Scheduling and budget challenges are certainly nothing new, but the recent Miami Ritz Carlton project presented a few new wrinkles forAnvil International, Inc. The project was started and then ran into financial difficulties. As a result, the site sat dormant for a year. With the foundation dug and concrete poured for over a year, the owner and general contractor were eager to proceed once new financing was secured.

The project plans called for construction of twin 22-story towers containing 542,000 square feet of hotel, retail and residential space. Air Management, located in Miami, was selected as the mechanical contractor but needed to significantly reduce its construction cost. To accomplish this, Air Management asked Anvil to join the team and assist them with the value engineering.

"Our initial conversations with Anvil were about where we could use their grooved piping (Gruvlok) products instead of the more traditional welded system," said Ed Gray, vice president of construction for Air Management. "Anvil and its local distributor, Hughes Supply Inc., located in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, helped identify areas where we could use grooved piping and assisted in training our people to work with Gruvlok systems," Gray explained.

Design Engineering: Overcoming Space and Time Issues

The Air Management and Anvil partnership couldn't stop with just project design. There were other challenges to overcome. In this type of building, the architects and engineers try to reduce the space where mechanical equipment is to be placed so as to increase the income-producing square footage. Anvil's Design Services Team, led by Dave Campbell, played a key role in overcoming these space issues while at the same time, finding additional cost savings. Based on the project's original design and space allotments, and additional ideas generated by Air Management, Anvil's Design Services provided three-dimensional, isometric CAD drawings of mechanical equipment and piping options to include splitting an air-handling unit into two smaller units, downsizing chillers, pumps and piping, and reducing related labor costs, all without negatively affecting building performance.

Cost Savings: The Bottom Line

Ed Gray and Dave Didona estimate that as a result of using Anvil's Gruvlok systems they were able to save approximately $80,000 in labor over a traditional welded system. Alternative construction methods and equipment identified up-front with the help of Anvil's Design Services saved another approximately $700,000. And through all this, the schedule was not compromised, as plumbing and hvac work at the multi-use Ritz-Carlton project proceeded on time.