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Installing Caterpillar 2MW Diesel Generator High and Medium Voltage Feeder Conduit Structure Above Generators Medical Center
Installing Switchgear

Health Care • Power Generation • Fiber Optics • Asbestos Remediation • Equipment Setting


Campus Emergency Power Project

Teamwork was the foundation of the success of this project….

The purpose of the project was to double the University’s Medical Center complex emergency power capability and to do it while maintaining uninterrupted, critical hospital services.

There were two projects in one. The first was to create additional generating capacity, and to make it available to the Medical Center. The second, to reconfigure and upgrade the Medical Center’s system for accepting and distributing the new emergency power.

At the University’s Power Plant, steam is generated to provide heat to University facilities and a small steam turbine co-generates back-up power. Outside utility power enters there as well. Conversion of an existing building and the addition of a second story was necessary to house up to five new 2 Megawatt diesel generators and prototype, medium voltage switchgear.

State-of-the-science equipment was installed deep within the sub-basements of the University’s Medical Center hospital, while existing system was re-configured from 2,400V to 13.8KVA.

More than 13,000 feet of Medium and High Voltage cable now connects the Medical Center and Power Plant through the University’s extensive utility tunnel system.

A new two-story concrete building was added at the Medical Center to provide secure housing for the control system. For control, the equipment is interlinked by fiber optic cables that connect switchgear through a double-redundant PLC system. This system has control consoles at both the Power Plant and Medical Center.

Since nearly 50% of the of the project scope was electrical work, it was natural for a large electrical contractor to secure the lump-sum contract for this project, as prime. At the same time, however, the project still had all the physical and management characteristics of a normal general contract. Plus, the complexity of the project, the issues involved with completing the operating system definition, and the design, imposed extraordinary project management demands on the contractor and project staff.


  • Downing functioned as the general contractor and provided central leadership to the entire project team, maintaining control of the project in line with the University’s stated goal of "partnering".
  • Managed the project’s day to day construction operations.
  • Directed the efforts of two project teams. This project involved two separate and independent design firms; operations and facility staffs from the University’s Medical Center and Power Plant; the University’s Project Management and Project Coordination staffs; and major subcontractors performing electrical power and controls work, equipment installation, as well as civil, mechanical, asbestos abatement, tank remediation, and other specialty work.
  • Even before it was mutually agreed that the project required more scope definition, Downing initiated a "task force" process to rehabilitate and complete the designs. Bringing the electrical power and controls contractors together with the respective designers and University’s technical and operations staffs resulted in completion of the design while the project was underway. This highly successful team completed the definition of the system’s operating criteria - while trouble shooting the control and switchgear wiring, and logic, and completing the design for the Power Plant. A second successful team researched the highly interdependent and technically complex sequencing requirements at the Medical Center, helping the staff find ways to eliminate the potential for interrupting critical hospital services during construction. Both project teams took initiatives that found solutions to operational requirements.
  • Conducted extensive planning sessions with Medical Center staff to schedule critical tie-ins while avoiding service interruptions to life and safety systems. An extensive and detailed "event based" (rather than "activity based") schedule was developed for conducting critical work at the Medical Center that affected "life safety" systems. This approach incorporated the University’s operations and facility functions along with the construction work and resulted in zero interruptions to critical "life safety" operations.

The result of this intensely managed Partnering effort was a "win-win" project that completed ahead of schedule with a good operating system and no service interruptions to the Medical Center’s patients.

  • The work was completed ahead of schedule, within the approved cost basis for the project and with no litigation. It was a safe project with no accidents or lost time injuries. And, the Medical Center got an excellent new operating system while the University received a good return on their construction investment.

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