SOS call for a main panel:
When fate strikes

Case cardo Brussels

<p>SOS call for a main panel:<br />
When fate strikes</p>

Sheraton is now Cardo Brussels. The hotel on Place Rogier has reopened under its new name after a complete renovation. Our assignment was to design and build the distribution panels. But a fierce fire meant that the scope of the project would be far greater.

The Sheraton in Brussels closed its doors at the end of 2016. Belgium’s largest hotel then stood empty for a few years, until the property was acquired by a new consortium in early 2022. They invested €100 million with a view to returning what was the Sheraton to its former glory. And with the new start came a new name: Cardo.

Business Development Manager Stefan Blockx: “Sotrelco installed the electricity, sanitary and HVAC boards. They then engaged us to design and build the distribution panels. There were to be fifteen panels in total, which would distribute the power to more than 500 rooms and other areas, such as the kitchen.”

Fire and water

Schneider was chosen, partly because the switchgear equipment in the main panel had been supplied by them. The electrical installation’s beating heart was located in the cellar and was still in good condition.
This meant it wasn’t included in the scope of our assignment – until a fire in one of the technical ducts determined otherwise.

The flames swept from the ground floor up to the first and second floors. The fire-extinguishing systems struggled to cope, resulting in significant damage. Although the fire didn’t reach the cellar, it didn’t escape damage, as the water from the fire-extinguishing system found its way down and into the main panel. “The panel was severely damaged. The cabinet itself was a few centimetres underwater, and water had seeped in
everywhere. All of the damage had to be repaired quickly to avoid the planning being jeopardised.” angle-right

Reanimation in two stages

The manufacturer was commissioned in the first instance. “A team from Schneider carried out the initial, urgent inspections and approvals, before placing it all under voltage again. They then passed the follow-up on to us.”

Enter Cirqui, our service and maintenance department within the P&V Group. Project Manager Claudio Liberato: “We went straight to the site to get a better picture of the situation. That wasn’t easy, as the panel was under tension. This meant we couldn’t check what it was like under the shields, which made a 100% accurate estimate impossible.” The customers chose to have the main panel repaired. We were asked to update it where necessary and reuse any useful parts. “Once the power supply was turned off, it became apparent during the works that the damage was worse than we thought. But we still resolved everything within the original deadline.”

Inspect, repair and approve

“We took a zonal approach: inspect, repair and approve. Once the first zone had been repaired, we connected all critical components, such as lifts and stairlifts, so other works could continue throughout the hotel. We then turned the power off to the next zone”, says Claudio. “We went drawer by drawer, working out what could be reused and what had to be replaced. Some ready-made cables and clamps, for example,
were still okay.”

“We managed to achieve the impossible”, concludes Stefan. “We had just five months from the study to the deadline. That’s usually the delivery time for the components, so we worked really hard to complete the entire job. Particularly as we had to coordinate our work with the other contractors on site.”


Design and assembly of the distribution panels

Design, construction and mechanical and electrical connection of 15 Schneider Electric distribution panels.

Repair works to main panel

  • Cleaning of components
  • Replacement of 56 switches
    • 45 NSX circuit breakers
    • 11 MasterPacts
  • Replacement of copper
  • Painting of cabinets



  • Location: Place Rogier, Brussels
  • Surface area: 53,000m²
  • Capacity: 523 rooms
  • A 2,500m² restaurant, swimming pool, spa and more
  • Year of construction: 1972