Think Fabricating Your Own Rooftop Equipment Support Frames Costs Less than QuickFrames?
(You Won’t After Reading This)
By Chase Sebastian, Partner & Director of Influence, QuickFrames
We work with steel fabricators all the time, and they love the benefits of using our frames, including that they’re so cost-effective. But, little birds have told us that some fabricators who aren’t yet customers mistakenly think our rooftop equipment supports are too expensive. Here’s a breakdown of why that’s not the case, and why QuickFrames are actually the most cost-effective rooftop equipment support frame option available on the market – for all parties involved.
1. The Real Cost of Fabricating Frames In-House
If you think about the true cost of frames that are fabricated in-house, that number jumps – significantly. In order to get a more accurate calculation, you need to also factor in office hours, the time spent on coordination, the opportunity cost of lost shop time that could’ve been spent on more profitable projects and the expense of hiring a skilled welder to perform the installation. Add all that together, and you quickly can see that handling frames on your own costs a lot more than you think it does.
So, now you have a much bigger number in mind for how much it costs you to fabricate your own structural support frames. But, wait! There’s more! Because we all know how these things tend to go, don’t we? By that I mean, we’re all painfully familiar with the complications that come up on projects that end up costing us even more.
While it’s a total misconception, we think we know how this rumor got started. When fabricators think about how much it costs them to handle frames for a commercial roof hatch, skylight or another rooftop unit themselves, they’ll likely think of a pretty low number. But, they’re only factoring in the cost of the steel and the cost of the labor.
2. Baseline Costs are Amplified by Problems
Let’s start with timing costs. We get calls all the time from steel fabricators who are in a bind and in need of frames – fast. Whether the deck is installed already and they see (too late) that they can’t weld frames in, or they realize they’ve forgotten a few frames at the end of a project, we love to help these folks out. But, expediting anything is costly. While we’re ready to get frames out fast, the customer ends up spending more money on urgent shipping than they’d like to. Or, even worse, they try to rush and fab the frames themselves, delaying more profitable projects in their shop and possibly angering customers.
Or, it goes something like this… You’re waiting on mechanical locations and don’t get them until the eleventh hour, at which point you find yourself in the urgent, unwinnable situation above. The waiting and the rushing all lead to schedule delays, which makes absolutely nobody on the job happy – or profitable.
If you’ve made it this far and have angle iron frames onsite to install, you’ve made it over some hurdles. But still, you’re not out of the woods. You hired skilled (expensive) welders to take one to six hours to weld in each frame on the job site, depending on if they are dropped in or have to be installed post deck installation (and accounting for special riggings, extension cords and/or protective equipment to help them get the job done). Once the frames are welded in, you find out… drumroll… the locations are wrong.
So now, you have two choices: 1) Cut the frames out, which is time-consuming and costly (ka-ching) or 2) Abandon them, which means you’ve lost all of the dollars invested into them at this point. Oh, and you’ll still need frames to finish the job, so the entire process will have to be repeated.
To recap, fabricating your own rooftop equipment support frames means using valuable shop time on less profitable work that ends up being expensive down the road and rarely has a happy ending. The costs are many, and the headaches rival them.
A Better Way
Of course, there’s a better way, and you can guess what that is judging by whose blog this is: QuickFrames. But rather than thinking of this as self-promotional, think of it as a public service announcement. After all, we don’t want any of our fabricator friends dealing with the mess outlined here.
So, here’s how we help, and why we actually are truly, completely far more cost-effective than fabricating your own frames:
- Keeping some of our frames on-hand for unexpected oversights and emergencies saves you from urgent shop fire drills that get in the way of more profitable projects and/or expedited shipping costs.
- Using QuickFrames from the start gives you adjustability, so you don’t have to wait on mechanical locations and hold up project schedules. Bonus: you save yourself numerous unpleasant hours spent haggling over coordination.
- Anyone (and we mean virtually anyone) can install QuickFrames using a ¾” impact driver. No kidding. Oh, and it takes around 30-45 minutes your first time (and only 15 minutes once you’ve got the hang of it). So, not only do you skip the expense of using a welder and the hassle of coordinating their equipment, but you also save a lot of time in installation.
- Ended up in the wrong locations? No sweat. Just remove your QuickFrames and move them to the right locations (our adjustability means the frames should still work in the new locations). No lost or abandoned frames, no lost work and expense.
The value, long-term, of using QuickFrames on every project from the start is undeniable. Plus, who actually likes fabricating their own roof frames? If our cost-effectiveness isn’t enough to convince you to give us a try, imagine a world in which you no longer have to fabricate structural support frames. We thought that’d make you think twice.