Brady Blog- Trends and Talk

Incorporating building heating requirements into your company’s contingency plan

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Unexpected system downtime is always a possibility in any business, so it’s best to have a contingency plan in place. While your building’s cooling needs are an important part of contingency planning, your heating requirements should not be overlooked.

PowerMaster BoilerA contingency plan prepares you to recognize the possibility of unexpected downtime and allows you to plan for the necessary resources needed to minimize the impact it has on your building and business.

When developing a contingency plan, it’s important to focus on three key questions; What are the possible emergencies that will occur? How are you going to respond? What can you do to prepare for it?

What are the possible emergencies that will occur? While creating a contingency plan you will document potential causes of system downtime, and analyze the financial impact it can have on your building and your business. How much will it cost your business to close for the day? What is the impact of a boiler or burner failure on your business?

During this process you will not only review each scenario, but you will evaluate potential solutions to help reduce the chances of it occurring. If you have issues meeting your facility’s full steam load with your current equipment you may barely be able to maintain the conditions needed to support your day-to-day operations in your facility. Are your existing boilers and burners in need of frequent repair? The contingency planning process may uncover opportunities for energy efficiency upgrades to your equipment. Burner upgrades often allow facilities to operate more efficiently using less energy and postponing costly boiler plant expansions. The redundancy resulting from these improvements could become an important part of your contingency plan.

How are you going to respond? Once you have documented the possible causes of downtime it’s important to prioritize the most critical building loads, highest financial implications, and processes essential for your business’ operations. If one of your boilers goes down in the middle of February, how will you need to respond to keep your business operating as normal? What are the critical parts of your business that cannot experience downtime? What does this mean to your steam plant capacity?  

At this point in the planning process you want to consider the options available to you when your building’s processes are forced to stop. Will you need to rent equipment? Boilers, water softeners, feed water systems, heat exchangers, and economizers may be necessary and should be accounted for in your contingency plan.

What can you do to prepare? While preparing your contingency plan you will address failures and the impact of your solutions on your facility. In your plan you will want to include equipment location, ease of equipment placement, client perception, and safety issues. You will also need to consider the logistical aspects of installing the temporary system including connections to your existing system, electrical necessities, and structural loads. 

Once your plan has been put into place and communicated you will want to schedule a reminder to do a contingency plan review. Your contingency plan should be reviewed anytime equipment is added or removed. You should also schedule a review anytime your building use or set up changes in response to business needs and demands.

Including your heating requirements in your contingency plan will ensure that you are ready to support every component of your HVAC system. Is it time to review your contingency plan to ensure you have proper coverage in case of boiler or burner failure?