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WHY YOUR CORING COMPANY SHOULD NOT BE YOUR RADAR IMAGING COMPANY 


When Xenogenesis started back in 2002 RADAR imaging was new and we were the only firm in the area that specialized in using ground penetrating RADAR to locate steel in elevated slabs. My background was in industrial x-ray of concrete slab, as well as, steel inspection of new construction. This combination made me the perfect candidate for performing RADAR imaging because most buildings I walked into I already knew what to expect in the floor before I ever got my equipment out.  My firm enjoyed the status of being the only RADAR firm until the construction industry fell apart in 2008. We only did RADAR imaging and avoided coring of locations out of respect for the coring companies that used our service. Unfortunately, when the bottom fell out of the construction industry the coring companies did not have the same respect for the RADAR industry. Overnight three of the larger firms bought equipment and attended the two day class to learn to do RADAR imaging. My firm still had respect for the remaining coring companies that did not perform RADAR imaging so instead of Xenogenesis going into the coring business we chose to subcontract to the coring firms that do not perform their own RADAR imaging.  Honestly, we know very little about coring at Xenogenesis except pricing and scheduling information because we are not a coring firm, we do however employee firms that have vast knowledge of the methodology of coring and are spoken of in the highest regards by our clients. We will continue to perform our coring this way and invite any coring firms that can meet our standards to contact us. 

RADAR scanning is an art form just like coring it takes dedication and a great deal of time to master the nuances of each area. We choose to focus all our energy on providing error free scans and always improving RADAR imaging. Coring companies do not have the background or the motivation to put much effort into RADAR imaging. I have personally taken the RADAR imaging class offered by the manufacturer and what it will teach you is how to turn on the equipment, calibrate the equipment, and how to do basic scans. What it will not teach you is the various challenges that arise when you are in the real world. So what happens is the coring companies will typically send an apprentice to the class and when he returns all of a sudden they are experts at RADAR imaging. Trust me after talking to my clients that have been burned for thousands of dollars when they trusted them that nothing could be further from the truth. I have been doing this a very long time and I know for a fact that it takes a minimum of six months of everyday training to produce a technician that will not cause you a financial headache. A two day class will not produce a qualified RADAR technician.

Coring companies started doing RADAR imaging as a way to make up for revenue lost due to the economic slow down. If you look at their websites it is obvious that they do not consider RADAR imaging a serious part of their company.  I have visited areas where they have scanned and personally found the marks to sometime be off and once even found them to be the exact opposite of what was in the floor. I have spoken with several clients that have hit conduits in the floor where a coring company scanned it and they informed me that the coring company indicated that it was "all part of the job and stuff happens"  and that they were not responsible for any damage that occurs. This is not a random occurrence mainly because coring companies started their firms to core holes and that is where they place all of their effort.  When coring a hole the coring company places a hole where the client tells them too and I agree they are not responsible for any damage that occurs because they didn't pick the area or lead the client to the area, but when they scan the area they are telling the client the safe areas to core. It is at this point that the coring firm should take responsibility for any damage, but they do not and the client is left with an expensive mess that the coring company will walk away from. To add insult to injury they will send a bill for the scan as well. These are the problems that give legitimate RADAR firm a bad name.

When Xenogenesis scans for hole placement we will tell you up front if we can guarantee the spot or not and if the client wishes to get the area physically x-rayed instead we will not charge them if they provide us with an x-ray invoice because we want our clients to have error free cores.  We want our clients to have an error free core as possible, and when a mishap occurs we step up and take responsibility for any damage that we are responsible, we will investigate thoroughly and try to determine what happened so it will not happen again in the future.

