanical is about 80% complete on this project, with full completion of the renovation in the west wing and nearing completion of the east wing in March. Part of the project involved completing the field house during phase two—just in time for basketball season.

This was TP’s first project with Norwood City Schools; we have built strong relationships and look forward to future projects within the district. Norwood City School District has been providing quality education in the Greater Cincinnati area for more than 100 years and includes three elementary schools, one preschool and one high school in addition to Norwood Middle School.

TP Mechanical Team:

  • Project Manager: Michael Schneider
  • Site Superintendent: Charles Douglas
  • Sheet Metal Foreman: Josh Schaffer
  • Sheet Metal Team: Jacob Stauffer, Robert Gilley
  • Refrigeration Lead: Greg Porter
  • Refrigeration Team: Matt Halusek

Project Partners:

Spotlight: From Apprentice to President and CEO

When Bill Riddle joined TP Mechanical 34 years ago, it was through an opening in the apprenticeship program. At just 19 years old, he started as TP Mechanical’s 38th apprentice.  

It’s uncommon for a company CEO to come from a field background, and as such, Bill flips traditional management on its head and leverages success from a “field-first” point of view. He understands and relays to the entire team that quality work in the field is the lifeblood of the company. Bill himself also takes daily calls from TP customers to personally address and help solve their needs. This innate ability to roll-up his sleeves, help and resolve issues for clients is a value instilled all those years ago in the apprenticeship program.

After completing his four-year apprenticeship, Bill became a project superintendent and later earned his plumbing license. He moved from the field into the office in 1996 following a performance review during which he mentioned his interest in becoming a  project manager. Bill later became a VP Regional Manager for Cincinnati operations until 2011, when he was named company president.

His current role as president and CEO began in 2015. Much has changed since Bill was an apprentice, including the work capacity of TP Mechanical. What hasn’t changed is the priority to get the job done right; to stand behind the people; and set a high bar for quality work in the field.

About TP’s Apprentice Program

The apprentice program is an important feeder for TP’s workforce. It consists of a minimum of 8,000 on-the-job training hours and 576 hours of classroom learning over the course of four years. The best leaders and the best results come from the program – a direct result of TP’s investment in its employees and the future. The apprentice program is the key to recruiting and filling the field jobs; it enables TP Mechanical to educate their own employees and guarantees the highest quality employees for the future. Learn more about the program by visiting https://www.tpmechanical.com/apprenticeship-program-detail/

 

 

 

People Make the Difference in Our Quality-Driven Fabrication Process

Producing and assembling pre-fabricated items for construction requires a smooth, streamlined process.  Unlike other shops that rely on the sole use of machinery to build pre-fab materials, the TP Mechanical Fabrication Shop is automated by people.  We build every component of our systems in the controlled environment at our 45,000 square-foot and ISO 9001:2015 certified fabrication facility. The result is enhanced quality and consistency along with accelerated construction timelines.

Our 21-member team is organized into work groups spanning three types of positions—laborers, welders and plumbers. Each technician is highly trained in the production and assembly of a specialized unit or module, securing singular focus and attention to detail at every step of the process.

Specifically, laborers are responsible for cutting pipes, cleaning fittings and all other aspects of preparing materials for the plumbers. The welders join the parts together and the plumbers build the Carrier systems, including the frame, piping and connected fixtures. Together, the team produces high quality, pre-fab products to save time and money on complex projects.

A Streamlined Process

The pre-fab team is an important part of an overall process we employ to provide high-quality equipment. When a project kicks-off, Jerry Klein, manager of the pre-fab shop and distribution center, sits down with the CAD department and the project management team to come up with a fabrication plan with a comprehensive schedule. Once the CAD drawings are completed and approved for production, they are released to the purchasing group, who orders the necessary materials.

The ordered materials then arrive at one of our two distribution centers, located in Cincinnati and Columbus, where they are confirmed and prepared for the pre-fab shop. The pre-fab team members then begin producing the components, providing on-site vacuum testing for any leaks or other issues. Once the team is confident the product is the highest quality, the components are returned to the appropriate distribution center where they can be stored in a clean, controlled environment until the installation date.

When a product leaves one of our distribution centers it is fully ready to be installed. We check for quality upfront, ensuring orders are accurate, full and delivered on-time with little jobsite disruption. It’s all part of our innovative mechanical fabrication process to provide customized solutions to every project and saves time and money on construction.

The success of our unique pre-fab process means more demand, so TP Mechanical is looking to double its current pre-fab team. After all, a dedicated and talented pre-fab team is what makes it all possible. We are currently seeking team members who enjoy variety in the workplace and working on something new each day.

A Top-Notch Approach to Complex Renovations: Spotlight on the Enoch Grehan Building Renovation for the University of Kentucky

TP Mechanical Team:

  • Project Manager: James Randall
  • Pre-Fabrication Shop Leader: Jerry Klein and Nicole Holland
  • Site Superintendent: Greg Jordan
  • BIM Coordination Team: Kameron Bledsoe, Zack Campbell, Randy Tillet, Jeremy Hassman, Mayur Kadakia and Greg Dennison

Project Partners:

When the University of Kentucky wanted to renovate the Enoch Grehan Building in the core of academic campus, we knew it would be a complex project requiring smart scheduling.  As a testament to our impressive project partners, we are currently ahead of schedule.

We thrive on complex projects with coordination challenges, like this one. To succeed, we look to our synchronized divisions —the BIM team, self-performed pre-fabrication, off-site distribution team and our installation team— to come together and provide high-quality systems.

