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Estimate cost to upgrade a School building 400 amp service to higher level?

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    Estimate cost to upgrade a School building 400 amp service to higher level?

    My experience is in individual motors and controls so would like to reach out to folks involved in this kind of work. There is a local school here that needs to upgrade (increase size) the present 400 amp service, mainly to allow air conditioning it. The school board is saying the cost will be well over $ 500,000.00 and must be done by the local POCO. This estimate seems outrageous to me. And it seems the work (from the POCO drop spot outward) might be done by non POCO private companies. If this estimate and 'can only be done by POCO' is way off base, I would like to investigate and correct the local school board.

    #2
    Originally posted by mike_kilroy View Post
    My experience is in individual motors and controls so would like to reach out to folks involved in this kind of work. There is a local school here that needs to upgrade (increase size) the present 400 amp service, mainly to allow air conditioning it. The school board is saying the cost will be well over $ 500,000.00 and must be done by the local POCO. This estimate seems outrageous to me. And it seems the work (from the POCO drop spot outward) might be done by non POCO private companies. If this estimate and 'can only be done by POCO' is way off base, I would like to investigate and correct the local school board.
    That makes no sense at all from my experience. I don’t know why a POCO is or ever would be doing service upgrades.
    The POCO delivers to the “point of delivery”. I’m sure that isn’t to the MDP or whatever you have.
    They already have three phase there I’m sure. Change the XF to a 500 or 750 depending on the new service size, let the electrical contractor come to the XF.

    sounds like the school board wants to finance all the members christmas’s this year...

    if if I can, what state?(state only)

    Comment


      #3
      I dont quite follow what exactly is being said. Indeed anything on the line side of the service point is done by the POCO (or if they subcontract it out, but its their deal), and everything on the load side of the service point POCO doesnt care about, other than getting an inspection approval.

      The first step would be submit loads to the POCO and they will price it out. There is a chance they wont even upgrade anything depending on what equipment they have in place and the demand factors they come up with. Generally, I find take the NEC calc and divide it by 2-2.5 and you get the transformers the POCO installs. POCO install costs vary widely depending on what needs to be done and the details of the POCO's tariff. I did a 200A 277/480 service (all new) last summer and the POCO bill was about 16k. Another one I did (different POCO) was 1200A 277/480 and was about 23K. These are POCO fees only.

      Drop a zero from that 500k figure and you'd be closer to being in the ballpark. Gear is pretty cheap if you are at 1200 amp and below - can go with panelboards. If you have less than 6 switches already, maybe leave what is there untouched and add another service conductors set and service disconnect next to it. Lots of variables of course.
      Ethan Brush - East West Electric. NY, WA. MA

      "You can't generalize"

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        #4
        I can only think if the existing utility infrastructure is already at it's limits, they may be putting the cost burden on the school to upgrade their infrastructure for this added load. Otherwise, I can't see how they could spend $500k on this. Since none of us know the whole story, as a generalization, I'd have to agree with electrofelon, I'd expect to see something around the $50k mark. Possibly.

        Hard to know without details.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Hv&Lv View Post
          sounds like the school board wants to finance all the members christmas’s this year...

          if if I can, what state?(state only)
          Ohio. There indeed is a lot of wrong info being thrown out; the school board is bound and determined to build NEW building and pointing out all the reasons the present one(s) are not worth updating due to cost. Thank you all for confirming my 10x inflated potential cost!

          Comment


            #6
            many POCO's will do the upgrade for free, or at a discount, because of the increased revenues

            $500k is way off base. A pad mount transformer costs $25k, conductors and conduits to the primary maybe another $5k, depends on distance. Handhole at the service riser another $1k.

            no way engineering and installing costs $470k. as you suggest, there is an ulterior motive here. truthfully if i was a resident of said town/city, i would ask to see an engineering study that lays out why a new building is a logical choice and prudent use of taxpayer funds.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by drktmplr12 View Post
              many POCO's will do the upgrade for free, or at a discount, because of the increased revenues

              $500k is way off base. A pad mount transformer costs $25k, conductors and conduits to the primary maybe another $5k, depends on distance. Handhole at the service riser another $1k.

              no way engineering and installing costs $470k. as you suggest, there is an ulterior motive here. truthfully if i was a resident of said town/city, i would ask to see an engineering study that lays out why a new building is a logical choice and prudent use of taxpayer funds.
              Already have the public records request in for the load calculations and study. Considering getting a local electrical contractor who does this kind of upgrade to come do our own study and see each building; he could get the job from it.

              Comment


                #8
                The cost estimate may include a lot of things beyond just a service change. It may be they are throwing a lot of other stuff in there that is related but not really part of a service change. For instance, there may be some ancient or non-compliant or unsafe equipment that needs replacing. I am amazed at how shoddy some government buildings were made. Depending on the age of the existing building and how well maintained the electrical system has been over the years, they may feel the need to replace the entire electrical system.

                It may be that the the existing building is not well suited for A/C or has other issues that make replacing it a better option than reusing it.

                Or it could be that the school board wants a pretty new building for no reason other than they want it.
                Bob

                Comment


                  #9
                  Are you able to see a scope of work for the 500K? It could be that they are including everything to power the new hvac in the 'electrical upgrades' budget, so it could be the service upgrade plus feeders to distribution panels for the future hvac. What is the voltage of the existing and proposed services? Here's one example I am familiar with: It was a large school campus with existing 2000? amp 120/240 center tap delta service. They upgraded to 4000A 277/480Y as part of a major remodel. They had to install several big (500 or 750) 480-120/240 delta transformers to refeed the existing 120/240 feeders coming off the old service.

                  You also need to consider that the 500K budget is not just the electrician's bid. That budget will include things like A&E fees, the district's own overhead for managing the project, a set aside for cost increases that happen between when they estimate it and when they get the funding and accept a bid, and a reserve for change orders. That 500K budget might be for $350K of work.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    And if you're going to add A/C units in each classroom (like the units in each hotel room, but bigger), you'll need to run power to each classroom. Unless the heating units in each classroom handle enough power to provide A/C.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by PaulMmn View Post
                      And if you're going to add A/C units in each classroom (like the units in each hotel room, but bigger), you'll need to run power to each classroom. Unless the heating units in each classroom handle enough power to provide A/C.
                      Idea is to run power to each classroom for a stand alone AC unit. What is the easiest way to do this without dropped ceilings in an old solid building? I assume conduit along baseboard or wall to each 220 outlet? Any code restrictions doing this in a school?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        As most mentioned while there will be utility fees, but it won’t be $500K worth. Don’t know the the DOE’s procedures before it goes to bid, but that’s public money and will be publicly awarded. Just factor in the data logger and self perform or alternatively carry the tech’s quote into your proposal to get the existing load calcs. There’s likely an IMC violation with the fresh air intake requirements but it’s often overlooked for such a poor design as point of use units. Also, yea, just EMT surface mount on interior or similar to get to receptacles is how I’ve seen these “HVAC Improvement” jobs engineered and built
                        Last edited by follybeacher; 10-03-19, 02:24 AM.

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