From mechanical, civil, general and structural construction contracting to design/build, mechanical and fabrication services, The Bell Company of Rochester, New York, resonates with an uncommon sort of operational ability and capacity to expertly address varieties of engineering applications that it is broadly known as a “GO-TO” hotspot for solutions. For the past fifty years, Bell’s industrial talents have been sought out by an impressive array of equally dynamic institutions, bringing about a substantial portfolio of project accomplishment.
For example, when the U.S. Armed force Corps of Engineers was in need of someone to assume the complete construction responsibility for a new heating and refrigeration plant that would be able to serve the entirety of the Pentagon complex, it was The Bell Company who ventured up to complete the task. They developed a facility which is able to deliver some 240,000 lbs of steam per hour, which uses more than 37,000 tons of refrigeration, and they were able to accomplish that without disrupting operations at its current cooling/heating facility at the time. Adding to the complexity of that job was a necessity to excavate two 90-inch tunnels underneath Jefferson Davis Highway for the installation of utility piping as well as 40,000 lf of reinforced concrete duct bank together with 27,000 lf of storm water, clean water and process water systems.
Not difficult enough? At that point, simply consider the work Bell led at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the scientific group Ecology, an association once recognized as the country's most leading processor of radioactive waste. This operation employs systems known as “Quantum Catalytic Extraction” in order to break down the molecular components of non-hazardous and hazardous byproducts into less complex basic constituents. Radionuclides are separated and stored, yet with the addition of specific reactants the waste can be completely or partially changed into items for reuse, a procedure that includes applications of melted metal and systems fit for producing up to 15,000 degrees of pure heat. The management at Bell installed and designed foundations, interior walls, floors, the systems for cooling and processing water, high pressure oxygen, compressed air, nitrogen and normal gas applications, the HEPA filter system, the HVAC, fire coverage components, and also in the electrical and instrumentation control systems – even more.
At a project for the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, Bell was tasked with upgrading and improving new systems essential to a multi-phased modernization program that had them installing new normal gas systems, clean water and storm water systems, telecom, steam and electrical systems, as well as everything necessary to house four 5,000-ton centrifugal water chillers and all other secondary equipment. At the Dept. of Energy’s Savannah River Site in Aiken, SC, Bell served as the Design/Build contractor in a project consolidating the area’s domestic water systems so as to create a singular source of treated domestic water, an undertaking that involved water distributed through a circled piping system joining more than 250 buildings with another water treatment facility and two storage tanks rising some 243 feet into the sky.
Bell as well took care of general construction of the National Security Agency’s mainframe computer Center at Fort Meade, an 183,000 square-foot complex that at the time was one of the largest facilities of its kind in the whole world. The company also developed the site for the F.B.I.’s fingerprint identification center in West Virginia. The list seams to go on and on. From the construction of facilities at different military bases to universities, medical centers, correctional institutions and nuclear power plants, the Bell Company’s capabilities in construction has figured in useful and critical projects throughout the United States.
Despite the company’s industrial fortitude and also the litany of challenges they have overcome so as to achieve what can be very complex performance requirements for the applications they deliver, one won’t find Bell Company President Steve Ruether boasting about all the company has done or who it has served. In rather calm and sensible tones, Ruether warns against unnecessary fanfare and clarifies that the company prefers to operate with a peaceful humility and their committed approach to duty. He concedes that many in the firm’s residence base of Rochester may lack full awareness as to the wide range of work the company fulfills, and no doubt, that’s just okay with him and his team. Though proud to have participated in so many projects, Ruether said the company basically doesn’t believe in tooting its own horn, so to speak. The Bell Company likes to prosper by embracing principles of attraction versus that of promotion.
The Building of a True Legacy
The Bell Company began 1940 with John P. Bell Sr. who was well known in Rochester as an expert plumbing contractor. As J.P. Bell developed his business, he and his wife were also busy building their family. They brought up seven sons and a daughter. These offspring all grew-up helping the family business, or working in different trades. As the sons matured and searched out their own particular career paths, in 1967, they eventually determined that working for others may not be the best option when they could join forces and build up their own company. Ruether says this was a dynamic period for the city of Rochester, with Kodak, Xerox and Bausch & Lomb adding to an economic boom of advancement. The Bell Brothers decided to merge all their varied service expertise to make a company that could provide a wide range of solutions all under one roof. Each brother basically became an expert in a given field, be it in central utility plant construction, hospital, power or some other corridor of the company. Ruether went ahead to say that the deploying of diverse expertise was a crucial procedure; however the company further benefited from their amazing hard working ethic. “Play hard. Work hard. Also, treat individuals fair,” Ruether said. “Those who have been here for twenty-five to thirty years all followed and remain loyal to this day.”
After some time, The Bell Company progressed from mechanical and plumbing to general construction projects. While a significant part of the early work was exclusively performed in Rochester, in time, the company started to venture out of their home base to take on projects all through the Mid-Atlantic States.
The Quality assurance systems have been critical to that elevation clarifies Ruether. In addition to being ISO 9001: Certified, the Bell Company detain National Board “R” certification as well as other certifications from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers basic to welding applications or the maintenance and restoration of boilers and pressure mechanisms. The Bell Company’s ASME NQA-1-2000 affirmation is significant for securing work among the nation’s nuclear energy facilities. Ruether recognizes the Bell Brothers astuteness in not only getting the expertise to adequately deliver on so many services, but also taking the required steps to gain the certification validating that expertise.
