Understanding Building Code Basics

Are you up-to-date on all current building codes? Building codes focus on the important safety, health, and environmental protection concerns of society. Following codes during the initial design and construction phase can determine maintenance costs, quality, safety, and energy performance of the building. While some things within a building plan are easily replaceable, most aspects can be very hard to change without a significant impact to the building once construction is complete.

All codes are very important for a building’s safety and efficiency.  Some aspects can affect the employees and customers of a business without notice such as light quality, acoustics and airflow. Unfortunately, these are some of the most overlooked aspects of a building’s quality. More obvious requirements include fire safety codes and structural and seismic standards.

When constructing a building, it is important not to cut corners for both legal and financial reasons. Model codes are a set of minimum requirements for a building’s design and construction that help us “build it right” the first time. These requirements ensure that a structure will protect public health, safety, and natural resources.

When creating and discussing building codes, the U.S. code development process gathers all interested parties to determine what is needed and feasible for the construction of new buildings. Building codes make our communities more livable, resilient and sustainable by offering an enhanced protection against possible threats of natural disasters and terrorism, which can in turn lower the price of mitigation for building owners.

Model codes give the construction team guidance on how to achieve all of these goals and give the insurance industry a baseline for estimating and managing risk. They also help lower and control the cost of insurance premiums. Energy codes, at a time when best practices for sustainable design are widely known and taught, are making a major contribution toward solving our energy needs and can substantially affect the value of your building.

Following and enforcing building codes helps prevent unnecessary and costly modifications. When considering the construction of a new building it is extremely important to be up-to-date on all requirements to ensure that your building will meet code when construction is complete. See all of the current building codes by visiting the International Code Council’s website. http://www.iccsafe.org/codes-tech-support/codes/2015-i-codes/ibc/

Understanding Noise Hazards on the Job Site

Brandt always wants to ensure our employees that they are working in a safe environment and their health will never compromised. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that 30 million people in the U.S. are exposed to hazardous noise every year. For the past 25 years noise related hearing loss has been one of the most prevalent occupational health concerns. There are ways to recognize and prevent hearing loss in the work place.

Warning Signs

Noise could be a problem for you in your work place if you are:

  • Hearing ringing or humming in your ears after you leave work
  • Experiencing co-workers shouting at you in order for you to hear what they are saying at an arm’s length away
  • Experience temporary hearing loss after leaving work

How loud is too loud?

OSHA has legal limits on noise expenditure in the workplace. The limits are based on worker’s time weighted average over an 8 hour day. For noise, OSHA’s permissible exposure limit is 90 dBA for all workers for an 8 hour day. The national Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends that all workers exposed to noise should be controlled under a level equal to 85 dBA for 8 hours to minimize occupational noise induced hearing loss.

Reduce the hazard from noise

  • Choose low-noise tools and machinery
  • Maintain and lubricate machinery and equipment
  • Place a barrier between the noise source and employee
  • Enclose or isolate the noise source
  • Limit the amount of time a person spends at a noise source
  • Provide quiet areas where workers can gain relief from hazardous noise sources
  • Wear hearing protection devices such as earmuffs and plugs
  • Implement an effective hearing conservation program

All of these elements are critical to ensure that workers are being protected in high noise environments in the workplace. Brandt is always making sure our employees and work environment is a safe place to work.

As Summer Heats Up, Be Aware of Heat Hazards

Summer is here and with that comes the long scorching hot days. Many people’s careers expose them to heat on the job whether it is outdoor or hot indoor environments.  Jobs that take place in high temperatures, high humidity, direct physical contact with hot objects, or strenuous physical activities have a high chance to harm its employees with heat related illnesses. Every year, thousands of workers become ill from their jobs being exposed to heat for long periods of time, and some have even died. However, this can be prevented!

Why is Heat a Hazard?

When a job is located in a hot environment, the workers body must get rid of excess heat to maintain a stable internal body temperature. In order to maintain our internal body temperature, our body sweats in addition to circulating blood to the skin. However, when air temperatures are close to or warmer than our normal body temperature, cooling the body becomes more difficult. This is when heat exposure in the work force becomes dangerous for our health. When the body cannot get rid of excess heat, it begins to store it. What this means is the body’s core temperature rises along with the heart rate. If the body stores too much heat, the person can begin to lose concentration, become irritable or sick, and can lead to fainting or even death if the person is not cooled down.

How to know when it is too hot

Some ways to figure out when it is just too hot is to be aware of your environmental surroundings. Here are some signs:

  • Temperature rising fast
  • Humidity increase
  • Sun’s UV rises
  • Little to no air movement

These are just a few of the many signs that you should prepare yourself for the heat. A useful tool to use that takes both temperature and humidity into account is the heat index. If you are an outdoor worker, we strongly suggest using the heat index to prepare yourself for your long day of work in the sun.

