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With an enrollment of more than 27,000 students, the University of New Mexico is the state’s largest college. It’s known for its strong and historied athletic programs, particularly the Lobos football and basketball teams, which compete in the Mountain West Conference. Dreamstyle Stadium has been home to the Lobos football team for 60 seasons.  The Read more

With an enrollment of more than 27,000 students, the University of New Mexico is the state’s largest college. It’s known for its strong and historied athletic programs, particularly the Lobos football and basketball teams, which compete in the Mountain West Conference.

Dreamstyle Stadium has been home to the Lobos football team for 60 seasons.  The 39,224 seat football stadium is attached to the L.F. Tow Diehm Athletic Facility. Tow Diehm, who’s known as the “Father of Athletic Training” in New Mexico, served as UNM’s athletics trainer for 31 years.

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Inside, the facility includes athletic offices, common areas, locker rooms for both home and visiting teams, and a weight room that underwent an $800,000 renovation in 2014.

A more recent renovation took place in the facility’s primary mechanical room.  Over the past few years, the domestic hot water system began failing. Nonstop pump failures, electrical problems, and a leaking hot water storage tank plagued maintenance crews.

Navien NPE-240S tankless water heater, Navien, tankless water heaters, plumbing, water heating, service and repair, retrofitThese problems inevitably surfaced at the worst times, like game day. The system provides hot water to all fixtures within the building, including the home and visitor locker room showers.

“We were frequently called in after hours to tend to the old system,” explained Richard Van Damme, HVAC master for the University of New Mexico. “At one point, we had even drained the 1,600 gallon storage tank for replacement, only to fill it again a few days later for game.”

Hot water was being supplied by two large, atmospheric volume water heaters with capacities of 490,000 BTUH each. The maintenance department had been pushing for replacement for a number of years.  The cost of maintenance was rising, outright failure was imminent, the system’s dependability was lacking and efficiency was a concern.

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“When we received a work order to replace the failing system, we evaluated a straight, in-kind replacement with standard efficiency water heaters. Installing a similar storage tank would’ve required removing part of the roof. We also looked at tankless style system options. Energy savings was a big consideration, as was redundancy and serviceability,” said Jesse Hart, facilities engineer for UNM’s facilities management department.”

“There are short periods of high demand, with low or no demand otherwise,” he continued. “The showers aren’t even used year-round, so the application lent itself perfectly to a hi-efficiency, low-volume hot water system. Standby heat loss from the big tank was significant.”

UNM looked at various tankless products and contacted their local Navien representative, Jordan Mahboub, at RepNet. Mahboub and Hart worked closely with Navien sales engineers to create a design based on the peak hot water demand at the L.F. Tow Diehm Athletic Facility: 82 gallons per minute at 120F. The university wanted the ability to meet peak demand with one or two units offline.

Navien NPE-240S tankless water heater, Navien, tankless water heaters, plumbing, water heating, service and repair, retrofit

Once the design was approved, Futures Mechanical was hired for the replacement. The volume water heaters and storage tank were removed and 18 Navien NPE-240S condensing, tankless water heaters were installed.

The NPE-240S is a 199,900 BTUH condensing, wall-hung water heater that features dual stainless steel heat exchangers, a 10-to-1 turndown ratio, and efficiencies up to 97 percent. The unit also provides LEED points, where applicable.

Water heaters were installed in two independent systems, one on either side of the mechanical room to serve each locker room. Navien’s Ready-Link manifold system was used to simplify the installation and save space.

The Ready-Link Manifold System provides everything required for a multi-unit installation, including manifolds for water and gas, racks for floor mounting, valves, connections and flex lines.

Up to 16 NPE-240 units can be common vented, so only four roof penetrations were needed at the athletic facility.

“No intricate programming was needed to cascade this many units in a single system,” said Van Damme. “By using the factory-supplied cascade cable, the logic built into the units does all the thinking. If for some reason the master unit goes down, the next unit in line takes over, so there’s no downtime in the event of a unit failure.”

“Having Jordan Mahboub here during commissioning helped us learn all the advantages of the Navien system,” Van Damme continued. For example, each rack requires a single gas regulator, not every unit.  The manifold system lets us isolate any unit in the group for service without taking the others off-line.”

Navien NPE-240S tankless water heater, Navien, tankless water heaters, plumbing, water heating, service and repair, retrofit

When the new system was tested, every hot water fixture in the facility was opened for almost two hours. The units cascaded to meet demand, but never fired to 100%. According to Van Damme, full capacity was met and sustained while the systems are operating at 60% input.

“The modulating component was a feature we really wanted,” Hart said. “Each of these units provides a 10-to-1 turndown, so no matter if there’s one sink or 20 showers running, we can accurately match the load. We’re not using energy beyond what’s needed to meet the actual demand. Now that the system has been operational for over a year, we’ve found an annual natural gas savings of 2,282 Therms.”

The entire project took three months over the 2018 summer break. The installation was seamless, and was completed just in time for football season.  There’s now more space to service the water heaters or work on other equipment within the room.

