May 2021 Newsletter

A Word from our President

President

by – Jonathan Brown-Kruse Corp.

With spring now in full swing, with cool evenings and stormy weather. With some COVID restrictions lifting around the state. Hopefully, everyone is preparing for a profitable summer. Hold tight, RTU replacement weather will be here in about a month.

We survived skills USA Kansas state finals virtual HVAC contest. A big thank you to Manhattan tech, and WSU Tech for their participation, and all the volunteers that made it possible.

We also want to thank Lucas Milhaupt, and BCS for their hosting of the April general meeting and presentation on proper brazing technique.

Please join us on May 20th. Stoney Nethercot with MABCD, will speak about significant changes to the 2021 IMC and IRC.  Do not forget to bring your business cards for the $100.00 drawing.

Please feel free to email or call Jonathan at (316) 633-1235 or Jbrown@krusecorp.comwith any concerns or questions.


**1 more spring code class left**

Tuesday May 18th 2021 5:30-8:30 pm

3 Hour Mechanical Code Class: Exhaust Systems out of 2018 IMC

KCCA Code Class requirements

  • EVERYONE must have their own ZOOM account. Zoom is a free for the basic user and you can sign up @ zoom.us   
  • To participate & get credit for the code class you must use a device that has a camera on it, like a computer or cell phone. Zoom Participants must remain in site of camera so they can be seen by the proctors at all time. Cannot connect by audio only. Must connect with video.
  • To sign up for our Code classes we are requesting everyone to email Judy to ensure we get the CORRECT email address for you to get registered for the code class, also make sure to spell name correctly. Judy’s email is judykccaassn@gmail.com
  • Payments for the class you sign up for is the Friday before the class, if we haven’t received your payment then we won’t send out the link for the zoom meeting. Price per class is $30 for members & $60 for non-members.
  • Sign-up sheets & evaluation sheets are due back to Judy’s email by the Friday of the class. Example: if class is on 3/23, you must return the sheets by 3/26. If she doesn’t get them returned she will not be sending out a certificate.
  • KCCA payment policy is, if there is a payment for the class and no one shows up there will be NO refund or moving to a different date
  • Form of payments KCCA accepts are cash, check and NOW credit cards. Checks can be mailed to the PO BOX 3004 Wichita, KS 67201 or dropped off @ Fenix (802 W 2nd St N, ask for Shawna), cash can be dropped off @ Fenix (ask for Shawna) and credit card payments please call Shawna @ 316-201-7698 between 9-4, M-F.

All classes below will be instructed by Darrell Bogner via Zoom with proctors 


Congratulations to Lawrence Pham, he was the latest winner of the $500 scholarship that KCCA gives away to techs.  Lawrence works at All Seasons Heating & Cooling and has been there since January 2020.  Lawrence graduated from WSU Tech June of 2020.  Congratulations again Lawrence!!

KCCA $500 TOOL SCHOLARSHIP
The board revised the Tool Scholarship a little. KCCA wants the employee to be working for the KCCA member for 3 months before they are eligible for the $500 tool Scholarship. So in short the employee or employer need to submit application and proof of graduation from one of our local trade school after the employee has worked for them for 3 months.


April’s General Meeting

Thank you Tom Tallon and BSC for hosting our April general meeting. Robert Cristan from Lucas Milhaupt did a great job giving a quick 1 hour zoom meeting on what needs to be done when brazing.  He had several good tips for the class, 1-wear a long sleeve shirt, 2-have a fire extinguisher near the space where brazing, 3-have good gauges and torch equipment, and 4- make sure the bottle of acetylene has been upright for at least 1 hour prior to using. Below are several pictures from the brazing meeting. 

A big congratulations to Shawna Cooley with Fenix, won the $100 drawing.

We look forward to seeing everyone at our future general meetings. 


2020-2021 Meetings

May                  Code with Stoney 1hour Code CEU (Kevin                               Kaufman w/CFM will be our vendor spotlight)
June                 Tom Roberts (Jim White w/Johnstone will                         be our vendor spotlight)July                   Upcoming planning meeting (FREE LUNCH)

This list is subjust to change due to speakers not able to make the date we have selected for them.


