Nearly five miles of pipe.

That’s what a crew from Limbach Inc. was tasked with replacing – a total of 24,500 feet of old carbon steel gas pipe. On the roof of a large shopping complex in Philadelphia. With as little inconvenience to the tenants as possible. And without using any hot work on the roof.

Sounds like the perfect use of Viega MegaPressG.

“Philadelphia Gas Works contracted Limbach to install new gas pipe from new meters on the ground to the equipment connection points on the roof of the mall, which feeds to all the stores and restaurants,” explained Phil DiPaola, Project Manager for Limbach. “The old pipe has been up there quite a while and is past its service life expectancy.

“They wanted to replace the aging pipe and move the meters to the ground level. They installed a new gas main and meters at five locations for Limbach to tie to at ground level. All the lines going to the roof had to be welded to the roof edge – but the specifications call for no hot work on the roof.”

DiPaola said shortly after starting the project as a weld job that Limbach’s teams thought maybe there was a better way to get the project done. Originally everything would have to be prefabbed and welded off the roof – in the shop or parking lot – then lifted to the roof and bolted together.

When Tom Price, Foreman for the project, attended a Viega lunch and learn, he discovered that MegaPress could be a viable option for the mall project. He’d used ProPress in the past for copper projects, but this was his, and DiPaola’s, first experience with Viega MegaPressG.

“It was the perfect scenario for this project,” DiPaola said. “No hot work, and we saved all that weld time. Plus we would have had to spray galvanizing on the welds, so being able to press a joint and move on is a big difference. It made a really nice and clean job.”

The re-pipe was split into five separate sections. There are various-sized racks with lines running all over – as Price explained, it’s not simply thousands of feet of straight pipe. With so much pipe to handle, Price said it was nice using MegaPress to only have to move pipe once.

“We load pipe, walk it across the roof, walking it out in single lengths to drop onto the hangars. Then we just follow behind with the press guns and it goes pretty quickly,” he said.

The total project was estimated to use more than 700 2″ fittings, 200 11⁄2″ fittings and more than 100 11⁄4″ fittings.

“Using MegaPress is an incredible time savings as compared to welding,” Price said. “Plus, with
the dated construction of this roof, I think any spark would go through. Replacing a gas line with welding, you couldn’t do that up there. I can’t imagine what you’d have to do to protect that roof from hot work.”

Crews began working on the re-pipe in mid-March and were scheduled to be done by the end of May. Total demolition of the old lines was anticipated to be completed by the end of June. As each section was finished, it was tested and turned over to Philadelphia Gas Works so the new meters and lines could be tied into the main system and then turned over to the mall.

“We started with a smaller section in the beginning, and we learned a lot during the process. Now we’re just moving along really nicely,” DiPaola said mid-project. “Everybody knows what they need to do. Limbach’s hand-in-hand work with Viega’s team ensured a smooth outcome. The time savings to actually connect the joint is ridiculous – it’s so much faster.”

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