24-Hour Cooling Tower Replacement

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Analysis

The cooling tower of a downtown high-rise condominium was well beyond its useful life and beyond the point of feasible repair. The building’s association decided to replace it with a new, more energy-efficient system with current controls and technology.

Cooling towers play a critical role in maintaining a building’s interior temperatures. This tower serviced luxury condos situated above a popular, high-volume restaurant, retail stores and pedestrian sidewalks. Because a typical cooling tower change would either involve a week without building temperature controls and closing the building (requiring relocation of the residents and financial hardship to the retail customers) or installation of a temporary cooling tower on the street at a very high cost, we adjusted our approach to ensure all parties were able to continue normal, daily operations.

Challenges

Detailed inspection showed that the water connections were in solid condition, but a closer look found that original builder had incorrectly installed the two-cell tower. Though this allowed it to operate normally, following this procedure would have meant field engineering a proper connection to the new tower, driving up costs and extending installation time far over the required schedule. Avoiding the faults of previous builders, we adhered to strict due diligence, measuring everything to impeccable exactness to avoid any inaccuracies, ensuring the new tower would fit in the existing piping.

To further complicate matters, the concrete and steel supporting the tower required structural engineering and repairs to correct the years of corrosion. The coastal air had also damaged the tower to the point that we were not able to use the installed lift points. We tackled this dilemma by carefully securing straps underneath the structure to safely lift it out.

General Overview

This is a job that would typically have taken three to five days to complete, but thanks to strict adherence to due diligence, detailed planning in cooperation with the installer, the team’s detailed knowledge of the situation, and pit-crew precision, we were able to fully install and begin operating the cooling tower in just one day with no injuries, no damage to the building or equipment, and no mistakes.