Shortage ‘Perfect Storm’ Strains Construction and Affects HVAC Industry

Non-HVAC materials challenges can unsettle HVAC business, but leaders agree it will blow over… eventually

When manufacturers and partners around the world were grappling with pandemic-driven upheaval last year, nobody imagined that HVAC and other industries might arrive in 2021 to look back on the previous spring’s supply situation as… simpler?

The world is better off, of course, with vaccines and social distancing replacing an unchecked virus and total plant shutdowns. However, lingering COVID-related hurdles and other random events have created a host of material shortages that have combined to put stress on the construction industry in general.

These shortages and common price increases can add up to have a meaningful impact on HVAC companies, especially but not limited to those working in new construction.

It’s Fine, Except For Copper and Plastics and Microchips and…

Ken Simonson, chief economist for Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), has updated AGC contractors recently on the remarkable variety of affected materials and disciplines.

Steel tends to grab the most attention among raw materials. Amid rising prices and lengthening lead times, Simonson said that “some additional production capacity is expected to come online later this year, but industry analysts are not yet predicting when prices or delivery times will come down.”

Factors that having nothing to do with COVID-19 are also serving to make 2021 distinctive. On the plumbing side, Simonson quoted a Texas supplier who wrote to customers in late March, “Last month’s storms impacted three copper rod mills and has attributed to further tightening of finished goods supply.”

That pressure was expected to continue through the spring and possibly longer.

The February ice storms in Texas also derailed work at petrochemical plants in Houston that make resins and what Simonson describes as the “building blocks” for construction plastics. He said the freeze not only knocked down production but caused damage “that cannot easily be repaired, given the very specialized equipment and engineering expertise needed simultaneously for several facilities.”

The list of affected products here is long: “PVC pipe and plumbing supplies; vinyl siding and vapor barriers; geotextiles; paints, coatings, and highway striping materials; even packaging such as the wrapping around lumber or the layers in corrugated boxes.”

Some manufacturers who rely on these materials are delivering 50-70% allocations, Simonson said, joined by historically high lead times.

Simonson does expect supply to catch up, but expects that process to take months.

Cement and concrete face supply issues as well, most notably west of the Mississippi.

Wood products, getting hit on two sides, are also harder to come by. Simonson said not only has demand surged thanks to COVID-fueled interest in decking and nonresidential renovation, but millworker and truck driver shortages are exacerbating the situation. On top of that, the aforementioned resin issues are creating slowdowns for certain engineered wood products.

Finally, no matter what is getting made and transported, modern logistics and a growing array of products rely on computers and the IoT. Those machines run on microchips, and as luck would have it, microchips are experiencing their own supply issues.

Construction may not have it quite as bad as the auto industry or consumer electronics industry in this regard. Nevertheless, Simonson said that chip shortages will cause additional delivery delays over the coming months.

The People Problem Remains

All of those shortages may do their part to disrupt and delay jobs that include HVAC, but according to Todd Young, vice president for commercial business at Ferguson Enterprises, these are just piling onto the most significant and longest-running shortage. Young commented in response to a request for input from the American Supply Association for this article.

“In terms of resources, the main one we’re lacking is time and talent,” he said.

Young outlined how distributors and others have adapted to supply chain issues and learned to roll with short-term circumstances as best they can. But that doesn’t eliminate the now-familiar reality of increased demand for IAQ products and heightened HVAC awareness among consumers in general.

Young has also seen a trend among facility managers to take the opportunity for some renovations or upgrades while many offices are still empty or close to it.

“This demand,” he said, “coupled with the reduced production rates and the skilled trade crisis, is the perfect storm.”

Coping Mechanisms

When Simonson sums up the situation on the commercial side as “Nonresidential construction is experiencing headwinds from postponed and canceled projects, steep increases in materials costs, and lengthening delivery times,” the picture doesn’t sound good. Adding that all this is “making it hard for most firms to add new construction jobs compared to a year ago” puts things in stark relief.

