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BNP Paribas - Simulated Power Failure

ETS was engaged to undertake a simulated power failure at the office building at Leeds for BNP Paribas to ascertain that the building’s standby plant and equipment operated in accordance with standard operating practices during a loss of power. This power test would allow for a review of the emergency lighting operation, fire alarms and essential services along with the operation standby and back-up power supplies, which ensure the best building operation.

Client Brief

BNP Paribas is a leading real estate giant with more than 150 years of history in the UK property market. They provide innovative and sustainable buildings for their clients, as well as extensive services for consulting, valuation and property management. Energy& Technical Services are proud to be their partner for many years. Along with this strong partnership, we offer the best operation performance and comfort for the tenants. In this case study, the client requested that we manage the shutdown process for the building in conjunction with their M&E Maintenance contractor and an attending electrical contractor, to confirm the site operated as expected in the event of a loss of its incoming supply. The site includes a backup generator; therefore the test would confirm that the back power supply operated in accordance with its assumed operating parameters.

Challenge

As with any power outage test there are inherent risks with turning the mains power off to an entire building, as there is always the possibility that some plant and equipment either fails or may not return to its normal operation when power is reinstated. This power test also allowed for the mains panel to be checked by the M&E electrician to confirm all contactors / connections were in good condition, though this could only be completed once the on-site generator and PV array had been isolated.

ETS’s Scope included:

  • Complete a check list of events and responses.
  • Simulate a power failure without notice to appreciating, depending on the vulnerability, and building systems, often notice is required (albeit that simulation will be limited).
  • Observe the operation of standby and back-up power supplies.
  • Check emergency lighting, fire alarms and essential life services, noting any loss of service & limitation.
  • Check other dependent systems.
  • Observe pre-checks and load shedding activities prior to reinstatement.
  • Observe the systematic process of re-instatement.
  • Note the condition before, during and after system re-energisation.
  • Review the reinstatement process of the contractor.
  • Note any observations, limitations, and failures.

ETS’s Solution & Strategy

A team was brought together from ourselves, the M&E maintenance team, electrical engineers and building managers to undertake the works. Allowing for the liaison with tenants so they were fully aware of the simulation, a clearly defined procedure to be followed for the pre-shutdown checks ensuring all risks were minimised. Identifying plant and equipment that required its operation to be checked during the power failure. Further risk management was employed regarding the reenergising of the site to ensure systems were brought back online safely, without causing any ongoing issues that could result in long term issues with the electrical systems on site.

Results

Overall, the test was successful with back-up power supplies, fire alarms, emergency lighting, pedestrian access systems all operating as expected during power failure. All equipment operated correctly and efficiently when power was reinstated.
The power test highlighted two items requiring further attention / investigation, these being confirmation of the fire curtain operation during a power failure and two emergency lights which discharged within 5 minutes of losing power, showing that these 2x lights were defective. After acting on these, we can ensure the safety and optimisation of the client’s building.

Key Outcomes

  • Confirm building operation under power loss conditions.
  • Confirm operations of back up facilities, Generator / UPS, fire alarm, essential life services, lighting etc.
  • Tests building infrastructure manages power reenergising without any underlying issues remaining.

Confirm building operation under power loss conditions. 

Confirm operations of back up facilities, Generator / UPS, fire alarm, essential life services, lighting etc.

Tests building infrastructure manages power reenergising without any underlying issues remaining.

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