FlexHead Industries-Texas Schools Retrofit (Jan. 2007)
Golden Triangle Fire Protection of Denton, TX, had a big opportunity and a big problem. The good news? They landed a contract to retrofit 4,375 center-of-tile heads in five different schools in Plano. The bad news? They had only a month from start to finish.
Golden Triangle President Steve Nack estimated that his 20 fitters would have to work 18-20 hours a day, six days a week, using hard pipe. Even at that, he wasn’t sure they could meet the schedule. To complicate matters, the ceiling grid and tiles were removed only in the hallways, so the fitters had to work around them inside the classrooms.
Yet, the crew cut their expected workday nearly in half and still finished four days ahead of the first deadline. Furthermore, they were able to retrofit 30,000 square feet of hallway per school prior to the general contractor reinstalling the ceiling grid and tiles. The time and labor savings enabled Golden Triangle to beat the schedule, while improving the bottom line.
The answer for them was to use FlexHead flexible fire sprinkler connections instead of traditional hard pipe. Nack was reminded of FlexHead products when he checked with his supplier, Bobby Eagle of The Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., to make sure that the material he planned to use was going to be there.
Nack acknowledges that he initially had reservations about the cost of the materials compared to traditional hard pipe. But even in straightforward drops, they can significantly cut labor costs, which far exceed the small increase in materials cost. For more complex problems in the field, the labor savings can be even higher.
Bobby Eagle of Reliable agrees with Nack about the lower overall cost of using FlexHead. “You know, when you have $18- or $20-an-hour fitters going back and forth, cutting and recutting, that’s where most of your money is going. There’s so much flexibility in these things that you don’t even have to bid the job center-of-tile, yet you can still give that to your customer and make them happy.”
In any new experience, success is measured three ways: how the project goes, the financial outcome, and whether you will use the product again. FlexHead scores on all three for Nack.
“I expected to struggle a little bit to make these deadlines. You get guys working long hours for three or four weeks, and they get tired. But with FlexHead, they knew that they could get it done, and they did. It was better than we expected,” he says.
“I definitely will continue to use FlexHead. In fact, I’m using them again right now on another school project that we’re doing. FlexHead has really kept in touch to make sure that we’re not having any trouble with anything and that their product is performing like it needs to. There have been no flaws on their part at all. It’s been excellent!”