Miles of Pipe, Weeks of Labor Savings
From south of the Twin Cities, you can see the Radisson Blu Mall of America® on the horizon. This stunning, 570,000-square-foot, 13-story hotel in Bloomington, Minn., is the first hotel to be connected to the Mall of America — the second largest mall in the world.
Since its groundbreaking in May 2011, the structure has accumulated more than 1.2 million pounds of structural steel and 24,000 cubic yards of concrete in addition to 23,000 feet (nearly 4½ miles) of Uponor AquaPEX® crosslinked polyethylene (PEX-a) pipe for the plumbing system.
Dean Corrigan of FourMation Sales in Rogers, Minn., was the first to bring the concept of Uponor PEX for plumbing to the massive structure. In the winter of 2011, Corrigan was approached by Joe Williams of Ferguson in Roseville, Minn., about the grand hotel project and was eager to jump in with both feet.
“Joe put me in touch with the project manager and I pitched Uponor PEX for both the risers and the distribution piping,” says Corrigan.
Corrigan and his counterpart at FourMation, Kevin Barta, started working on the details of the project immediately and found that the project required having the product files in the Building-Data/TSI database.
“I immediately brought in Mike Rivers and Chris Bertsch of Uponor and literally within two weeks, Uponor had their product into the Building-Data/TSI database,” he says.
When the product landed at the contractor’s shop, Corrigan was there to help show the contractors how to make 2" ProPEX connections to pre-fab the risers.
Bob Wolf, project manager on the Radisson Blu Mall of America project with Metropolitan Mechanical Contractors (MMC) of Eden Prairie, Minn., was on the project from the beginning and found the plumbing installation with Uponor’s PEX to be very efficient with labor savings.
“I started installing PEX in small retail applications several years ago and I really like how the flexible tubing makes it faster to install because we don’t need as many fittings,” he says. “The Radisson Blu Mall of America project has been my first experience using large-dimension PEX in riser applications and I really like the additional labor savings it provides.”
According to Wolf, the time savings using PEX for the risers and the unit piping saved his crews about two to three days per floor. On a 13-story project with 50 units per floor, that adds up to almost a month of installation time savings!
“We started out with a three-man crew which took three days to complete each floor,” he says. “Installing copper would have been double that time.”
MMC prefabbed the risers and installed them during the cast iron installation. Then, the crew went in each floor and hooked up the unit piping for all 50 units on each of the 11 occupied floors (3rd-13th floors).
“When you’re talking about 50 units on one floor, you can whip through it pretty fast with PEX and the multi-port tees,” says Chris Dent, assistant project manager with MMC. “The multi-port tees also help save time by reducing the number of fittings required.”
Angie Shingledecker, a journeyman plumber with MMC, says she prefers the ProPEX expansion system for fittings compared to others she has used in the past. “I’ve been installing PEX for about eight years and I don’t like crimp fittings,” she says. “I like the ProPEX expansion fittings much better.”
• LEED® Certified
• 570,000 square feet
• 13 stories
• Uponor PEX in 11 occupied floors (3rd-13th floors)
• 50 units per floor
• 23,637 ft. of ½"-2" Uponor AquaPEX®
• ½"-2" ProPEX® fittings
• Engineered polymer (EP) fittings, multi-port tees
• Lead-free brass drop ear elbows and copper adapters