Planning and executing Equinix’s first high-rise data center project in the U.S. came with sizeable challenges for the design and construction team. In addition to a high degree of technical complexity, the jobsite in busy downtown Dallas, right next to the high-profile Infomart building, added logistical challenges.
The 35-week schedule presented one of the biggest overarching challenges on this multifaceted job. “To complete a project of this magnitude and complexity, and then get it built in under 15 months is pretty intense,” said DPR onsite VDC professional Yogonand Mandali. “The fact that we were able to put a plan together with our schedule team, staff up and knock it out within the timespan was pretty impressive.”
DPR self-perform concrete crews encountered unexpected and significant site water issues while pouring the concrete foundation piers. The presence of an underground river was causing the ground to cave as concrete was being pumped into the drilled-out piers. In addition to extensive weather delays, the unforeseen below grade conditions resulted in challenges.
There was also the added complexity of building on the same site as Infomart, a carrier hotel with 100 plus internet providers, some of which ran under and through the job site resulting in a critical, high-risk challenge.
To combat the early foundation work issues, DPR quickly devised a solution with collaboration with the Equinix team who played a huge role by providing the necessary resources. Together, the team created a plan that involved prefabricating and installing permanent steel casings around the piers to stabilize them and allow the work to progress. As for the Infomart fiber avoidance issue, the team employed an underground utility company to locate the fiber and other utilities and incorporate it into the BIM model, identifying and removing issues before piers were added.
Overall, “one team” approach was a critical success factor when it came to meeting the schedule, quality and various other challenges on this project.
At the project level, our self-perform concrete team modeled the concrete portion of the building, which was a first for the DFW Business Unit. This allowed for coordination with trades and flushed out potential issues between concrete and other structural trades in more detail than is typically done during BIM coordination. Also, any conflicts between design disciplines were caught up front when the model was built. With all this effort, they were able to produce a coordinated set of “Field Use” drawings in real-time that included the most up to date information.
“Our superintendents and foreman were not asked to recall every RFI, drawing revision, or look at other trades submittals to ensure the concrete geometry was correct,” said DPR Concrete Senior Project Engineer Tyler Petersen. “Our crew stayed focused on building and they executed PERFECTLY on the Equinix project! We spent ZERO dollars in rework on the building which is an incredible achievement from our concrete guys.”
Later in the project, the team leveraged prefabrication to help achieve the schedule and quality goals, prefabricating all ductwork, chill water pipes and chillers, electrical skids, precast wall and a large amount of the MEP. “We knew that in order to meet the schedule we needed to coordinate everything beforehand as a team, in the model, and then to prefabricate everything we could on this project,” MEP Engineer, Connor Bailey said.