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Engineers spend weekend locked in bank vaults

ERIKS Power Services

ERIKS, Europe's leading industrial services partner, recently worked closely with facilities management specialists from Mitie on a high security operation in the regional headquarters of a major UK bank in Manchester.

Twelve engineers from ERIKS, all specialists in high voltage operations, were literally locked in over a weekend from mid afternoon on a Saturday to midday Sunday, while essential maintenance and upgrades to the building services systems were being carried out. This included work on both low and high voltage switchgear systems.

The switchgear upgrade operation was planned in order to ensure that the necessary standards of health and safety were upheld. Under H&S regulations companies have a legal obligation to maintain this type of equipment to suitable standards and in full compliance with OHSAS 18001.

The complete project involved dealing with switchgear from 415V up to 11,000V, including an array of transformers, isolators and UPS systems. Much of the equipment was housed on the top floor of the bank building, though some was also located in the basement. To add to the operational challenge, the equipment present had been sourced from several manufacturers.

For the entire duration of the upgrade process the building was without power, with portable back up generators in use. This affected all of the bank's safety and security systems, including CCTV. For this reason, all ERIKS and Mitie engineers had to undergo strict security vetting before they were allowed to work on this project. Furthermore, it was absolutely crucial that the power was back in operation by the start of business on Monday, fully tested and compliant.

ERIKS and Mitie had worked together before on a number of projects, though never on one as sensitive as this. A spokesperson from MITIE said, "This was a highly successful and professionally executed operation. Both teams have to be commended for working so well together, ensuring that work was completed exactly within the deadline and with no hitches." He adds, "The competence of both teams is certainly a credit to their respective companies."

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