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Technology Consultants Are Becoming Involved in Hyperscale Data Center Projects Earlier Than Ever

Editorial Team

Shaun Barnes CNIDP, CDCDP, CTPM and Tim Kuhlman PE, RCDD, CDT contributed to this article.

Technology systems are the backbone of an entire hyperscale data center—not just the core network, but the telecom systems that support the building’s mechanical and electrical systems, the security systems that protect the facility, and the distributed antenna systems (DAS) that ensure both cell phones and emergency responder radio coverage systems (ERRCS) can operate within the facility. 

Hyperscale data center Owners are involving technology consultants earlier than ever in their projects, recognizing the benefits this brings. In this article, we will highlight two major areas in which Owners are benefitting from the involvement of technology consultants in the early phases of the project.

Selecting the Best Site

Owners face a major challenge in locating suitable land, assessing it, and procuring it at a good price before the competition does. By involving technology consultants in site selection, Owners can rapidly determine whether a site meets their needs. Technology consultants will conduct a site due diligence study assessing security vulnerabilities and technology limitations. These studies are relatively inexpensive and precede design studies and ordinary site investigations.

Site due diligence studies address factors including the following:

  • Economic stability and crime level of surrounding areas;
  • Proximity of emergency services;
  • Potential water impacts to the facility;
  • Surrounding road conditions and potential vehicular threats;
  • Site accessibility via public transportation or foot;
  • Adjacent property zoning and/or establishments;
  • Number of diverse/redundant service provider entrance points;
  • Connection types and routes to other offsite data centers;
  • Duct bank requirements within the site;
  • Availability and proximity of service provider infrastructure;
  • Proposed offsite/regional fiber routing to the site;
  • Service provider site entrance points;
  • Any required easements or line extensions to bring telecom services to the site;
  • Authority having jurisdiction requirements for telecom connectivity;
  • Risk items related to the telecom systems.

Working closely with the Owner teams, technology consultants can rapidly determine whether the site is suitable. If so, they can create a master plan addressing the identified technology limitations and security vulnerabilities to provide a strong base for design. Security risks are best managed at project inception before programmatic planning has reached a stage where risk avoidance and mitigation measures are no longer available. Site due diligence studies can identify issues that must be addressed early in project planning and design when changes can be made at minimal cost.

Avoiding Re-Work

Hyperscale data center projects benefit from technology consultants coordinating with civil, structural, and architectural (CSA) designers from their inception. Ensuring early understanding of the technology requirements helps to shape civil masterplanning, architectural space planning, and structural requirements. With early engagement, the risk to re-working architectural spaces and civil constraints is greatly reduced.

Projects also benefit from early and extensive coordination between technology consultants and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineers. This coordination ensures that MEP engineers allocate the necessary space and utilities for technology systems and in turn receive detailed power requirements from technology consultants. Electrical and mechanical systems increasingly depend on the technology infrastructure for support. Building management systems, facility management control systems, and power monitoring typically rely on the telecom infrastructure. The two disciplines work together closely to coordinate the phased installation of equipment so the mechanical systems do not cycle excessively and damage the equipment.

TEECOM Can Help

​​Our clients depend on TEECOM to help them deliver highly complex projects at lightning speed and within budget. We evaluate sites for security and infrastructure requirements, work with the civil and architectural teams to detail security requirements for entire campuses, design the telecom pathways and infrastructure cabling for the OSP and ISP, ensure redundant paths for all carriers, make sure network designs are engineered properly for multiple networks, and include DAS and ERRCS in the data center design.

TEECOM helps clients develop or maintain a programmatic approach that improves consistency and incorporates lessons learned. We localize designs to regional requirements and nuances. Our construction documents cater to the installer by providing unique simplified details and coordination memos and matrices, reducing ambiguity onsite and ultimately RFIs and change orders.

If you would like to engage in a conversation with our experts to see how TEECOM would approach delivering your capital projects on time, under budget, and to your exact design requirements and expectations, please use the Contact TEECOM form at the bottom of the page.

Editorial Team
Editorial Team, TEECOM | Engage

TEECOM | Engage's Editorial Team brings you the latest content and TEEm news. It’s our goal to provide actionable intelligence and engaging insight into integrated technology in the built environment. We welcome your feedback and ideas.