Your company is weighing its options for plant construction. Should you build new or retrofit?
American Laundry News recently invited several engineering, construction and consulting firms with laundry services expertise to respond to some questions about this debate, and identify some of the factors in making the decision.
What are some project pitfalls to be avoided — service disruption, contractor issues, etc.?
Elliot J. Mata, Laundry Division manager, ARCO/Murray National Construction Co., Oakbrook Terrace, Ill.
A construction project is never perfect or error-free. If anyone ever makes that claim, either they’re lying or they were never intimately involved in the project. In particular, this couldn’t be truer than when designing or building a laundry facility, due to the level of coordination and continuously “moving parts.” But whether the project is new or retrofit, a great deal of risk and mistakes can be avoided if you work with a professional experienced in the laundry industry. You benefit from the mistakes they’ve made and the lessons they’ve learned.
Some common issues that can become large problems if not properly planned for are:
Doug Rose, business development manager, Turn-Key Industrial Engineering Services, Charlottesville, Va.
The No. 1 pitfall to avoid is service disruption or degradation to your customers. Planning ahead will ensure that your customers experience no discomfort as you look to improve your business. Here are some other ways to avoid pitfalls:
Matt Alexander, president, Pertl & Alexander, Jamesville, N.Y.
Selecting the right contractor, designer, project managers and equipment suppliers are key to a successful project. It’s critical to have tight specifications for all work and machinery, and to have the entire project team work well together. Time and money spent in project planning and design is time and money best spent.
Scheduling and coordination of the work requires expertise, experience and commitment. Selecting the right partners is fundamental … unproven team members and technology should be avoided.
Glen Phillips, president and senior associate, Phillips & Associates, Minneapolis, Minn.
Laundries are unique operations, and having a knowledgeable laundry consultant working on the planning team is imperative for success. The laundry industry has some good laundry consultants and some horrible “so-called” consultants. Check out any professional that will be part of the planning team.
The general contractor that knows and understands the industry is the second most important team member. He can select and advise on subcontractors that also know the business. A qualified construction team can’t be beat. A general contractor that doesn’t understand the special intricacies of building a laundry can make a project a living nightmare. The importance of due diligence in the selection process cannot be underestimated.
Gerard O’Neill, president/CEO, American Laundry Systems, Haverhill, Mass.
Using local contractors, especially for the general contracting, is worth its weight in gold. Local inspectors can make or break a project. Some townships and cities will subsidize a project when local contractors are used. They aren’t as friendly to out-of-state contractors. Relying on a combination of both for construction and then the laundry is a good solution.
Matt Alexander, Pertl & Alexander, can be reached at 888-419-3444, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elliot J. Mata, ARCO/Murray National Construction Co., can be reached at 630-599-9100, email@example.com.
Gerard O’Neill, American Laundry Systems, can be reached at 978-373-1883, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glen Phillips, Phillips & Associates, can be reached at 763-231-9950, email@example.com.
Doug Rose, Turn-Key Industrial Engineering Services, can be reached at 434-227-2613, firstname.lastname@example.org.