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Member Profile
Victaulic Company
The Associated General Contractors of Alaska logo
Member Profile
Victaulic Company
a pre-fabricated boiler piping system for a remote Alaska school

Inlet Mechanical, Inc. worked with Victaulic on a pre-fabricated boiler piping package for a remote Alaska school.

Keep It Together
Victaulic builds strength with innovative pipe joining technology
By Rachael Kvapil

t is often said that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but thanks to Victaulic, its products hold many “whole” projects together.

Though most people never see the pipe joining systems created by Victaulic, they are vital in creating infrastructure worldwide every day.

Ernest Tribe, who was in the Royal Engineers’ Trench Warfare Division in World War I, started Victaulic in 1919. Tribe’s experience inspired him to invent a new kind of pipe coupling that was safe to use and quick for operators to assemble and take apart. With help from Henry Selby Hele-Shaw, a British research engineer, they invented the Victaulic Coupling, which got its name by combining the words “victory” and “hydraulic.”

Efficient Fittings

In 1925, the Victaulic Company of America was founded and introduced grooved, malleable iron fittings. This gave Victaulic systems the flexibility to be used in almost any configuration. By the early ‘30s, millions of Victaulic couplings had been installed worldwide, mainly on pipelines for oil, gas, water, sewage, and air. Victaulic also became popular in shipyards, oil fields, and refineries as a time and money saver. In mining, Victaulic couplings are now the standard method of joining water and air lines for both aboveground and underground mines.

As construction boomed in the ‘60s, commercial builders recognized the advantages of Victaulic products for plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems. Victaulic also vertically integrated its manufacturing process to ensure quality and maximum supply. Company leaders started a product development group, which led to the innovations of valves, flange adaptors, and mechanical tees.

Leading by Design
During the ‘80s and 90s, Victaulic created Construction Piping Services, which offers a preplanning package that includes estimates, bill of materials, and complete job assembly drawings. Victaulic also introduced more than fifty-three new products with significant additions to the existing material lines. Over the years, Victaulic has become an international leader in game-changing pipe joining systems, providing safe, reliable, efficient, and sustainable solutions. It has fourteen major manufacturing facilities, twenty-eight offices, and more than 5,000 employees around the world.
spools of pre-fabricated pipe from Victaulic

Victaulic provided spools of pre-fabricated pipe for the Long-Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR) at Clear Space Force Station. Victaulic uses its vast product and service line to cater to multiple industries.

“Victaulic continues to lead the industry in the resources,” says Derek Bradish, Victaulic Alaska Territory Manager. “It devotes itself to product research and development. We have over 1,900 patents globally, more than any other pipe joining company.”

Some prominent landmarks using Victaulic technology include the Seattle Space Needle; Wembley Stadium in London; the AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play in Arlington, Texas; Trump Tower in New York City; The Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing; The National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City; the CN Tower in Toronto; and the Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower, in Chicago.

In Alaska, Victaulic products are found in the Long-Range Discrimination Radar, or LRDR, at Clear Space Force Station, Eielson Air Force Base’s utilidors for use with the F-35 squadron, North Pole Middle School’s heating system replacement, Fort Knox gold mine’s heap-leach piping, and Pogo Mine’s high-pressure backfill line.

“We provide products that are easy to install and reduce labor risk for contractors during construction,” says Nathan Lang, Victaulic territory manager.

Mitigating Risk
Since every industry is unique, Victaulic uses its vast product and service line to cater to those industries. Lang says owners and contractors always consider the risk when developing, bidding, and executing a construction project, and Victaulic provides products and services that allow all parties to mitigate this labor risk. Bradish adds that, though there are overlaps with products being used, Victaulic has a research and development division that uses feedback from its sales team and customers to innovate constantly.

The biggest challenge Victaulic manages is a cold and short construction season in Alaska. Bradish says it’s essential to work on a project before the snow melts. Pre-season, it helps companies with design, does take-offs, and pre-fabricates spools so materials are ready by the start of construction season.

“All of our products are tested in-house to ensure it meets the high standards we set,” says Bradish. “We have a wide range of gaskets to meet different media and temperatures. We’ve updated the design of our coupling over the years to be installed quicker and easier, which leads to faster build times.”

pre-fabricated pipes from Victaulic sit in a work yard

Eielson Air Force Base relied on Victaulic for pre-fabricated utilidor piping for their water and sewer lines. Victaulic has worked on several significant projects worldwide in mining, oil and gas, power, water treatment, fire protection, HVAC, maritime, and infrastructure.

Noah Velasquez, project manager for Inlet Mechanical, Inc., recently worked with Victaulic on a pre-fabricated boiler piping package for a mechanical room project for a remote Alaska school. Victaulic provided a complete system package from design and submittal process to procurement, shipping, and delivery.

“They are a great company to work with at all levels and easy to track project progress,” says Velasquez.

Bradish says AGC membership allows people from his company to meet great people, both in his industry and others.

Bradish says Victaulic plans to continue what it does best: innovating and growing:

“What that means for Alaska is better service and products that help the customers with their construction projects.”

Rachael Kvapil is a freelance writer from Fairbanks. Photos provided by Victaulic.