“I think this system is a great asset to the stadium,” Van Damme said. “The money saved on maintenance alone is significant. We’ve been so impressed with these units that we’ve decided to use Navien systems in other locations across campus.”

General contractor Turner Construction uses QuickDrain USA’s ShowerLine linear drain with adaptable pre-sloped PET shower pans to convert old cast iron tubs to modern walk-in showers, reducing installation time and labor costs. The 5-star Four Seasons Houston hotel is only steps away from Minute Maid Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros, making it Read more

General contractor Turner Construction uses QuickDrain USA’s ShowerLine linear drain with adaptable pre-sloped PET shower pans to convert old cast iron tubs to modern walk-in showers, reducing installation time and labor costs.

The 5-star Four Seasons Houston hotel is only steps away from Minute Maid Park, home of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros, making it a favorite of out-of-town fans who come to see their favorite team in action. Opened in 1982, the Four Seasons Houston is now in the latter stages of upgrading 404 guest bathrooms to transform the iconic downtown hotel, as part of a multi-year renovation project.

QuickDrain USA's tub-to-shower conversion kits, drains, shower drains, plumbing, service and repair, QuickDrain USA, contractor, Turner ConstructionThe bathroom renovations involve converting 40-year-old cast iron tubs to modern showers. According to project assistant-superintendent, John Upshaw of Turner Construction, converting 404 bathtubs to step-in showers in a building constructed in the ’80s, is no small feat.

The construction team has encountered numerous job-site irregularities, with some bathrooms having more than one layer of drywall in the shower enclosure, altering the dimensions of the enclosure. Meanwhile, other bathrooms were missing cement boards, resulting in damage behind the walls.

“When we demo out a tub, we’re essentially running into different conditions in 404 different bathrooms,” Upshaw explains. “You just don’t know what you’re going to run into.”

So the team had to find a solution that would allow them to adapt to unexpected plumbing rough-in configurations and various shower-enclosure sizes. A product that would speed installation would be the ultimate find for a large project like this one.

QuickDrain USA's tub-to-shower conversion kits, drains, shower drains, plumbing, service and repair, QuickDrain USA, contractor, Turner ConstructionWhich is exactly what the hotel’s architecture and design firm expected to accomplish when they specified QuickDrain USA’s tub-to-shower conversion kits for the project.

QuickDrain’s tub-to-shower conversion kits include an integrated PVC drain body, combined with a pre-sloped PET shower pan and waterproofing sheet membrane.

ShowerLine, used for the Four Seasons Houston project, is a high-quality PVC linear drain system and features a fully sloped trough where water exits through either a vertical or a side waste outlet.  Installers can select from among six decorative drain-cover designs to accent the overall design scheme of any bathroom. In this case, the drain cover “Lines” was deemed the best fit.

Plumber Larry Adams, from Kilgore Industries in Houston, says he highly recommends the QuickDrain linear drain system because it’s easy to install and provides flexibility for the drain installation. Adams was the foreman apprentice during the original construction of the building in the 1980s.

QuickDrain USA's tub-to-shower conversion kits, drains, shower drains, plumbing, service and repair, QuickDrain USA, contractor, Turner ConstructionCore drilling impossible: “These are old cast iron tubs, so the drains were set at different positions and often off-center,” explains Adams. But jack-hammering or core-drilling through the concrete to adjust drain positioning wasn’t an option. Since the hotel is constructed via post-tensioned slabs, core-drilling would compromise the building’s integrity.

To allow enough room for Adams to stub out the existing DWV (drain, waste and vent) lines, which are made of copper, Turner Construction had to chip out the concrete surrounding the existing pipe. “We had a scanning company come out to determine where the rebar was in the slab,” explains Turner’s Upshaw. “Fortunately, we were able to find a location between the rebar to chip a small area around the drain.”

In addition, there was no way to solder the existing copper pipe to a new copper joint because of jagged pieces of metal coming through the concrete and less than half a hand space. Adams had to use a mechanical fastening coupling between the copper and the transition material. Thanks to the PET shower pans’ flexibility, the construction crew was able to cut the drain support panel in half to allow Adams to make the mechanical connection.

 

QuickDrain USA's tub-to-shower conversion kits, drains, shower drains, plumbing, service and repair, QuickDrain USA, contractor, Turner Construction

Made of extruded rigid PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic foam, QuickDrain’s pre-sloped shower panels can be easily cut and pieced together without costly customization, eliminating the time and labor to float the typical pitched concrete shower base.

“The flexibility of the PET pan is a big advantage,” says Upshaw, “especially given the irregularities we run into after removing the tubs.”

Furthermore, the QuickDrain system eliminates the need to knock down and reframe walls. According to Upshaw, the fact that they can cut the PET pans on-site to adjust to practically any condition, saves much needed time and labor costs for a renovation project of this magnitude.

Model-room training critical: QuickDrain conducted on-site, model-room training before the start of the project, performing a full installation to support Turner and Kilgore, as well as tile subcontractor Gulf Coast Flooring, also based in Houston. The training was essential because it provided the tile-setting crew with a solid grasp of how the QuickDrain system works.

“Gulf Coast Flooring is installing the PET pans and tile in all of the bathrooms,” says Upshaw, “so they had to fully understand the process.”

