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Safety First on Park Plaza Condominiums Cooling Tower Replacement

By Melissa Rysak, CPSM • April 2, 2019

Advanced Planning & Teamwork are Essential to Safety

The time had come for Park Plaza Condominiums in Wilmington, DE to replace the rooftop cooling tower. As part of maintenance on a building’s mechanical systems, cooling towers are typically replaced after 18-20 years of use. EDiS was hired to manage the replacement of Park Plaza’s existing cooling tower and installation of a new cooling tower, pumps, heat exchanger, controls, TPO roofing system, and rerouting of electrical conduits. Sounds easy enough right? The catch was that Park Plaza is a high-rise occupied residential building located within a confined footprint. Due to the proximity to the I-95 North entrance, management of traffic during construction was also a primary concern.

Working on a high-rise building, particularly one with such special restrictions, required the use of cranes to lift materials into the building. Project Manager Amanda Wolf knew that completing the work with as little disruption to the residents of Park Plaza and its surrounding neighbors would be a vital component for success. She also knew that on a residential project, keeping the residents informed and allowing them to safely be a part of the process would go a long way to easing their fears and satisfying their curiosity. She and Superintendent Jared Fersch turned to their EDiS team to help them come up with a plan.

Working with Director of Safety & Health Jim Ruggiero and Director of Field Operations Gregg Clark, the team coordinated with Flo Mechanical and the crane company to devise a Crane Lift Plan. Crane Lift Plans create a controlled environment and establish necessary precautions in order to safely locate material and equipment from delivery to its final location. A plan was developed so the old cooling tower could be removed while new equipment was being loaded to the roof. This required careful coordination and precise scheduling among all parties. While the original thought was that this would require three “picks” or crane set-ups, the team worked together to devise a safe plan that allowed for just two picks, saving time and money and causing less disruption to the residents. Another challenge – steel roof purlins did not allow for the reach of the crane to set the new cooling tower in its final location. In order to get the equipment from the perimeter of the building to its precise location, Flo Mechanical designed and built a conveyor system on the roof, saving additional time and a significant amount of labor.

In addition to coordinating the logistics on the project, EDiS took on the task of coordinating with the building’s management to keep residents informed and involved, and above all, safe. Working again with Jim Ruggiero, the team ensured that OSHA guidelines for occupied spaces during demolition were met, and parameters were set for residents to allow them a safe place to view the demolition.

The outcome – a safe and smooth demolition, removal, and delivery process in challenging conditions, where residents got to be a part of the process, and never had to leave the comfort of home. The team effort made the job look easy!