Can This System Be Saved?
i2 helps a client recover its AV and networking systems after a fire
When a fire damaged one of their buildings last year, the owners, a regular client of i2, thought their installed audio-visual and networking systems were a total loss.
No wonder. A kitchen area, where the blaze began, was devastated. Next door, in a meeting area, smoke entered an equipment closet and an audiovisual lectern where the majority of the more valuable and sensitive components were installed or stored. The smoke penetrated individual pieces and coated circuit boards with a black film. In such cases, electronic components normally fail quickly if put back into service, the deposits from smoke and soot causing them to overheat. The only good news was that no one was injured.
The building owners called asking for help designing a replacement system, but we wondered how much of it might be saved.
It was a costly system, and it was less than two years old. In addition to the equipment in the lectern, the data closet contained two racks full of high-end AV and IT gear.
Because we had prior fire remediation experience, we were aware of a few companies that specialize in cleaning and refurbishing electronic components after a catastrophe. We suggested the client allow us to look into this type of service, and that we develop criteria and recommendations for specialty cleaning prior to purchasing all new equipment.
We estimated the cost of replacement, including design updates, bid administration, and labor, at about $65,000. We estimated cleaning and refurbishment, on the other hand, at just $5,000.
The client agreed to look into refurbishment. We wrote a scope of work, developed a method of procedure and sent out an RFP. As the bids came in, we helped the client evaluate the cleaning proposals and pricing. When they decided to move forward, we observed the work and, on completion, the testing of the gear.
While all major systems powered up, with no failures, anomalies or unexpected events, the vendor recommended replacing several power strips and power distribution units, just to be sure that an unobserved issue did not damage more expensive components. In addition, one Cisco access point and two cameras, which had been mounted in the ceiling, were found to be unsalvageable, and there was some cabling, cut by the fire department, that had to be replaced.
All-in-all, the cleaning process went very smoothly and saved our client roughly $60,000, or more than 90% of the cost of replacing the damaged components.
And after eight months back in operation, the refurbished system has performed flawlessly. Our client is very pleased.