The following three pictures shows example of an electrical panel installed under a water pipe.
Picture 1 – Hose reel pump starter panel
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This picture shows the hose reel pump starter panel, which is an electrical panel inside a Fire Pump Room of a multi-storey building under construction.
This building construction is almost completed and the electrical and mechanical services are undergoing testing and commissioning process.
The hose reel pump starter panel was not in my scope of responsibility. It is a part of the mechanical installation works and therefore it was under the supervision of the resident mechanical engineer.
Usually electrical panels are not installed under water pipes and this practices should never be allowed.
However, sometimes compromises had to be accepted under certain installation conditions.
This case here is inside a fire pump room at the roof an annex building. Outside the pump room was already outdoor and exposed.
As it turned out, there was a weakness in the design of the pump room layout that resulted in a very congested mechanical room.
The pump starter panel in had to be located as shown in the picture.
However, the contractor underestimated the risk of installing an electrical panel under a water piping.
Even when compromises are made, they should be made sparingly and with maximum caution.
Here two water pipes are above the pump panel as shown in Picture 2 below.
Picture 2 – Water pipes above hose reel starter pump panel
The bigger pipe present very little risk of water problem to the panel. There was no mechanical joint or connection near or around the panel that might lead to leaked water traveling to drop onto the electrical panel.
There were welded joints not far from the panel, but I did not think those kind of welded joints present too much risk. When these welded joints really fail, it would not matter much the exact location of the electrical panel because the water would get to it.
However, the smaller pipe presents a real problem. It was also directly above the starter panel and there were two mechanical joints about three meters away from the panel.
As it turned out, when I inspected the panel one of the mechanical connections was already giving away occasional drips of water. See Picture 3 below.
Picture 3 – Mechanical connections, one already started leaking
Luckily, the leaked one was on the opposite side of the hose reel starter panel. So the there was no damage to the panel yet.
However, who can guarantee the other mechanical joint would not leak?
Therefore, the starter panel location should be adjusted.
Instruction has actually been given and I will check again on the adjusted position of the hose reel pump starter panel.
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