Finding the right mechanical insulation contractor is critical to the timing and budget of your project. But it can also have an impact on the overall health and efficiency of your facility for years to come. As with any industry, a certain insulation contractor may not be right for every job. Here are four good signs that you’re on the right track when it comes to hiring a mechanical insulation contractor.
They perform certified insulation energy audits
This point is especially relevant for existing facilities where the insulation needs to be repaired, replaced, upgraded, or installed for the first time. The right insulation contractor for this type of application should be able to perform an insulation energy audit before making any recommendations or proposals.
Insulation energy audits go beyond simply understanding the scope of the job. Developed by the National Insulation Association, insulation energy audits should be performed by a contractor who has been specially trained and certified in this area. Energy audits calculate the energy and dollars a facility or process is losing with its current insulation system and demonstrates how a more efficient system can:
- Save hundreds of thousands of Btus
- Improve the process control and efficiency
- Reduce fuel costs
- Contribute to a cleaner environment through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Once the appraisal is complete, then the contractor can provide specific recommendations and estimates. Not only is this the most effective way to receive a complete picture of your facility’s true insulation needs, but it allows the mechanical insulation contractor to make the most effective recommendations possible.
They work to meet your objectives
Any project, whether it involves new construction, remodeling, retrofitting, or a combination, has specific goals and objectives. The right mechanical insulation contractor is one that is prepared to solve the challenges of the project and provide the right solutions for meeting all of the objectives, including:
- Design: Installing solutions that align with the design requirements of the project.
- Functionality: Designing systems that meet all functionality needs, including process control, personnel protection and efficiency.
- Budget: Working effectively within defined budgets and project scopes.
- Timeline: Adhering to a specified timeline and working to meet strict deadlines.
They focus on quality and communication
The right insulation contractor will avoid skimping on materials, installation practices, or quality simply to reduce costs. If adjustments are needed, communication is an absolute necessity. Often when a project is over budget, each trade begins reducing costs by changing or reducing aspects of the project. The misconception is that the owner is aware of these changes; in many cases, the owner has not been informed. As the author of this article puts it, “ ‘value engineering’ is really just ‘cheapening the job.’ ”
Another important aspect of communication is the insulation contractor’s ability to work effectively with other trades. In any building project, the beginning of one phase is often dependent on the completion of another. This often requires the installers and technicians to work around each other or be somewhat flexible in their scheduling in order to complete the project correctly and on time. This ability to communicate with other contractors on the project is a major factor in success.
They’re knowledgeable advisors
Even when the insulation system has not been designed by the insulation contractor but rather specified elsewhere, the initial step for the insulation contractor is to read and understand the project specifications and drawings. Their expertise should go beyond simply installing product—the insulation contractor should be familiar with the objectives of the insulation job and be prepared to highlight and resolve any inconsistencies or errors in the specification.
Code compliance is generally the responsibility of the design professional, but a knowledgeable insulation contractor should understand the code requirements in his or her area and be able to help expedite resolution of compliance issues.