While the company might have stumbled upon Viega to start with, it’s no accident that Nevada HAND uses Viega PureFlow when plumbing thousands of apartments across the Las Vegas area.
Nevada HAND is a nonprofit dedicated to providing affordable housing solutions for Southern Nevada’s rapidly growing population. The company has been using Viega products for several years, switching over after issues with a competitor’s PEX-a type connection.
In the beginning, Robert Feibleman, Executive Vice President, said he was simply looking for a product that wouldn’t have issues, and Viega was recommended through a friend. Later, Feibleman decided to dive deeper and get more of an education on the Viega product.
“I learned about how it goes together – the background of the design and the simplification of everything,” he said. “What I came away with, after seeing it all, is that Viega seemed like it was really quite awesome. I got to put a tool in my hand and do a training session, and it was a no- brainer. It was impressive. There’s a lot of engineering that’s been done on the products.”
As Executive Vice President, Feibleman oversees Nevada HAND’s construction activities, including the entitlement, design and construction. There are primarily two types of buildings Nevada HAND constructs – garden-style walk- ups for families and double-loaded corridor buildings with elevators for seniors. In 21 years, the company has constructed about 5,000 apartments, and as a nonprofit they remain the owner of the properties, so long-term quality and maintenance is a big concern.
“We homerun every line that we can from a manifold,” Feibleman said. “At the end of the day it just makes good sense and is a best practice for us. We are hitched to [Viega’s] wagon, and this product will serve us well for the life of the buildings.”
Nevada HAND has partnered with 20/20 Plumbing and Heating, Inc., for the installation work on their apartment buildings. 20/20 has a history with Viega, too, so the partnership is a strong one. And during the past several years, 20/20’s use of Viega products has increased steadily.
“I’d say eight to 10 years ago, we were probably 80 percent competitor and 20 percent Viega. Today, that’s changed and I’d say in 2019 we’ll be 75 or 80 percent Viega,” said Joel Valentine, sales and estimator for 20/20. “Viega has done a great job servicing us, calling on us, following up, and that is huge. We’ve built a great relationship with Viega.”
The other big reason so much of 20/20’s business is now Viega is one of the reasons it works so well for Nevada HAND’s builds – the ability to prefabricate.
“Prefabbing is huge,” said Ruben Portillo, Field Superintendent for 20/20. “We pre-ab all the water systems for the units. We use manifolds and prefab the homeruns; that makes us quite efficient in the field. The process is simple and the material waste is controlled.
We can probably install in half the time it would take otherwise, thanks to prefabbing. We don’t have to unbundle rolls and search for fittings in a box and all. We send it out to the units and the guys get it installed.”
The buildings for Nevada HAND are largely the same, and that’s not by accident. Valentine said that doing things the same each time makes sense for Nevada HAND as the owner.
“The location of the water shutoff, being in the corridor ceilings, and the main supply going into the unit – that’s always going to be in the same location,” he said. “It doesn’t matter the unit. That’s not by default – it’s by design. We can pinpoint where everything is.”
In the apartments for Nevada HAND, 4″ ProPress fittings are used to bring the water main into the building’s boiler room, and then copper lines distribute the water to each of the floors. Within the apartment units themselves, PureFlow fittings are used for the PEX lines. The most recent build the companies are working on is Flamingo Pines, which includes 66 one- and two-bedroom apartments, plus a common area. At completion, this project will have three buildings and 175 affordable senior apartments.
Because Nevada HAND is dedicated to offering affordable living options, Feibleman said it’s important for him to find the best products that make the most sense, both during the building and for long term. “If we can find something that makes a system a little better for the long term, that’s good stuff,” he said. “It’s why we locate the manifolds in the corridor. When we walk into someone else’s project and see what will be concealed fittings all over the place, we see an exponential chance of leak points that can take an apartment out of service, accompanied by expensive repair costs. We are thoughtful to minimize that possibility.”