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Viega ProPress shines in SolarCity construction

Buffalo will be the first city to produce the first-ever true solar roof – a roofing product with solar panels built in.

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April 06, 2017 |

SolarCity manufacturing plant at RiverBend in South Buffalo

SolarCity’s 1.2 million-square-foot manufacturing facility is the crown jewel of the $750 million, 96-acre RiverBend project. Buffalo was the first American city to have widespread electric lighting by harnessing power from Niagara Falls. Today, it will be the first city to produce the first-ever true solar roof – a roofing product with solar panels built in.

General contractor LPCiminelli selected Quackenbush to install piping to all the HVAC wet systems, including condenser water, chilled water, tertiary chilled water, heating water and heat recovery water. But the size of the building on the SolarCity project meant it would be a substantial undertaking for the contractor.

“Given the speed and scope of the project,” said Scott Maze, Senior Project Manager for Quackenbush, “we realized about a month-and-a-half into it that we would have difficulty sourcing enough qualified welders to complete our scope of work in a timely manner.”

That’s when the project’s engineering firm provided them with an alternative.

“Viega ProPress for 304 Stainless,” Maze said, “used as another installation means for the tertiary chilled water.”

Quackenbush had used Viega ProPress and Viega MegaPress® systems in the past, so its workers were familiar with the benefits press technology could provide.


Viega ProPress® Stainless fittings.


Quackenbush had up to six people pre-fabricating the tertiary water lines, and, in the field, two teams of eight. It only took three months to complete the ProPress piping installation throughout five mezzanines where the air handling units are located.

“The quality and consistency of Viega’s products provided us the ability to pre-fabricate part of the subassemblies at our facility,” Maze said. “We turned construction into production by assembling them in advance instead of individually constructing them in the field.”

For Quackenbush, this made a difference in completing the job on time. When the Viega option became available, Paul Lepine, Estimating Manager for Quackenbush, approached his local Viega sales representative to find a distributorship that could handle the volume and the timeline of the SolarCity project.

Quackenbush needed to install 10,500 Viega ProPress Stainless fittings in various sizes and configurations. With so many fittings needed for the SolarCity project, the Viega rep had to chase specific fittings across the world in order to fill the order quantities Quackenbush needed. And that’s exactly what he did.

“He was instrumental in making this job happen from a delivery standpoint. We just placed an order for sixty 4" elbows two days ago, and he is collecting them now,” Lepine said. “Viega should be very happy with him. I don’t think he ever let us down on a request.”

When Quackenbush increased the pace on the project, their Viega rep brought out a few RIDGID® press tools for them to borrow.

“With the training Viega provided, the folks were able to pick up the installation fairly quickly,” Maze said. “The tools are user-friendly. Once you develop the system, you tend to pick up production and can step up your pace. We were pleased with the quality of the product.”

Read more about this project here.

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