Upgraded Uniflair Air Conditioning to Data Centre’s critical power facility 

Impressed by the works Uniflair and Holborn had down together on the previous project, there first for this new client, that designs, builds and operates the majority of the UK payments infrastructure. It is this infrastructure, including data centres owned and run by the business, that underpins a system capable of dealing with tens of billions of transactions annually.

Battery back-up build

As part of a long-term project to upgrade the classification of its data centres, a new battery back-up was to be installed to enhance the existing uninterruptable power supply (UPS). This was needed to ensure the 99.98% availability required of Tier 3 classification data centres was possible even in the event of a major power outage.

A large engineering workshop was identified as having enough space to house the new battery rooms, which Holborn would build, whilst making changes to the air conditioning system for the existing UPS and new battery rooms.

Given the need for increased availability, there was always the danger of overheating during prolonged use of the UPS and/or battery back-ups, so the decision was made to upgrade the cooling provision for the UPS at the same time as the large battery back-ups were installed.

Assuming the roles of main contractor, Holborn was again responsible for overseeing the involvement of sub-contractors, including the upgrading of the automatic control systems by Johnson Controls.

Room build proves positive

Stage one of the project was to create the two battery rooms out of heavy grade blockwork, specified to provide 1-hour fire rating and achieve room integrity. The rooms were fitted with fire-resistant plasterboard ceilings to maintain the 1-hour fire rating.

The floors were stripped of existing tiles and coated with latex and resin in readiness for the battery infrastructure installation. A new water leak detection system was specified and installed in the new battery rooms and the existing UPS rooms.

The existing Uniflair chilled water air conditioning units serving the UPS rooms were replaced with a Uniflair TUTV0921A dual-fed, chilled water and direct expansion system, that offer greater efficiency with reduced energy consumption.

All the existing ductwork in the engineering workshop was modified to provide mechanical ventilation to the battery rooms.

Modifications to the automatic control system and BMS were required to incorporate the new ‘DX’ and chilled water air-conditioning systems were tested and commissioned in accordance with CIBSE requirements.

With all the electrical, mechanical and cooling system work completed, Holborn turned its attention as always to ensuring every project has the same high quality finish. The newly installed blockwork walls were painted, along with skirting boards and fascia’s, with all the holes needed for services pipework and ventilation needing to be fire-sealed.

Capacity increased without tiers

It is gratifying to be awarded new contracts on the strength of a previous contract as our client looks to raise the rating of its data centre, from Tier 2 to Tier 3 and potentially Tier 4.

The new battery rooms increase the resilience of the data centres ensuring it will keep running for hours in the event of a major power outage, supported by new Uniflair, more efficient cooling systems.

There is little doubt with combined ability with Uniflair’s impressive cooling unit equipment portfolio allowed all the necessary works to be completed to the highest standard, including air conditioning, electrical and mechanical works, to say nothing of our building works, decorating and landscaping abilities.