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Academic Integrated MEP Solutions

UMass Amherst

Central Heating Plant (CHP)

The University of Massachusetts/Amherst  Central Heating Plant (CHP) supplies nearly all of the campus’ electric and steam demand, representing over 200 buildings and nearly 10,000,000 sf.  The facility consists of the steam and electrical cogeneration plant, a tank farm and liquid natural gas (LNG) fill station.


Fitzemeyer & Tocci provided an assessment of the University’s Central Heating Plant’s existing security system which consisted of gate access control, perimeter fence detection, closed circuit television (CCTV), card access, intrusion detection and intercom communication.  The assessment consisted of reviewing the latest federal, state and University of Massachusetts codes and standards for power plants and providing a Risk Management Plan (RMP) to mitigate risk at the plant and ensure that the facility was in compliance with the latest standards and regulations, specifically in relation to the National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP).


Although the facility did have design drawings available, they did not have a complete set of as-built drawings.  The plans had been updated since the original plant construction in 2008 but the updates did not include all security upgrades.  The existing card access system software license was due to expire and the new license would have only been a short-term solution, as well as costly, since the system would be obsolete in a year  and require replacement.  Since the construction would occur after the license expired, it was required that power be maintained to the existing system throughout construction; otherwise, the existing software would be lost and the doors would not be compatible with the existing card access system.


Working closely with the facility staff, installing contractor (Siemens) and other University departments, including the University Police Department, Campus Door Access department and Campus IT; Fitzemeyer & Tocci was able to identify the issues during workshops. Through the process of developing a Risk Management Plan, Fitzemeyer & Tocci, along with facility staff, was able to determine the plant’s most critical vulnerabilities including the existing card access system and the operation of the doors and gates. The replacement of the card readers and overall system was split into 3 phases, ensuring the most critical doors and access points be replaced first.

This phased approach permitted the facility to replace the existing card access system without requiring a complete shutdown of the existing card access system.

Contributing to the success of this project was the early definition of deliverable quality criteria, carefully planned implementation and comprehensive, long-term and detailed planning.  In addition, each person involved in the project had an interest in the overall objective and was accountable for their own performance in relation to the team’s performance as a whole.


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