On November 7, 2015, a devastating fire broke out in the 77-year-old Giles & Kendall CedarSafe plant, located in Madison County, AL. As the only producer of rare, top quality cedar oil used in top of the line perfumes, the factory had only 45 days to get back to production. If production couldn’t resume, business interruption would between $150k and $175k each week, meaning the company would fold, putting several people in the community out of work.
Out of all of the fire restoration companies called, Apex Restoration DKI showed up on scene and worked with the CEO of Giles & Kendall for several days before their insurance company adjusted the claim. In addition to having to wait for the claim process, the factory had a fatal incident. This brought OSHA, ATF, the State Fire Marshal and other investigators to inspect. This investigation delayed the work process even further, and Apex was had doubts about being hired for the extensive fire damage repair job.
Yet, Apex continued to press on and did their background research on Giles & Kendall’s facility and equipment. Unfortunately, most of the equipment was outdated or custom built and the drawings were unavailable; but they were able to contact a few engineers who were familiar with retorts (big, stainless steel vats) and the facility’s equipment design.
By November 17, when the CEO signed the Work Authorization to hire Apex, Apex already had a head start on the project. Yet, given a short deadline, which the adjusters and consultants deemed impossible, Apex ran into several obstacles aside from the fire and smoke damage restoration.
First, persistent to get the factory back in production, Apex met with the Madison County Codes Department with the few drawings they had. After hours of negotiating, the codes department reluctantly granted Apex permission to proceed with the project without all of the drawings.
Gathering everyone together again, Apex was able to convince the engineering design company to work in reverse with the electrical, mechanical, conveyor and pneumatic company to pull it all together.
Unfortunately, when the conveyor company arrived with the conveyors, most of them didn’t fit. The building was 125 feet by 275 feet long, and most of the equipment had been custom built. So the engineers had to redesign the 120 foot conveyors and weld them to properly fit.
In addition to the engineering complications, once the holidays began rolling around, no one wanted to work and was skeptical of the project being completed by the beginning of the new year. Through some strong persuasion though, Apex convinced them; and with a 45-man crew working around the clock and overcoming each obstacle, Apex successfully received their certificate of occupancy on January 15, 2016, exactly when the company needed to resume business. Within just a couple of days, production continued.