Upshaw believes Kilgore benefited the most from the training because they were able to determine which tools they would need to perform the job. “We were able to knock out any kinks and learn our lessons on what we can do better,” he says. “After that training, Kilgore hit the ground running.”

Tile contractor Jaime Rosa, of Gulf Coast Flooring, says each crew member completes an average five showers per day at the Four Seasons Houston project. “It takes less time than a conventional mud bed, and that translates into cost-savings for us and the hotel.”

Turner’s Upshaw adds: “The finished installation looks great, and as long as it looks good, the hotel is happy.”

Upshaw says he likes the QuickDrain system. “I’ve actually been thinking of putting it in my own home, and we will use it again for similar commercial projects.”

By Jana Summey A few months after the “reopening” of the economy, understandably, business owners and government officials welcomed a return to normalcy. However, new and different risks are faced when reopening dormant buildings with stagnant water systems. Several weeks of zero flow, low flow, and tempered water can result in microbiological growth, leeching heavy Read more

By Jana Summey

A few months after the “reopening” of the economy, understandably, business owners and government officials welcomed a return to normalcy. However, new and different risks are faced when reopening dormant buildings with stagnant water systems.

Several weeks of zero flow, low flow, and tempered water can result in microbiological growth, leeching heavy metals, and corrosion within our plumbing systems.

Planning is key

Let’s take a close look at steps building  facility managers should consider in order to maintain water quality and safety in plumbing systems of unused or slightly used buildings (as defined by industry organizations including NSF International, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the International Association of Plumbing & Mechanical Officials (IAPMO).

Key Considerations for Reopening Facilities with Stagnant Water Systems, COVID-19, post COVID, Watts Water Technology, Watts Intellistation, Watts OneFlow

The IntelliStation digital water mixing system delivers mixed hot water throughout a hot water recirculation loop in commercial and institutional facilities. This digital solution can be integrated into a building automation system (BAS) to allow facilities managers to remotely monitor and control water temperatures.

Begin by documenting protection measures for staff and visitors. Consider working with a water quality expert or consultant. And, ask the local water utility the following questions:

  • Have there been any recent water supply disruptions?
  • Have standard checkpoints been inspected?
  • What is the current disinfectant concentration?

If one isn’t already in place, create a map of the building’s plumbing system.

Before the initial flush, sketch out the building water system to identify low-use water outlets. Map out a flushing regimen in a unidirectional process starting at the water supply’s point-of-entry, to the peripheral distalpoints, and point-of-use outlets such as faucets and showerheads.

In large buildings, the water supply is often designed in zones and branches, such as different wings. Typically, each wing or set of branches will be served by the same riser. When mapping out the plumbing system, always start from the outlet nearest the water supply and proceed to the most distal outlets. Along this route, the flushing regimen should include the entire recirculating loop, both cold and hot water, all associated equipment and appliances, and all outlets including faucets, showerheads, eye wash stations, ice machines, hot tubs, therapy pools, and water features.

Establish or reestablish a flushing and cleaning regimen. Flushing is important because it clears out the low-quality water that accumulated during low use and replaces it with high-quality water from the municipal supply. The fresh water helps mitigate loss of protective scale as well as biofilm growth that emerged while the water was stagnant.

Key Considerations for Reopening Facilities with Stagnant Water Systems, COVID-19, post COVID, Watts Water Technology, Watts Intellistation, Watts OneFlow

After the initial flush, ongoing flushes should be scheduled; continual flushes help to repair destabilized scale and minimize biofilm growth. Watts’ OneFlow System, shown here, uses a specially designed media where scale forming molecules are transformed into harmless crystals that won’t stick to pipes and components, eliminating scale for good.

 

These conditions need to be addressed because they proliferate the growth of Legionella and other waterborne pathogens, creating a high-risk environment for those with compromised immune systems. Proper flushing is a multi-step process including an initial flush, sequenced flushing, cleaning of fixtures and equipment, testing and monitoring, and additional flushing as needed.

Initial flushing and cleaning must be completed before resuming normal building operations. The sooner flushing is begun, the better. If possible, have staff start flushing now, even if the building’s reopening date is still unknown. The earlier a flushing regimen is initiated, the sooner water quality will return to normal. Prior to flushing, appropriate training for staff should be completed and PPE (personal protective equipment) should be provided. Guidance for this can be found on OSHA’s website.

It’s vital to flush the entire piping system from point-of-entry to point-of-use. This includes all water outlets, utility sinks, hose taps, piping currently used, as well as piping and fixtures in place for future installations. However, it doesn’t hurt to take special notice to the parts of the water system that have the greatest opportunity to make people sick. These include:

  • Faucets used for drinking water or food preparation
  • Drinking fountains
  • Ice machines and refrigerators with ice makers
  • Showers
  • Kitchen sink sprayers
  • Water features that generate aerosols (fountains, spas, etc.)
  • Parts of the water system used by children, the elderly, and other susceptible people

An initial flush clears out contaminants that accumulated during stagnation and draws in fresh, high-quality water to the piping. Cleaning the fixtures removes contaminants from the complex internal structures at the point of discharge. Flushing requires an initial flush to get out low-quality water and contaminants, and follow up flushes that may bring the building back to pre-COVID-19 water quality. Ongoing flushing draws particles through and out of the system and brings in disinfectant from the municipal system that can help control biological growth. The longer service is interrupted, the more effort will be required for restoration.

