6 Steps to Contingency Planning For Your Chiller

Your contingency plan is a technical document, requiring a detailed understanding of your entire chiller system. It’s best to bring in someone who can work with you to create the plan if you do not have the technical understanding required. 

1. Risk Assessment

The first step to creating a contingency plan is to determine the critical equipment which is at risk. First you’ll need to list the number of chillers you’re creating the plan for, and then determine the actual risks. List all the potential problems that can occur – anything from a power outage through to a natural disaster.

Next, map out the worst case scenario. Imagine your chiller breaks down during the hottest time of the year, what would happen?

Detail the impact of the chiller being unavailable for different amounts of time. Is there an existing fall back in place for the chiller failing? Can the system or building continue functioning without it? And if so, for how long?

2. Identify Equipment & Services Required

Once you’ve completed your risk assessment, the next step is to list the equipment required.

For this part, it’s best to bring in the supplier who will be providing the equipment as they will be able to determine the exact equipment you will need.

When creating the list of equipment, don’t forget to include accessories and ancillary equipment, including pumps, hoses, valves, fittings, ducts, and cables.

You will also need to determine what additional services you require to get the equipment installed and commissioned. This may include services such as rigging, forklifts or cranes, electricians, pipe fitters, etc.

To determine the equipment required, you will need to review a number of things:

The Existing Chiller

What is the size of your existing chiller? Is it air cooled or water cooled? Will the temporary replacement chiller be able to use the existing pumps? What are the water connection size requirements?

The Power Available

Is there enough power available to run a temporary chiller? If not, you will need to consider hiring a generator. If power is available, how can it be accessed? Are access valves available? Have the tale offs already been fitted? What is the available voltage? What is the total amperage?

Accessing the Location

How accessible is the site? How difficult will it be to get a temporary chiller onto the site? Is the building located on a busy street? How secure is the location? How wide is the driveway? How close can the temporary chiller be positioned to the system? Will there be any potential issues around noise?

These are just some of the considerations you will need to be aware of when determining the type of equipment you will need and the process for getting it installed. The best way to know for sure is to have your preferred supplier conduct a site visit and draw up a plan for you.

You should also use this time to determine whether any changes need to be made to the building, in preparation for an emergency, in order to streamline the installation of a temporary system. Changes such as adding access valves in large pipes may end up saving you both time and money in the event of an emergency.

3. Create the Plan

The next step is to formalise the plan.

You will need to detail the steps to be taken to install the equipment. You should draw up the layout of the equipment and also take photos of the areas in which the equipment will be installed along with photos of the access points. This will help the suppliers get the equipment installed as smoothly as possible.

You should also outline detailed directions for the suppliers delivering the equipment.

Your plan should also include a contact list with all the relevant personnels’ details, both internal and external. Include the key contacts for the vendors you have selected, along with the building’s owners and managers, maintenance personnel and technicians, and anyone else who may be affected by the system breakdown.

Your contingency plan should also include a budget, outlining all of the expected costs associated with getting the temporary system in place. Having these costs planned for and pre-approved will save you time and reduce stress in the event it needs to be activated, as everyone involved will have an understanding of both the expense required and the potential cost of not going ahead with it.

Finally, once you’ve formalised your contingency plan, don’t forget to share the document with all of the building’s occupants.

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