Ninth & Jefferson Building Water Damage Repair


Harborview Medical Center


Seattle, WA






Health & Sciences

Project Team
June Mechure
Paul Larson
Senior Electrical Engineer
Matthew Woo
Associate, Electrical Engineering
Eric Sparling
Electrical Designer
Open Heart Surgery on the Heart of Harborview Medical Center

As the only Level 1 adult and pediatric trauma center for the states of Washington, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho, it is crucial that Harborview Medical Center be capable of supporting safe and continuous medical operations at this highest level of care.

When a fire suppression system failure during a routine test flooded the main normal power electrical room and main emergency power electrical room serving three hospital buildings, we were brought in to determine the extent of damage and design realiable replacement systems that could be constructed with minimal impact to hospital operations.

The system failure resulted in about 40-60,000 gallons of water flowing down through the Ninth and Jefferson building and into the normal and emergency power rooms, both located in the underground parking garage. While none of the equipment faulted or tripped during the event, several vital systems and equipment were significantly damaged; Washington State Law requires replacement or manufacturer reconditioning of electrical equipment that has been submerged or exposed to water.

We led a study team including electrical engineers, electrical technicians, electricians, electrical testing personnel, and equipment manufacturer representatives. Our team identified the affected equipment requiring replacement, which included the emergency generator distribution switchboard, transfer switches, switchboards, and bus ducts, as well as normal power switchboards, bus ducts, panelboards, and transformers.

Our team designed the new replacement switchgear and connections, as well as a temporary switchgear system and connections that served the hospital for the two-year construction phase. Temporary systems required approximately 10 miles of cabling to serve the hospital while new systems were installed.

Construction was phased to minimize planned outages including 18 distinct shutdowns, for each of which our team developed detailed time estimates and disaster plans. All cutovers to new power systems were completed with no unplanned outages and zero safety issues, and the project was completed on schedule and under budget.