Most coring companies will not tell you but RADAR scanning is an opinion. It is their opinion of what their RADAR equipment tells them about the floor and their interpretation. What they do not tell you is that because it is an opinion their firm should be treated like an engineering firm or a surveying firm, both of which give their clients their opinion. Because the service they provide is an opinion standard general liability will not cover any damage that occurs due to their error or omission. This means if there is ever any major damage that their client will have no recourse but to cover damage themselves. The insurance they need is "errors and omission" insurance which is the same required of engineers and surveyors but they will not get the insurance because clients do not require it. The clients do not require it because they don't know what the insurance company will say until it is too late and damage has occurred. If the coring company truly cared about the RADAR imaging portion of their business they would carry this insurance without having to be required. Xenogenesis always tries to look out for every issue that may arrive and will always have the right coverage for our clients projects.

In conclusion, Xenogenesis is not a coring company. RADAR imaging of elevated slab is not something we just do on the side, it is the only thing we focus on. Our clients will never have the same technician coring that does the RADAR scans because our clients need people that are reliable and well trained in RADAR imaging. We will always be striving to provide the best RADAR imaging as possible and to stand by our scans if a mishap occurs. We will always have the correct insurance even when our clients don't require it. 

Roger Baldwin
President

  

  ERRORS & OMISSIONS: WHY YOUR FIRM SHOULD REQUIRE THIS ON EVERY RADAR SCANNING PROJECT 

Xenogenesis has been performing RADAR imaging for over 800 companies since 2002 and they all have the same thing in common. Every company requests an insurance certificate to insure that in the case of an accident they are not liable for any costs associated with the accident. What the firms requesting these certificates do not realize is that with RADAR firms the general liability insurance they request does not cover any damage that occurs. Let me repeat that if damage occurs from a RADAR scan that is done improperly the RADAR firm and the companies using the RADAR firm are not covered because general liability is the wrong type of insurance to have. I'll be the first to admit that I did not know this until I had a lengthy conversation with the insurance company regarding RADAR imaging. At the end of the conversation I was informed that what RADAR imaging does is provide an opinion of what the RADAR equipment is telling the technician. This is similar to an Engineer or Surveyor. Would your firm have a structural engineer design a building if they knew he was not covered when there is a flaw in his design? Because after all he is giving you his opinion and his opinion is not covered by typical liability. The engineers opinion is covered by insurance known as "errors and omissions" . This insurance covers him in case he overlooks something or calculates something wrong which has the potential to cause more damage than a firm can sustain to stay in business. Although RADAR scanning may not cause as much damage as an engineering flaw it still has the potential to lead up to catastrophic damage amounts.

Most companies that place holes in buildings are aware that occasionally conduits and tension cables are hit even when every precaution is taken. I'll admit that Xenogenesis has been responsible for a few due to equipment problems or technician error. It is only human to make mistakes. Xenogenesis strives to always take steps to check and double check but mishaps do sometimes occur and Xenogenesis has always stood behind it's work and has tried to learn from these mishaps so they may not occur in the future. Any firm that tells you that they have never had anyone hit something is either very new or lying to you. Typically when an item is damaged due to mismarking or technician error Xenogenesis will investigate and if it is a result of our service we will cover the cost of the repair.  We have never had to get the insurance company involved in any project we have been on since our inception because we take every precaution we can to ensure successful cores. Also, we have never ran from a problem and disappeared when an irate customer asks who is going to cover it. I personally know of three firms that came and went for that very reason. The easy fix for this problem is to require "errors and omissions" insurance on every project. The RADAR firms should always have this insurance in place anyway because it is common sense for them to be covered, but all they see is an extra cost that they find is unnecessary because they can always disappear when a mishap occurs. Xenogenesis is the only firm I'm aware of that carries this coverage at the current time. We would suggest that your firm just look at the RADAR imaging companies insurance certificate and verifying that they have the coverage.

Coring companies are not required to have anything other than general liability because they are not responsible for anything they hit. They core where the client tells them too. It becomes a completely different story when the coring company becomes your RADAR scanning company. It is at that point they are taking responsibility for locating the hole for the client. As soon as they start locating holes their general liability insurance is useless when damage occurs. They can bypass this coverage with their insurance company because the insurance company never asks them what other business do they do in addition to coring. Why would they? They advertise as coring companies so they are treated like coring companies because the insurance companies don't look until it is too late.