Key Considerations for Reopening Facilities with Stagnant Water Systems, COVID-19, post COVID, Watts Water Technology, Watts Intellistation, Watts OneFlow

Once the building is reopened, conduct normal process of ensuring tempering valves are maintaining the desired temperature.

Flush zone by zone, starting with the zone closest to the water building supply. In each zone, start with the cold water plumbing first, followed by the hot water. Within the zone, open taps starting with the outlet closest to the zone origin, working toward the farthest point. Flushing should not end until the farthest point-of-use tap has flushed for a minimum of five minutes, and the cold water temperature at the most distal tap is constant.

In order for flushing to be most effective, consider the following:

  • All valves should be in a fully opened position during the entire flushing process
  • All aerators should be removed. If continued use is planned, clean or replace the screens prior to reinstalling the aerators
  • Showerheads and faucets should be disinfected and sterilized. Consider replacing outlets if vulnerable populations have access
  • Prior to operating the system after flushing, adjust valves back to normal operating positions

As part of the flush, all locations where water is stored should be identified, drained, and flushed with clean cold water. Examples include humidifiers, ice machines, and dishwashers. Most buildings have some form of water treatment in their plumbing system such as filters and water softeners. These should run as normal, be included in the flush, and should not be bypassed.

Once flow has returned after this initial flush, all hot water tanks should be drained. Temperature should be maintained, and the heater should not be turned off. Continual operation is important to prevent microorganisms from growing.  Make sure that water heat storage temperature are sufficient to kill bacteria (131  to 140°F).

After the initial flush, ongoing flushes should be scheduled; continual flushes help to repair destabilized scale and minimize biofilm growth. The American Water Works Association (AWWA) recommends continued flushing for a minimum of 12 weeks.  This allows the protective scale to re-stabilize and for harmful lead particles to be washed through the plumbing system.

Recommendations for ongoing flushes include:

  • Open each point-of-use tap at least once per day
  • Flush the entire building once per week during ongoing flushing
  • It is not necessary to drain water storage during ongoing flushing
  • Continue to flush the cold and hot water systems separately; cold first, hot second

Monitoring and testing

Monitoring and testing should start for Legionella, other bacteria growth, and disinfectant levels prior to the initial flush, throughout the ongoing flushing, and on a predetermined schedule going forward. Monitoring and testing are the only ways to know the health of the plumbing system.

At the end of the initial flush, disinfectant levels should be checked. The concentration level of chlorine, the most commonly used disinfectant, should be measured at the point-of-entry and in the cold water of the most distant tap of each zone after the tap is flushed. Comparison of the point-of-entry concentration to the distal tap concentration will give an indication of the protection being provided to the entire plumbing system.

If other disinfectants are used, such as monochloramine, be sure to measure and compare its concentration at point-of-entry and distal outlets. Water temperature should be regularly tested and recorded.

The system should be tested for Legionella by a certified laboratory. Many facilities will choose to work with a consultant for this process. Samples should be collected at least 48 hours after final flushing and return of normal operation of the water system. Multiple samples should be collected to ensure accuracy and prevent false negative results. Samples should be taken at multiple locations throughout the system, from point-of-entry to point-of-use.

Hyperchlorination or shock disinfection should be conducted if testing proves unacceptable levels of Legionella. This is where a higher than normal level of chlorine is flushed through the plumbing system for a specific length of time, and the water temperature is raised for rapid kill. The cold water system should be flushed from point-of-entry to point-of-use, including all fixtures. The water should reach a CT of no less than 3,000 mg-min/L.  “CT” value is the concentration of disinfectant and contact time with the water being disinfected.

Systems that have high levels of Legionella, or are known to have heavy biofilm, may require even higher CT targets. Higher chlorine dosage may allow for shorter disinfection contact times. Always take proper precautions to ensure there is no inadvertent exposure to occupants. Strict access controls should be in place. Conduct testing to ensure chlorine levels are in normal ranges at the conclusion of treatment. When hyperchlorination is complete, the system should go through an additional thermal flushing.

Even if unacceptable Legionella levels are not found after thermal flushing, hyperchlorination should still be considered, especially in buildings where high risk or immune compromised populations could be exposed.

Following, adjusting, and creating a water management plan

A facility management team should record all monitoring and testing practices including the frequency, locations, and results. If there is a water management plan, those findings should be integrated into the record keeping portion of the plan. If a water management plan does not exist, we strongly encouraged the creation of one. Most healthcare facilities are required under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) mandate to have a water management plan. Failing to do so can cause a facility to lose Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements.

Implementing a water management plan as outlined in ASHRAE 188 will help maintain a high-quality level in a building. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has developed a water management plan toolkit based on ASHRAE 188. The toolkit aids in the understanding of risk levels of different building types and devices and walks step by step through the requirements of a healthy water management plan.

