Does Modular Data Centre Construction really save time?

Does Modular Data Centre Construction really save time?

Posted by Helen Canny on Aug 18, 2020 1:34:47 PM

The Modular Data Centre construction market was valued at $17.67bn in 2019 and is set to reach a value of $73.53bn by 2025. Although the expected growth is significant, it comes as no surprise as data consumption continues to surge, calling for an increased ability to efficiently scale up data centre capacity.

We often hear modular data centre construction being referred to as a ‘time saving solution’ but the question remains, how and where are these time efficiencies achieved? And more importantly, how much time is actually saved?

Achieving reduced lead times

Prefabricated Power modules, as the name suggests, are manufactured, tested and full integrated off-site before being shipped to site as complete power modules ready for installation. This approach to data centre construction creates many project benefits, but we are going to focus on the time savings.

Firstly, as all manufacturing is completed off-site, work permits are not required, which can save a lot of admin work and reduces the chance of any delays to construction. Secondly, the site build can take place simultaneously to the infrastructure build, radically reducing the overall project duration. Upon completion of site construction, fully built, tested, and integrated power modules can be installed and commissioned without the need for further testing or quality checks. As a result, minimal on-site time is required.

Modular designs are a repeatable solution, making it easier to upscale power capacity quickly in line with demand.

E+I Engineering Worked Example – Traditional Vs Modular Time Savings

To demonstrate the true scale of the time savings that modular data centre construction can provide, we have broken down the time required to complete installation and testing of comparable projects using traditional vs modular construction.

Screenshot 2020-08-17 at 15.50.56

Summary

  • 75% reduction on on-site program from delivery to ‘Yellow Tag’ milestone
  • 75% reduction in on site assembly and testing
  • 84% reduction in on site man hours during installation phase
  • 77% reduction in lifting operations

Impact of reduced lead times

As the saying goes ‘time is money’ and when it comes to data centre design and build, a significant financial investment is required for the infrastructure alone, never mind adding in the labour costs.

Reduction of the on-site testing and installation programmes for a modular data centre build significantly reduces labour costs as work is completed within the factory-controlled environment without the need for on-site duplication. Additionally, travel and accommodation costs for on-site workers can be significantly high depending on the location, with a modular data centre build there will be limited travel costs passed on to the client.

Ultimately, the speed of power deployment achieved through modular construction, reduces the capital expenditure required, enabling data centres to increase power capacity in a time and cost efficient manner.


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