Douglas Orr Plumbing
In 1974 Douglas Orr founded Douglas Orr Plumbing (DOP), a small business based in South Florida. He established the business in a simple principle: Work hard, be honest and stand behind your work. For 40 years, DOP has grown through that philosophy and is now one of the largest and best-known plumbing companies in the region.
Today, Douglas’ son, Wayne Orr, owns and operates the business as president. Wayne has brought in his brother-in-law, as well as his step-brother, Chris Behrens and Kevin Berounsky, respectively, as partners.
Wayne grew up in the industry and recalls the hard work and dedication his father applied to the business in order to build success. “My father started this company out of the garage in our house,” he explains. “We started as a service company and gradually, year by year, continued to grow.”
DOP now employs 145 people from a single location in Miami Springs, Fla., and expects to hire approximately 75 more by the end of the year. The team serves customers through a diverse range of projects. Wayne considers his team’s work to fall into three categories: small to medium new construction projects ranging from $1,000 to $500,000, new large construction projects, at $500,000 and more, and service repair work for residential, commercial and industrial customers.
A diverse portfolio
New construction has been a growing division for DOP in recent years. Wayne and his crews have completed dozens of unique projects working with general contractors all over southern Florida. The team has applied diverse capabilities to a number of challenging and unique projects for the construction of retail, hospitality, multifamily residential and office buildings.
“Right now we are working on Brickell City Center Plaza in Miami,” Wayne elaborates. “This is the largest project in the state right now, encompassing three city blocks. The building is a multi-use structure with two levels of underground parking, two 40-story condominiums, one 40-story hotel room, two 14-story office buildings and five levels of retail. We are doing the plumbing for the entire project, connecting everything from the city side of the water meter into the building and fixtures. This has been challenging in that it is like doing six projects in one.”
Wayne goes on to explain that different parts of the project are designed to meet several levels of LEED certification. “For us, one of the most interesting components is a water retention system,” he continues. “The building will reuse rainwater for irrigation, a process that is getting more popular. The system involves collection tanks, a filter system and a pump system.”
Wayne’s crew is utilizing building information modeling to develop 3-D plans as required by the general contractor.
“We are able to coordinate ahead of time to turn our shop drawings into prefabrication drawings,” says Wayne. “We are 100 percent in line with the other trades and the system allows us to pre-cut, get measurements at the shop, bundle our materials and deliver components out to the site for installation.”
The team also has an upcoming project in the works on the Aloft Hotel in Miami Beach, Fla. DOP will be performing the full scope of plumbing on the project.
With new construction down in the wake of the recession, Wayne says his team had struggled in recent years, but survived financially. “We did everything we could to keep as many people working as possible,” he explains.
Fortunately, the company’s diversity allows the crew to go after a wide range of projects small and large. DOP was able to fill in the gaps with smaller work while the construction market recovered.
“We have 22 trucks that do nothing but service work for our commercial and residential customers,” Wayne elaborates. “That part of our business has been very important over the last five or six years. With no large projects being built, we returned to how we started as service company. Aside from that, we have been able to take on midsized tenant build-outs in malls and office buildings. If a company wants to move into a new space, they may need a new bathroom or sink for the break room. We have also worked in hospitals and restaurants. We have a separate division that handles that size work.”
Wayne is optimistic. The smaller projects have carried the business through a lean period and now he says the company and the market are on the upswing. “We are turning down jobs at this point,” he notes. “Our margins are growing and the next few years look good for us.” Wayne is proud of his employees and their dedication to the business. The Douglas Orr Plumbing crew continues to turn over quality projects efficiently and safely as the company grows in southern Florida.
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