Maintenance and Recommissioning

As part of the process of reopening a building, all mechanical equipment should be inspected. Examples include cooling towers, boilers, pumps, backflow preventers and digital mixing stations. Essentially, the water systems and equipment should be recommissioned as if it were a new building. Make sure any scheduled maintenance that may have been missed during building closings are completed and recorded in accordance with normal practices.

Some general guidelines include:

Digital thermostatic mixing

During/before closing

  • Drain the piping system prior to closing if planning for a long-term building closure
  • If draining the system isn’t an option, increase production and storage of hot water above 150° F, and keep the building pump running at full temperature by bypassing a TMV or setting the DMV to full hot
  • Conduct a periodic purge of all dead legs to keep the system reasonably clean

At reopening

  • Conduct either a high temperature water purge, hyperchlorination shock, or both
  • Generally, calibration of mixing valves is not needed
  • Once the building is reopened, conduct normal process of ensuring tempering valves are maintaining the desired temperature

Backflow

  • Conduct a visual inspection
  • If the water supply was completely shut off and the pressure decreased, all reduced pressure zone units need to be repressurized correctly, and the relief valve should be closed
  • All pressure breaker valves also need to be repressurized correctly and the relief valve should be closed.
  • The pressure breaker valve should be spill resistant, but it should still be checked

 Gas connectors

  • Assuming equipment has been turned off, a device such as FloPro™-MD can assist with a startup check to ensure each piece is operating at manufacturer’s specification
  • Verify proper gas supply to any gas burning appliance with a BTU rating of 325,000 BTU’s or less, whether it is in a commercial kitchen or not

Drainage systems 

  • For general drains, there are no special requirements. However, a visual inspection should be part of the reopening plan

Stainless steel piping and drainage systems

  • Other than the absence of water in the traps from either back siphonage or evaporation, stainless steel piping systems require no special considerations when being returned to full service after periods of non-use
  • Stainless steel pipe and fittings are resistant to corrosion caused by decomposition of organic matter and the subsequent formation of hydrogen sulfide gas or microbiologically-influenced corrosion

Rainwater harvesting

  • Purge the system via the hose bibs or flush out the system by opening the flush valves to create a steady flow of water
  • Check the tanks to ensure the aerator is functioning and the inlet pre-filter is in service

Water quality solutions
For most water quality devices, it is a good idea to flush the unit.  However, it’s always best to consult manufacturer guidelines for each device.

UV systems

  • Inspect to ensure the light is working correctly
  • Check to make sure any scheduled maintenance wasn’t missed
  • Visually inspect the vessel

Sediment/point-of-entry filtration

  • Visually inspect
  • Clean any clogs and replace filters when needed

Point-of-use filters

  • Visually inspect
  • Clean any clogs and replace filters when needed
  • Check to make sure any scheduled maintenance wasn’t missed

 Measuring instrumentation

  • In measuring instruments such as the CIX Instrument from HF scientific (chlorine measurement), there is a potential for reagents to crystallize in the tubes if there is a sudden loss of power or power is off for an extended time
  • During inspection, in the rare event that crystallization has occurred, the unit needs to be primed and reagents replaced

Snow melt

  • The snow/ice detector should be cleaned with soap and water
  • Inspect the control display to ensure there are no error messages due to faulty sensors

Water Heaters

  • Determine if the manufacturer recommends draining the water heater after a prolonged period of non-use
  • Ensure that all maintenance activities are carried out by professionals or according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Make sure the water heater is set to at least 122°F and consider higher temperatures (131°F -140°F) for a quicker kill
  • Ensure that measures are taken to prevent scalding if the water heater is set to >130°F
  • Wipe down the outside and control with disinfectant
  • Conduct proper startup by authorized service agent
  • Conduct a significant blowdown of all components
  • Check combustion and calibration, perform all safety device testing, and verify all system operating parameters are correct and functioning

Additional Equipment to Be Inspected:

Hot tubs, spas, therapy pools

  • Check for existing guidelines from local or state regulatory agency(ies) before opening for use
  • Visually inspect for slime and biofilm prior to refilling
  • Perform a hot tub/spa disinfection procedure before use per CDC guidance

Cooling towers

  • Revisit startup and shutdown procedures
  • Follow manufacturer guidelines and industry best practices
  • Visually inspect for slime and biofilm prior to use
  • Assuming the cooling tower has been well maintained, proceed with disinfection procedures. Guidance can be found from the Cooling Technology Institute:  https://www.cti.org/downloads/WTP-148.pdf

Maintaining system after reopening

Planned and detail cleaning should be part of the reopening process. This includes proper maintenance of all equipment and fixtures, and the replacement of filters from point-of-entry to point-of-use. Be sure to follow manufacturer guidelines and contact the proper authorities when necessary.

Twenty-four hours before reopening the building, it’s recommended to conduct a round of checks. Bring the hot water system back up to 140° F. Open all outlets and flush until they reach a minimum of 131° F. After flushing, conduct a final round of sampling to ensure there is no contamination.

