First Tier-IV data centre in the southern hemisphere

Posted On Thursday, 03 June 2010 02:00 Published by Commercial Property News
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Grinaker-LTA has completed its contract for the construction of a vast new data centre - believed to be the largest in Africa – at Samrand, in Tshwane

Samrand Data CentreThe centre, measuring over 27 000m2 in extent, includes several data halls supported by specialised ancillary services.

It is the first data centre in the Southern Hemisphere to achieve Tier IV design and facility certification from the Uptime Institute in the United States.

Esrom Phaka, contracts director at Grinaker-LTA Building Inland, elaborates: "There are two categories in the very demanding Uptime Tier IV certification - for the design and the facility. The Samrand Data Centre has been awarded both, following a successful inspection by the Uptime Institute. These certifications mean, in the words of the Institute, that 'the data centre's electro-mechanical facility is completely fault-tolerant and concurrently maintainable, and in the event of a catastrophic failure, the centre will operate as normal'. It's a huge achievement," he stresses.

Another project first for Grinaker-LTA has been the simultaneous achievement of practical and works completion. Apart from delayed waterproofing of a few bulk diesel fuel storage bunkers, the project is complete.  "The very high summer rainfall resulted in a high water table so the client has elected to defer this activity to winter when the table is lower,” says Phaka. The bunkers supply day tanks within the plant rooms with top-up diesel so the operation of the centre is unaffected. "The rains also presented challenges to the road works, landscaping and the six large water attenuation ponds, but they were completed on schedule so the storm water system is fully functional."

Intensive commissioning and integration testing of the electro mechanical infrastructure of the facility and its sophisticated building management system took almost three months.  The integrated commissioning entailed tying together all the mechanical, electrical, security, detection and fire suppression installations, and caters for diesel top-up, water ingress, water top-up, security, door activation, access control, lighting control, temperature control and maintenance and servicing, including dial-up functions to certain plant suppliers. The entire data centre can effectively be controlled from the central control room, which provides views and alerts via an array of monitors. The commissioning team worked tirelessly to have the installation integrated and "talking to each component" ahead of the Uptime Tier IV facility inspection, Phaka reports.

"Having gone from ground-breaking to handover of a Tier-IV certified centre in just 21 months is a great achievement and the project team really deserves to be commended. The deadlines were very tight and numerous changes had to be accommodated and challenges had to be overcome. It's been a testing contract, but Grinaker-LTA rose to all of the challenges and is proud to have delivered a very exciting, unique and high quality end product," Phaka concludes.

Last modified on Tuesday, 09 July 2013 23:29

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