Case Study - Utility Conversion

Case Study - Utility Conversion

Case Study

The decision to convert a residential high rise from steam to gas should not be taken lightly. Not only is there a lot of advanced work that goes into the planning phase for projects of this caliber, but the implementation aspect is also very involved.

On a recent project, one of MXA’s early tasks was evaluating the financial implications of a utility conversion. We made sure our client understood how the annual cost in steam and gas would differ, what the anticipated return on investment would be for the gas equipment, the differences in annual maintenance between both systems, and the long-term financial impacts.

Once a project of this magnitude is green-lighted, there are a lot of administrative tasks to complete before the first section of pipe is even landed. Engineers and architects are engaged, and the details on the equipment specifications, layout, permit drawings, and MEP components are all worked out and documented. Fortunately, this is a process that MXA is familiar with, and these series of tasks moved along seamlessly with our team.

One unexpected issue that we ran into was dealing with the delays from multiple city offices and departments. Unfortunately, with the circumstances surrounding the pandemic, many of the offices were experiencing delays due to staff restrictions. We made sure to maintain constant communication with our clients, always relaying any updates and progress, and fortunately, they were very understanding of the situation.

When the time came to begin the construction portion of the project, it was very important that everyone was on the same page regarding the order of operations. With a project that involves mechanical, electrical and plumbing components, it is critical to make sure timelines and deadlines are communicated, agreed upon, and adhered to. MXA’s expertise allowed for multiple contractors to work side by side on different components simultaneously. Over the course of a few weeks, we were able to land multiple large boilers, run all new gas, water, drain, and flue pipe, and upgrade the gas meter manifold. One of the key factors allowing us to complete this task through the winter months was our ability to continue work without taking the steam heat system offline. It was not until the final stage of the project after we had verified the operation of the new boilers, did we switch the building over from steam to gas heat. Ultimately, the transition was so smooth that the tenants were completely unaware of the changes.

If you are considering a utilities conversion or any MEP projects for your commercial or residential high-rise building, call MXA (610) 940-1639 or email us at