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Mission Critical FAQ

What is a data center?

In the most simple terms, a data center is the “brain of the internet.” These facilities store massive amounts of data and are able to deliver the information to a global customer base within seconds. An effective data center is highly reliable, secure, and large enough to serve customers who outsource their storage needs.

What are the differences between a data center build and any other project?

  • Confidentiality in perpetuity, including but not limited to: No usage of the company name, photos, drawings, proprietary design information, etc.)
  • QA/QC and commissioning process are the forefront of construction. Testing, verifying, and documenting equipment are critical to the maintainence of the project and facility.
  • Extremely aggressive schedules. Most timelines require planning on working with a large portion of traveling workforce from around the country. Local labor is not able to support these fully, so nationwide support is required.
  • Generally overtime is required for a majority of the project. Teams are rarely just working 40 hours / week.
  • Security requirements and mandatory drug testing. Background checks, pre-employment drug screening, security badges are required to enter a project site. It can be very strict on who can access the project site.

What is the role of a mechanical contractor in the construction of a data center?

With thousands of servers running simultaneously, these facilities generate an incredible amount of heat. A mechanical contractor's role is to properly install and reject the heat load by keeping appropriate temperatures as designed by the owner and engineering team. There are several different methods to accomplish this task. The owner works alongside a team of engineers to design the system for that particular data center, and the mechanical contractor's job is to deliver the end product. The project can also see positive results by employing in-house engineers, as they can help guide decision-making should the owner need assistance.

How does a data center affect the local community?

When a data center comes into the surrounding community, the impact is both immediate and lasting. Right off the bat, the local labor resources become high in demand, adding to the buzz and excitement around town. Data center projects often require over-time hours to deliver projects on time. This attracts talent from around the region. Local businesses will receive support from the traveling labor through lodging, dining, entertainment, and countless other sources. Looking down the road, the owners of the data centers are more likely to re-invest in the area with office buildings for their core business. It’s exciting to watch local businesses compete with a “Silicon Valley” inspired building model. In-house dining, amenities, and flexibility are characteristics that have carried to regions across the country. Most data centers also require a large workforce to keep them running, with appealing high-salaried roles. There are also large tax payments that benefit the local schools, charities and community.

How can a company without mission critical experience get involved in a new build?

If you are a construction company or contractor who is looking to get involved in the mission critical industry, one of the best ways is to get associated with your local data center organizations. The biggest factor in adjusting to this style of build is properly growing your resources. Data center projects require ample management and labor forces. These projects are available for all qualified contractors to bid.