Gauteng Business News

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Business: CBD Road Closures for Generator Installation


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Sechaba’s Head Office is home to a massive data centre linked to a call centre interfacing with all the major hospitals and medical service providers in the country dealing with large volumes of medical authorisations on a daily basis. A critical requirement of the installation was that Sechaba needed to maintain their customer service levels during the installation. Meissner had to ensure that Sechaba had full power at all times and to this end brought in a standby generator while Sechaba’s old generator was moved out and the new much larger Himoinsa generator was installed. Eric Rantsho, Sechaba’s Chief Information Officer (CIO) stated, "We are in the systems industry which is totally dependent on IT systems being up and operational at all times. Although Sechaba has a robust, tried and tested recovery plan in place, the inability to cater adequately for power outages had been a major source of concern for us. Now that the new generator is in place and working, we are confident that the business and related day to day operations can run as usual even in instances where the municipality feed is interrupted - this is a worthwhile investment indeed". He went on to comment that with all of the critical and necessary infrastructure preparations currently in progress in and around the company’s location in the Johannesburg CBD, it is inevitable that the power feed would be interrupted from time to time. Previously we had a lower capacity backup power system to assist in such instances and this hampered service delivery levels during power outages.

Meissner’s Project Management team were responsible for the smooth coordination of the project. Rantsho went on to state, “We were very pleased with the meticulous planning, time and effort that went into the project from all parties concerned. This was critical as the installation was done alongside a major upgrade of the Sechaba Administration system and the platform that it runs on".

In order for the installation to be carried out Meissner had to arrange for JHB’s City Power to switch off the transformer supplying the entire city block for 2 days. The new generator weighing 11 tons is installed in the basement of Sechaba’s office block and access was gained by using a crane to lift the generator over the top of the 5 storey building, move it 50 metres inwards and lower it down 7 storeys through the centre of the building into the basement. For the project Meissner hired a 49 metre high, 440-ton crane that took a day to assemble on site. The team also had to arrange for the block in central Johannesburg to be closed off to traffic for an entire weekend. In addition to this new cabling had to be installed. Donovan Ramage, Meissner’s Project Manager commented, “The cabling was a massive undertaking as we had to deal with a number of restrictions including access and space constraints as well as safety issues.”

The Himoinsa Generator was supplied in a weatherproof, sound attenuated enclosure making the unit incredibly quiet. The generator’s exhaust system is reticulated from within the basement to a suitable well-ventilated point where fumes that have been filtered and catalyzed are safely expelled from the building. The unit has an auto changeover mechanism as well as a 2 200-litre bulk storage diesel tank ensuring that should Sechaba lose electrical supply that they can run at full capacity for up to 3 days. The generator is linked to Sechaba’s Building Management System (BMS) allowing them to continually monitor the status of the generator. The generator has been configured to a specific set of parameters and automatically starts up 30 seconds after power to the building has been lost and will continue running for at least 5 minutes after power has been restored.


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