Nightmares Saved by Prefabrication
Traditionally Installed vs Prefabricated Skids
Jordan and Bryson are mechanical engineers in need of an HVAC Skid to hold the piping components, pumps and chillers that are set to hook into their data centre. They are in the process of determining which components to order, and planning to hire the appropriate cranes for delivery, as well as the necessary tradies for the skid’s installation.
Jordan has done some research about prefabricated skids online, and consulted Masterflow about whether they are a good fit for his jobsite. After confirming that his site’s plantroom is suitable for a prefabricated skid, and comparing the accompanying increase of convenience and safety of installation in the immediate term, as well as cost savings throughout the project, Jordan decides to order a custom-designed prefabricated skid for his site, which will be taken care of by one supplier. He is given a delivery date for the skid, and prepares for its smooth installation.
Bryson, however, is sceptical about prefabricated skids. Because they involve a variety of components being ordered at once, there is a heftier one-time invoice involved when compared to purchasing components individually as is the case on a traditional job. While this isn’t necessarily more expensive overall, it is a harder one-time bill to stomach. Bryson decides to order his components from a handful of different suppliers, and waits patiently for their separate deliveries on site.
Jordan’s skid was delivered by Masterflow on schedule, with all components fitted into a tested, ready-to-go unit. Lifted on site with a single crane, delivery was not only smoother, but more time efficient and cost effective than any of Jordan’s previous jobs.
In Bryson’s case, delivery day is more of a ‘delivery month.’ The pumps have been sitting onsite for 2 weeks, but the heat exchangers are still a week away from being delivered. This is a common obstacle that projects face as they use a variety of suppliers, with a variety of delivery ETAs.
Jordan’s plantroom is clutter-free, as all the components of the skid arrived in a self-contained unit, without any parts causing an eyesore, trip hazard or potential for loss.
Meanwhile, Bryson’s site is a mess. Observe the image below:
A: For starters, there’s unfinished pipework exposed on the site, leaving the system vulnerable to debris and dust, which could cause costly damage to the pumps and seals over time.
B: This unfinished pipework has resulted in a disorganised clutter of pipe fittings being stranded across the site. Aside from the potential for the cylindrical fittings to roll and cause a trip hazard, they are vulnerable to rolling and becoming lost! Imagine the frustration of delaying a project for the delivery of one small pipe fitting! This is Bryson’s reality.
C: Other fittings are laying around the site, exposed to the elements and in soaked cardboard boxes thanks to wet weather. Apart from the corrosion risk to the fittings, this makes them vulnerable to being thrown out by mistake, or lost.
But Bryson’s mess of a traditional job with components sourced from many suppliers and installed on-site unfortunately doesn’t end there…
D: This copper manifold is a trip hazard that would not have been present had it already been installed onto the skid upon delivery to the site.
E: All hot works will need to be done on-site. These open flames, needless to say, are an enormous safety hazard and limit the amount of work that can be done in the plantroom at any given time. With Bryson claiming to seek minimisation on-site hot works, it would have been wise for him to achieve this by having the supplier conduct them prior to delivery.
F: Scaffolding was hired for Bryson’s job, a time-consuming and costly operation that may not have been necessary for a prefabricated unit as the tradies wouldn’t need to work on the upper structures of the skid themselves.
G: In the chaos and clutter of Bryson’s site, the plumbers have forgotten to install pipe spring hangers. This means the dead weight is not optimally supported, and the thermal load of the unit does not have the appropriate reduction. A factory with high level Quality Assurance would never allow such an omission to be sent on site.
When Jordan’s prefabricated skid arrives, its internal connections, welding and pipework are already complete. In his case, just one plumber and one electrician are needed to install the unit. There’s only one objective to accomplish on site – connecting the skid to the rest of the system.
Bryson’s team, however, has a far heavier burden on their shoulders. All of the work completed in-house at Masterflow during Jordan’s job now has to be done on-site at Bryson’s project. This takes significantly more man hours, requiring more plumbers and more electricians on site… this is not only expensive as personnel have to be paid, but the potential for human errors to be made on such a busy site, with so many more people handling so many more responsibilities, is exponentially increased.
Furthermore, the plethora of safety hazards due to the disorderly site layout make it uncomfortably likely that an injury will occur on site, raising both ethical and financial concerns.
Because of the increased number of singular items needed on site, Bryson’s job requires several different crane lifts, ramping up the cost of getting components on site, without increasing their quality whatsoever.
Of course, the increased amount of personnel required throughout the installation process and the accompanying safety risks as they navigate the clutter doesn’t help reduce expenses either.
Suddenly, Bryson regrets his hesitancy to tackle all components in one bill, as the short sightedness has cost him dearly in money spent on plumbers and electricians who had to be on site ‘just in case’ a delivery happens.
Jordan was able to avoid overpaying for tradies, overpaying for delivery, risking injury and losing or damaging components, all by deciding to take advantage of the innovation of prefabricated skids.
As previously mentioned, the use of multiple suppliers for a site often leads to components sitting around the site, waiting for other components to arrive. When components are sitting around, exposed to the elements, without being used; this makes compromised performance that doesn’t meet supplier claims, and failure, all the more likely, leading to warranty claims.
The issue worsens when one is attempting to make a warranty claim and Bryson has a major headache on his hands… First, he must investigate which supplier it was that they sourced the faulty component from. Next, he must be prepared to deal with this supplier blaming the malfunction on another component, sourced by another supplier. These issues can persist for days, and weeks, which is a situation that precisely no one wants to find themselves in.
Jordan’s circumstances and course of action in the event of a warranty claim are much more streamlined. He has one supplier to call, who can provide consultation, an inspection, and a clear solution.
Unfortunately, Bryson missed his deadline, and his client is now considering a different mechanical engineer for their next project.
Quite simply, Jordan has benefitted from more work being done offsite, and therefore less labour onsite, and therefore reduced costs and increased time efficiency.
Less suppliers resulted in better coordinated deliveries, once again meaning less time was spent on-site, resulting in less stress for the project manager. Less suppliers also means less complications with warranties, reducing equipment downtime and crafting a better reputation with the end user.
Prefabricated skids don’t only save you time, money and stress… their ability to enhance your completion of your job on time and effectively empowers your reputation, likelihood of repeat business and capacity to take on bigger jobs.
If you want Jordan’s experience rather than Bryson’s, chat with Masterflow about the prefabricated options for your project. Our engineers are experienced in drawing custom-made designs tailored to your individual project needs.
We manufacture our prefabricated solutions in-house, in our ISO 9001:2015 accredited workshop. Our Quality Assurance process is conducted with experience, expertise, and pride.