Regardless of whom your firm uses to perform RADAR scans please make sure that they are covered by "errors and Omissions"   insurance to ensure that your firm is protected if they make a mistake with their scans.

 

AN EXCELLENT WAY TO CREATE A HEADACHE FOR YOURSELF 


Recently, I was performing a ground penetrating RADAR scan for one of my clients in Atlanta, GA. and they were telling me about one of the other firms offering them a lower price to scan for the conduits and tension cables in the slab at another job site. I had been in the building in question a few weeks earlier and it was one of the easier buildings to scan and should not have been an issue for any RADAR firm to evaluate. My client proceeded to tell me that they did call the other firm out and they arrived with the scanning equipment and they noticed that the equipment had no wires and was much smaller than the equipment we use. The equipment which the "less expensive" firm used was not a ground penetrating RADAR unit at all,  but a magnetometer type of equipment which is produced by a popular handheld tool equipment manufacturer. I jokingly proceeded to inquire of my client how much damage occurred from the scans and he shook his head and indicated two conduits were hit and damage was in the neighborhood of $1900 for the repair. So basically the client paid this "cheaper" firm about $100 dollars less for the scan so that they could spend $1900 on repair. This was an expensive lesson learned by my client that I have heard more than once.

The reason I shared the problem my client had was to illustrate that not all firms are equal and sometimes the lower the cost of a service the lower the quality of equipment and ability. I was personally on a project this week in Alpharetta, GA. where our client asked us to rescan another firms work because he only trusted our scans. The scans in question were overhead so the difficulty was definitely increased but not by an incredible amount. I began my scan with not much hope that the other firms marks were correct because I am well aware of the equipment they use and it is not ground penetrating RADAR. I am also aware that they are a coring firm that started out as a coring firm and later added RADAR imaging as an afterthought.  The client indicated the two areas in question, which were in a very easy building to scan. Before I began I noted the location of the other firms marks prior to making my own and to my surprise the first scan was very accurate. I then proceeded to the second area which had already been evaluated by the other firm. As I began my scan I was suddenly confused by their markings, each line was approximately 2 inches off and one line was not even marked. There was no doubt the unmarked line was slated to be unknowingly cut because it was directly in the area indicated to be cut. Had the contractor placed the hole where the other firm indicated whatever damage which might have occurred would have been left to my client to handle. My client dodged a bullet by not trusting his subcontractors "cheaper" scanning firm because not all firms are created equally.

When having a scan performed always be wary of the "cheapest" firm just like everything in life you sometimes get exactly what you pay for. Be wary what type of equipment the firm is using because ground penetrating RADAR and physical x-ray are both excellent techniques to evaluate the contents of the concrete--magnetometers and other equipment that pick up the properties of the materials to locate the contents are not. Finally, if the word coring is anywhere in the name of the company use extra caution because they are indicating right up front  that they are not a RADAR imaging firm. 

Follow these precautions and you should be able to avoid the headaches associated with damaging the contents of your concrete floors when cutting and coring. 




Figure 1: The area in question was scanned prior to our arrival. The dashed lines were placed by the coring companies and were noted to be inaccurate upon our evaluation.Our scans are noted as the solid lines with x's contained within.  Also, please note that the line at the bottom and the second area to the left were not even marked by the coring firm. The hole was moved to avoid damaging the contents of the concrete only after we had completed our scans. Had we not reevaluated the area in question there is no doubt damage would have occurred.


                                                   DOES YOUR SCANNING COMPANY DO THIS? 


