West Wave closure information and updates
Last updated 9 December 2021
Temporary Closure of West Wave Aquatic Facilities
Auckland Council Community Facilities (Aquatics team) Project Managers had originally planned to close the aquatic facilities at West Wave for two days and nights between 15 and 16 September 2021 to undertake work on the Main Switchboard and the electrical infrastructure that supplies it.
The work comprised two elements:
- An external element - which Vector is responsible for (via a sub-contractor).
- An internal element - that Council is responsible for (via 3 separate contractors, with focus on 3 elements).
The tasks to be undertaken were:
- Remove the old High Voltage switch at the existing transformer
- Install a new transformer and switch for the Zeal / Community Waitakere building
- Upgrade electrical components within West Wave’s Main Switchboard
- Install a new Low Voltage frame at the existing transformer
- Replace the main electrical supply cable from the existing transformer to the Main Switchboard
Tasks planned to follow on from the Main Switchboard upgrade were:
- Install a new splitter board and low voltage cables from the new transformer to the Zeal / Community Waitakere building. Note: this will necessitate the closure of Zeal and Community Waitakere.
- Supply and install electrical cable from the Main Switchboard to the planned locations for the Boiler 1 & 2 and Boiler 3 & 4 energy efficient Heat Pumps.
This work is critical to the ongoing operation of West Wave and to prevent further unplanned closures. More specifically, the work is planned to:
- Mitigate the risk of electrical overloading, and therefore the risk of fire from overloading of Vector’s transformer, as was experienced after the planned investigative shut down on 26 January 2021, which caused the whole site to close for several days on two occasions.
- Mitigate the risk of electrical overloading created by the recent re-tenanting of the first-floor offices of the two-story building at the front of 20 Alderman Drive by Community Waitakere, which has now increased the electrical load on the existing transformer.
- Enable the power supply to DB-3 to be increased, to accommodate the new Sauna and Steam Rooms in the leisure pool hall, which is currently nearing construction completion and can not open until enabled
- Futureproof the facility for the planned installation of energy-efficient Heat Pumps in 2022.
However, as the result of the Covid-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown on 17 August, and the restrictions that have been imposed since, under Alert Levels 4, 3, 3.1, and 3.2, this work was delayed.
Why hasn’t Council completed this work during the lockdown?
During Alert Level 4 (18 Aug 2021 - 21 Sep 2021), only essential works were permitted, but Council Project Managers were able to arrange for Vector (Electrix) to complete work, to remove the old switch and install the new transformer and switch, to supply the building that houses Zeal Education Trust and Community Waitakere.
During Alert Level 3, 3.1 and 3.2 (22 Sep 2021 - 2 Dec 2021) Council Project Managers have been able to complete work that can be undertaken within the Covid-19 AL3 guidelines, which require teams to work in bubbles and maintain social distancing (minimum 1m), as well as the use of masks, sanitising, recording, and separate amenities.
During this time, we have been able to arrange for contractors to complete work to:
- Install low voltage cables from the new transformer to the Zeal / Community Waitakere building.
- expose existing cables and earth at the existing transformer.
- run out cables for the planned Heat Pumps between the Main Switchboard and Boiler 1 & 2 plantroom, and the old Boiler 3 plantroom.
- test generator changeover panel.
It should be noted also that since Level 3 started to date, significant other maintenance and capital work has been completed, including:
- Leisure pool shut down annual planned preventative maintenance works
- completion of Sauna and Steam Rooms
- Wave Pool machine renewal
- gas line inspection
- completion of hydro slide tower renewals
- completion of courtyard access capital works
- completion of re-designed chemical storage room
- various one-off maintenance works – including change room seating renewal, painting, LED lighting renewal, pool water features renewal.
However, despite the desire and intent to do so, it has not been possible to complete work to the Main Switchboard upgrade due to the small size of the room in which this equipment is located, protocols adopted by some contractors that prevent them working on client sites except under Level 2/Red Traffic Light, supply restrictions during Level 4, manufacturing lead-times during Level 3, contractor availability and Covid-19 health and safety constraints.
