General Services Administration, Kluczynski Federal Building

Refurbishing existing switchgear minimized downtime and saved space at this downtown Chicago federal office building.

Exterior of John G. Kluczynski Federal Building, Chicago.

The Objective

The John C. Kluczynski (JCK) Federal Building is part of the Federal Center Plaza complex located in Chicago’s downtown Loop area. Completed in 1974, this historic Mies van der Rohe designed, 45-story, 1,428,620-square-foot structure houses 23 federal agencies, including two U.S. Senators’ offices, the Department of Labor, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. General Services Administration, Internal Revenue Service, and Office of Personnel Management, among other tenants.

This project was undertaken by the GSA to upgrade the seven existing service entrance metal-clad switchgear: equipment that was, for the most part, original to the building. The original equipment was experiencing multiple failures and was in need of upgrades.

The Response

The project team decided to refurbish the existing switchgear rather than completely replace it, minimizing downtime and saving building space. The switchgear was upgraded with multiple new safety and reliability features, including:

  • Complete breaker refurbishment.
  • Digital adjustable L,S,I trip units.
  • Ground fault protection.
  • Power metering.
  • Surge protection devices.
  • Arc energy reduction maintenance switches.
  • Arc flash optical relay system.
  • Time delay electrical operators.
  • Egress hardware upgrades.
  • Complete building coordination, arc flash, and short circuit study.

GBA developed bidding documents, handled bid review, devised a temporary power design to maintain critical systems, and provided construction administration and post-construction contract services. To minimize inconvenience to tenants, equipment upgrades took place over five weekends during a seven-month period.

The Electric Association of Chicagoland, Consulting Electrical Engineers Division, honored the project with its Charles Steinmetz Award for Technical Merit.

Refurbishing rather than replacing minimized downtime and saved space

Numerous new safety and reliability features

Complete building coordination, arc flash, and short circuit study

Phased upgrades to avoid disrupting tenant operations

Electric Association of Chicagoland Steinmetz Award for Technical Merit

Switchgear equipment in an equipment room.
Switchgear in a mechanical room.