A health clinic helping people from underserved communities near Santa Cruz, California was recently in desperate need of updated HVAC and a new boiler system. The clinic needed to complete the work in three phases — one for each floor of the building — without interrupting the staff’s ability to care for their patients. To complicate things further, the contractor would have to be cautious of the highly flammable and hazardous materials that are often present in medical facilities.

Ian Barcelos, owner of ICR Industries, and his five employees stepped up to the challenge. Over the course of a week, the team used approximately 6,000 feet of pipe, 48 can coils, and 120 tons of coolant throughout the lengthy and tedious brazing process.

The project was going smoothly until Barcelos noticed there was a miscalculation in the design. What should have been 100 feet had been mistaken for only 10 feet, leaving the team no choice but to reverse a week’s worth of work and start over.

With a shrinking budget and fast-approaching deadline, the team knew that brazing would cost too much in time, labor, and supplies. Instead, they turned to press fittings from Rapid Locking System, or RLS, to correct the mistake efficiently.

RLS is a patented press fitting specifically developed for the high pressures of HVAC and refrigeration systems. The press fittings are installed through a press-to-connect process and can be applied in a matter of just seconds — 60% faster than brazing.

In addition to speed, the contractor said, including press fittings in his install arsenal allows him to train his employees from other trade backgrounds both safely and efficiently. Once a new trainee gets going with the tool, he said, pressing becomes second nature, and the result is safe and dependable but less labor-intensive than brazing.

The ICR Industries team got permission from the project’s lead engineer to adjust the piping using press fittings and got back to work. The upgrades were completed in about six hours with press fittings that would have taken four or five days to braze, and saved $2,500 in out-of-pocket costs in the process — meaning that the project at the health clinic was completed on-time and on-budget. The contractor even secured an ongoing maintenance contract.