Our process starts with the BIM coordination team developing detailed models to ensure the pre-fab systems are built to precision.  The models are the road map, guiding system fabrications to the final connections in the field.  Once the model for Grehan was created, the fabrication team took ownership of their scope.  On this project, the Carrier system prefab saved two to three days of site work.  We also used prefabbed systems for the sewage ejector pump and the 12-amp chilled water piping serving multiple buildings. By having this piping ready to set in the tunnel in the heart of campus, we saved the university from having to shut down the area for a week.

On this project, multiple trades were on-site at once, working in the same areas. By building much of the systems off-site, we were able to avoid working in and around other contractors. Not only does pre-fab keep our on-site team safer, because they don’t have to go into small, confined or subsurface areas, it also provides a huge time savings.

Our distribution center also played a key role in keeping our scope ahead of schedule.

UK’s campus is a flurry of active construction projects.  We knew the project would come with storage limitations on site.  The ability for TP to store equipment at our distribution center until the systems were needed on site, proved to be an invaluable asset.

The University of Kentucky is known for its sophisticated approach to building renovations. This project is a wonderful opportunity to show potential higher education clients our capabilities. We are proud to be working for the University and our project team.

 

 

 

Service Success: Comprehensive Preventative Maintenance Plans Save Time & Money

Hocking College, located in Nelsonville, Ohio, needed an HVAC expert to respond quickly to their campus just before the start of the fall 2018 semester. Bryan Lutz, newly appointed Executive Director of Facilities at Hocking College, wasn’t sure who to call, but found TP Mechanical in the database from previous plumbing and HVAC projects at the college. TP Mechanical sent over two technicians right away and were able to resolve the HVAC issue within one week.

Lutz was impressed and asked Wayne Eriksen, in New Business Development for TP Mechanical, for a proposal to provide comprehensive preventative maintenance services for all of Hocking’s campuses.  TP Mechanical now provides complete service and maintenance on all of Hocking College’s air-cooled chillers, gas fired boilers, large AHU’s and Automated Logic controls system. TP’s involvement saves the college time and money, by keeping all systems up to date and running smoothly.

TP’s service performance at Hocking College, led to our involvement on the construction of the Sylvania Analytical Lab, a high-level testing facility.  Our team provided HVAC and fire protection as the mechanical contractor.  Now in operation, the high level testing lab building is part of our service and preventative maintenance scope on campus.

 

 

 

Project Feature: Pre-Fabrications Benefit Fast Track Construction

Mount Carmel Health System in Columbus, Ohio needed to expand in order to meet patient demands without interrupting current patient care. Construction on Mount Carmel East Expansion included a new 128-bed tower, featuring all individual rooms, and 11 new operating rooms. An addition to the existing chiller plant for added cooling and an addition to the boiler plant was also part of the project.

TP Mechanical stepped in to meet the challenge of working within a fully operational hospital on a tight 13-month deadline. In order to help keep the project on schedule and incur the least amount of disruption to the hospital patients and staff, the team constructed much of the needed materials off site. Fabricated hallway racks, which each included supply air ductwork, hydronic HVAC piping, VAV Box’s, Domestic water piping and electrical conduits, were all assembled, tested and inspected prior to being delivered to the site. There was even drywall assembled on to the racks off site to help save time. TP mechanical also prefabricated medical gas zone valve box assemblies.

These off-site fabrications directly impacted time savings on the project, accelerating the installation per floor by an impressive 75%.  Partners on the project were Messer Construction and NBBJ Architects. The $25,832,089 project was completed on schedule in just 13 months—thanks in a big way to the ability to build much of the design off-site.

 

 

A Culture of Safety

At TP Mechanical, safety is paramount and a fundamental part of our company culture. Since 2000, we have received 92 safety awards and have a current EMR rating of .79 which is well below the national average. When it comes to safety and OSHA ratings, we are in the top one percent of any comparable contractor in the U.S.

Our safety culture starts with our CEO Bill Riddle and spans amongst every single employee. “Everyone goes through orientation and goes through a preview of what safety means,” said Jamie Absher, Safety Manager for TP Mechanical. The importance of safety isn’t just something the top executives hand down—the culture of safety is contagious, and employees know the CEO has their back when it comes to working in a safe environment. If something isn’t working, safety-wise, the entire team brainstorms ways to improve the process.

The company recently launched a “Why Safety Matters to Me” program and asked employees to contribute. Overwhelmingly, the answer to that question came back to getting home safely to family. A five-member team, including Jamie, Rick Absher, Corporate Safety Director for TP Mechanical, and three safety specialists (Ben Smith in Columbus, Brittany Knue in Kentucky and Bob Campbell in Dayton) helps keep TP Mechanical on track for high safety ratings and most importantly, helps team members return home safely each night to their families.

Another way TP Mechanical ensures company-wide safety is by going above and beyond OSHA requirements. “We’re always looking for the constant improvement and wanting to be proactive,” said Jamie.  The team asks questions, such as, “What can we do to ensure our people aren’t getting hurt?” and “What can we do as a team?”

TP Mechanical provides field training with any new policy or product so every member of our team understands its importance and impact on safety. It helps foster a company culture where everyone has a voice and ideas are heard and respected. “Employees may find a better tool or improve a work process,” said Jamie.  “We look at the employees and their specialty to make it safer in their expertise. Our goal, DAILY, no matter what, is for everyone to go home whole. You can’t put a dollar or schedule above that.”