Xenogenesis is different than most companies. We have never seen our clients as just a job. I admit that I have had employees like that in the past--and they either changed or they are no longer here. Just recently, Xenogenesis managed to free itself of a couple of rotten apples. Every firm has them and probably do not even know how badly they can make your firm look until they are gone.  I've personally met hundreds of individuals over the last decade that cast a dim light over the firms who employ them. At Xenogenesis we have always believed that the client is the most important part of our organization. Honestly, without the client we have no organization at all. Due to this we try to treat our clients the way we would like to be treated if the roles were reversed. This has never failed us over the years. I've had many times where we treated a client in this fashion and their response is Really? or are your crazy?

I assure you that we are not crazy, we just care about our clients happiness with our firm. Here is why we get these responses:

If you call Xenogenesis to your jobsite and we point out that you already have a hole that you can use right where we were suppose to scan we will 100% of the time not charge you for the visit. We feel that if we did no work for you then you shouldn't have to pay us for it. Does your firm do that?

Earlier in the year I received a call from a firm in Charlotte, NC requesting that I visit their site and perform one single scan. I loaded my vehicle and proceeded to drive four hours to the site. When I arrived I met with the client and we proceeded to the area to be scanned. When we arrived it was obvious that there was already a hole in the area. The client indicated that this was the only area to be scanned and apologized for bringing us all that way for nothing. The client even said we could still charge them for the service. Xenogenesis does not work that way--so maybe we are crazy. We shook their hand and told them it was nice to see them, but there would be no charge because we did not do anything for them. The client was floored and indicated that no firm had ever done that for him. I ask you again....does your firm operate this way?

If Xenogenesis is scanning to place a hole in a wall and for some reason your firm can't core in the wall due to a beam or a conduit  which runs the length of the wall Xenogenesis will scan a completely new area for you, but we will not charge for the area you couldn't use even if it took vast amounts of time to scan. Would your RADAR firm do this for you?  Why would we expect your firm to pay for the same hole twice?

If Xenogenesis comes to your jobsite and for any variety of reasons cannot get a decent image on our RADAR system we will still scan the area and try our best to give you what information we can, but if the signal is so bad we cannot have at least a little confidence we will not charge you for the scan. Xenogenesis wants our clients to get the professional job for which they paid. We will never draw lines on floors just to get paid. Can your firm say that?

Recently, a client contacted us to do twenty scans in a building in the Atlanta called the Mandarin. This particular building has some extremely difficult areas in it for RADAR imaging, but we proceeded to scan the areas to determine what we could find. We marked each area out to the best of our ability, but we were not confident of our results, so we suggested that they get the site physically x-rayed. The firm we were working for decided to proceed to get the area x-rayed (they provided proof) so we did not charge them anything for the twenty scans. Xenogenesis does not believe any firm should have to pay for our service if they are going to have to pay for similar service again when they are getting it x-rayed. It is more important that our clients get the best results possible and  in our opinion x-ray would have given them the best results in this building. This is more important to us than getting paid---again it sounds crazy.  Would your RADAR firm give up payment for a job they did so that the client could get the best results possible?

    The unfortunate part of the story is that the firm did contact the x-ray firm to request that the floor be physically x-rayed only to have the testing firm show up with RADAR equipment. The testing firm (This is not a RADAR firm) scanned every area that we had scanned again and marked directly on our lines. Exactly where we marked. The holes were cored and there was absolutely nothing hit. The testing firm then charged one quarter of our typical price to do the scans. The client thought this was a great deal a quarter of the price and the same scans (because we did not charge for the scans). So a short time later the next phase of the project came up and the client contacted the testing firm once again to come scan because they wanted a lower price than Xenogenesis offered. The testing firm scanned all the locations requested and somewhere along the way they missed a fire alarm conduit. For anyone that has not damaged items in the floor a fire alarm conduit can cost upward of fifteen thousand dollars to repair depending on how much damage the water from coring causes. Suddenly, the super cheap scan became an excessively expensive scan because the testing firm only knew how to operate the equipment (much like every coring company) and they were not well versed in the nuances of the building. At the end of the day the testing firm walked away and the client was left to pay for the damage......and unfortunately the scans as well. Needless to say after that the client realized Xenogenesis RADAR imaging's value and four phases later we are still the scanning company that our client turns to on this project.

