Applewood Pointe, Eden Prairie, MN, USA
Mechanical contractor leverages new kitting service to curtail material shortages and boost installation productivity
Among the many critical challenges facing a plumbing foreman on a multifamily job site is the need to maintain efficient and consistent installation methods across the entire project. This mandate applies as much or more to the rough-in plumbing as to the finishing trim: the larger the job, the bigger the challenge.
- 100-unit multifamily complex
- Units feature 25 different configurations
- Uponor AquaPEX® pipe
- ProPEX® fittings
- Construction Services
- Kitting Solutions
“Every plumber has a better idea of how to run pipe,” says Pete Erny, only half-jokingly. A 21-year veteran of the plumbing industry in Minnesota, Erny currently serves as a plumbing foreman with Major Mechanical in Maple Grove, focusing on commercial and multifamily plumbing projects. As such, Erny has ample experience coping with the headaches and do-overs that inevitably occur when too many plumbers go in too many different directions on a job site.
This need for consistent installation quality is one of the prime reasons Major Mechanical chose to use Uponor Kitting Services for the rough-in plumbing work on a “cooperative homes” development called Applewood Pointe, located in Eden Prairie. The value-added service is designed to streamline the PEX-a pipe and fitting installation process for the plumbing or mechanical contractor.
“Historically, piping-system layout and procurement for rough-in plumbing has been coordinated on the job site, with the foreman having the responsibility for ordering all the materials needed, including chasing down any unexpected shortages,” explains Daniel Worm, manger, Commercial Segment, at Uponor.
Problems often arise in the form of communication and information gaps between the field and home office. These gaps are “managed” through over-buying by the foreman, just to make sure crews aren’t left to stand around, waiting for materials to arrive.
“Uponor Kitting Services is structured to close communication gaps,” says Worm. “It reassures everyone that the right material in the right quantities will be on the job and ready for installation precisely when needed. The goal is to smooth worksite-to-office communications, reduce procurement errors, minimize installation mistakes, and ultimately boost productivity.”
With his experiences at Applewood Pointe, Erny sees the service as a welcome relief from the old ways, and not just for its impact on material procurement. Kit contents are based entirely on rough-in designs created by Uponor Construction Services, working closely with the contractor. The result is an installation consistency that drives workforce efficiency.
“The service takes the thinking out of the rough-in install process, so the temptation to freelance is much less,” Erny notes. “You still need to figure out how to get Pipe A to Pipe B, however putting all the essential piping-connection components in a single kit for a single apartment unit gives each installer a running start and a clearer direction.”
The benefits of kitting
It’s in the bag
Aimed at individuals aged 62 years and up, the Applewood Pointe complex consists of 100 apartment units, each with two baths, a kitchen, and a laundry area. But the floor plans for these 100 units are not stamped out with a cookie-cutter. In fact, the condo-style development strives for creative variations and features 25 different configurations — each with a different, trunk-and-branch plumbing plan. That complexity strengthened the argument for a new approach to planning and executing the rough-in install.
Major worked with the Uponor Kitting Services team to create plumbing layouts for each of the 25 configurations. Kits, which consist of plastic bags carrying precise, hand-counted numbers of elbows, tees, rings, and other PEX system components, are then assembled to meet the specific needs of each design and marked clearly with the name of the individual apartment where they are to be installed.
Just as importantly, Uponor ships each plastic bag to the job site with a 3D isometric drawing, detailing the designated apartment’s plumbing layout, plus a material list. This approach has the happy advantage of reducing the amount of “explaining” a foreman like Erny finds himself doing on a job site, especially with less-experienced installers.
“I just hand the installer the bag with the fittings and the drawing, saying ‘Follow the diagram.’ All by itself, that speeds up the install process,” he says.
Erny has also found the purchasing and material handling headaches to be much less, thanks to kitting. “Uponor delivers the kits as we need them on the project, one zone at a time,” he explains. “The kits contain what we need where we need it, so there’s no one running to me, saying, ‘Hey, we are out of half-inch tees.’”
Eliminating material shortages, of course, spares Erny from the time-wasting dash to a local supply house for fill-ins, while his install crew cools their heels. “It may not seem like much, but that plastic bag containing everything we need takes a lot off my plate.”
Period of adjustment
There’s a learning curve to climb at the onset of any large commercial plumbing project, particularly one as complex as Applewood Pointe. That was as true for the new kitting service as it was for the Major Mechanical team. But scaling the curve was not all that difficult, reports the project’s lead plumbing installer, Jared Hudalla.
“During the early stages of the project, we went through the kits to see what worked best for a particular application in terms of fittings and other components and whether plumbing-layout changes were required,” he says. “We wrote our adjustments onto the isometric drawings, and the manufacturer reps took them back to the Uponor team.”
This process ensured all the changes would be incorporated into the next set of kits shipped to the job site. “Our corrections were routinely made, allowing us to concentrate on installing,” he says. “We worked together to streamline the process to drive the results we wanted.”
Hudalla, who became a plumber in 2008, shares his colleague’s enthusiasm for Uponor Kitting Services’ ability to foster installation consistency.
“The biggest thing for me is, if you just give a mechanic a bunch of fittings, he’s going to try to use them all. Over the years, I’ve seen too many ‘creative’ installs because the mechanics were given large quantities of every fitting under the sun.