Due to the backlog of work brought about by the AL4 lockdown, Vector (Electrix) were only able to commit to two dates in 2021 of 25 – 26 November and 16 – 17 December. Missing these dates would mean that the work would be delayed by several months and need to be deferred until some point in 2022 – which would mean that the facility would be at risk of electrical overloading/fire and that the Sauna and Steam Rooms would be unable to operate/open.
Due to the unavailability of other contractors availability to meet the 25 – 26 November date, it was proposed, to make the best use of Electrix’s available timeslots, that we complete the installation of the Splitter board to the Zeal / Community Waitakere building in November/December, followed by the work to West Wave in December.
The dates of 16 – 17 December were, by default, the only option available to complete the Main Switchboard upgrade this year.
However, with the government’s Covid-19 framework in effect at this time, and Auckland under the Red Traffic Light phase, Covid-19 protocols still need to be adhered to.
How long will the work take?
With the Covid-19 protocol and contractor availability constraints imposed upon the project, the original plan to complete this work over two days has proven to be infeasible.
Detailed planning has also revealed that the original plan, for a two-day shutdown, was optimistic and the work would have likely run overtime, particularly if any risks, such as component availability or issues arose in testing / commissioning, as occurred when the new transformer was livened in September.
The detailed planning indicates that the Main Switchboard upgrade will require a shutdown of the electrical supply to the aquatics side of West Wave for up to five days so that the Main switchboard can be upgraded, and electrical connections can be completed.
The programme has been lengthened mainly due to the addition of two days that contractors require to complete the switchboard component installation in isolation (to comply with anticipated Covid-19 protocols). This work had previously been envisaged being undertaken concurrently with the upgrade of the main electrical cables.
To align with Vector (Electrix) availability on 16 – 17 December, whose work needs to be undertaken at the end of the programme, and available dates that other contractors have committed to, of 14 – 15 December, the planned shutdown dates of the aquatic facilities are 13 to 17 December 2021.
Can contractors work over 24 hours to reduce the downtime or do over Christmas/New Year?
Key sub-contractors do not have staff resource capacity to work 24-hour shifts and other staff we have in the team cannot complete their work. They must also have a registered electrician (our site manager) present to supervise their work.
These key staff cannot work 24 hours/day and working at night, under pressure, adds to the safety risk of the workers, and also adds cost to the project.
As the site would be without power, temporary generators would also need to be run overnight to provide lighting, which would potentially cause noise complaints. We cannot utilise the existing generator on-site as this supplies power to the facility via the Main Switchboard – which we will be working on.
Although explored, undertaking the work over Christmas/New year break is not an option; principally, but not only, because Vector (Electrix) availability is only 16 – 17 December.
Will all of West Wave be closed during the shutdown?
We will, unfortunately, have to close the West Wave Pool & Leisure Centre’s aquatic facilities, upper fitness centre/group fitness room, and reception/cafe for up to five days to complete the work as this work is to the main switchboard, which we are unable to bypass to supply via a generator.
However, the dry side of West Wave (i.e., Lower Fitness Centre, Recreation Centre, Physio, Functional Fitness Studio, Meeting Rooms, Plunkett), excluding the foyer/reception and upper fitness centre, is expected to remain available for use, with a few access modifications, as we will provide a temporary generator that can supply electricity to these areas, via the Recreation Centre switchboard’s changeover panel, and the downstream tenancies (Bowling / Croquet Club; Creche).
We realise that after the recent Lockdown, a further closure will be frustrating for customers and the community but attending to this work now, while the facilities are only expected to be in partial use under the new traffic light system, operating at a reduced capacity, will avoid the need to shut down these services at another time in the New Year when the full provision of services will have resumed.
Undertaking the works now will also enable us to:
- upgrade the electrical supply to the distribution board that will supply power to the newly renewed Sauna and Steam Rooms, without which these facilities will not be able to be operated.
- mitigate the risk of future electrical outages at this facility, or fire, due to overloading of components that are at end of life or not rated for the maximum electrical demand, particularly over summer when the ventilation plant is running at full load to keep the spaces cool.