Keeping the lights on at the Pyramids

The Pyramids Centre is one of Portsmouth’s largest entertainment, leisure and event complexes. Located just off Southsea Beach, it has a long history of hosting concerts for some of the world’s biggest names and, every day, more than a thousand people pass through its doors to take advantage of its facilities.

With such a high footfall and capacity, ensuring the continuous safety of the public is essential. With this in mind, when its existing emergency lighting system was reviewed, it was decided that replacing the aging equipment, and related power protection infrastructure was a top priority.

Responsible for the project was Dave Humphreys, Electrical Design Engineer for the council, who explains:

“Keeping the Pyramids Centre’s visitors safe at all times is obviously something we take very seriously. We constantly review our estate to ensure it is compliant with the latest British Standard regulations and that all systems are fit for purpose. In this instance, we saw an opportunity to improve the coverage of the lighting and increase its resilience – ensuring it is up to the task for years to come.”

In a large multifunctional complex like the Pyramids Centre, there are multiple emergency lighting systems, each supporting different areas of the facility. In this instance, Humphreys was looking to replace the equipment that provided lighting around the main swimming pool, including the flumes and wave machine.

“If we were to lose power, through a mains or circuit failure, it may affect one, several or all parts of the centre. Depending on the severity of the outage and the time of day, we might need to instigate an immediate evacuation. Any time water is involved, you need to ensure an evacuation is a seamless process and as easy as possible for staff and patrons alike. That includes emergency lighting that is operational within half a second of a power failure.

“From our inspections, we knew what was already in place and the upgrades we wanted to make, so we set out to identify a number of suppliers with the experience and product portfolio to meet our requirements,” Humphreys continued.

Keeping the Pyramids Centre’s visitors safe at all times is obviously something we take very seriously.

Dave Humphreys
Electrical Design Engineer, Portsmouth City Council

“We chose KUP for a number of reasons; its price was competitive; its delivery and installation timeline was amongst the shortest; and, having worked with them previously, I knew its team would support us in developing the final system design, sizing the inverters, and ensuring our current and future requirements would be met.

Dave Humphreys
Electrical Design Engineer, Portsmouth City Council

Following a competitive process, Kohler Uninterruptible Power (KUP) was chosen as the preferred supplier, having previously demonstrated its capabilities for Portsmouth City Council when it installed a floodlight power protection system at another of the council’s leisure facilities, the Mountbatten Centre.

“We chose KUP for a number of reasons; its price was competitive; its delivery and installation timeline was amongst the shortest; and, having worked with them previously, I knew its team would support us in developing the final system design, sizing the inverters, and ensuring our current and future requirements would be met,” Humphreys added.

Working together, KUP and Humphreys agreed on a fully maintained system that included two PowerWAVE EL100XA emergency lighting units, which feature 230V single phase input and output. The system was specified with 1.25kVA static inverters, and the requisite batteries to support the 1kVA load for three hours. The system also included the capability to switch from a fully maintained or ‘always on’ configuration to a non-maintained, emergency-only set up for specific occasions when reduced illumination is preferred.

Installation of the new system, which was fully managed by KUP’s team, took place just five weeks after the initial contact was made, and the new system was up and running without issue within just a few hours.

“The entire process was handled without any disruption to the centre. We didn’t have to close anything down, so there was no impact on our users. The whole project went off without issue and KUP were fantastic throughout – from supporting us in agreeing the final specification, through the delivery and installation, and afterwards if we had any questions. KUP has established itself as a trusted supplier and I would have no reservation in buying from them again in the future,” Humphreys concluded.

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