The ship repair industry is a whirlwind. You need your valves, pipes, and fittings fast and you need your numbers for estimates even faster. But misinterpreting small details on an estimating spec can turn into costly mistakes when it comes time to purchase.
Here are the four most common traps I see estimators fall into and how to avoid them:
- Assuming all valves are equal. We see this one all the time. Estimators will use a simple equation, like “inch size” times a set price, to get a ROM pricing. For example, the spec says a 2” valve is needed so you plug it into your calculator 2 in x $500 per inch = $1,000. Seems like a reasonable number… until you find that you can buy a 2” 2-piece stainless steel ball valve for $50 and a motor operated 2″ 250 Navy gate valve for $15,000. Quite the spread to leave up to a simple equation…
- Ignoring the top works. How a valve is operated is critical to determining an accurate price. A hand operator, like a lever or a handwheel, is much less expensive than a actuated valve or a valve with a reach rod. On top of that (great pun), you may run into issues if you’re trying to supply a “form, fit, and function” equal valve to the one installed. This has to do with the fact that most manufacturers make their stems and mounting pads with unique dimensions. This makes swapping more complicated top works difficult between brands. Be sure you know how the valve is operated before you put in a price.
- Not visually inspecting the valve. This one is tough, because who has time to fly to every ship inspection prior to submitting a bid estimate? (We do, on your behalf, but we’ll get to that later) But a visual inspection or a picture of the valve truly says a thousand words. For example, if the spec calls out a 2” 150lb flanged lever operated bronze ball valve with a stainless ball, that could either be a $800 two-piece valve with an 7” face to face or a $1,500 PBM Valve three-piece beauty with an 8.5” face to face. The $700 difference may not be that much in the grand scheme, but, more importantly, you’re never going to fit an 8.5” valve in an 7” spot without costly piping mods. (See my next point if you don’t see why)
- Not measuring the End-to-End. The end-to-end dimension, also known as the “face to face”, is measured from the outermost point where the valve meets the inlet piping across the valve body to the outermost point where the valve meets the outlet piping on the other side. Just as I mentioned in the point above, this one can come back to bite you during installation. You’ve ordered everything, it arrived with plenty of time, and lo and behold, the damn valve is too short. So you frantically machine a Dutchman or spacer flange to make up the space and you have to fly in new bolting hardware to accommodate. The fact is, unless you’re dealing with a standardized valve like a 803-5001003 B831 NAVSEA Drawing ball valve, many valves have different end-to-end dimensions between manufacturers. This is especially common for bronze globe valves and swing checks!
So how can you avoid these pitfalls?
Simple: have a Marine Valve Expert at Tork ShipCheck the valves.
It’s free. There’s no obligation to buy the valves. You don’t even have to have won the job yet. We have shipchecked hundreds of jobs and flown around the world to assist customers with estimates. If you can’t make the dates work, you can send us on your behalf even.
On top of the $0 price tag, any valve that we inspect is covered by Tork’s ShipCheck Guarantee: the correct valve shows up the first time or Tork pays to correct it. This means that scenario where you’re making a spacer flange goes out the door.
But my favorite part, and the industry’s best kept secret, is that we’ll even tell you the change orders you’ll be able to write when you win before you even submit your estimate. This means that Day 1 of the job, you’ll be ready to submit your CFRs, get paid, and end the job on time.
So schedule your ShipCheck today and avoid these four common mistakes when replacing valves for a ship repair job.
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