• $ 1.5 Mil

Children’s Hospital – Generator Controls Upgrade

The project involved the demolition of existing and supply and installation of new power and control equipment, construction of a new transformer, new HV and LV switchboards as well as modifications to the existing equipment.

About the Children’s Hospital at Westmead

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead is strategically located at Westmead a suburb in the rapidly growing Western Sydney. The Children’s Hospital is the largest paediatric centre in NSW and services Western Sydney and other parts of NSW, Australia and the Pacific.

It services over a million patients a year including 51,000 emergency cases and is home to a number of specialist units and research facilities.

Background of the project

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead is serviced by an 11kV essential ring main and is backed up by two Dorman 1060 kVA 415V generators via a generator switchboard and 2 x 1000kVA step-up transformers through 2 HV changeover contactors controlled by an outdated control system. The high voltage contactors feed the entire essential power for the hospital.

There are a number of reasons for the upgrade:-

  • Intermittent problems with the existing changeover contactors
  • The outgoing circuit breakers and transformers limit the outgoing power to 1000kVA each leg thus limiting the flexibility of the system to switch the open point of the ring main for maintenance purposes.
  • Limited support for the existing switchgear
  • Outdated technology of the generator controls
  • No capability for temporary generators or load banks for servicing/maintenance of the generators
  • Very limited protection to the generators and the essential ring main
  • Limited alarms/monitoring and old technology on the existing BMS system


Challenges of the project

The project was of very technical in nature and was challenging working in a 24/7 operational hospital. The project involved the upgrade of the entire hospital’s essential ring mains power system.

The project required many specialist skills including:-

  • Generator specialist contractors
  • Control systems specialist contractors
  • Structural engineer
  • BCA consultant
  • Commercial builder
  • System protection engineers
  • Earthing engineers
  • Fuel system specialist contractor
  • BMS specialist contractor
  • High voltage electrical specialist contractor

The upgrade project involved the following works:-

  • Replacement of an existing 1MVA oil filled step up transformer with a new 2MVA dry step up transformer
  • Replacement of the 2 x high voltage contactors with 2 x new 11kV ABB High Voltage Automatic Transfer Systems
  • Replacement of the existing generator control system with a new PLC based generator control system including new auxiliary distribution board and battery chargers
  • Supply and installation of a new generator main switchboard
  • New load bank/temporary generator connection point
  • Building modification works to the existing generator switchroom
  • Installation, testing and commissioning of new BMS alarms to the existing Schneider Electric system

Most of the items were not off the shelf products but required to have an innovative design team to produce. Suppliers were selected partially based on the above criteria but importantly custom made innovative designs which met the project requirements.

The items required to be designed and custom made included:-

  • Generator control panels
  • Battery chargers
  • Auxiliary DB
  • 12kV ATS
  • Generator Switchboard
  • Load Bank/Generator connection point
  • 2MVA air cooled transformer
  • Stairwells
  • Fire Rated Doors
  • Fire Rated Window

Equipment to be engineered to suit specifications innovative equipment

Generator controls engineered with the latest technology:-

  • Heizmann speed controllers
  • Woodward generator protection relays and generator controllers
  • PLC operation
  • Touch screen panel operation
  • Power supply monitoring capability
  • Analogue and digital alarms capability

As well as:-

  • Custom made 24V and 48V battery system with redundancy backup capabilities
  • Custom made generator auxiliaries panel with ATS for mains and generator supply

Innovative custom made equipment

  • Custom made ABB High Voltage 11kV ATS with Woodward protection relays and controllers
  • Custom made generator switchboard with Woodward protection relays and controllers
  • Custom made temporary generator/ load bank panel

Temporary Control System

The existing essential ring mains backup system was required to be offline for a period as part of the demolition of the old generator control system and equipment and the installation of the new equipment.

