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The Realities of Construction Work in an Operating Kitchen


November, 2012

I didn’t anticipate the number of hours I would need to spend on construction issues.  The first phases of our project focus on re-engineering key mechanical processes… electricity and compressors.  Not very exciting in the whole scope of things, but they are things that can quickly shut down a kitchen.
A key first item is to build a new electrical room to support our central kitchen.  Today we have a maze of breaker panels and boxes spread throughout our space. Our existing kitchen lies in two separate buildings, one built in the 1960s and one built in the 1970’s. We have maxed out our existing electrical supply and new outlets/configurations cost a lot of money to add.  Our plan calls for redesigning the system to build in extra capacity and to locate them in a central room where they can be accessed easily. As it is now, the panels are on walls in operational space where they can easily be blocked.    
Once the new panels are completed, switching  existing power to the new ones requires 4-8 hour shutdowns while the new connections are made..  Coordinating these shutdowns is problematic and requires lots of time tracing back all of the equipment supported on individual panels.  In our planning, we certainly didn’t realize the “impact” on daily operations these shutdowns would cause.  But, at the end of the day, we have learned more about what powers our operation.  
TAGS: Healthcare
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