In a client interview conducted by an independent third party, Chief Engineer of 52 Broadway, Kevin Ridder spoke about the challenges of managing a New York City high-rise commercial office building and how working with EDC, an expert VFD full-service provider, has given him peace of mind.
As the first line of communication when it comes to tenant-related complaints, a day in the life of a Chief Engineer can be unpredictable. “I am the head of the engineering department for the property, with four people directly reporting to me. We basically operate eighteen-hour days from six in the morning until ten or twelve at night, Monday through Friday. On the weekends, I have an eight-to-four shift on Saturday and Sunday.” In addition to cosmetic repairs and general maintenance, his team is responsible for operating, repairing, and maintaining all of the equipment related to heating and air conditioning, as well as responding to any complaints that come from the office facilities.
Kevin described a typical day, saying, “We handle a wide variety of tasks, basically anything that’s a complaint on the property. It could be anything from bathrooms to air conditioning or heating, to electrical issues. We would be the first people to go check it out and most likely the ones that are going to take care of it as well.”
With all of this to manage, the last thing a Chief Engineer wants to worry about is an equipment drive failure in the mechanical room compromising the building’s heating and cooling systems and inconveniencing tenants. Having a trusted and reliable vendor to handle drive maintenance and emergency issues is key.
Having worked with EDC for 18 years, Kevin originally hired EDC to perform regular preventative maintenance (PM) services for 52 Broadway’s drives after a referral from a colleague. “I had spoken to the Chief Engineer for 85 Broadway, which was Goldman Sachs’ headquarters, asking him for a reference. He referred me to EDC because they did all of the variable frequency drives (VFDs) for him, and he was very satisfied with them. I gave them a call, we discussed what our needs were, and we’ve been using them ever since,” recalls Kevin.
As is the case for many older commercial buildings in NYC, the building had older drives from multiple different manufacturers on the property and Kevin needed an expert who was capable of servicing a wide variety of drive brands. EDC is a factory authorized/factory trained service center for over 40 drive brands eliminating the need to coordinate and rely on multiple vendors.
When asked how they usually go about sourcing vendors, Kevin responded, “With many of these properties, the equipment that’s used is rather specialized. So, a lot of times a referral works best when trying to find the right person or company for the equipment you’re trying to repair or maintain.”
Before hiring EDC, the property’s previous vendors had lacked the necessary expertise and communication regarding proposals, and lining up work schedules had been overly complicated. Kevin described the relationship with his vendors prior to EDC as “difficult,” noting that making a service call shouldn’t be more aggravating than the actual loss of service from the equipment.
“Since we hired EDC, we’re getting exactly what we need. Their service department is excellent. I can call anytime and they’ll accommodate us, whether it’s an emergency repair or a scheduled repair. Their time to order parts, get them to the job and get the repairs done is really good,” said Kevin.
This positive relationship created with EDC proved to be especially valuable when the building suddenly suffered a critical failure of their motor control center (MCC) equipment in the mechanical room causing electricity to feed back into the variable frequency drives (VFD), destroying the majority of them. As a complicating factor, the property was in the process of upgrading the building management system (BMS). At the time of the loss, two different systems were affected: a legacy Honeywell system and a brand-new ALC system.
Kevin and his engineering team again turned to EDC to help quickly replace the control center and compromised equipment. Having worked with EDC for many years prior to this event, they knew that EDC would not only rebuild the damaged parts but would continue to provide support with excellent response time and a diligent work ethic. With commercial tenants temporarily displaced, the utmost professionalism and expedient response were vital to remedy this difficult situation.
EDC ultimately provided a turnkey rebuild of the lost VFDs, including a plan for running new main power and control wiring. After assessing the site in its original damaged state, EDC supplied a quote for repairs and then immediately pulled the right team together and dispatched them to disassemble and remove the damaged equipment. The EDC team then designed a plan to run new main power wiring, provided and installed the new VFDs, and interfaced with other on-site contractors, as needed, to ensure a successful installation on budget and on time.
In Kevin’s role, the most important thing is to avoid disruption to the tenants, and EDC provides that peace of mind. Kevin describes working with EDC, “It is more like working with a partner that truly cares. I know the service people by name because they have been there for many years. Some other vendors have been hit or miss, sometimes providing experienced technicians and sometimes not. EDC always responds as quickly as they can, rising to the occasion when there is an emergency. They don’t try to upsell a new drive, and they try hard to find the most economical solution to meet their clients’ needs.” When Kevin picks up the phone and calls, he knows EDC will do whatever they can to ease the burden, so that his engineering team can focus on everything else.
“In these big properties, when something goes wrong or we lose a critical piece of equipment, it can be very difficult to try and provide services that are necessary without affecting the tenants. It can be daunting at times. I know that when I pick up that phone and call EDC, I’m going to get somebody that’s going to handle it – that will be there as soon as they can, and is going to take care of it with the best solution possible. I can’t give them a higher rating than the highest rating. So they were a hundred percent. They are excellent,” said Kevin.
With over 50 years of experience in the industrial automation and service industry, EDC has the capacity to take on the toughest challenges, with the expertise to design, build, integrate, and start up even the most advanced systems. Contact EDC today for more information.