July 21

Multi-skilled craftsmen step up to help herbicide manufacturer complete complex flooring project

Multi-skilled craftsmen step up to help herbicide manufacturer complete complex flooring project

Market: Agricultural

CLIENT: Nufarm Americas Inc.

Location: Chicago Heights, IL

Timeframe: Four Months


Manhattan Mechanical Services’ team of multi-skilled craftsmen plays a key role in shielding Nufarm’s herbicide production for the agricultural, turf and specialty markets in North America. From scheduled maintenance and pipefitting to tank installs and code repairs, Nufarm Americas Inc. relies on the expertise and efficiency of Manhattan Mechanical to help keep its processes running smoothly. Located in Chicago Heights, the manufacturer’s facility was originally a pre-prohibition brewery. The former brewery was allegedly frequented by the notorious American gangster Al Capone. 

Recently, Nufarm faced a very different and even unique construction challenge. The manufacturer planned to convert a specific area of its processing facility into a cafeteria and employee break rooms.

In a tribute to college basketball in the United States, Nufarm filled its newly transformed facility with an abundance of memorabilia and photography. Indeed, part of the conversion process involved the daunting task of installing an old, donated Northwestern Wildcats basketball practice court in multiple rooms.

Installing this type of wood flooring in a building filled with old chemical manufacturing equipment is not a simple task. The special challenge? Nufarm Project Manager Jeff Lachapell had difficulty tracking down a flooring contractor willing to take on the complex job.

“I reached out to multiple flooring contractors,” he says. “Nobody wanted to do it.”

So Nufarm had to find an alternative service provider. As luck would have it, they already employed a team of multi-skilled craftsmen who don’t scare easily.


  • Determined, multi-skilled craftsmen ensure exceptional project execution

According to Lachapell, Manhattan Mechanical Services was the only contractor willing to take on the challenge. “The floor came as a fully assembled basketball court, so we had to uniformly take sections out to be installed in two different rooms,” says Manhattan Mechanical Project Manager Rick Coleman.

“Since this is not the type of work we typically do, our team faced a bit of a learning curve,” he continues. “However, we hired a few craftsmen with some background in flooring installation to help minimize complications and delays.”

One of the biggest challenges facing the Manhattan Mechanical team was raising the floor to ensure the basketball court was perfectly level. “The original concrete floor was very inconsistent,” says Coleman. “It was busted up with drains and had rebar coming out of the concrete.”

Another time-consuming challenge, according to Coleman, was removing the old manufacturing equipment and tanks before installation; not to mention demoing the large steel structures supporting those tanks equipment pieces.

On top of the uneven flooring and removing the equipment, the team also had to demolish concrete containment walls. 

“In addition, the basketball court’s individual pieces themselves all had different depths. When we set them down, each piece had to be treated individually to keep it all on the same level.”

“We had up to twelve craftsmen working in a room at a time,” says Coleman. “But the success of this project is a result of our team’s willingness to shift gears completely,” he explains. According to Coleman, their multi-skilled craftsmen and the presence of onsite supervision helped Manhattan Mechanical adapt to daily client changes, resulting in a recipe for success.

“Thanks to their determination and solid teamwork, we managed to overcome some tough challenges, while ensuring we went above and beyond for our client.”

Lachapell is equally pleased with the project execution and services overall: “Manhattan Mechanical’s quality of work is excellent, and they continually help us save on project costs. “They were willing to go the extra mile,” he continues, “and that truly sets them apart from other contractors.”