Scottish Power project raises bar for Crown House

Motherwell-based SELECT Member designed and executed one of its biggest projects for the new utility giant’s new Glasgow headquarters

With an energy capacity equivalent to roughly 250 homes, it’s fair to say connecting up Scottish Power’s new 14-storey headquarters in Glasgow was never going to be for the feint hearted. Not to mention the fact that the client – the clue is in the title – was always going to demand the most exacting electrical safety standards to be found anywhere in the business. Step forward Crown House Technologies (CHt) – who scooped the Electrical Contractor of the Year and Best Electrical Safety Project at last year’s SELECT Industry Awards. The M&E firm, whose parent company Laing O’Rourke are the main build contractor for Scottish Power’s new multimillion pound HQ, located on the corner of St Vincent Street and India Street in the city, are progressing well with the finishes phase of the project. Brian Mailer, Project Manager for Crown House Technologies, says: “In terms of complexity and advancing our Design for Manufacturing and Assembly agenda, the pre-fabricated building services modules on this project are the longest and the most advanced we’ve ever done. It’s been a fantastic project to work on in terms of the level of innovation we’ve managed to incorporate into our offsite manufacturing.”

Brian says with CHt and Laing O’Rourke working together, it has given Scottish Power – who are owned by Spanish energy giant Iberdrola - a complete solution, an end-to-end build, from initial frame construction to full client fit out.

“We entered into discussions with the client at an early stage which ensured we were able to tailor our offering to match the client’s expectations,” he adds. “The initial Cat A part of the project was awarded in September 2013 and the Cat B followed in October 2014, the completion of which will offer a soft landing for the client. This means the day we finish construction, we will remain with an engineering presence to help facilities staff familiarise themselves with the building which allows for a seamless handover. They can simply walk in and start work safe in the knowledge we’re there should they need our support.”

It was for the electrical safety design and implementation that Crown House Technologies won the Best Electrical Safety Project at the SELECT Awards in October. The company arranged the installation on site from HV ring orientation to substation location to suit the order of construction. CHt also produced detailed switching schedules based on the six packaged substations being turned on sequentially, meaning only those parts of the building requiring power were energised as the project progressed. There are two incoming HV connections c/w auto changeover in the event of failure which feed the 6 substations and a rising busbar system powering over 140 TP&N distribution boards throughout the building:

“We have a very robust set of electrical safety rules and procedures,” adds Brian. “Everything we put in place is designed to ensure the safety of our people. High-grade flame retardant personal protective equipment (PPE) is worn by all CHt APs when carrying out switching operations and remote push-button lanyard control is specified on all HV Switchgear CHt procure. This ensures staff can switch remotely which keeps them safe in the event that something goes wrong.”

To further enhance safety, Crown House utilised Schneider’s PC Mimic Diagram (PCMD) system – a computerised system which creates the HV/LV Distribution system and allows switching operations to be carried out in virtual digital environment.

“The system is designed to prevent potential safety incidents; if you were to try and switch anything that is unsafe it creates an error message and highlights the potential of the proposed action. It’s a way of ensuring your switching schedules are 100% safe at the planning stage before proceeding to the actual switching activity on site.”

Safety has also been a consideration throughout the design and fabrication of the services modules; rather than having installers working at height or over leading edges in risers to install the electrical services, the high level ceiling services have been pre-fabricated in their entirety – on 14-metre steel frames - at CHt’s offsite manufacturing facility. Here, operatives can carry out this work at bench level, before the modules are tested, commissioned and safely wrapped for transportation to the building and lifted into place by one of the tower cranes.

“We’ve really raised the bar on this project and installed equipment to these modules that we haven’t previously installed off site. The services are all completely modularised, so you’ve got all high level services from air conditioning, ventilation, sprinklers, fire alarm, PAVA, power and lighting, even luminaires installed onto the modular frames - all fitted and tested in factory conditions offsite - which has resulted in real safety and quality benefits. Similarly the electrical distribution boards and rising busbars were installed on riser frames spanning 3 floors which were also craned into place complete and fixed in position. We worked with TÜV SÜD on the technical design, to determine the services required and their design parameters, then passed this to our Digital Engineers who co-ordinated the individual services and spatial design of the modules and frames. The modular frames were then sent for structural analysis before being issued to our offsite manufacturing facility and put into manufacture.”

With a projected completion date later this year, CHt are looking forward to the end of a complex piece of work, which has been rewarding for all involved.

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