RECAP: COAA-GA Summer Workshop

Posted By: Wes Berry Education, News,

Inglett & Stubbs hosted the 2023 COAA-GA Summer Workshop at their prefabrication facility located just outside Atlanta in Covington. The topics centered around the electrical scopes of work, with a look at prefabrication first, presented by Inglett & Stubbs, including a tour of their facility. Following that, Schneider Electric discussed electrical lead time concerns. 


After a networking breakfast, Michael Quillen, Director of Modular Operations & Prefabrication Manager at Inglett & Stubbs, shared how they create and utilize pre-fabricated and modular components to assist in delivering better projects. While the entire presentation provided helpful information, my main takeaway is that the sooner you engage subcontractors in the project design (electrical and others), the more opportunities to take advantage of pre-fab or modular elements that can benefit the project, including schedule, budget, quality, and schedule. For clarification, Michael explained that pre-fab is one component, while modular is a combination of components, typically involving multiple trades.


Inglett and Stubbs has an impressive facility that demonstrates their commitment and illustrates pre-fab efficiencies. Always looking for opportunities to streamline, they have a team in the field that gathers information on wants and needs to make work smoother, faster, and better quality. This team brings their findings to an in-house team of designers that take those needs and engineer a solution, creating pre-fab and modular components, large and small. From there, the ideas become a reality in their state-of-the-art facility.


The ideas and practices presented align with LEAN principles of improving efficiency and effectiveness through streamlining processes and repeated actions. The entire facility demonstrates the positive effects of this mindset, with both tangible and intangible benefits. I am totally on board with this thought process and using prefabrication / modular for better projects (and work environments). It is clear that Inglett & Stubbs understands the benefits and has built an environment and culture that allows their clients to benefit from these advantages.


Building on the theme of planning for project success, Ken Box (Principal Consulting Application Engineer) and Glenn Cowart (Key Account Manager) of Schneider Electric discussed electrical lead time concerns after lunch. Both were knowledgeable and offered insight into today's market and things to consider to maintain the project schedule. 


Supply chain issues are a reality, so any ideas, strategies, and best practices are appreciated. It is also a good reminder that the market is in flux, making it harder to accurately predict material cost, supply, and availability ahead of time. The bottom line is that for specific electrical components like switchgear, the earlier specs are available and equipment ordered, the better. Also, read the specifications and design details to identify long lead items and proactively strategize to minimize the impacts of the long lead items. Discuss available options and alternatives with trade partners, as the electrical subcontractor and electrical distributor can assist with identifying which components are long lead items and can help discuss alternatives with shorter lead times. 


Examples of electrical items with known issues include:

  • Semiconductors: Chip manufacturers have shifted focus to other chips (smart electronics, etc); most come from Taiwan

  • Copper: The electrification of things (cars, etc.) has increased the demand 

  • Lugs: Shortage leads to a price increase

  • Switchboards: 50+ Weeks | Tip: Order larger than anticipated to allow for load flexibility

  • Transformers: 70+ Weeks

  • Panelboards: I-Line type are on backorder (NQ + NF lighting) | Tip: To shorten delivery times, use NF (Lighting and Appliance) or I Line Combo (NQ/NF + I Line)


Both presentations highlighted timely and beneficial information to use on projects, regardless of type or size. By starting early conversations with subcontractors and other partners, project teams can better prepare for and navigate potential issues. Even though the market is constantly changing, keeping your pulse on market trends and leveraging tools like prefabrication allows for a proactive approach to project strategy that will benefit the project, project team, and Owner. 


Sincere thanks to our event sponsors, BCE (Barnett Consulting Engineers) and RMF Engineering, and COAA-GA chapter sponsors Daikin and Parrish Construction Group. With the support of our sponsors and hosts, we can’t offer exciting workshops at a reasonable rate. 


Please join us for future workshops and other events, where we will continue to explore topics of interest and relevance in our industry. Send us your suggestions if you have a relevant topic to present or if you want to hear more about something. Thank you for your support!

Wes Berry has a BS in Architecture and MS in Construction Management from The Georgia Institute of Technology, is a PMP, and enjoys all aspects of Design and Construction, specifically Programming, Strategy, and Contract Administration. Having worked for the State of GA as a PM for 14 years (GSFIC), he primarily consults on State projects but takes on an occasional residential project and would like to expand into Healthcare. He is also an Ace Certified Personal Trainer and spends his free time focused on fitness and his two dogs, Pierre and Penelope.