Who wouldn’t want to save nearly 500 man-hours on a project?

That’s what CSM Mechanical did on a job for the City of Dearborn in Michigan – thanks to Viega’s MegaPressG fittings. By reworking plans to make the natural gas piping distribution system 4” or smaller on the police and courts buildings, and by choosing to press instead of weld, the CSM Mechanical crew calculated a savings of 491 man-hours.

“The job just went in absolutely phenomenally,” said Craig Mortz, owner of CSM Mechanical. “We saved so much. We took an estimated 30-day project and finished it in 12 days!”

CSM Mechanical has been working for the past four years on an upgrade and update of the mechanical systems campus-wide for the City of Dearborn’s five municipal buildings. Originally constructed in the 1950s, the buildings all had one central powerhouse with heated and chilled water. The renovation plans included disconnecting the heating plant from the central source, upgrading the central chiller plant and giving each building its own individual boiler plant for improved efficiency and energy savings.

None of the buildings were plumbed for gas, and original plans for the police department building included a 6” gas main that was to be welded. Mortz and his team took a look at the project and knew they could improve on the design.

“In working with the owners and with Viega, we got concessions from the natural gas provider to increase the supply pressure so that we were able to get the system down to a 4” line,” he said. “We told the customer we could then also press it instead of welding, which would be faster, safer and save money.”

CSM Mechanical put in almost 1,000 feet of 4” gas pipe, using MegaPressG fittings. CSM Mechanical’s team was the first in Michigan to have the jaws and tool for the larger-diameter MegaPressG fittings, and they were excited to put them to work.

A four-man crew (instead of the six that would have been needed for welding), led by Field Operations Manager Tyler Pryzwara, completed the job. The workers put eight air handlers and four gas-fired boilers in the police and courts buildings, connecting everything with MegaPressG. 

Specifications and assistance from Viega were vital in getting MegaPress – and the smaller-diameter pipe – approved for the project, Mortz said.

We showed the owners all the pressure test ratings and standards that MegaPressG is capable of,” Mortz explained. “When we increased the supply pressure and decreased the plumbing size to 4, we were well within any operational and conditional limits for this installation.

“Just the logistics of welding 6” carbon steel pipe and manually distributing it across the various building roofs is where our biggest time savings came from,” Mortz said. “As opposed to 4” pipe that is lighter and can be cut and prefabricated – that saved a lot of time.” 

The safety aspect on this project was also a huge benefit. Because the police building is occupied and active 24 hours a day, welding posed significant safety and fire hazards since there were no “off hours” to do the work in. Plus, the buildings have a tar/pitch roofing system. 

“We didn’t have to weld on the roof, so we didn’t have sparks and flames and fire blankets and all of the associated PPE,” Mortz said. “Safety was a huge win for us on that building and on the project overall.”

Once installed, CSM Mechanical pneumatically pressure tested the system, which included 1,811 mechanical joints, to 150 psi with no issues or leaks. As winter temperatures set in, the buildings were heated via the new boilers and natural gas line without a problem, providing the City of Dearborn with substantial energy savings and improved efficiencies. 

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