Once the building has resumed normal operation and the water system is back to standard function, the main priority will be maintaining water system quality and safety. If there is no water management plan prior to the disruption, create one immediately. This should include a schedule for monitoring and testing disinfectants, bacteria levels, and water temperature. Follow the plan, document activities, and adjust as needed. If an issue arises, promptly address it and notify authorities if deemed necessary.

If the building is scheduled to reopen within one month, continue a normal control regimen if possible. If the time to reopen the building is unknown, or if its scheduled to reopen longer than 1 month away, there are precautions that can be taken during that time to increase water quality prior to pre-open flushing and chlorination.

Consider the following:

  • Conduct low-usage weekly maintenance
  • Conduct weekly visual inspections
  • Initiate operation of moving parts such as pumps for at least 10 minutes per week to prevent seizure and failure
  • Increase water temperature to 140° F for at least 1 hour per week to reduce bacteria growth
  • If equipment such as a water heater has a thermal sterilization cycle, utilize it per manufacturer recommendations
  • Maintain normal disinfectant levels
  • Flush outlets on a weekly basis
  • Ensure all storage maintains proper disinfectant levels
  • Document all activity, monitoring, and testing
  • If it is decided to close certain systems, drain and dry if possible

If the decision has been made to not heat water within the plumbing system during closure, then consider the following:

  • Close the building and do not drain the system
  • Turn off storage tanks, drain, and the water supply
  • Consider conducting thermal flushing and hyperchlorination prior to shutdown

If a building is not being fully shut down but will be under low-use conditions, consider the following options to maintain the system:

  • Flush cold water systems on a regular schedule to maintain temperature and disinfectant. Free chlorine residual should be at or above .2 mg/L
  • Monitor and maintain the hot water system at distal outlets
  • Monitor and record supply water temperature and disinfectant concentration
  • Restrict access to any unused portions of the building
  • Document all monitoring, testing, and maintenance

 Additional Resources

There are a multitude of tools and guidance to assist in maximizing water safety and minimizing water risks when preparing to reopen an unused or slightly used building:

  • CDC Model Aquatic Health Code
  • CDC Healthcare Water System Repair and Recovery Following a Boil Water Advisory or Disruption of Water Supply
  • ASHRAE Standard 188: Legionellosis Risk Management for Building Water Systems
  • ASHRAE Guideline 12: Minimizing the Risk of Legionellosis Associated with Building Water Systems
  • Cooling Technology Institute Legionellosis Guideline 2008 (WTP-148)
  • Cooling Technology Institute Legionellosis Guideline 2019 (GLD 159)

Learn more about ensuring safety in commercial buildings by mitigating the risk of Legionella and other waterborne bacteria at www.legionella-strategies.com.

Jana Summey, MBA, Watts Healthcare Vertical Market Manager, has nearly 20 years’ experience in the MEP (mechanical/electrical/plumbing) design and architectural design industries. She is a popular speaker on mitigating Legionella through a multi-barrier approach in on-premise plumbing systems – from point of source to tap. Recently Jana navigated her mother through the experience of being exposed to Legionnaires’ as a hospital patient, gaining valuable insight into the serious threat Legionella poses for at-risk populations.

NJ-based contractor, distributor and Johnson Controls join forces to support Building Homes for Heroes® Recently, Air Technical Services and F.W. Webb Company partnered with other local contractors and Building Homes for Heroes® during a Welcome Home ceremony in Barnegat, NJ, for Navy Hospital Corpsman First Class Corey Reed. After serving his country for more than 20 years, he suffers from severe PTSD, a traumatic Read more

NJ-based contractor, distributor and Johnson Controls join forces to support Building Homes for Heroes®

Recently, Air Technical Services and F.W. Webb Company partnered with other local contractors and Building Homes for Heroes® during a Welcome Home ceremony in Barnegat, NJ, for Navy Hospital Corpsman First Class Corey Reed. After serving his country for more than 20 years, he suffers from severe PTSD, a traumatic brain injury, migraines, left foot fasciitis, elbow fractures, right knee injuries and tinnitus. His injuries require specific modifications to his home in order to live safely and focus on his recovery.

To support Reed, F.W. Webb Company donated a YORK® heating and cooling system with a Wi-Fi®-capable touch-screen thermostat to better assist him with adjusting his home’s temperature without the need to get up. In addition, Air Technical Services donated the HVAC installation services for the veteran’s new home.

“Having the support of companies like Johnson Controls, Air Technical Services, and F.W. Webb Company gives us the opportunity to honor injured veterans with a mortgage-free home,” said Chad Gottlieb, director of construction development, Building Homes for Heroes®. “The customized amenities Johnson Controls can bring to these homes allows veterans to live their lives in greater comfort and dignity.”

Building Homes for Heroes® is a national organization that recognizes those who serve in the United States Armed Forces by supporting the needs of severely wounded or disabled soldiers and their families. The organization strives to build or renovate quality homes and donate them, mortgage-free, to injured veterans nationwide.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to work together with Building Homes for Heroes® to be able to give back to real heroes, like Corey Reed and his family, who have made enormous sacrifices for our country. Contributing our services to their home was a great privilege,” said Raymond Dietrich, president, Air Technical Services.