Over the years we have had many clients that have underbid a project or forgot to put the RADAR imaging in the bid only to call us later and ask if we could help them a little on the cost. I have always helped my clients with this I have even had a few times where we did not bill for a project so we could help our clients out----crazy huh?. Would your scanning firm do this? I have never turned down this request because I know that if your business fails my business fails and we are nothing without our clients. We also understand that in the course of a project items are sometimes overlooked and in the competitive market environment of today that can mean the difference between breaking even and losing money.

These are just a few examples of how Xenogenesis is different from other firms. Always ask yourself how would I like to be treated by a company-----that's what we do and then respond to every situation with the result of answering this simple question 



                                                                     YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR 


It always amazes me when I see some other firms diagrams from RADAR imaging, but it also explains why RADAR imaging gets such a bad reputation too. We were recently on a project in Alpharetta, Georgia performing a RADAR scan on a typical concrete floor. The client had called us to the site because they had used another firm to perform some scans and things had went wrong quickly when they cored the holes. I entered the building expecting to see super thick floors, excessive steel, or any variety of oddness that can occur. Instead, I found probably one of the best floors I had seen in months. The steel was 12" on center in a 5" slab--quiet possibly the easiest slab available to do. That made me very curious to the reason the other firm had the issue so I met with the client and he showed me what had happened and I laughed out loud---really I did. The other firm had entered the site and scanned various areas and upon rechecking their scans we found they were all very close. What the other firm had done was to draw a single line directly down the center of the steel instead of giving them an area to avoid. They had basically given the client cross hairs to aim for and that's what the client used to determine core locations. Yes this really did happen. The problem with the scan was not the scan itself, but the lack of care and communication that the other firm lacked.

The reason problems like this happen is that some firms have a strict no guarantee policy which means if you hit a conduit or two the RADAR firm is not responsible for any damage. Coring companies are notorious for this.  Because they have no risk involved in your project they have very little reason to communicate to the client the results of the scan because they have no reason to care about your project. A reputable RADAR firm would never let this happen because they are more concerned about damage that could happen than the client is. Reputation is everything in the RADAR imaging business and it will always win out over lower priced inferior companies. 

Typically, Xenogenesis starts a project by speaking to the client and determining what they need, explaining how the RADAR system works, explaining how large an area we will evaluate, and how we will mark the area.  Once we have the information we scan the floor making sure to mark objects in the slab slightly bigger than what should be there. We call this the "cover our behinds lines" because we know that some lines may be drawn slightly crooked and we want to make sure that no matter where our clients core as long as they are not cutting into our lines that they will have no issues. A single straight line does not have this built in safety net, but why should it they are not going to guarantee it anyway. Once the scans are complete we meet again with our clients and walk around to each location with the client to make sure we have scanned sufficient area, to explain what each mark means and any other notations that we saw in the scan, and to answer any client questions. We then follow up the scans with a coring company that is familiar with our scans and how we mark the concrete. We strive to use only coring companies that take the same care and pride in a project that we do because at the end of the day we want to know that we provided the highest quality most accurate scans possible.

Between the companies that don't care about the client and the coring companies that just scan as a side business RADAR imaging has obtained a slightly bad reputation as being a somewhat unreliable method to evaluate concrete. I argue that RADAR imaging is extremely reliable, but only when it is being used by highly trained companies that take the time to care about their clients happiness and their own companies reputation. Our firm is fortunate to have it's home base in Atlanta because currently there is no other firm in the area that can offer the level of quality Xenogenesis does or that has the concern for the clients happiness that Xenogenesis does.  Yes, there are a lot of other RADAR firms here that are much cheaper, many have come and gone, but we have not found one yet that has shown any concern about their reputation, the reputation of RADAR imaging in general, or their clients satisfaction. The old saying that "you get what you pay for" is truly alive and well in the Atlanta RADAR market.  



