Plant & Works Engineering
Planning for the worst
Published:  03 March, 2016

Russ Baker, UK sales director of the hire division at ICS Cool Energy, outlines why a business continuity plan is so important and the basics of putting one in place.

Planning for the worst can seem like a daunting task but understanding how your business will cope in a disaster is incredibly important.

While the UK may offer a fairly temperate environment, we are not averse to severe weather incidents such as flooding or, on occasion snowstorms. Whilst the weather may be the first thing that springs to mind in terms of crisis management, other incidents such as power outages or even system breakdowns should be of equal concern.

Putting a business continuity plan in place should be a business necessity and, doesn’t have to be taxing if you follow some simple steps:

1. Conduct a site and operations audit

Understanding where the risks lie makes it much easier to find a Plan B. This covers all of your site operations and not just what you deem the big stuff. HVAC and process temperature control are the perfect example of this: essential components within any commercial and industrial environment but not always top of the agenda.

2. Keep a record

Once you have completed the site audit/assessment, make sure all the information is recorded, alongside any power or utility requirements. Should a crisis occur, information at your fingertips is key to ensuring business and operational downtime is kept to a minimum.

3. Putting a Plan B into place

With a site assessment complete, it is then possible to agree on what contingency equipment is required with your supplier as well as an activation plan. Remember to check whether your supplier can activate your plan 24/7 – there’s no point having a plan in place if they can only be contacted Monday to Friday between 9am and 5:30pm.

4. Carry out any remedial works

All HVAC and process equipment requires electrical and mechanical connections, but access can be an issue when you need a replacement, quickly. Remedial works can include simple solutions such as new pipework being installed or the installation of a new power connection and this is something that can be easily organised through your service provider.

5. Consider access

In the event of a crisis or system failure, it’s important to consider site access. If there is a requirement for a large chiller unit for example, it will need to be delivered by a large truck and therefore access to the site must be a consideration. Also make note of where the kit will be located and be sure to identify a designated slot in the car park for it. Ideally this will be close to the building and the access points already identified during the remedial works.

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