The YORK brand of Johnson Controls has been a proud sponsor of Building Homes for Heroes® since 2014. The company has been recognized by U.S. Veterans Magazine as a top veteran-friendly company. Johnson Controls is also committed to hiring veterans and military spouses. Veteran employees are honored to design, engineer and assemble systems that help improve the lives of fellow veterans.

Building Homes for Heroes® invites anyone wishing to volunteer or donate to the organization to contact them at info@buildinghomesforheroes.org. To learn more about the organization, please visit www.buildinghomesforheroes.org.

To learn more about Air Technical Services, please visit www.airtechnj.com, and to learn more about F.W. Webb Company, please visit www.fwwebb.com.

For additional questions about Building Homes for Heroes® or the ceremony, please contact Ashleigh Ostermann at ashleigh.ostermann@buildinghomesforheroes.org or Jazmine Jean-Francois at jazmine@buildinghomesforheroes.org.

About Building Homes for Heroes

Building Homes for Heroes®, Inc. is a national organization committed to helping severely combat wounded or disabled US veterans and their families by gifting them a mortgage-free home. For more information on these projects, please call (516) 684-9220 or visit the organization’s website at www.buildinghomesforheroes.org.

In July 2020, we ran a feature highlighting the release of Marcum LLP’s first annual Marcum National Construction Survey. Overall, the survey reflected a fairly positive outlook by respondents about the current and future state of the industry, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was conducted in the first quarter of 2020 by Marcum’s national Construction Read more

In July 2020, we ran a feature highlighting the release of Marcum LLP’s first annual Marcum National Construction Survey. Overall, the survey reflected a fairly positive outlook by respondents about the current and future state of the industry, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey was conducted in the first quarter of 2020 by Marcum’s national Construction Services group, a premier provider of accounting, tax, and advisory services to the construction industry.

According to Joseph Natarelli, Marcum’s national construction industry leader, said, “The industry was well-positioned prior to the pandemic, even with a potential recession looming. Those going into COVID-19 with weaker balance sheets will be negatively impacted. We believe that as long as firms work with their internal teams and professional advisors to address labor safety issues and material sourcing, and have a pandemic plan in place, they will come out of this in good shape.”

We recently conducted a Hub Chat with Mr. Natarelli to expand on the survey, industry trends, hot button topics as well as discuss his direction of Marcum LLP’s Construction Services Group, which is dedicated to assisting contractors with personalized and attentive service, strong technical expertise, and uncompromising integrity.

Mr. Natarelli is leader of the Firm’s national Construction Industry Practice group, as well as the Firm’s office managing partner in the Long Wharf Drive office in New Haven, Connecticut. In addition, he is a member of the Firm’s Management Committee. Natarelli has more than 30 years of experience with international accounting and consulting firms. He frequently serves as the lead audit engagement partner for a variety of consulting matters.

Mr. Natarelli frequently speaks on accounting and auditing matters. For more than two decades, he has served as a technical reviewer for the AICPA’s Audit Risk Alert for Real Estate and Construction Industry Developments and the AICPA Audit and Accounting Guide — Construction Contractors.

He has been interviewed by a number of prestigious media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Businessweek, Fox Business and now, Mechanical Hub Media.

The following is our Hub Chat with Mr. Natarelli.

MH: Thanks for taking some time to chat with us. What’s the Marcum LLP elevator speech and how does your team create construction curriculum for construction contractors and industry observers such as the National Construction Survey, which we shared with our readers last month?

JN: Marcum is a top national accounting and advisory firm that places a high value on being industry experts and resources for our clients and friends in the marketplace.  We know contractors can get their basic financial reporting needs met at a lot of firms but what sets us apart is our commitment to excellence and leadership in their specific sector. This mission is further realized in a curriculum of in-depth thought leadership, instruction, benchmarking and more. For example, our nationally renowned Chief Construction Economist, Anirban Basu, provides hard data and analysis about and for the construction industry each quarter to our subscribers.

MH: Tell us a bit about yourself – how long have you been involved with Marcum, focused on Construction Services and what has your journey looked like up to this point in your career?

JN: For over 10 years, I have served as the Firm’s office managing partner in New Haven, Connecticut, and the leader of our National Construction Industry Practice group. I previously served as the national construction leader at UHY LLP before the UHY’s New England region merged with Marcum in 2010. I have over 30 years of experience with providing auditing and consulting services and remain a resource on various construction projects, offering expertise on job performance and enhancing profitability to contractors. I also spend my time providing thought leadership on accounting and auditing matters for various industry events and publications, and I have served for more than 10 years as a technical reviewer for the AICPA Audit and Accounting Guide – Construction Contractors and the AICPA’s Audit Risk Alert for Real Estate and Construction Industry Developments. I had the privilege of chairing the AICPA National Construction Program Conference Committee from 2012-2014. With one of the best teams in the industry, I have helped lead Marcum to become a top national accounting services leader for contractors.

MH: The COVID pandemic has created disruption and uncertainty across all segments of society, how is Marcum working to address issues that affect construction markets such as loan programs, taxing issues, and business interruptions?

