By focusing on quality, superior service and safety, Batchelor & Kimball, Inc. has earned the respect and repeat business of customers for almost forty years. The company’s team of highly experienced project managers, engineers, certified welders, pipefitters, plumbers and designers provides commercial HVAC and plumbing expertise to clients requiring the utmost professionalism, cleanliness and highest standards of work.
Batchelor & Kimball began with a handful of core customers, taking on projects mainly in healthcare and industrial fields in Atlanta. These areas remain a crucial part of the business, while sectors such as life sciences, laboratories, data centers, high-purity process piping systems, educational institutions and mission-critical work have been added according to Operations Manager Brian Batchelor.
Batchelor & Kimball is a family business, founded by Brian’s grandfather Stinson Batchelor in 1979 on the principles of innovation, integrity, safety and quality. A few years later in 1985, Stinson’s son David Batchelor joined the company, and today serves as B&K’s vice president.
The company is licensed to work in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, the Carolinas and much of the Southeast. Batchelor & Kimball believes in partnering with clients to achieve success, and this collaboration often results in repeat business.
It tackles everything from small jobs of only a few hours up to massive multi-million-dollar contracts in design-assist, manufactured and modular construction, engineering, high-purity piping, facility operations and maintenance projects. B&K’s full-time, experienced staff works with carefully selected subcontractors where required, depending on the size and nature of the project.
“For a lot of our work, we are brought on early as a team member,” says Brian. “We assist with design, layout and constructability and work as a team, compared to a traditional design/bid/build approach. And we always try to work on solutions with the owner, the engineer and the general contractor rather than just say, ‘There’s a problem,’ and expect someone else to solve it. We go in with solutions, and that’s what is expected of us.”
Essential to the company’s many achievements are its safe work practices and safety initiatives. All new hires are required to undergo safety training, awareness of technical field procedures and other strategies.
“Quality and safety, taking care of our customers and doing the right thing make us stand apart from the competition,” says Brian. The company has a safety director, safety manager, dedicated site safety personnel and regular safety committee meetings.
The company’s staff have decades of field experience and prioritize quality while respecting client timelines and budgets. The firm is often involved in a hands-on capacity, starting with the pre-construction phase, which is when the team strategizes to maximize efficiency and pre-fabrication opportunities.
From there, B&K often works with clients on project budgeting and with architects and engineers in a design-assist or integrated project delivery role. During the design review stage, constructability and maintainability is considered, which is followed by engineering and areas such as LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, green building, and energy maintenance to ensure the building is constructed to be as energy efficient as possible.
“We work to continuously improve our processes and meet regularly to discuss efficient workflows, just-in-time delivery, ways to eliminate waste in the fabrication shop, optimize the flow of materials and eliminate double handling,” says David.
The company’s fabrication and manufacturing capabilities use CAD, Building Information Modeling (BIM), advanced Revit and AutoCAD software to create detailed, three-dimensional coordinated drawings. Batchelor & Kimball fabricates pipe from one-half inch to sixty inches in diameter from stainless steel, copper or carbon steel. It also performs equipment, skid, module and steel fabrication.
Depending on the application, different purity and cleanliness specifications are mandated. “For healthcare and industrial customers we have very specific and stringent infection control and duct cleanliness,” says David.
The business has a separate clean room shop for stainless steel and the fabrication of hygienic piping to ensure purity and quality. These environments have restricted access, specialized welding, testing and cleaning procedures.
“Our hygienic projects require a very specific kind of welding,” says Brian. “Having a clean room environment for a pre-fabrication shop is something that is very beneficial.”
Its factory-trained technicians work on full-service automation and controls and perform an array of HVAC and plumbing services including maintenance, repair and replacement. They also perform maintenance ranging from emergency to annual preventative work for all customers to detect any potential issues before they become a problem.
“Quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) is another hallmark of ours,” says Brian. “We have QA/QC managers on jobs who are just in charge of quality control. Providing a quality product is extremely important – that, along with safety.” If required, the company will have a third-party involved with QA/QC, especially with welding works.
Batchelor & Kimball has worked on Alcon/Ciba Vision’s manufacturing facility, the Atlanta International Airport concourse, yearly on-site maintenance for Delta Airlines at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, chiller plants on the Emory University campus, Technology Square at the Georgia Institute of Technology, on-site service and preventative maintenance at Mercer University, construction of Paulding Hospital and the St. Francis Hospital expansion among others.
While many projects present challenges – such as managing tight schedules – decades of experience have taught B&K a great deal about how to address them. Being brought into the process early and working with clients, engineers, general contractors and others helps to streamline work, and so does the company’s tried and true prefabrication and detailed logistics planning.
“A lot of our mission-critical work is very schedule-driven,” comments Brian. The company’s fabrication shop, skilled workforce and preplanning give it the ability to meet tight schedules. “We invest a lot of time and resources in our BIM drafting and detailing department, where they produce and draw the models to check for conflicts.”
To better accommodate the needs of its clients, the company is scheduled to relocate to a new, 100,000-square-foot facility just off Interstate 20 on the east side of Atlanta.
“We ran out of space here,” explains Brian. “We have multiple fabrication shops, and we want to bring them all under one roof, along with incorporating lean practices from our material procurement, to fabrication, and delivery to the job site. We work frequently on optimizing our processes.”
The company’s ongoing success is due to its people. Many staff have been with the company for a decade and some over twenty years. One of the reasons for this is B&K’s strong company culture in which everyone works together and are accountable to each other. As a family-owned operation, Batchelor & Kimball makes decisions quickly, without the layers of approval often required at large corporations. “We are all one big family trying to accomplish the same end goal.”