OCI Associates Inc.,
Chilled Water and Glycol
OCI needed a cooling system piping solution that would meet their stringent cost and time requirements
Getting trained and certified on Aquatherm pipe installation and doing the work themselves saved $85,000—while also meeting a tight timeline
If you want something done right—or on time and on budget—sometimes you just have to do it yourself. The professional engineers at OCI Associates Inc., a consulting engineering firm in Maitland, FL, had been looking to invest in a facility of their own for many years; when the opportunity arose, they bought a three-story, 12,000-sq-ft building in a good location.
The structure was an older facility with antiquated and inefficient systems that clearly required renovations before the firm could move in. The firm bought the chosen building during summer 2014, but had to be out of the old office prior to January 2015 when their lease officially was going to expire.
The engineering team specifically designed the building’s updates with future customers in mind. “We wanted to be able to showcase to our clients the possibilities of what could be specified in their buildings,” said Director of Mechanical Engineering Jason Smith, P.E.
Smith and President Amir Kazeminia, P.E., put the mechanical plans out for bid. Several mechanical contractors came back with prices of roughly $250,000—more than double what the engineering firm had budgeted. However, the engineers weren’t interested in scaling back their design, so they began to examine the bids.
“There was quite a bit of money in the overhead, profit and labor that seemed to be driving the bids up,” Smith said. Finally, “we were sitting around one night brainstorming ways to save the design intent and said, ‘What if we do it ourselves?’”
Kazeminia, who also has his mechanical-contracting license, set up a contracting firm. “In order to save our design, we had to self-perform our installation,” Smith said.