International Convention Centre avoids a drought

When the replacement of four 8in nominal bore valves was required within the Energy Centre at the ICC (International Convention Centre), Birmingham, it threatened to leave the nearby Hyatt Regency Hotel, as well as the centre’s conference halls, Symphony Hall and the NIA (National Indoor Arena) without water for several days. Traditionally the job would involve shutting down the supply system and draining all the water to allow the valves to be replaced. This can be a lengthy process, taking days to complete, and would have caused unacceptable levels of disruption to the hotel, convention centre and arena. An alternative solution was urgently required. Furmanite was approached and a way around the problem was proposed. Furmanite’s solution involved mechanical line plugging technology in order to provide a temporary isolation so that the work could be carried out with minimum disruption to the water supply. The hotel’s water system would hold sufficient water to allow it to continue normal operation during the brief shutdown periods. The line plugging process involved welding suitable fittings on to the pipes and attaching temporary valves to the pipes to allow hot tapping or under pressure drilling to take place. A mechanical plug was then inserted into the pipe. The plug rotates and locks into position, though they can be inserted and removed repeatedly as required. This preparation enabled the valves to be changed without the need for the pipes to be drained, and the whole process was carried out without depressurising the system. Work was carried out over three consecutive nights, with the water supply being interrupted at midnight and reinstated at six o’clock in the morning in order to minimise inconvenience to guests at the hotel or visitors to the centre. Furmanite was able undertake the full project, from the supply and installation of all the relevant pipe fittings, replacement valves and services, to welding and a non-destructive inspection. The operation was completed on time and without any problems, in fact most guests were not even aware that any work had even taken place. Furmanite is set to undertake a similar second stage project at the ICC again later this year.

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