North Riser Upgrade Project

Location: Malet Street, London, WC1

Scope of project

The site is a nine storey building inclusive of basement, offices, research spaces, teaching facilities and student welfare. This project spanned over a 16-week duration inclusive of shutdowns.

Alpine Works was nominated as principal contractor on this project with duties ranging from project & site management, installations, programming, out of hours shutdowns, client liaison, progress meetings and appointment of sub-contractors for associated works. We were also responsible for client demonstrations on completion.

The purpose of the project was to replace aged switchgear and distribution fuse boards in the north, central and south risers at basement level and the submain cables rising from the switchgear to the upper floor levels. This includes but is not limited to the Initial surveys and validations including working drawings. The de-commissioning and disposal of the existing switchgear and associated sub main cables. The final design, manufacture/assembly and delivery of bespoke replacement switchgear including metering facility and Installation, testing and commissioning of the new basement riser MCCB distribution switchgear. The installation and main supply cable from the Malet Street building and LV switch room to the basement level north riser as a means of secondary supply via automatic changeover switches. The replacement of the existing sub main cables from the basement to upper floors. The final component of the project was the testing on completion and handover of the H&S file and O&M Manuals.


The main challenges with this project was to programme the works to limit disruption and maintain business operations. This is an Open University and is principally open to study 24/7. To mitigate any operational downtime the works were scheduled over the Christmas period, beginning on Christmas Eve through to the New Year. The project achieved the stated handover date which was a collective success of good communications and client liaison. The risers also had space restrictions with existing services, so the containment had to be meticulously planned for the installation of new services.

A view of Birkbeck University of London

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