JN: In a crisis, people need answers and they need them right away.  Marcum established a Coronavirus Resource Center in mid-March and has been producing timely and essential thought leadership specific to the construction industry, ever since.  Whether that takes the form of an alert, a tax flash or an in-depth webinar, our construction industry clients and other subscribers have access to the newest information available via the resource center.  We have been leading the charge with our construction clients to make sure that they are taking full advantage of governmental programs that can support and preserve their businesses during this difficult time.  At the end of the day, we know that our clients aren’t just companies, they are people who have worked to provide for their families and communities for years and we will do everything in our power to see that they make it through this intact.

MH: As we started 2020 the construction market had seen significant growth over the past 5+ years, how is the current economic climate affecting the industry? What are some of the challenges and how is Marcum addressing those challenges? How can contractors use market data to set their business in a better direction?

JN: The crisis has really put a spotlight on challenges that have been haunting the corners of the industry for a while.  Specifically, the labor shortage.  In our quarterly Marcum Commercial Construction Index we’ve seen access to skilled labor bubble up to the top of the challenge list for the past few quarters.  While unemployment is up in general, a lack of an organized trade educational system and other factors have put commercial contractors in a vice where there aren’t enough workers to execute all of the jobs they have and those that are available are being paid at a premium.  Our annual JOLT survey is an essential tool for contractors to reference as it indexes wages across subsectors and positions and would be a valuable benchmark.

MH: Tariffs and trade policies are hot button topics as we get deeper into the election year. What are a few trends you’re seeing based around the election or how is the election affecting the market?

JN: The threat of trade war and an uncertain diplomatic future with China can have a bottom line impact on construction contractors, today.  For example, tariffs on essential material such as steel or aluminum can cause hard cost price increases.  The global pandemic has also choked off or threatened to choke off supply chain routes and sources – another area worthy of concern and, more importantly, innovative solution.  Industry best practice should be to secure your key materials from a geographically diverse but still economical set of sources, lock in your pricing, and get those goods stateside and on the jobsite, ASAP.

MH:  How is Marcum addressing environmental issues in the industry?

JN: The construction industry has been at the forefront of changing the way America interacts with its environment, since the beginning.  Whether it is the use of innovative materials, high tech insulation techniques, green technologies, water recapture, or the reclamation of abandoned or “brown field” land for redevelopment, there is someone in a hardhat making it happen.  Aside from the obvious social capital that helping the environment provides, there are credits and incentives from the government which construction contractors can take advantage of to align their environmental goals with their financial success.  We work with numerous clients in that exact position and it can really make a difference.

MH: What are a few trends that Marcum has identified in the industry?

JN: There are several issues and trends Marcum has identified in the construction market.  These include ESOPs, revenue recognition, cybersecurity, succession planning, burden analytics, SALT consulting, valuations, due diligence & quality of earnings, public private partnerships and Section 179D energy deductions.   Additionally, we have identified 3 trending categories for construction:  technology and innovation (i.e., project management software, building information modeling, drone usage, green design & construction technology, improved safety equipment), profitability (i.e., growing material costs, maximizing labor while decreasing labor force, targeting Gen Z in the work force, analytics and data) and sustainability (preservation of the environment, efficient use of resources).

MH: How do you see Marcum helping to create change in the future?

JN: Marcum, as a firm, has embraced technology in all parts.  For our clients, we take the same approach.  Whether it be through software consulting, robotic process automation, cloud computing or other new tech, we’re always looking to help our clients improve their processes and increase their profitability.

MH: What are some of the things you’re doing to boost Marcum’s visibility and grow market share?

JN: Marcum’s Construction Group is proud of their long history of membership and leadership with all of the major national and regional construction trade organizations.  We just can’t overstate how important it is be shoulder-to-shoulder with your clients in the places where they play. To see and be seen.  Of course, we hope that our commitment to the creation of business-critical content such as the Marcum Commercial Construction Index, the JOLT report, the national Marcum Construction Survey, our newsletter and flashes also helps keep us in front of decision-makers and position us for growth with them. We also host our own large-scale industry events in several regions, the Marcum Construction Summit.  Our events are dedicated to updating construction contractors and finance and accounting professionals on the economic state of the construction industry. The Summit features high-profile, nationally recognized speakers who are experts in the construction arena.

MH: Crystal ball time, what’s 2021 and 2022 look like in the construction industry after all the turmoil of 2020?

JN: The long-term effects of COVID-19 are unknown, and the future of the construction industry is uncertain; however, we remain optimistic. Pre-COVID, 72% of economists were predicting a recession would occur by the end of 2021.  As such we were encouraging firms susceptible to business cycles to take steps in building up cash reserves and strengthening relationships with bankers and insurers to prepare for 2022 and 2023.  However, the pandemic affected the economy at a faster pace than expected and moved up the predicted timetable.  With the country slowly reopening and with the hopes of a vaccine in early 2021, we are now more optimistic about the construction industry in late 2021 and 2022.

MH: In closing, is there anything you’d like to add?

JN: Stay the course, continue the blocking and tackling. We are going through a tough time but we are optimistic moving forward.