In order for the hospital to remain operational during the changeover of the generator control system, a temporary backup control system for the essential ring mains was required. The temporary backup control system was engineered to provide the hospital with backup power whilst the main backup system was offline for the upgrade works.

A temporary backup system was designed which consisted of:-

  • 2 x 1MVA containerised synced generator sets with bulk fuel tanks
  • A temporary control system with backup battery
  • Utilisation of the newly installed generator switchboard, battery charger, mobile generator/load bank connection point and HV ATS with programmed temporary control and protection settings.

As no alarms were available from the main backup system whilst it was offline, the temporary backup system provided temporary alarms through a telemetry system sending out SMS alerts to essential staff.

Project Challenges

A number of challenges were encountered during the project which required the project team to provide solutions to. They included:-

  • Complex engineering was required to design a generator controller using the latest technologies available to replace the generator controls from over 20 years ago which had limited information and drawings available and also configuring the controls to interact with the existing generators which were over 20 years ago and also had little information available on them as the original Dorman manufacturer no longer exists.
  • Logistics to fit a 5 tonne transformer into the room which had a one metre step was tight fitting with overhead ductwork and cable ladder to fit through to the nominated position which required expert riggers to position and transformer technicians to build the enclosure once inside the room.
  • The project required a lot of project co-ordination as there were many interested parties involved including all departments of the Westmead Hospital, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Endeavour Energy which we required to provide plans to present for shut down works.
  • Many subcontractors were used on the project which required
  • Working safely around high voltage equipment by providing protection to the equipment and staff members working near the equipment and providing a plan of works and contingencies.
  • Calculation of protection settings for the power system as the existing the old generator control system had little protection for the system which required engagement of an experienced Protection Engineer to provide calculations which required meeting Endeavour Energy requirements and approval by Endeavour Energy. The settings were then programmed and tested by a Protection Engineer through secondary injection to ensure they meet the protection program requirements.
  • As part of the alarm system for the hospital, new BMS alarm points were created and integrated into the hospital’s new Schneider Electric Structure ware system.
  • Elements of the project were redesigned to overcome issues such as:-
  • Due to noise restrictions of the hospital, a set of stairs to be demolished in the original plans instead the stairs were reconfigured which still met BCA and access requirements
  • The equipment layout was reconfigured to meet space requirements to meet BCA, manufacturers and AS 3000 requirements in tight plantrooms and switchrooms.
  • Redesign of cable tray route around existing equipment from the original design to avoid existing pipework to be installed in a false ceilings.

o   The mobile generator point was moved from external of the building from the original design to internal to enable a clear external passage way and to avoid vandalism.

Commissioning of the system

As the project involved the entire essential power system for a working hospital, a lot of project planning and project co-ordination work was required.

A number project and switching plans were created and presented to the hospital for approval. The plans details the works to be performed and the estimated timing, the risks and the contingencies required to plan the testing and commissioning of the system and the expected length of outages to the operations to the hospital.

Commissioning of the system and outage works were required to be performed out of hours on weekends which required the hospital engineering department seeking approval from the rest of the hospital especially clinical departments and also availability of all subcontractors for the planned outage dates. Thus the project required a lot of project co-ordination as there were many interested parties involved and many subcontractors to manage on the day.

A strong outage management was required on the day as their were many sequences that needed to be followed per the project plan to ensure that the required works were conducted inside the limited outage windows presented at the operating hospital. Good communication between Ryan Wilks and the hospital and their subcontractors was required given that that each work sequence depended on the certain sequences happening to complete the testing and commissioning works and the restoration of the operations of the hospital at the completion.

By successfully managing the outage processes, Ryan Wilks were able to successfully commission the new generator controls system.

The project was successfully completed by Ryan Wilks and with great satisfaction proving that we are able to construct and manage complex multidisciplinary projects which are technical in nature through an expert project team and great project planning. Thus the project has created a reliable backup power supply to the hospital and causing minimal disruptions to the busy operating hospital.

Value $1.5 Mil

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