HARDI’s Brian Loftus, market research and benchmarking analyst for the distributors’ association, takes the cue to bring some more welcome news. The year in HVAC business, so far, is off to a good start.

“This strong start has pushed the annual sales growth rate from 4.1% at the end of 2020 all the way to 6.1% for the 12 months through 2021,” he wrote in a recent update. He cited improved product availability and some accumulated backorders working hand in hand along with price increases being passed through and an improving overall economy.

Loftus reported that “distributors have developed a greater appreciation for a ‘just in case’ inventory strategy and are buying sooner. “End market demand has not changed,” he said, “just the order pattern.”

In the face of the more recent materials shortages and personnel struggles, Loftus said HARDI members have been “inspired to build inventories sooner than usual to avoid the shortages and stress of last summer.”

Ferguson’s Young echoed a chorus of resilience and communication to get through a highly unusual group of negative factors that have stacked up like so many container ships around the Suez Canal.

“We work with our HVAC professionals to keep them informed of new products, possible substitutions, and any supply chain concerns that might affect them,” he said.

Young added that while Ferguson advises their contractors that these shortages could stay in play “for the next six months and perhaps longer,” he added that the pandemic may have loosened up attitudes for the better throughout the supply chain.

This rings especially true on the residential side when some flexibility may be required.

“One of the many things we’ve learned from COVID-19 is the importance of adjusting to change, and so most everyone is willing to work together to find a solution.”

At AGC, the team is staying in touch with and updating federal procurement officials, industry coalitions, and Biden administration officials. In particular, AGC would like to see “harmful tariffs” on construction materials eliminated and would like to see progress on expediting freight.

Speaking of transport, Loftus’ update cited March 2021 as the sixth-best month ever for intermodal rail originations. That, along with a recent 50% processing increase at the Port of Los Angeles, is fueling some optimism for clearing current congestion by summer and getting ready for seasonal pushes in the second half of the year.


Funny Photos


When Disaster Strikes Your Electrical Systems

Electricity is vital to our world and businesses, and our reliance on electrical systems creates a risk. Could you continue operating your business without electricity? Power outages in Texas due to cold weather earlier this year show us that natural
disasters can strike anywhere, and at any time – and often have ramifications to critical infrastructure, such as power grids and gas lines.
The many types of electrical equipment, and how often they are used, are things we often take for granted when they work as
intended. Your business may rely on one or more of the following:
 Computer, phone, and other sensitive electronic systems
 Machinery, pumps, power tools
 Refrigeration systems
 Heating and air conditioning
 Overhead and display lighting
 Security doors or alarm systems
Should one of these systems or pieces of equipment lose its power source, it could not only interrupt daily work, it could be dangerous and expensive.Costs could stem from physical damage to the system, loss of business income, service interruption,
clean up, temporary repairs, and spoilage of perishable goods.
Having an emergency preparedness and recovery plan in place can help your business weather the storm should the power go out. Your plan could include:
 A key employee responsible for coordinating post-outage recovery of electrical systems.
 A list of all business critical electrical systems at your business.
 Plans for mitigating the impact of short-term and long-term loss of electricity, such as moving to backup energy sources like generators.
 Policies regarding performing regular preventative maintenance on electrical equipment per manufacturer specifications.
Inadequately maintained electrical systems are a leading cause of business interruption, poor energy efficiency, equipment wear-out, and breakdowns.
 A list of employees who are qualified to properly, safely, and effectively maintain and help recover electrical equipment.
 Contact information for your insurance provider who can respond to coverage and claims questions regarding systems breakdown incidents.
 Verification that your business has systems breakdown coverage for your line of work.
Severe weather conditions and the havoc they bring are becoming increasingly unpredictable, but having a plan in place to reduce the impact of electrical outages can help your business recover following a storm. Take action today before disaster
strikes your electrical system. 

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