The Bell Brothers ultimately created another offspring that numbers several dozen, yet in 2007; leadership of the company was then turned over to a handpicked group of veteran staff which includes Ruether, and the Executive Vice Presidents Mike Benulis and Andy Carayiannis. The company has kept on flourishing by maintaining a diversity of services yet has improved its core mechanical abilities with experienced management in design, engineering services and build or design supervision.
The Benefits of BIM
The Bell Company is completely integrated in Building Information Modeling (BIM), a procedure that allows for the creation of comprehensive digital representations of the functional and physical attributes of a facility. The creating of such models is important to supporting construction choices for a facility from the earliest theoretical stages. BIM, nevertheless, goes beyond the preparation and design phase of a project, broadening all through the complete life cycle of a facility, essentially supporting determinations relating to the management of expenses as well as the usefulness of the finished project. Those who are involved in the building process are routinely tested so as to carry out the goals under parameters that often include limited manpower, limited budgets, stringent due dates and variance of priorities originating from all the different players respectively tasked with different jobs to perform. As BIM shows the virtual construction of a facility prior to the actual construction, the process adequately supports cooperation and knowledge of all involved, but also serves to enhance safety and overcome potential issues before any are really experienced. BIM permits sub-contractors from every trade to input data within the model before construction occurs. This not alone allows for greater cohesion, but can help in decisions involving offsite pre-fabrication or pre-assembly of some systems, or help to reduce waste on-site by more efficiently allowing materials to be conveyed in a just-in-time basis rather than being stock-piled on-site. Beyond its capabilities with BIM, the Bell Company can indeed provide the off-site pipe and modular-type fabrication units because to its investment in state-of-the-art equipment and also its dependence on probably the most experienced craftsman ever to work in the trade.
Renowned in Design/Build
Design/Build merits exceptional notes for Ruether. He credits this project delivery service model as a standout amongst the parts of the company’s evolution. Design/Build alludes to a modality used for project development and finishing, not solely related to, say, the construction of a building, but tackling virtually any kind of project. As Ruether explains, the modality compels cooperation of a team involved by the facility owner, the design/build team leader, the engineer, architect and sub-trades. This process starts with an owner clearly defining what he needs from the project. This can be a single page description or detailed account of prescriptive or restrictive facets in the finished project. The collaboration intended to give clear understanding of the owner’s objectives, also the budget and time frame critical to the job.
Design/Build methodology depends on cooperation, with all determined to deliver on the owner’s goals through their group awareness of their respective roles, the available resources required to fulfill the objective. “It's essential to choose the correct team,” says Ruether. “They must have the capacity to speak and listen with one another…and leave their egos at the door.”
Ruether went further to say that the project owner gains everything by being able to step away from the risk and harness the strength of a team which “circles the wagons” around finishing of the objectives, a procedure that is significantly more successful than simply employing autonomous architects, subcontractors and builders who might otherwise function with different various plans or thoughts regarding what should be done, and how to do it”. The training that drove us to understanding the ideas of design/build have been basic to the growth of our company, and it has helped us earn respect from numerous contractors, architectural and engineering firms,” says Ruether.
The Bell Company’s efficiencies in Design/Build have been exacted in a number of relevant projects. One of the examples includes the Federal Correctional Institution in Berlin, New Hampshire, a 600,000 square-foot facility that accommodates more than 1,200 inmates. Beyond the three 4-story general housing units, the complex accommodates buildings for educational, food services, health, vocational and administration all inside a secured compound. Beyond that perimeter, there is a utility plant, fueling stations, warehousing and extra lodging for medium-security inmates.
The Bell Company has further given Design/Build assistance significant to the completion of U.S. Army Center of Excellence on the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. This 1,400,000 square-foot complex will house the Army units of Command & Control, Intelligence, Sensors and Reconnaissance (otherwise known as Team C4ISR) whose mission is to advance technology, provide research and development all aimed at supporting the Army’s war fighter. Including the development of the facility that supports the war fighter in genuine combat situations in any location throughout the world. The task calls for the constructing of buildings which will house some of the world’s most advanced technology, research labs as well as all else that is essential to accommodate the work of more than 7,000 military and civilian personnel. For this situation, The Bell Company was awarded a contract to give Design/Build assistance to the Joint Venture Team of Tompkins-Turner and Grunley & Kinsley. In another project, Bell is giving Design/Build help to the firm of Heery International for a project involving redevelopment of the Langley AFB, Hospital.
While project sizes, material resources, purposes, deadlines and requests might all change some over time, the all-encompassing requirement for groups of individuals to cooperate is something that never truly changes, as Ruether says, it is the “key” segment in any construction project.
He then said that the design/build system more easily allows for challenges to be faced and overcome. Also, for all the sophisticated projects and sophisticated customers his company has served, Ruether only expresses appreciation for the fact that each job included input from a group of individuals of which the Bell Company was able to work alongside. “The pride only comes from having the right team and being part of them,” says Ruether. “It gives you a great sense of pride when you put your complete self into your work, to overcome challenges, and in today’s economy with unemployment, design/build project delivery system assists to get many people working together, working quickly, and that is beneficial to the economy,” says Ruether.
By continuing their focus on collaboration while adhering to the quality standards that have been fundamental to achieving growth and respect in their industry, look for The Bell Company to continue ringing with success for many years to come.