Project Managers------Talk To Your Site Representative About RADAR Scanning Service----It Will Be an Eye Opener 
                                         


Over the weekend I was privileged enough to get to work for one of my clients that I had not seen in a while. The firm I worked for called me bright and early because after numerous attempts to reach their "lower priced" RADAR firm they were unsuccessful in reaching them. I cannot even fathom the thought of having any of my clients encounter that issue. As the owner of my firm I have always guaranteed my clients that I will answer the phone 24 hours a day 7 days a week including holidays and I will drop everything I'm doing to meet their needs. I try to provide my clients with every possible number we have to try to make sure we are reachable.  I do this because my clients are important --without them my firm is nothing.

The site I visited was the Bank of America building in downtown Atlanta. We were called to work on a side building that had numerous tension cables contained within the concrete. I met with our contact and he showed me that he just needed to move one hole from the area the other firm scanned to an area approximately two feet away. He indicated where the other firm had scanned and asked me if I knew what their marks meant. I looked at it and was shocked they had marked two single lines with spray paint and that was it. According to the site contact they did not indicate to him before they left what was marked and he was as confused as I was about the markings. I'm guessing they either did not have the time or the finances to mark the area properly.  As I began to unpack my equipment the technician coring the holes approached me and started to tell me that they were glad my firm was there to scan because the "lower priced" scanning company was typically up to 3 " off on their marks and that they miss a great deal of the items in the concrete. The coring technician had worked with this firm a great deal and had extensive knowledge of the other RADAR firms track record. I was informed that the firm I was working for has had many issues with this other "cheaper" firm but the project managers were blind to it because they were not onsite to see what was going on.

After I completed my scan of the area requested I decided to take a quick peak at the other firms scan and I just had to shake my head because they had marked two lines going in one direction but failed to mark the ones in the other. The lines which were marked were just single thin lines maybe 1/2" wide, but in no way covered the cables which appeared to be a group of three cables together. This was a tension cable building! Tension cables are not a joke they have the potential to damage the building as well as, injure personnel in the area. Apparently the other firm does not have the same respect for the cables as our firm does and that is troublesome. I asked the client why they chose the firm in question if they are always having issues and they indicated that their cost for service was the lowest and that is what their project managers based their decision on.
 
The site contact indicated that if it was up to him that Xenogenesis would always do his scans because he knows that we are accurate and reliable, but the people in the office see only the scanning price and not the additional costs that are hidden in the lower priced companies scans. What they fail to realize that the lower cost is just smoke and mirrors because over the course of time the lower cost firm will actually cost more. For example we have other firms that say they will scan a 3' x 3' area simply because we say a 2' x 2' area. We picked this size because it will encompass almost every size penetration but at the same time it allows for the client to get an idea of total cost for the service. If the area needs to be 3' x3' we have no problem scanning that size area and we don't charge extra for it our client know this. Another example is if the area has to be moved to a different wall that requires an additional scan or it even has to be moved twice we will only charge for the one scan because the client is only placing one hole and we do not feel that the client should have to pay for the additional scans.The lower priced firm doesn't do this! There are several questionable ways the other "cheaper" firms actually cost more which I will detail in a later post.   It has been our experience that typically the project managers only realize the true cost once something expensive is damaged because of the low cost scanning firms incompetency. 

Xenogenesis believes in being upfront and honest with our clients so we don't have to play the hidden cost game with them.
Our firm has always strived to provide accurate timely scans for our clients at a moments notice. Every time we go onsite we feel our reputation is on the line so we always try to go the extra mile. We will always meet with the client after the scans are complete to ensure that they understand our marks and that we have scanned a large enough area for them as well. If you are a project manager---talk to your people on site they can tell you the true story of what kind of service you are receiving for your investment.
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