Most people are familiar with P1 Group’s distinctive position as a single-source provider, and the recently added Controls department brings yet another advantage to owners and customers.
The Controls department currently has staff operating out of the Kansas City (Lenexa) and Wichita offices, but supports all of the Kansas City metro, which includes St. Joseph and Lawrence/Topeka.
At the end of the day, building controls (or building management systems, BMS) contribute to the comfort and functionality of a facility so the people inhabiting that space can do their jobs with less disruption or discomfort.
The Controls department aims to work seamlessly with other functions of P1 Group to add value to major projects, such as the National Weather Service and the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB).
“Building controls are often in the background and no one really knows the importance of their role,” Ronnie Rice, Controls Group Operations Manager, explained.
“On the KASB project, the controls are critical to maintaining the level of comfort the customer desires. Sometimes it’s a challenge to make a whole building full of people happy. But with a complete BMS package like we provided KASB, we are able to break it down into pieces for the customer. When these pieces are functioning correctly, the individuals are happy.”
Carl Van Vliet, Controls Division Manager, says that in its simplest definition, the Controls department provides HVAC controls in commercial buildings.
“That’s a loose definition, because we do specialty work, too, and we’re growing our capabilities,” he said. “Everyone has controls, so we can work in other P1 Group vertical markets, like healthcare and industrial, with the ability to get down into the same technical acumen as other functions at P1.”
“The National Weather Service was a flagship project for us,” Carl noted. “The scope of work included mechanical, sheet metal, pipe fitters, high voltage electricians, low voltage controls electricians, controls division, P1 Group’s internal commissioning group and test and balance group – all self-performed.”
Carl says the Controls Division is working to make sure everyone inside P1 Group knows they’re here and what their offerings are, getting other P1 divisions to think beyond the layers of capability they’re used to and add Controls as yet another layer.
“Over the past six to eight months, we’ve begun to see the results,” Carl said. “For example, the Performance Solutions group, as they go to do negotiated work with our customer base, are bringing opportunities to us and we’re partnering with them for holistic-solutions projects for customers.”
Looking forward to 2020, Carl says the focus will be building the strengths of the division via training, infrastructure, and the cultural framework of P1 Group, to help the Controls team blend seamlessly with the rest of P1.
“Also in that 2020 goal is developing a strong understanding of the market share available in both our Kansas City and Wichita markets, who are we competing against, and how can we get invited as Controls subcontracted under mechanical,” Carl noted.
Beyond that, the goal will be strengthening the service base. “We’re looking at pipelines for work, particularly in our Preventative/Proactive Maintenance Sales and Proactive Solutions. P1 has a strong mechanical service base and we’d like to duplicate that for Controls.”
Carl says Controls plans to develop in three target markets: plan and spec, negotiated design-build, and service/service projects.
“We will be adding some seller-doer roles in service sales and project sales to help us achieve this.”
This November, P1 Group’s primary vendor for controls, Johnson Controls International (JCI), will come to the Lenexa training facility to train associates from Wichita, Lawrence/Topeka, Lenexa, and St. Joseph, across divisions, in the service ability of the Controls product line.
“This will help us get exposure and give everyone a better understanding of what we’re taking to market, how we’re taking it, and how we can better assimilate it with the other P1 divisions,” Carl said.