Case Studies

Vansant & Gusler Inc.

Mechanical and electrical engineering design services in the Southeast

For more than 50 years, Vansant & Gusler Inc. has been providing comprehensive design services in the disciplines of mechanical and electrical engineering. Located in Norfolk, Virginia, Vansant & Gusler serves plumbing, HVAC, fire protection, power distribution and communications systems industries. With a broad market, the company works with federal, state and local governments, as well as private, commercial and industrial clients. Founded in 1960 by William G. Vansant and Denard L. Gusler, the company has varied in size over the years depending on project load all the while continuing to grow.

While working in the local health care and federal market, Vansant & Gusler has retained clients such as the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC). “We also have some unique local industrial clients,” says Tim Craddock, president of Vansler & Gusler. “We work with the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility which is located in Newport News. We also do a fair amount of work for General Dynamics NASSCO – Norfolk (formerly Metro Machine Corporation).”

Vansant & Gusler is a client-focused firm. Staying current with trends in the industry has allowed the company to maintain a unique position in the local market. For clients looking to take advantage of green building techniques, Vansant & Gusler is able to support those customers with precise attention to detail that the larger national firms might avoid.Vansant & Gusler Inc.

While the bulk of Vansant & Gusler’s work is throughout the state of Virginia, the company also supports federal and private clients internationally. While working for the United States military, Vansant & Gusler has completed projects in Italy, Egypt, Iceland and Saudi Arabia. “Recently we’ve been stretching out of Virginia to work with the Marine Corps in Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point in North Carolina,” says Craddock.

Vansant & Gusler recently completed a federal project combining green building with emergency services. The company was involved with the design of an emergency control center at the Norfolk Navy Shipyard. The facility was designed to provide emergency services and coordination of satellite facilities in the event of emergency weather conditions, regional disaster or a terrorist attack.

The final design of the project was preceded by an extensive separate study comparing multiple building sites and building configurations to determine the most cost effective and functional location. “One of the sites involved adaptation of and reuse of an unused historical foundry,” Craddock explains. “It was protected from demolition by inclusion on the National Register of Historical Places.” The building meets all current Anti-Terrorism & Force Protection (AT/FP) criteria and achieved LEED certification.

In the health care sector, Vansant & Gusler was involved in the renovation and expansion of the Children’s Cancer Treatment Hematology/Oncology Clinic at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk. The project involved the expansion of the existing 6,000 square feet clinic to approximately 13,400 square feet. Improvements to the facility included the demolition and replacement of the existing HVAC system, DDC temperature control system, plumbing, fire protection sprinkler system and intercommunications among other renovations. A challenge presented in the project was its fast-track construction schedule. The renovations began in July 2004 and were completed in January 2005.

Green building

As a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Craddock says that Vansant & Gusler enjoys the exposure and networking opportunities that the council presents. The community of designers, architects and engineers involved in the green building movement creates a collection of knowledge that is a major asset to all involved. “It really drives the construction industry forward in ways that reach even beyond sustainable design,” says Craddock. “You can really see some of the industry trends, such as modular construction practices, reducing the time on-site for projects which have benefits for sustainable design and the overall construction industry when applied properly.”

Craddock has been in the engineering industry for more than three decades and with Vansant & Gusler for 14 years. In his time with the company, Craddock has gained a passion for creating a satisfied customer. Fulfilling a client’s needs from the concept of a project until completion is what gives Craddock the biggest sense of pride in the work he does. “I love the process of interacting with a client and the entire project team,” Craddock explains. “It’s great to learn from them as well as share my own knowledge with everybody involved.”

Craddock says that he has witnessed the adoption of sustainable design techniques throughout the industry without being limited to projects seeking LEED certification. “We’ve completed projects for clients who wanted to take the steps to achieve energy efficiency but were not interested in achieving LEED certification,” he says. “There have also been clients who weren’t necessarily interested in receiving the recognition but wanted to take the proper steps in order to receive the benefits of the sustainable features represented in the credits.”

For the future of the green building industry, Craddock sees a potential wave of the reuse and renovation of historical buildings. “I see an increasing awareness in the industry of reuse and repurposing structures,” says Craddock. “Whether it’s a historical structure or a more recent construction project, there is and will be a lot more rapid evolvement in the industry of reusing materials from an existing structure and repurposing buildings or renovating for the continuation of original purpose.”

With continuing involvement in the USGBC, Vansant & Gusler has created a link from green building to the industrial and federal sectors of the Southeast. With its strong portfolio and solid backlog of work, Vansant & Gusler Inc. sets a standard for combining strong client relations with green building and multipurpose design services.

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