Power Restoration To Aged Care Facility After Water Pipe Failure

February 26, 2021 micronoffice

A significant water leak occurred at the St Basils aged care facility, Randwick precinct February 2021. Power was lost to the common areas of building B, which contains independent living units at the facility. Micron was requested to attend site, identify the extent of the damage, and determine what was required to safely restore power to the building as soon as possible.

The cause of the water leak was a failed joint in the plumbing for a fire hose reel on the roof of Building B. Once the joint failed, fire hose water at full pressure began to flood the area above the electrical services riser. Water then started to flow through the penetrations between floors in the electrical, communications and hydraulic service risers.

The onsite maintenance team at St Basils were only made aware of the problem when they noticed water pooling on the floor in the carpark on level B1, they then followed the leak up each floor until they found the source on level 8. The water supply was shut off to Building B and the appropriate contractors called to investigate the affected services. After arriving on site, Micron’s first course of action was to identify which electrical services were affected and ensure there was no danger present to people in the building. After inspecting the electrical main switch room, engineers noticed the circuit breaker supplying house services power had tripped and the circuit breaker supplying resident power was still on. The house power circuit breaker was tagged and locked off before conducting an inspection of the electrical risers.

An extensive amount of water was found to have traveled down the electrical riser, with a large amount entering the switchboard on level 4, causing the circuit breaker within main switch room to trip. The resident switchboards also had a large amount of water on them, however the power remained on. It was impossible to tell how much water had found its way inside the resident switchboards without opening them, so the decision was made to turn power off in-order to safely inspect and dry them out as required. Residents were notified by St Basils staff that the power would be off while inspections were carried out. Water was found to be inside the switchboards but luckily had not caused any faults, this was dried out by Micron technicians and power restored to the residents’ units.

Once the risk of having water around the live resident switchboards was negated, Micron then needed to find a way to restore power to the house services before the day ended. As the common area lighting is supplied by house power, the resident corridors would be very dark and St Basils staff were concerned about aged residents moving around without any lighting.Micron electricians and engineers were able to temporarily bypass the faulty house power switchboard on level 4 and provide power to those services from another source. The remaining house switchboards were inspected for water ingress, and after the cabling was megger tested and electrically analysed for any faults, power was restored.

After the power to Building B was back on, Micron then proceeded to identify affected services in the communications risers, this included access control, CCTV, MATV and intercom services. Damaged services were disconnected and left to dry while unaffected services were reconnected in-order to minimise the impact to residents and staff.

Micron electricians and engineers identified all failed electrical, access control and security services, made safe all dangerous wiring, and isolated the mains cables to avoid the risk of explosion and serious damage.  Our technicians repaired and bypassed emergency services restoring power to the aged care home and proceeded in replacing damaged equipment ensuring the residents and staff remain safe and the centre operational.

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