Smart Solutions

R&S United Mechanical Contractors Save Installation Time, Labor Costs with NIBCO Press Systems

Tasked with building out the HVAC system on Buildings 1 and 5 of Riverside Center Towers, R&S used NIBCO press systems to save time and money on installation while maintaining their reputation for high-quality workmanship.

R&S United Mechanical Services turned to NIBCO INC. for their innovative press joinery system solutions to complete large-scale mechanical systems for several New York City projects. Not only are the NIBCO products easy to install and cost-effective, they do not require an open flame, saving R&S the expense of hiring a worker for fire watch.

R&S is the mechanical contractor for three economically and historically significant new construction and renovation projects in two of New York’s five boroughs: Admiral’s Row at the New York Navy Yard in historic Brooklyn and Riverside Center Towers Buildings 1 and 5, located on a single block in Manhattan.

New York State of Building

New York City has some of the most high-profile construction projects in the United States (not to mention the world) as a result of many factors, such as population density and the city’s focus on tourism. With that attention comes high costs and complex regulations for contractors. From labor, equipment, and supply costs to zoning and building approvals, contractors are constantly looking for ways to provide high-quality construction and installation services while keeping costs down. At R&S, Gordon Jones, director of purchasing, is tasked with finding the most cost-effective and time-efficient means for sourcing these builds.

“Ten years ago, our industry was reluctant and skeptical of press joinery,” Jones said. “We embraced press systems because we knew they would have a significant impact on our industry. What makes press systems so effective is their ease of install, which ultimately saves labor costs.” NIBCO manufactures a complete system of press valves, fittings, and accompanying tools to make installation easy and cost effective. Over 75 percent of the piping and valve system in Riverside Center is made up of NIBCO press system components.

Building Balancing Act

As one of the top mechanical contractors in New York, R&S, based in Amityville, NY, proudly supports construction projects throughout the five boroughs. That experience is vital to navigating the complex and sometimes complicated regulatory, labor, and logistics environment of the Big Apple.

In Manhattan, the Riverside Center Towers encompass five high-rise, high-end residential towers with 646 residential units in Building 1 (at 1 West End Avenue) and 320 apartments in Building 5 (at 1 Riverside Drive). R&S was tasked with building out the HVAC system on Buildings 1 and 5. This $1.2 billion-dollar development project included $400,000 worth of various 1/2to 2NIBCO press fittings and the popular PC585- 70 ball valve. It is rare to have a single subcontractor work on two large projects like this, but R&S has developed a reputation for high-quality workmanship, quality control, and service that convinced the developer to hire them.

Admiral’s Row at 299 Sands Street in Brooklyn was, as its name implies, where U.S. Navy officers were housed adjacent to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for close to 100 years. This area of dilapidated brownstones has been cleared to add a Wegman’s supermarket, light manufacturing, and creative office spaces. R&S worked on the renovation of the new professional spaces, using $250,000 worth of 1/2to 2copper press valves, fittings, and components. With the mixed-use nature of this project, finding savings anywhere possible was the key reason R&S chose NIBCO press system products.

More Than Cost Savings

Building in New York City also poses significant operational barriers. Because the R&S projects were either historically significant or in advanced stages of completion, they were subject to stringent rules about installation. For example, because of the risk of fire with the use of an open flame, each area that has a soldering or brazing operation going on must have an individual worker to stand a fire watch. With labor costs in New York City at more than $100 per hour, fire watch can be very expensive. Using NIBCO press joinery allowed R&S to avoid this cost altogether. R&S chose NIBCO press valves and fittings for several other reasons:

Installation is faster because it does not involve soldering or brazing.

There is no open flame that could cause a fire or require shutting down entire sections of the building for maintenance and repairs.

Having fewer materials on site—especially flammable materials (e.g., rod and fuel for brazing)—makes for a safer jobsite.

“Labor cost savings were always top-of-mind for us, but what NIBCO brought to the table—great customer service, technical support, and training—made these projects that much easier to complete.” Jones added. “These are important projects to the economy and history of New York City which require the highest quality installations—that’s what sets R&S, and NIBCO, apart.”

Pressing Forward

The projects are at varying stages of completion. R&S will continue to use NIBCO press system components to ensure their reputation for high quality and good workmanship is maintained. The labor cost savings generated cannot be understated. Using easy-to-install press joinery saved the contractors time and money.

Avi Polischuk, president of R&S United Services, said, “Because of the high-profile nature of the projects and the time and cost-savings realized throughout the install, NIBCO has made me a believer in using press fittings.”

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MCAA thanks NIBCO INC for being a major sponsor of MCAA2020 and hosting the 46th Annual Round Robin Tennis Tournament & 2nd Annual Pickleball Tournament.