Pre Fab? Yes.

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matt.mena

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Here’s something interesting, we have a pre fabrication shop within our company. They made this portable mock up sink to show the intended finished product for a hospital project we won.
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We also pre fab entire toilet carrier systems. They are installed onto thick angle iron. We’ve used this for a few high rises the last four years. The carriers are brought to the site on a flat bed truck and the tower crane picks them up to the needed floor. We move them into place using heavy dollies and lever dollies.

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Our 10 gallon water heaters are pre fabbed with ex tank installed by a bracket on the side or top, valve, vac breaker, drain, unions. Much quicker to install on site. I don’t have a pic of one, yet.

I could say more about our BIM department and using a Tremble to triangulate any point, accuracy to a 1/16”. No longer pulling strings for underground. We also use this technology to install ceiling anchors in the top of the metal decking before the concrete is poured. It can be very accurate if the BIM project manager inputs correct measurements.

On a BIM project most pipe is cut and labeled with most fittings needed attached. Hangers are pre cut and labeled as well. Each section has a spool sheet which is like Lego instructions. It’s a money saving system.

I’ll take a few more pictures to share later.
 
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Twowaxhack

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I’m surprised to see those flex lines in a hospital. They like chromed copper tube here.
 

matt.mena

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I’m surprised to see those flex lines in a hospital. They like chromed copper tube here.
I believe the versatility of the braided lines have taken hold. As far as I can see, they don’t leak and my experience has been good. Just like all fittings, they should not be over or under tightened. Here’s an example of one someone overtightened. The rubber seal will do it’s job if it’s tightened correctly. No torque wrench needed, just common sense judgment.

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What has been your experiences with braided hoses?
 
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Twowaxhack

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I believe the versatility of the braided lines have taken hold. As far as I can see, they don’t leak and my experience has been good. Just like all fittings, they should not be over or under tightened.
View attachment 28685
What has been your experiences with them?
They’re better made then when they first came out. At this point I do t care anymore, I use to dislike them. I use them when it doesn’t matter......

Loving your fab shop tho. That’s a real treat.
 

Riickk

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Saves you how much time on-site -----versus how much time to do same setup in your shop?
Or are you purchasing them looking like that?
If buying them assembled, what's the premium over parts alone?
((They keep telling me there ain't no free lunch))
 

matt.mena

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We fab most of our jobs also. We are mainly mechanical but have fabbed several toilet rooms. It is the way the industry is trending. We have bid jobs that were done in blocks fabbed off site and shipped to project and set in place
Yes, the industry is trending that way.

Does your company use a tee drill on the 2” copper header? Instead of buying many large copper tees, tee drilling saves a lot of money.

We’ve completed two 15 floor hotels which has “bathroom pods”. I believe this is what you are talking about. The first one I worked on the bathrooms were built in Kentucky complete, except the toilet flanges. We slid them into place matching over our sleeved holes in the newly poured concrete deck.

Our problem was many no hub bands we’re loose or already stripped. We had to test the fitted in pods for our local inspectors. Most pods would not pass water or waste inspection so every bad band was fixed or replaced. Pex issues in too.

Fun fact, some of my inspectors flew to the Kentucky plant to visually inspect & approve the bathroom pods to be used in our county.

The concept was nice and marginally profitable.
The finished product turned out good.
 

JG plumbing

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I worked at a large prison project in 2011/12. The company shipped all of the underground cast, for the first of twelve buildings, pre-cut. When they finally got all of the pieces tracked down they started trying to fit them up and nothing was matching the field layout. It's wasn't that far off, but far enough off that, it never got used as intended. They just cut the pieces into pieces and used them where they could.

I think now shols that do this have it down better, and it's accuracy and use is more and more relevant.

There are shops that require all of their apprentices to spend two years in the fab shop before they go into the field. They require everything, even three foot runs of pex with two fittings on it, to be prefabbed in the shop. If you cut something on the field you failed. Cost be dammed. They think it'll pay in the long run.

I'm skeptical it can make a huge difference, but even a small difference on large projects add up to a lot.

I'm a believer in thinking things out, but there is a point in which to much thinking is costly. Especially since there are still mistakes.
 

matt.mena

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Saves you how much time on-site -----versus how much time to do same setup in your shop?
Or are you purchasing them looking like that?
If buying them assembled, what's the premium over parts alone?
((They keep telling me there ain't no free lunch))
Hey Riickk. Man, I didn’t see your post until just now. I saw the one above yours, anyway.

We assemble these carrier systems in house. The cost savings is there, here’s a few points.

- Controlled environment.
Construction sites are hectic and for men to move all individual pieces to the assembly point, then assemble takes more man hours. In the shop, everything the builder needs is right around them, not down a buck hoist to a material zone. Material waste is minimized in a shop environment.

- Maintain high quality standards.
We designed and made the shop fit right for us and what we build. A clean & precise mentality equals noticeably better results.

- Built exactly to 3D engineered specs.
Consistent accurate measurements makes us someone a construction contractor can rely on. This gives us a favorable plumbing contractor advantage for the next profitable project.

- Our BIM department.
We were the first plumbing company in the Carolinas to have an official BIM department. (Building Modeling Information)

- Respect.
I was hired right before this company’s first major BIM & prefabrication project which was a ground up 6 level VA medical center in Charlotte. I was lucky enough to get prevailing wages for a year working that project. As a 3 year apprentice I made $20.88 an hour! 🤑

I was handed a spool sheet which was an “isometric drawing broken down with individual piece measurements” of a vent system. The hanger spool sheets gave individual hanger heights above floor level, which we’re already cut, usually correct. The pipes were cut and labeled and strapped on to pallets. I just assembled pipes in the correct order according to my Lego instructions. Every clevis hanger was cut with a rod coupling on the end to screw onto the pre bedded anchor inserts.

This was a very successful project for us and our success opened the flood gates to bid and win more exclusive projects ✌💰😎💰👍


- Our first pre fab shop.
For the VA project, our first pre fab shop was extra space our local plumbing supply company had in their warehouse. Our first pre fab shop paid no rent, just bought our material from them. It was a good temporary partnership for our first BIM project. Later, we set up a permanent pre fab shop down the street from our office.

Now, all that being said, it’s not a perfect system. In fact, mis measurements by us or other companies on a BIM project can cost big money! Sometimes, one of our construction crews will wait three days for a shipment of pre fabbed pipe because our pre fab shop is slammed. The pipe finally gets on site and it’s all wrong! Now you have $5,000 of soldered copper pipe pieces that you can’t use. Might as well been a shiny scrap pile sitting at your feet. All you can do is go get a ton of couplings and tell your helpers, “Make the best of it.”

Overall, it’s made a HUGE positive impact for us. In 2014 during the VA project our company had 45 total employees. Now, we employ 160+ and another 30+ temps. Our head site foreman for the VA project was invited to start our county’s plumbing inspection department’s first BIM inspection team of two inspectors. They even bent the rules for him to inspect our work during his first two years as a county official.

- To sum it up.
If it’s done right, you save a lot of money & time. You end up making a lot more later by having a pre fabrication department running. Our company leader knew to embrace technology or be left behind.

Actually, he just trusted the Lord. He has made his major decisions by prayer and created this multi million dollar enterprise by letting Jesus guide his heart. Everyday he gives God the glory and is the best steward of blessings I’ve ever seen. He wants us all to honor Christ and exceed customer’s expectations while equipping one another for success. That’s why this business is so successful.
 
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