June 4, 2014
Late one night in mid-March last year, a non-APi Group Inc. contractor was making a repair to a leaking eight-inch water main. The repair went awry when the eight-inch main broke off the 24-inch city main and flooded part of the Radisson Hotel Duluth in Minnesota. The rushing water followed the path of the trenching and flooded the lower two levels that house the hotel's mechanical, electrical and communications systems. With the water level reaching four to five feet, the majority of the equipment was submerged and systematically knocked out of service. It left the hotel dark and without utilities. Guests were forced to move out.
The next few days were challenging. Temporary power was brought in through the use of an emergency generator to provide minimal basic electrical service to the facility. All water systems were drained and the building was winterized until a permanent solution could be determined.
"Jamar was called in to help protect the building from the cold and assist in the assessment of how to move forward," said Jamar Co.
President Craig Fellman
. The owner took 30 days to decide what they were going to with a 16-story, 268-room hotel without power, water, heat, temp controls, and communications. "The water essentially destroyed the hotel and left it full of sand and dirt," Fellman said.
Once the decision was made to move forward, the Radisson hired an engineering and construction team to solve the problem. The team was led by Viking Construction from the Twin Cities and Jamar handled the engineering and mechanical construction.
The project was full of challenges, the main one being the schedule. In 35 days, Jamar had to complete engineering, demolition, procure and install the mechanical equipment in the basement and sub-basement levels of the building.
"Another key challenge was how to exactly get the tons of damaged machinery and equipment out of the building and bring in and set into place the new equipment some 14 feet below street level," Fellman said. "This was accomplished by cutting and removing large sections of concrete slab in the hotel's loading dock area and some safely employed creativity." Many dumpsters later the space was made ready for semi-trailer loads of expedited new parts, pieces and equipment of mechanical equipment.
"Every person we encountered from Jamar exhibited the energy and pride that generates accomplishment," said David Roth of Viking Construction.
The overall project cost more than $3 million with Jamar's portion more than half of the total. Jamar executed more than 5,000 man-hours with eight different departments of the company involved and did so without incident or injury. The work involved the demolition and re-installation of one chiller, five custom AHUs, five utility exhaust fans, building management control system, heat exchanger, base mounted pumps, piping/accessories, insulation, and code updates. The Jamar team removed a 13,000-gallon water heating and storage system. The team then engineered and installed a new steam instantaneous system reconfigured with 5,600 gallons of storage.
Opening the hotel quickly was ownership's goal from the onset, and that required lots of ingenuity, planning and teamwork to expedite this goal. The full cooperation of Duluth's Mayor, Construction Services and Inspections Department, hotel ownership, management team, staff, and a talented group of contractors and vendors allowed the reopening to progress ahead of schedule.
Key Jamar employees for this project included Todd Yrjanainen, John Kontny, Jim Brown, Kevin Douville, Bryan Preston, Paul Switzer, John Voltzke, and Brent Tonner. Viking Sprinkler and Hunt Electric (formerly APi Electric) also worked on the job.
"We are proud to have been a part of this project and what it meant for the City of Duluth," Fellman said.
The Jamar Company is a specialty contractor headquartered in Duluth, Minn., with offices in Green Bay, Wis., and Escanaba, Mich. For more than 100 years, Jamar has built a reputation as a solid partner delivering solid solutions.