Reinforces Lehigh’s deep experience in industrial sector
Since its founding in 1984, Lehigh has been heavily involved in the industrial sector, serving clients in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, chemical, agribusiness, food processing, warehousing and distribution. “Over time the company has moved into other verticals but our roots have always been in the industrial sector,” said President David Knauss.
To emphasize those roots, the new Lehigh Industrial Services division promotes the company expertise and self-perform capabilities in concrete, masonry, steel and metal and site work.
“It isn’t a new offering so much as giving a name to a service that Lehigh provides as part of its business model. We just want to make sure when a prospect is searching for an industrial services contractor, Lehigh appears at the top of their screen,” said Knauss.
Nick Sabal is the Lehigh Industrial Services Manager and oversees estimating, projects and workers for the division. Each job varies in size, complexity and safety requirements.
Lehigh Industrial Services is ready to provide everything from building repairs and maintenance, emergency service calls or the design and construction of new plant facilities and additions.
Although no two jobs are ever the same, Lehigh typically provides installations that support a client’s purchase of new equipment. This may include concrete machine foundations, crane supports, pits and trenches, housekeeping pads, floor coatings, mezzanines or equipment platforms.
“Industrial Services can also assist Lehigh subcontractors that work in plants,” said Knauss. “Plumbing contractors use us for floor cutting and trenching, we install equipment pads for HVAC contractors and transformer pads for electricians. We also can prepare wall and roof openings to get large equipment into a building.”
Other specialty projects that industrial clients repeatedly call on Lehigh are scale pit foundations for trucks and rail cars and building modifications required for freight elevator installations and retrofits.
Plant facilities also require constant maintenance and repairs and Lehigh Industrial Services is available 24/7. “Damage from fork truck drivers keeps us in business” said Sabal. “We are called on often to replace damaged masonry and metal siding”. Other common repairs include concrete floor toppings, dairy brick replacement and re-grouting in food plants. “‘Over the company’s 35 year history we’ve probably installed thousands of pipe bollards” said Sabal. Concrete filled bollards are installed in plants to protect door openings and equipment.
Plant “shut down” projects are also common in the industrial sector and require intense planning and flexibility. A plant may shut down for a week and require the equivalent of a month’s work to be completed. While a typical construction schedule is broken down into days and weeks, a shutdown schedule may be hour-by-hour on around-the-clock shifts. “Nothing ever goes exactly as planned during a shutdown so you need to be able to adapt and change course on a moment’s notice” said Sabal.
Lehigh’s industrial sector work also includes larger projects. “At any given time we always seem to have 2-3 plant expansions or new-builds underway” said Knauss. The company is currently working on a 90,000 sf manufacturing addition, another 80,000 sf addition for food processing and a new 7,000 boiler building for a dairy plant. A 60,000 sf warehouse addition for a pharmaceutical client is also in the planning stages.
Sabal says he “lives” in plant facilities. His team must master special techniques to work in hazardous environments. Projects have different classifications and in some places, something as simple as cutting a piece of metal must be approached with caution, and “you can’t do it with anything that could create sparks” due to the explosive nature of chemicals in the environment, he said.
Lehigh has a longtime client relationship with a manufacturer of salt products, including salt pellets for water softeners, table salt and bulk salt, with a salt mine on site.“In a salt environment, everything corrodes very fast,” Sabal said. Lehigh has worked at the plant for 30 years continually replacing corroded structural steel and concrete floors. An upcoming project will involve the replacement of a steel structure connecting two buildings. “On this and in every project, we have to maintain the manufacturing process in the structure so they can continue to make their products while we do our work,” Sabal said.
Sabal also recounted another project where a company sought out Lehigh because of their industrial expertise. The plant was located in a rural area of New York with local contractors that lacked experience in concrete equipment foundations. The company makes wheel assemblies for rail cars and received a large order that required them to increase their production line. Lehigh was called on to temporarily shore up and underpin building columns in the plant, and install a new 40’x 40’ x 8’ deep foundation. Everything had to be precise, Sabal said — the allowances for the machine that sat on the foundation were less than 5 millimeters. Sabal enjoys the way things unfold on industrial construction projects. “I like the way that things come together in the whole process. I find that fascinating.”
Safety awareness and performance is also critical in plant work and at Lehigh it’s a part of our culture and a core value. All Lehigh employees have a base level of 30-hour OSHA training that exceeds industry standards and Operations Managers for Pro, Project, and Industrial Servicesall have at least OSHA 510 certification . The company conducts monthly safety trainings and weekly toolbox talks. This safety knowledge creates a solid foundation for the more specialized safety requirements of industrial projects.
A new safety improvement just developed in-house and implemented this year is a bar-coded ID badge that enables industrial clients to scan and verify a Lehigh employee’s safety credentials and training. The Lehigh Scan Verify Inform (SVI) card was created in collaboration with the Lehigh IT division.
“Lehigh has always been a relationship-based business,” Knauss said. “And our relationships are built on our willingness to provide whatever services our customers need. “So Lehigh Industrial Services is another extension of how we do business. If you are a Lehigh customer with an industrial plant, you can call on us for anything from a repair that takes a day to complete to an addition that takes a year to build – that’s our business model.”
For projects small and large, Lehigh Industrial Services has the experience and commitment to handle routine or complex jobs with Lehigh’s signature high standards.
- Food and beverage
- Warehouse and distribution
Industrial Services | Capabilities
Services offered by Lehigh include:
- Equipment Foundations
- Equipment Grouting
- Crane Foundations
- Pits and Trenches
- Curbing and Containment Structures
- Concrete Saw Cutting
- Housekeeping Pads
- Compactor and Transformer Pads
- Concrete Stairs and Nosings
- Stair and Curb Repairs
- Foundation and Floor Repair
- Floor Toppings
- Coatings and Sealers
Masonry, Brick & Block
- New and Repairs
- Masonry Openings for Doors and Equipment
- Glass Block Windows and Walls
- Dairy Brick Installation and Re-grouting
- Cleaning and Sealing
- Pressure Washing
Steel & Metal
- Welding and Repairs
- Structural Repairs
- Handrails and Guardrails
- Pipe Bollards and Trenches
- Stairways and Ladders
- Pipe Bridges
- Rooftop Equipment
- Platforms Catwalks
- Siding and Insulated Panels
- Loading Dock Canopies
Excavation & Site Improvement
- Backhoe and Bobcat Work
- Fencing and Gates