Prevention of Heat-Related Illness

Some ways to prevent yourself or your employees from suffering from heat-related illnesses in the summer months are:

  • installing air conditioning and ventilation
  • Have break cycles to drink water often to build up a tolerance to work in the heat
  • Look out for symptoms of heat related illness in yourself and others

If you’re beginning a career that involves working outside in hot weather conditions, make sure you are set for the worst conditions so you can help prevent your health from being harmed. Remember to stay hydrated and take periodic breaks in shaded areas. If you begin to feel lightheaded, dizzy, weak, nauseous or suffer from headaches, move to a cooler place, sit down and drink some water.

Dropbox Improves Business Process Management for Brandt

Brandt is the largest mechanical services firm in Texas, so we spend a great deal of time on business process management. When we have problems of our own with workflow processes, we look for partners with the power to innovate and provide real solutions. We knew our document management for field orders needed serious work, so we worked with one of the biggest names out there—Dropbox—for reliable process change.

Brandt uses Dropbox’s services to improve our workflows and minimize costs through better business process management.

The Problem

Our headquarters had no simple way to communicate with techs in the field about work orders and service calls. Our techs were carrying binders full of forms out to job sites, taking up our time and our customer’s time on filling out paper forms. After they faxed or emailed forms back to headquarters, our office staff and supervisors often had trouble finding the right invoice. This was business process management at its worst. Dropbox Business was the solution that saved us time and money—savings we could pass on to our customers.

Dropbox Business

Now that we work with Dropbox Business, we assign jobs to our technicians by uploading service call documentation to shared folders that the techs access on a tablet in real-time. Customers sign the paperwork directly on the tablet, and completed documents are instantly synced with headquarters. Supervisors can approve invoices in hours, rather than the previous turnaround time of up to four weeks. That translates to much faster revenue recognition for our company as a whole.

300% ROI

Three years after our conversion to Dropbox business process management, we’ve had a 300% return on investment. Our Senior Vice President Steve Hayes said, “to see a 300% ROI in our third year was totally beyond our expectations and has transformed how our business works.” We estimate that we’ve shortened every service call by at least 15 minutes. At 120 techs each responding to an average of two calls each day, that’s around $400,000 saved annually.

Want to know more? Check out the Dropbox blog featuring our new workflows. You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

Brandt Hires | Spring 2016 College Recruiting Events

brandt-spring-recruiting-events

Brandt is looking for the best and brightest to join our team! We offer opportunity for advancement at every level, and our multi-discipline approach means there’s a place for anyone with the drive to learn and the determination to succeed. Find out when we will be at a career fair near you:

Texas A&M University Engineering Fair
College Station, TX
1/26/2016
9 AM – 4 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Oklahoma State University College of STEM Engineering Fair
Stillwater, OK
2/4/2016
12:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Texas A&M University Engineering Fair
College Station, TX
2/4/2016
8 AM – 12 PM
Recruiting:
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Prairie View A&M Spring Career Fair
Prairie View, TX
2/10/16
10 AM – 3 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Texas State University Construction Fair
San Marcos, TX
2/11/2016
12 PM – 4 PM
Recruiting:
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

University of Oklahoma CNS Construction Science
Norman, OK
2/11/2016
4 PM – 6 PM
Recruiting:
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Southern Methodist University Engineering Fair
Dallas, TX
2/16/2016
4 PM – 6 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Assistant Project Managers

University of Texas San Antonio UTSA STEM Career Fair
San Antonio, TX
2/16/2016
8 AM – 11:30 AM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Texas Tech University Construction, Mechanical & Electrical Engineering Fair
Lubbock, TX
2/17/2016
10 AM – 4 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

University of Houston College of Technology Construction Management Fair
Houston, TX
2/17/2016
11 AM – 3 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Baylor University Career & Internship Fair
Waco, TX
2/18/2016
12:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

University Texas Dallas STEM Undergraduate Fair
Dallas, TX
2/18/2016
11 AM – 4 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Oklahoma State University Construction Management Fair
Stillwater, OK
2/18/2016
4 PM – 6:30 PM
Recruiting:
Assistant Project Managers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

University of North Texas Engineering & Computer Science Fair
Denton, TX
2/25/2015
11 AM – 3 PM
Recruiting:
Mechanical, Electrical & Industrial Engineers
Summer 2016 Interns & Full Time Positions

Keep up-to-date with our recruiting team and events by connecting with our communities on Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In.

