Trained vs. Untrained Workers: You be the Judge.

Our organization has reached out to the community to provide a better understanding on just how important Mechanical Insulation is to businesses, churches, and schools. Local 17 has reached out to building inspectors, engineering firms, researchers, and political leaders to express our concerns regarding poorly insulated mechanical systems. Our members have submitted photos of their finished work product as well as the finished work product that they have encountered by untrained workers.  There are many short-sighted reasons that someone would use an untrained worker to do the work of a qualified union insulator: uneducated of the importance of mechanical insulation, or just cutting corners for monetary reasons.  Any way one of these factors reduces the standard of quality and safety the community expects.

Saving on initial construction costs may help on startup costs, however, a poorly insulated mechanical system will cost the customer long term on energy costs due to an over-active mechanical system.  It is vital to remember, the better the insulated mechanical system, the more efficient it will operate.  A General Contractor or a Contractor may be exploiting their own workers to perform the job for which they are not trained to do the work just to help the company’s bottom line.  Unfortunately, everyone loses when a project is compromised for the sake of “value-engineering”.

Local 17 believes that a true discussion and conversation among stakeholders should be ongoing about the importance of mechanical insulation.  With that, our organization wants to offer some evidence of quality work done by USDOL certified apprentice trained workers vs. untrained workers.  You be the judge.

Trained Worker on a Chilled Water System

Untrained Worker on a Chilled Water System

A Chilled Water system is unforgiving to poor quality work.  If the work is properly, a person will walk by the system and see no issues.  However, a poorly insulated system will run inefficient and condensation will likely occur.  This could lead to water gathering in puddles causing slip hazards, damage to ceiling tiles, or even MOLD.

Plumbing piping is another system that called for mechanical insulation.  Many people think that plumbing insulation is easy to do and “anyone can do it”.  You be the judge.

Trained Worker on Plumbing

Untrained Worker on Plumbing

Ductwork is a system that may require mechanical insulation.  Much of this work is above the ceiling and never seen by the customer.  Some of the work can be found in areas where people congregate.  It is important that the ventilation system is “closed” or insulated as stated earlier with regards to condensation.  Here are examples of trained and untrained work.  You be the judge.

Trained Worker on Ductwork

Untrained Worker on Ductwork

Finally, insulation exposed to the elements requires protection.  That protection could be a metal jacketing.  If insulation is exposed to the weather, the insulation will degrade and not do the job it was intended to do: Insulate.   A properly jacketed system is just as important to the integrity of the mechanical insulation system.  Here is an example of quality work done by a trained worker versus an untrained worker.  You be the judge.

Trained Metal Work

Untrained Metal Work

If done properly, the customer will never know the important role mechanical insulation plays in the business, school, or place of worship.  Local 17 prides itself on that very premise.  Top quality work done the first time, done safely, on time, and under budget.  Do not be fooled by untrained workers and value engineers claiming otherwise.  Local 17 has been serving the community for over a century.  We back our work every day.  You be the judge.

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