Integrity Test and Balance, Inc. is a 20-year-old specialized contracting firm that commissions HVAC systems to ensure they deliver what they are designed to deliver. Kevin Heikkila’s testing, adjusting, and balancing (TAB) company is headquartered in Traverse City, MI, and serves the commercial HVAC marketplace.
TAB specialists perform air and hydronic measurements on HVAC systems, then adjust air or water flows as needed to achieve optimum performance of the mechanical equipment.
Typically, the TAB specialist submits a written report summarizing the tests and measurements, any adjustments made, and the balancing results to the mechanical engineer or building owner. These reports often contain notes on any issues or deficiencies found. Often the facility managers will then use the TAB report to hold their designers or mechanical engineers accountable.
Heikkila says he often comes in BEFORE any work begins to find any pre-existing conditions.
“In our area of Michigan,” Heikkila says, “many buildings do not operate to spec because of cutting corners during the construction or renovation to save time and dollars. The results are buildings that use too much energy, are uncomfortable, and sometimes even dangerous.”
Heikkila, who says he has been involved in the HVAC Industry since graduating high school in 1975, has seen many of these issues.
“I decided to launch my own TAB company because of this situation and all the dishonesty that seemed prevalent in the Western Michigan marketplace. That is why I named the company Integrity TAB.”
But he says the name isn’t enough. You have to prove your integrity every single day.
The Company Today
Integrity TAB came to life in January 2002 with a $50,000 bank loan and one truck.
Today the company is a small commercial enterprise with five technicians that cleared $600,000 in 2021. According to Heikkila, the company is small on purpose, so they can focus on being flexible and doing everything right for clients.
Their focus is 60% in the commercial air conditioning market and 40% on Hydronics work. The company operates mainly in northwestern Lower Michigan.
“Our level of work may make us the most expensive TAB company in our region,” he says. “That is because we put so much time and effort into each project.
“We typically see specifications calling for composing a TAB submittal/plan that we give to the design team before work takes place. This pre-submittal is where we point out missing information, design issues, and any lack of air and water balancing devices indicated on the prints,” Heikkila explains.
“Our experience is that very few of our competitors provide a TAB pre-submittal. This is an example of how we meet and exceed the expectations of our customers. It illustrates that we are all-in to make the project a success with the owners approval.
“When we submit our final TAB reports, we include proper descriptions, measurements, missing components, everything. For Integrity TAB, that is just how we do it. Yes, it takes time. But the customer deserves that time so they can decide what to do next.
“We use these reports to flush out all the design issues we see and highlight them. We write notes on our first page outlining the number of issues we found.”
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