June 2006

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A Control Contractors Guide
Incorporating Customizable Standards

Al De Wachter, President

A roadmap for the Controls Contractor who strives for efficiency gains and cost reduction.

Starting in 1903, it took Henry Ford 5 years to sell 1,750 hand built Model A’s at $750 each. Then he figured out that standardization lowered costs, and he sold 15,000,000 Model T’s in 19 years. Competing with others that still sold hand built cars for $2-3000, his $850 price gradually dropped to $300 as he refined his standards. Between 1927 and 1931, he sold 4.3 million of his “new” Model A’s, priced from $385 to $570. Since then, standardization has enabled virtually all modern technical progress.

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If your operation still delivers every project “hand-built”, then standards can take your business to the next level. For our purpose, “standards” are defined as prepared, well thought-out systems that can be used repeatedly from job to job.

The power of standards has been proven to enable companies to:

  • Successfully respond to a higher volume of work

  • Book more profitable work

  • Avoid major mistakes that cause financial disaster

  • Reduce project costs

  • Make staff more productive

  • Deliver a consistent, predictable, professional product and service

  • Improve understanding and communication between Sales, Operations and Management

Why office standards are important and how to get the most out of them:

- Detailed Cost estimates
- System logic (flow) schematics
- System wiring details
- System panel layouts
- Sequences of operations
- Various user notes
- Equipment lists (BOM – Bill of Material)
- Schedules for valves, damper, points
- MMI graphics
- DDC panel programming code
- Scanned or other connection details for major equipment (Chillers, boilers, ..)
- Commissioning checklists
- Ability to produce job plans
- Schedule of values
- Any electronic file that will complete your standard

contemporary A contracting company operating without standards, or with poor standard practices, is:

Every job is unique in its totality however the pieces that make up a project are mostly repeated from previous projects. Arguably, over 90% of every project has been performed in the past. Standardization of processes needs to be driven down into estimating, design, and submittal preparation in a manner similar to factory assembly principles. The remaining 10% of the project that represents truly needed customization can then be given suitable attention to achieve your quality and productivity goals.

For a proven and reliable infrastructure upon which to build your standards and streamline your business, you are invited to visit www.ics-controls.com

About the Author

Al De Wachter has been active in the Building Automation industry for over 38 years.  He has held senior positions with leading companies in the field and is currently the president of ICS (Independent Control Specialists Inc).  ICS develops advanced productivity software for Facility Automation Integrators and consults on related productivity issues. www.ics-controls.com


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