Building a Data Center in 107 Days

The data center walls were poured in about a week, and the 72 tilt-up panels were erected in fewer than three days. (Photo by Gregg Mastorakos)
Crews working around the clock, seven days a week, helped with on-time project completion. (Photo by Gregg Mastorakos)
CyrusOne has been known in the industry as setting the bar for the fastest deployment and the quickest schedules for data center delivery of anyone in our market. (Photo by Gregg Mastorakos)
Permitting delays squeezed the already tight project window to three and a half months. (Photo by Gregg Mastorakos)
Team Players

CUSTOMER: CyrusOne specializes in highly reliable enterprise-class, carrier-neutral data center properties. The company provides mission-critical data center facilities that protect and ensure the continued operation of IT infrastructure for more than 655 customers.

ARCHITECT: Corgan Assoicates

CHALLENGES:In addition to the schedule, numerous other challenges had to be overcome:

  • Permit delays. The utilities permit came in well after the already delayed grading, drainage and foundation permits. DPR drew on its expertise to revise the work sequence and keep moving
  • Extensive RFIs. Over the course of approximately 60 days, DPR responded to and managed more than 240 requests for information.
  • Equipment Retrofits. Modifications had to be made to owner-supplied equipment pulled from other projects to help meet the super fast-track schedule.
  • Weather. Summer temperatures reaching 115 degrees presented a special challenge for the 200-plus workers on site. DPR’s strong emphasis on an injury-free environment and safety first, however, resulted in an excellent safety record with no major incidents. The project also overcame delays due to a 100-year rainstorm that occurred during erection of the building shell.

DPR completes lightning-fast construction and commissioning of 120,000-sq.-ft. data center shell and 30,000-sq.-ft. data hall for CyrusOne in Arizona

In the data center market, ever-faster project schedules help market-sensitive owners see a return on their capital dollars more quickly as their mission critical facilities go online.

To date, no DPR project has outpaced the recent 107-day, ground-up construction and commissioning of a 120,000-sq.-ft. shell and 30,000-sq.-ft. data hall build-out for CyrusOne in Chandler, AZ.

Constructed in the Continuum Business and Technology Park, the Building 4 project initially had a seven-and-a-half-month schedule. That shrank to five and a half months to meet the move-in needs of the future tenant. Permitting delays then further squeezed the project window to three and a half months, with groundbreaking on July 1 and fully commissioned turnover on October 15, 2014.

With precise planning, DPR and a team of top-notch subcontractors—including Suntec Concrete, AmFab Steel, Bel-Aire Mechanical and DP Electric, among others—stepped up to meet the challenge. Crews worked around the clock in two 12-hour shifts, seven days a week to complete the job on time.

“We had the perfect combination of the general contractor, all the right subcontractors and all the right vendors and partners to be able to pull this thing off,” commented Laramie Dorris, CyrusOne’s Director - Data Center Design & Construction. “Overall I would give the team a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of their overall can-do attitude and performance on this project.”

DPR’s Stevan Mrksich said the team knew from the outset that the schedule would be “very, very challenging,” but everyone dug in to meet the intense demands of the job. “There were no excuses. Everyone just put their time in.”
Mrksich credits the commitment of the entire team, but particularly, the efforts of master scheduler and senior superintendent Lee Gagne and project superintendents for their extensive on-site coordination efforts. “In large part the success of the schedule was due to their communication and their ability to manage the subcontractors in the field,” he said.

Rapid response by all team members was essential, including a “roughly 12-hour turnaround time on shop drawings and submittal reviews,” according to Dorris.

Many project components went up in record time. The building walls, for example, were poured in about a week, and the 72 tilt-up panel walls were erected in fewer than three days. Mandatory “daily huddle” meetings between DPR and all subcontractors facilitated clear communication and coordination of trade work, a critical factor in the project’s success.

“Historically, CyrusOne has been known in the industry as setting the bar for the fastest deployment and the quickest schedules for data center delivery of anyone in our market,” Dorris said. “But without companies like DPR that actually have the expertise in the field to help us execute, none of this is really possible.”

And success “begets success,” Dorris added, especially in a market where speed rules. DPR is currently building out a second data center for CyrusOne in the same building, also on a highly accelerated six-day-a-week, two-shift-a-day schedule, racing to meet an early 2015 turn-over date.