Brandt Companies Honored with TEXO Distinguished Building Award

(DALLAS, TEXAS), January, 25, 2016 – The Brandt Companies, LLC won the prestigious TEXO Distinguished Building Award for its 2015 Chiller Capacity Upgrade at Texas Woman’s University (TWU) in Denton, Texas in the under $5 million category. TEXO is the largest commercial contractors association in Texas and one of the largest affiliated with the national Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).

The Brandt Companies, LLC won the prestigious TEXO Distinguished Building Award for its 2015 Chiller Capacity Upgrade at Texas Woman’s University (TWU).

Brandt was the main contractor and performed all mechanical and electrical work to expand the chilled water capacity at the TWU central plant. The complex project included installation of a new 1,500-ton chiller and 1,000-ton cooling tower cell to the existing plant in such a way that did not disrupt operations and chilled water service to the TWU campus. Additionally, Brandt was responsible for the structural work that included extending the foundation and steel framing for cooling tower support and a new retaining wall adjacent to the area.

“The project was a significant undertaking,” said Steve Hayes, senior vice president at Brandt. “It involved not only expanding TWU’s chilled water system but also upgrading structural electrical systems as well. We greatly appreciate that TWU entrusted us with such an important project, and we couldn’t be prouder of our team.”

The TEXO Distinguished Building Award recognizes the skill, commitment and passion that TEXO members have for construction and is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the nation.

TEXO received over 70 submissions competing for 27 building and specialty categories. The winning submissions were featured at the annual Association gala on Thursday, December 3, 2015 at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center.

Brandt, the largest mechanical electrical and plumbing services provider in Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Waco, Houston and Austin, designs, builds, services and retrofits energy-efficient building systems. For more than 55 years, the company has helped forward-thinking business leaders design and build facilities that are energy efficient, environmentally sensitive and cost effective. Brandt brings together more than 1,000 highly-trained technicians, top caliber craftsmen, engineers and renowned technology experts to help clients develop strategic solutions for buildings and campuses with minimal facility downtime and maximum productivity.

Brandt | AT&T Center Project Highlights

With an 18,000-seat capacity and over 200 scheduled events a year, the AT&T Center is San Antonio’s hub for some of its most important sporting and cultural events, from San Antonio Spurs games to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. So when it came time to renovate the center, a contractor with years of experience in mechanical and plumbing installations was needed to take on the large-scope project.

Brandt shares highlights of its mechanical and plumbing installation at San Antonio's popular AT&T Center.

Brandt was awarded the major renovation contract, which included:

  • An overhaul of the VIP Charter level, including new concessions, restrooms, bars and seating areas
  • A new home team locker room and training area, including hydro therapy spas and restrooms
  • New bars and concession areas on the plaza level
  • An overhaul of the Spurs’ coach area

The 750,000 sq. ft. project broke ground on June 15, 2015 and was completed by October of the same year, thanks to a solid effort by a crew of almost 70 workers.

As part of the project’s scope, Brandt installed a number of mechanical and plumbing fixtures and equipment that would bring the AT&T Center up to today’s standards. and ready for the future. Some of the state-of-the-art equipment included an updated BAS system, and a highly efficient new cooling system. In addition, everything from standard plumbing fixtures to kitchen exhaust fans and new air conditioning units were added to the renovated structure.

Brandt is proud to be a part of mechanical and plumbing installations such as the AT&T Center project. To learn more about Brandt, visit us on our website and join our online communities today.

Brandt | Love Field Case Study

Brandt provided mechanical services, plumbing and building automation for the five-year Love Field Airport modernization project. Our industry-leading plumbing service offerings and design capabilities helped Love Field drastically improve existing facilities. The new design radically improved flying experiences for Love Field customers while helping the facility itself save money through efficiencies in both space and energy consumption.

The Love Field Modernization Project showcases some of Brandt’s best and most powerful service offerings.

Modern, Efficient Facilities

Love Field is currently home to three small concourses. These original facilities were demolished and replaced with a single, more efficient terminal that actually decreases size by approximately 25 percent thanks to a complete redesign. Unused, outdated space was replaced with more efficient space-saving designs. The convenient, centrally located concourse now services all airlines at Love Field.

In addition to the concourse, the baggage claim and check-in areas are to be fully redesigned. The current main lobby – the heart of Love Field – maintained its current size and structure but underwent extensive updates and renovation. Its current utility as the center of passenger processing was improved and enhanced. Airport concessions spaces more than doubled in the new renovation. Our mechanical services and world-class plumbing service made many of these improvements possible.

