Documented Client Cost Savings

Mitsubishi polyester film facility protected by coal tar roof

A competitive bidding process helped reduce building owner’s cost of new four-ply roof

BY WILLIAM SPENCER
Honeywell Commercial Roofing Systems

In 2000, the sprawling Mitsubishi polyester film facility in Greer, SC, required a major roofing project, with approximately 45 roof sections totaling 400,000 square feet of surface that needed reroofing. Upon being presented with a proprietary bid proposal of more than $4 million, the senior maintenance engineer at the facility faced a serious dilemma: Either ask management for a significant budget increase or reduce the number of roof sections that would be replaced during the current budget cycle.

At this point, Chuck Marvin, a roofing consultant with Roof Solutions Inc. (RSI), in Davidson, NC, was hired to evaluate the situation. Marvin had been working on various roof projects at the facility since 1995. His initial recommendation was for a new quality-driven competitive bidding process that included the original bid along with two additional proposals.

“What happened initially was typical in this type of situation: a sales representative had approached the building owner,” said Marvin. “In the process of trying to secure the account, he offered to write project specifications as a value-added service. As in many such cases, the completed plan specified products manufactured by a company that the representative works with, resulting in a proprietary bid that can add as much as 300% to the cost of the materials compared to those of equal quality at market value. The impact of the total cost of a project is typically an increase of at least 20% to 40%.

In the first step of the revised bidding process, Marvin developed an original set of specifications complete with a full set of drawings for each of the 45 roof sections. The new specifications included the proprietary manufacturer’s plan from the original bid, along with systems of equal or superior quality from two additional manufacturers. Lastly, the contractors who originally bid were invited along with three additional contractors who were pre-approved by all three manufacturers prior to the pre-bid meeting.

The Mitsubishi facility is a heavy manufacturing environment. The company was concerned about fumes from the roofing interfering with manufacturing operations. Unfortunately, the roof surfaces are highly congested with a variety of equipment, including numerous HVAC units and a multitude of vent stacks.

The 45 separate roof sections included seven elevations, and as many as three lifts were required to reach some surfaces. The majority of the roof surfaces are flat and do not have positive drainage – inhibiting run-off from precipitation and resulting in frequent ponding and standing water.

Based on the final evaluation and recommendation of RSI, Simon Roofing, Charlotte, NC, was selected to install a new Honeywell four-ply coal tar pitch built-up roofing system. To meet the building owner’s requirements to keep fumes at a minimum, a National Tool fume recovery system was used. This bid resulted in a notable increase in quality and a significant decrease in cost of approximately 25%. This allowed the planned roofing project to meet the established budget and objective for the plant.

Marvin said, “The competitive method resulted in not only an increase in quality through superior detailing and documents, but also a significant cost reduction of approximately 25% from the original proprietary bid.”

Phase I of the project began in Spring 2001 and was finished by the end of that year. Phase II commenced in early March 2002 and was completed in November.