Switchgear maintenance for hotels
A comprehensive approach to switchgear maintenance will enable you to stay ahead of potential fires and property-wide, unplanned shutdowns. As your properties age, the risk of switchgear failures increases, and these failures can take your room inventory and event space offline unexpectedly.
As a hospitality leader, you deal with the added pressure of maintaining customer expectations and public ratings. With so much at stake, you need a plan and an experienced partner.
Do switchgear failures happen? A famous hotel in Miami, FL., had an unexpected switchgear failure which caused loss of power and service interruptions. The hotel’s system and elevators could not be operated, making it virtually impossible to book and tend to guests. To solve the issue, an intensive search was conducted to find and fly a breaker replacement overnight, from California.
The hotel standard
There was a time when you could perform switchgear maintenance on energized equipment. That time is gone. NFPA guidelines have deemed this an unsafe work practice and provided detailed recommendations in the NFPA 70B standard.
The NFPA 70B standard also recommends switchgear maintenance every 3 – 5 years. However, it would be best to consider additional factors when evaluating your specific property’s needs and reliability requirements.
The electrical service to your hotel will need to be disconnected during your switchgear maintenance event. This critical requirement means you must prepare with high levels of planning and coordination
- Depending on the number of feeders to your property, you might need to take areas of your hotel offline affecting your ability to host guests and events for safety, comfort, and compliance reasons
- IT and booking systems might need to go offline during the switchgear maintenance event, therefore you need a plan to check guests in and out of your system
- You will need to ensure only required personnel and staff are on the premises to avoid near misses, unnecessary distractions, and added risks
- Take into consideration the revenue and operational expenditure implications of your planned switchgear event
Team and service coordination
The success of this coordinated effort greatly depends on working out scheduling and permits effectively.
- Having well-established communication and rapport with your local utility will be vital in planning your switchgear maintenance event
- Have an on-site and contractor “what if” plan to ensure you have enough crews to support this time-critical effort
- A solid communication plan will let all parties involved know what to expect and how and when to raise concerns and requests
- Your parts delivery and remanufactured component kits need to be ready and on standby
- You will need a plumbing and electric plan so your employees and contractors can power their tools, light up work areas, and access the restroom
Maximize the event
A switchgear maintenance event happens every 3-5 years and presents a unique opportunity to boost your hotel’s reliability and cleanliness.
- Take the opportunity to perform corrective and preventive mechanical, electrical, and plumbing maintenance (MEP)
- With the air conditioning not running, you can perform service and maintenance on chillers, cooling towers, and air handlers
- Perform maintenance and deep cleaning of on-site restaurants, including cleaning of exhaust fans and containment systems
- When your facility is de-energized, you can clean and maintain assets and areas out of the public eye
Partner with a pro
An effectively planned and executed switchgear maintenance event requires precise planning and coordination. If adding this major project to your priority list seems overwhelming, you can always partner with a pro.
We at SEAM Group can support all aspects of your switchgear maintenance, including project management, coordination, execution, and reporting.
Our reach and experience work to your advantage:
- Full national and regional coverage
- Compliant with NETA, NEC, OSHA, and NFPA specifications
- Professional project managers
- Experienced engineers and technicians perform electrical power system testing and maintenance
- Strategic partnerships with switchgear remanufacturers to provide vintage or obsolete components kits to support maintenance events
- Unique web-based data reporting and archiving system with ViewPoint software
Optional switchgear services:
- Engineer and install infrared windows
- Engineer and install arc flash relays
- Current transformer (CT) installation
- Equipment upgrades
- Assemble unique spare part kits for PM events
- Confirm that as-built switchgear matches customer drawings