An Innovative Team

The internal and external Love Field facelift was made possible by partnerships between parties across multiple fields of expertise. Key stakeholders included the City of Dallas Department of Aviation, as well as cooperative input from Southwest, Continental and American Airlines.

Ownership of the project team goes to Southwest Airlines, with Corgan and Associates providing architectural expertise. IEG Consulting Engineers were lead engineers on the team, with Hensel Phelps acting as construction manager. Brandt provided mechanical services and plumbing service throughout the reconstruction and renovation.

A Cutting-Edge Project

Completed in 2014, this massive undertaking had a mechanical/plumbing volume of more than $26 million and a construction volume of $519 million. The mechanical services and plumbing work included an all-new HVAC and piping system. The unique nature of the team and the extensive upgrade needs of the improved facility proved a challenging and rewarding project for Brandt.

For more information on our mechanical services offerings, check our website and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Brandt | North Texas Tornado Relief

We are proud of the commitment Brandt’s employees show to families, friends, neighbors and communities.  Never is it more apparent than in a time of need.  This weekend’s tornadoes and flooding in North Texas have caused many employees to ask “How can I help?”
Brandt-Cares-FBlinkFirst, and most importantly, we are in the process of confirming that all of our people are safe, and we are working to meet the immediate needs of anyone affected by the storms.

Second, officials in the affected cities have requested that donations be made to Red Cross or The Salvation Army.  This morning, Brandt donated to the local Red Cross, directed toward those affected by this event. We invite you to contribute to the local Red Cross or Salvation Army this week, and Brandt will match all employees’ contributions dollar for dollar. If you choose to donate online, simply provide HR with a copy of your donation receipt to initiate your matching gift.  If you prefer, you can give cash or a check made out to the Red Cross or The Salvation Army directly to HR.  At the end of this week, we will total the contributions and donate a second matching donation to the Red Cross.

  • American Red Cross Disaster Relief: Donate online through the Red Cross website, or by texting REDCROSS to 90999.
  • The Salvation Army: Donate online through the Salvation Army website, or by texting STORM to 51555.

Other ways to help include:

  • The city of Garland has created a clearing house for volunteers. Individuals or groups who want to volunteer in the recovery effort, register online at Recovers.org.
  • Donations can also be made at Recovers.org.
  • VFW 5076 at 2180 Meridian Way in Garland is collecting donations for storm victims. For more information, contact Ed Clinebell at edclinebell@yahoo.com.
  • City animal shelters are providing safe homes for pets separated from their families, and will gladly accept donations of money, pet food, towels and crates.
  • Donations are being accepted at Burke’s Outlet, 2731 Market Center Dr., Garland, TX 75032.

Please keep those affected by these storms in your thoughts.

Brandt Cares | Serving Our Communities During the Holiday

Our Brandt Cares initiatives are aimed at supporting the communities we live and work in every day. We make it part of the job at Brandt to reach out into the world around us and make a positive difference.

Dallas ToyDrive

Brandt Cares

Community service is a year-round commitment to us, but Brandt participates in a range of service projects throughout the holidays. At this time of year, when the world is colder and hard times feel harder, we encourage our employees—and our readers—to serve in whatever capacity you can. As a service-minded company, we’re proud to showcase a few of our activities this holiday season:

  • Dallas: North Texas Food Bank Food Drive. In Dallas, we raised a total of 326 lbs. of food—that’s 272 meals for chronically hungry families, seniors and children in the North Texas area.
  • Dallas: Carter Blood Care Blood Drive. Our sponsored blood drive drew 19 units of blood or 57 pints (1 unit of blood is roughly the equivalent of 3 pints). According to Carter Blood Care’s calculations, that blood could help save 57 lives.
  • Dallas: Community Partners of Dallas Toy Drive. We donated more than 120 toys to the Last Stop Holiday Shop initiative with the Community Partners of Dallas, bringing holiday cheer to kids in need.
  • Houston: Shriners Burn Hospital of Galveston Toy Drive. Our Houston team donated more than 80 toys to the Shriners’ local toy drive.
  • San Antonio: Texas Diaper Bank Diaper Drive. This season, we collected and donated 3,895 diapers to the Diaper Bank’s drive, helping needy families get through the holiday season with one less worry.
  • San Antonio: Battered Women and Children’s Shelter Toy Drive. Brandt Cares efforts helped secure presents for kids in difficult situations this season. We hope those gestures bring happiness to the children—but also some hope to their moms that these families are not struggling alone.
  • San Antonio: South Texas Blood and Tissue Center. We donated six units of blood, or about three pints, saving as many as 9 lives.

We thank our employees for their participation in these Brandt Cares initiatives, and we encourage our readers to consider giving back to their communities in the spirit of the season.