Construction Today - January 2017 - 52
Work began on the data center site in early
2015 and the project team is currently delivering the next phase of expansion. Through
it all, the project team has maintained a
strong safety record and has gone nearly
500 days without injuries. Mortenson has
implemented its Zero Injury program for
more than 20 years, Stapleton says.
As part of this program, "Everyone is
empowered and obligated to stop work if
they see an unsafe act," he says. "All the
contractors and trade partners on site have
been brought into the safety program, as
have our customers."
Not only has Duncan spoken at site safety
meetings, but so has QTS Chairman and
CEO Chad Williams. "It's a cultural thing,"
Stapleton says. "Caring about our people,
planning the work and leveraging technology to improve outcomes all contribute
towards a successful safety program. You
have to make it personal."
The team is using green methods to build
the data center. "We are seeking LEED certification for the facility," ESD Vice President
Michael Mar reports. "We implemented
sustainable strategies and specified efficient
equipment to obtain a low power usage
effectiveness (PUE), which is an energy ratio
of total power consumed in your facility
compared to total IT computing power."
Sustainable strategies included recycling
as many materials as the project team
can from the original building, including
air-handling units, copper wiring, steel
pipes and mechanical ductwork. The team
also has integrated reclaimed wood from
another building for paneling, used lowVOC materials and replaced the plant's
ballast roof with a white reflective roof.
The lighting system in the data hall portion of the building also reflects this goal.
"Lights can be dimmed to lower light levels
or shutoff automatically in areas currently
not occupied," Mar describes.
The center's cooling system will take advantage of the Chicago weather, which can
provide free cooling for a majority of the
year. The heat coming off of the computers
is drawn through spinning heat recovery
wheels, which transfer the heat to the colder outdoor air. Free cooling is achieved even
when outdoor temperatures are about 80F.
The energy use of the heat wheel
systems is less than traditional chiller or
PHOTO CREDIT: ©QTS, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Commercial | MORTENSON CONSTRUCTION - QTS DATA CENTER
"It allowed us to stay on schedule without
being potentially slowed down because
someone wasn't able to visualize what was
happening," Stapleton says.
Duncan agrees. "QTS is a global company,
so our most important resource - our people - are spread out," he says, noting that
the company has embraced the use of BIM.
"It's almost been a prerequisite of moving
forward on site."
computer room AC unit systems, and the
use of water for cooling purposes, which is
becoming increasingly scarce and expensive, is not required.
"It also adds a very scalable construction
to the data hall," Mar adds. "For example, the
initial installation can be minimal to save
cost. As the building is occupied and the
load grows, the cooling units and infrastructure can be added in small increments, and
only as needed."
Methods to Lean On
The project team is utilizing lean manufacturing techniques on the data center
project. In addition to virtual design and
construction processes, the builders use
project management methods that promote
collaboration over micromanagement.
The companies also have used pre-fabrication to improve quality and safety. "We definitely try to leverage prefabrication on the
electrical side whenever possible. Not only
does it improve the safety of our workers,
but it is more cost effective for QTS," Martinez
says, noting that Continental has used this
strategy throughout the data center.
O'Connor adds that Hill prefabricated its
ductwork, which is sent to the site in assemblies. "We try to manufacture pieces as large
as possible," she says, noting that the steel
components used for data hall ductwork
supports were fabricated in the company's
own local facility and sent to the site to facilitate a safe and efficient installation.
Setting the Standard
Mortenson Construction wants
this project to help QTS exceed
the expectations of its customers.
CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM JANUARY 2017
Mortenson and the other project team
members have learned lessons on the data
center that they will be able to apply to
other projects, including the development
of project goals. "These six items were developed as a team," Stapleton recalls, noting
that the companies sought to go beyond the
"We wanted to go deeper than being on
time and on budget," he says, noting that
these goals not only included "safety and
operational optimization," but also to "be
flexible and nimble," particularly when it
came to meeting QTS' schedules.
"This isn't just a phased development,"
Stapleton says. "This is dependent on QTS'