In the community of Westminster Canterbury of the Blue Ridge (WCBR), ensuring adequate water pressure to various buildings, houses, and facilities spread across the 56-acre property requires a robust booster pump system for providing its residents and employees with water. A domestic booster pump system enhances water pressure after it enters the property from the city’s main water lines. This allows water to be efficiently distributed to locations across their campus, ensuring consistent pressure to every fixture calling for it.
The process of replacing WCBR’s booster pumps began two years ago when Southern Air Charlottesville Branch Manager Ray Spivey responded to a service call. Spivey discovered an entire change out was needed for a system capable of providing redundancy and incorporating Variable Frequency Drive technology for pressure regulation. By ensuring consistent pressure, regardless of the number of showers or faucets being used simultaneously, WCBR could guarantee a reliable water supply for all its residents.
The project required meticulous planning, precise pre-fabrication, efficient execution to minimize downtime and avoid inconvenience to residents who would be without water during the change out. Spivey called Mechanical Designer, Richard Gurchinoff who researched all aspects of the existing installation to include the water levels of the city water tank, facility building elevations and compared the city water psi to the system psi loss for water to the highest floors. He verified the highest floors of their buildings would not receive water without a domestic water booster system and the original system configuration should remain. He also recommended adding a fourth pump, nearly doubling the system redundancy. This resulted in WCBR to trusting Southern Air’s engineering department with the entire design/build project.
WCBR could only give Southern Air an installation window of nine hours to shut off their access to water. Resource Manager Ron Moore took such precise measurements of the room, connecting pipes and entry points for our pipe shop fabricators that virtually no pipe fabrication was needed the day of the install. Our mechanical field teams, led by Avi Usgaonkar, Southern Air Director of Mechanical Project Management, made only two field cuts and “simply” slid the pump skid into place with the connections aligning perfectly. With such exact measurements, an expertly built pump skid and a team with the necessary mechanical knowledge, they were able to have water back up and running in just three hours, instead of nine!
Electrical Project Manager Keith Bourne’s team wired and brought power to the system while Kirby Walshaw and Mitch Hooper’s Building Automation Systems teams configured the controls. Once our mechanical teams walked away from WCBR, they handed the project back over to Southern Air’s Charlottesville Service Department to handle their preventive maintenance moving forward.
“This went better than planned thanks to the honesty and due diligence of everyone involved,” says Usgaonkar. “Since it’s an elderly community, I wanted to minimize their time without water. Everyone worked together to get the system in the building, finding ways to jump in and help one another. It was an awesome display of teamwork from inception through completion.”
The replacement of the domestic booster pump system at WCBR exemplified Southern Air’s ability to complete an all-inclusive project touching multiple departments and branches. Not many companies can internally move a project from service, to engineering, to pre-fabrication, to mechanical construction and back to service. The successful completion of this project stands as a testament to the value of collaboration, knowledge-sharing, and exemplary teamwork in delivering exceptional HVAC solutions to our customers.