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Data centre construction oversight could be costly
Tue, 13th Jun 2023

Data centre operators are being warned about a costly oversight that could lead to downtime and costly remedial construction work, according to a new sector report.

Concern is being raised around incorrectly designed and installed fluing for backup generators leading to overheating and system failure during grid outages. Critical infrastructure malfunction related downtime may not only lead to steep penalties for data centre operators, but also reputational damage for the construction and design teams involved.

With research from the Mediterranean Center of Social and Educational Research (MSCER) claiming around 30% of all data centre construction is remedial work, incorrect design and installation of building services is a disruptive and costly issue that could be avoided.

To support the industry with best practice for flue specification and installation in data centre design and construction, leading chimney and flue manufacturer Schiedel has detailed its recommended ‘Critical Path’ process in its new report the report Flue First.

Schiedel is a part of Standard Industries, a privately-held global industrial company operating in more than 80 countries.

Over the years, Schiedel has supported hundreds of customers when it comes to installing commercial chimney systems in data centres – particularly large scale, complex projects.

"What we have found is that issues encountered on these projects are often due to the lack of involvement from experts earlier on in the planning process," the company says.

"Also, quite often, contractors and project managers are not 100% certain who is responsible for involving third parties to cover the commercial chimney system element," it says. 

According to Schiedel, the Flue First report aims to highlight where data centre projects can go wrong and the vast costs associated by not seeking industry expertise from the very beginning.

"This paper aims to address the chimney blind spot in the industry by promoting a 'flue first' mindset, using insights from Scheidel's team of experts," says Dean Moffatt, Technical Sector Expert at Schiedel.

"It discusses the various factors that make correct specification crucial, outlines key considerations for contractors and architects, and provides a better understanding of what a successful installation entails.”

As Savill's research cites, a need for construction of data centres to more than double by 2025, ensuring all critical infrastructure is installed correctly first time, is essential. With pressure on operators to deliver capacity to meet growing demand, risking the financial penalties and reputational damage that remedial works could pose is not an option.

“At Schiedel, we are committed to providing excellent assistance to those who are part of the data centre development process, especially during the critical construction phases," says Moffatt.

"Our goal is to set a standard for the use of flues in data centres, which is crucial as the industry continues to expand.”