Mechanical Plant Upgrade: Karratha

Following a lengthy design and tender period, Airmaster WA have been awarded the HVAC Mechanical plant upgrade at a local shopping centre in Karratha.


Located in the northwest of WA, Karratha is 1500kms from Perth and 200kms south of Port Hedland. The preliminary design and drafting for the upgrade are underway, and the main plant and equipment placed on order.

The works involve demolition and removal from within the main supermarket plant room and includes 3 x existing Trane air handling units, all associated supply and return air ductwork, 3 x smoke spill fans and the removal of the main mechanical switchboard. At the rear of the plant room is the mechanical platform housing the remote Bitzer/Buffalo air-cooled condensers, an older Trane condenser for a now redundant air handler, and the associated compressors.

The project will engage local structural engineers in Karratha to oversee aspects of the design and engineering for the strengthening of the platform that will house the new equipment externally.

The new mechanical equipment consists of a new 550kw heat pump chiller mounted on the external platform, along with all chilled and heating water pipework.

Associated pumps and buffer tanks, a new active harmonic filter, new mechanical switchboard and associated VSDs will all be mounted on an existing concrete slab within the plant room. This plinth currently houses a now redundant, soon to be demolished AHU.

The plant room will also see the installation of 2 x new built-up main air-handlers, delivered in kit form and built up on-site following demolition of the existing plant. All supply and return air ductwork, as well as 3 x smoke spill fans and associated return air/smoke spill plenum will be replaced.

Immediately following the demolition, the installation of the new smoke spill fans will be installed, set up and used for ventilation during the installation project.

Managing delivery expectations with the chiller manufacturer has been testing due to the manufacturing plant being located in the COVID-19 affected country of Italy during a peak time in the crisis.

The chiller will arrive in Fremantle Port by the 1st of September and will be transported to Karratha by the week following. The project installation timeframe includes a shutdown period of worst-case scenario three weeks, with final completion expected by the end of September. This key timeline ensures that the project is finalised before the onslaught of the North West extreme heat and ever-challenging cyclone seasons.

We look forward to offering an insight into the completed project come October.

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