“Kitting, on the other hand, helps create an overall quality install by limiting the number of fittings per unit to only what’s necessary for the layout that’s been created,” he says. “That, in turn, results in the water piping being run the same way every single time across the board.”
On a similar, previous project, Hudalla reports he was completing the rough-in for five to six apartments daily. “At Applewood Pointe, we have been able to jump it another two to three units with kitting.” That is why both men hope to bring Uponor Kitting Services to future projects.
Josh Giffen, project manager/estimator for Applewood Pointe, is the Major Mechanical manager who runs the numbers to assess the impact of the kitting service.
“The relationship with Uponor is amazing,” he reports. “They understand what we as contractors would like to see, and they make the adjustments to help us out. I like that for every apartment unit, the materials are in a bag and not a mess on the floor. I like the idea of a drawing showing our apprentices how to water-pipe a unit the correct way without overthinking it. It’s a teaching technique that has really worked to our advantage on this project.”
— Pete Erny, Plumbing foreman, Major Mechanical
Shanghai sheshan yard developed by Lujin company is a high-grade hardcover residential area with a total area of 42000 square meters, 540 apartments.
Shanghai sheshan yard developed by Lujin company is a high-grade hardcover residential area, which is located in Shanghai,songjiang district, with a total area of 42000 square meters, 540 apartments.
National Technical Library
Reconstruction of heat and hot water distribution with circulation in the housing estate in Zákupy
Uponor participates in construction of Maarjamõisa Medical Campus
Cost-effective and space-saving prefabricated module Reno Port ensures succesful renovation
Feeling comfortable and relaxed in loft apartments
The joint renovation project in Maunula – cost savings through co-operation
Underfloor cooling adds value to new construction
Prefabricated solution fastens installation of underfloor heating system
Smart heating and cooling in multi storey building
High quality and comfort were the guiding principles when desinging the heating solution. All appartments have Uponor's radiant heating and cooling system which is connected to building's automation system.
Fiksu ratkaisu reititykseen
Riser Port modular system was installed to new multi storey building in Helsinki for smooth and fast installation of plumbing, ventilation and sewer riser lines.
Reno Port solution was selected to routing for tap water and sewer pipelines in wooden multi storey buildings in Turku
New renovation concept benefited from prefabricated solution from Uponor
A tested and researched underfloor heating solution keeps footsteps in control
Decibel soil and waste system were installed in the new appartments in former prison Kakola.
Stylish rock home was renovated with practical viewpoint
Durability and quality are crucial in the award-winning wooden apartment block
Renovation made easy by Reno Port
A housing company in Turku saved time and money using Uponor's Cefo pipe overhaul
Line renovation is easy with the Uponor technical wall
The luxury flats by the Töölönlahti bay remain at the ideal temperature thanks to underfloor heating and cooling
New block of flats built with Uponor's R2i elements
A line renovation was carried out in a block of flats in Turku using Uponor's R2I elements
Aleksanterinkatu 5 in Lahti will be completed with R2I blocks
Next stop: comfort
PankeBogen residential development in Bernau
New campus for the International School of Kuala Lumpur (ISKL)
Ewha Campus Complex
Ewha Womans University had planned the underground campus, which is a global trend for space creation, in order to solve the problem that the available space on the ground was insufficient despite the increase in the space demand in the campus, in accordance with the Ewha Womans University Development Plan in the 21st century.
Mapo Oil Storage facility, South Korea
The industrial heritage "Mapo Oil storage facility" converted into a comprehensive cultural park with Uponor Radiant Heating and Cooling system.
Residential building Legato
Harmony in the rhythm of the city.
YIT Green City is a city oasis in Purvciems district
"Beržų Terasos" (Birch Terraces)
"Beržų Terasos" (Birch Terraces) - nature surrounded 10,600 m2 sized multi storey apartment buildings in Vilnius Antakalnis district.
De Vries van Heijst public garden student housing complex
Loft Apartments Praha Bubeneč
Distribution system for a reference building in the center of Bratislava
Tap water system in Uppsala, Sweden with plastic manifolds and new pipe dimensions
Uponor Decibel suppresses sound from the waste water in Gothenburg
Heating and tap water solutions
Perfect for property owners
South Kilburn residential site
The Mercian Broad
Norman House Residential Development, Derby
To help address the housing shortage in Derby, an office block (Norman House) has been converted into 134apartments. As part of the conversion, electric heating, mains cold water distribution systems and hot water cylinders were installed in each room.
Aurora Micro Apartments
Loring Park Tower
Linjasaneeraus helpoksi – talotekniikkakasetti on valmiiksi mietitty kokonaisuus
The service flue solution speeded up the construction of a block of flats in Lahti
As a result, Uponor now offers a new, optimized and well structured, compact and easy to use prefab basic unit with flexible connectivity options for managing water and heating in varying types of housing.
From now on, Uponor provides the construction market with these prefab shaft units, primarily intended for modern floor building and terraced houses.
Edificio La Luz Residencial Toscana
A new standard of comfort in Burgos.
Can Domenge Residential Complex (Mallorca)
Uponor Klett and Uponor Smatrix in the most sustainable promotion of Las Rozas
Residencial Escalonia I, II and III. Las Rozas (Madrid), Spain
Jinonický dvůr, 2nd stage
Pušų Terasos (Pine Terraces)
hi! Cañaveral es una promoción VPPB excepcional con Climatización Invisible por suelo radiante Uponor.