Smart Solutions

Letsos Company, CFI Mechanical Swap Uponor PEX for Copper, PVC

Ease of installation and lower material costs convinced Letsos Company to select Uponor PEX for the plumbing system of Paetow High School in Katy, TX, and the school district has since rewritten its building specifications to include PEX.

Ease of Installation, Low Cost, and High Performance Benefit Texas High Schools and Contractors

Letsos Company and CFI Mechanical, both of Houston, TX, used Uponor PEX for two high school plumbing projects to save money for the school district while also realizing faster installation and cost savings over traditional approaches. CFI Mechanical estimated a 30-percent savings in cost and labor resulting from using smaller PEX piping (1and below).

The 80,000-student, Katy, TX, Independent School District (ISD) recently built its eighth high school, Patricia E. Paetow High School, and is working on its ninth, Jordan High School, to meet the needs of its growing student population with new, state-of-the-art facilities. The plans originally specified copper and CPVC for the plumbing, but the school district was looking for other options to value engineer the Paetow project. Letsos Company proposed adding PEX to the specification on the basis of their success in a Houston waterway project.

Mike Rostvold, technical sales representative at Uponor, met with the engineer as well as the school district’s maintenance staff and head of construction to educate them on the properties and benefits of PEX. “The maintenance staff loved it—the ease of the system with no torches or glues, the longevity, the warranty,” said Rostvold. “After the meeting, the district rewrote their spec to include PEX.”

By using Uponor PEX for a new high school’s plumbing, Letsos Company avoided the need for torches or glues, increasing the speed and safety of installation.
CFI Mechanical estimated a 30-percent savings in cost and labor resulting from using smaller Uponor PEX piping (1″ and below) for the new Jordan High School in Katy, TX.

And while PEX was not specified in the original Katy ISD design standard, it was installed in eight other Katy schools previously, having been accepted as a value-engineered product. The 635,000-square-foot Paetow High School was completed in August 2017. In the winter of 2017–2018, the Katy area experienced freezing temperatures. The only buildings that did not have pipe failure were the ones plumbed with PEX.

“Freeze protection is just one of the advantages of PEX,” said Anthony Gardner, senior plumbing estimator at Letsos Company. “The speed of installation, the flexibility, and the material cost savings are also great benefits.”

Gardner added that Uponor’s support services, such as field training and jobsite walkthroughs, “help tremendously” to meet tight production schedules on a project.

CFI Mechanical is currently installing the Uponor PEX plumbing system at the 649,000-square-foot Jordan High School, set to open in the summer of 2020. “With the initial installation, we’re seeing significant cost and labor savings with pipe sizes 1and down,” said Roy Hennick, vice president of CFI Mechanical. “I’d estimate about a 30-percent savings for the smaller pipe sizes.”

And it appears word is getting around to other school districts about the benefits of PEX. “Now many other school districts are jumping on board,” said Rostvold. “We just met with Houston ISD about new construction and repipe opportunities, and we now have 13 different K–12 school projects in process.”

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MCAA thanks Uponor for being a major sponsor of MCAA2020 and providing the welcome baseball cap.