Planning, testing, measuring, practicing – until everything fits

– The commissioning of a building such as the Zurich Convention Center is of course not done at the push of a button. What is really behind it all is remarkable - it is certainly a matter of life and limb.

In order to operate a building like the Zurich Convention Center, there is not only is a great deal of building and event technology required, but also services such as cleaning and security must be guaranteed. Holger Syhre, Chief Operating Officer of the Zurich Convention Center, is responsible for ensuring that everything is ready for operation at the right time: «It is a big project - and requires a lot of organisation and coordination.»

From Planning to «Go»

The long list of associated components gives an idea of how complex commissioning is. From heating, air conditioning and water to hygiene, cleaning, furnishing, barrier-free access, event technology, fire protection and security: all aspects must not only be brought into operation but also tested and, if necessary, approved before they can be put into operation. Take the fire protection system, for example. In an emergency, guests and staff not only have to be able to leave the building safely, but the building services engineering should also react as automatically as possible: Smoke detection, alarm transmission to the fire brigade, closing of doors and fire flaps. This process is tested with the fire police and approved by them - one of several prerequisites for the official «go». This must be obtained both for moving into the building and then again for its operation.

«We work with great sensitivity»

Holger Syhre, Chief Operating Officer

Comfort – also for employees

What about aspects like heating and indoor climate? «On the one hand, the systems are also tested for their functionality and effectiveness: Do they run as desired and calculated? But we also do comfort tests, for example with the Tonhalle Orchestra», explains Holger Syhre. The musicians will rehearse with the new conditions and assess whether everything was right - lighting, temperature, humidity, room acoustics... «We don't just have guests, but also numerous employees and artists, who must feel equally comfortable.»

History-conscious, sustainable and barrier-free

The combination of historical, existing and completely new building sections represents a particular challenge: «Building and event technology affects all parts of the building - even the historical ones. A lot of tact and sensitivity was applied here.» The latest equipment was used, especially for the event technology. Apart from that, the Zurich Convention Centre is renovating with a view to sustainability and uses existing equipment, provided that it still meets the high standards. And guests and employees with special needs should also be in good hands. Based on various discussions and inspections, comprehensive barrier-free access was ensured. This includes wheelchair accessibility as well as additional signage for visually impaired persons and induction loops for hearing aids.

Still much to do

But these are just a few of the numerous topics that occupy Holger Syhre and his team every day: «I'll go straight to our building services engineering planners to go through the commissioning process in detail and determine who has to be on site for which tests, acceptances and training. There is still a lot to be done».

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