University College London

University College London.
1-19 Torrington Place.
Consolidated Computer data Centre.

Project cost - £2,360,000.00 (Service element)

  • Description of Project

    University College London required to consolidate a number of small satellite data centres into one location and to provide additional capacity for a further three years expansion.

    Fowler Martin undertook a Feasibility Study which identified that the little used car park in the Sub-Basement of 1-19 Torrington Place could house a new Data Centre. External plant space was also identified.

    The Client Brief initially required 360kW of computer equipment cooling but was subsequently increased to 510kW prior to commencement of the final design.

    N+1 resilience was also required for all system components including chillers, pumps, UPSs, power supply cables, etc.

  • Services Provided

    Fowler Martin was the lead consultant and undertook the following duties:

    • Design of the mechanical and electrical services and associated builders work from conception to completion
    • Project Management
    • Liaising with Client Departments
    • Coordinating design team workshop and meetings
    • Planning and Building Regulations approval
    • Managing statutory authority's for new sub-station and incoming supply
    • Managing the Principal Contractor
  • Key Challenges

    University College London operates a number of Data Centres which are cooled by local CRAC units. These units cool the room air and problems experienced include the inability to successfully direct the cooling to cover the needs of data cabinets with varying equipment loadings. The key challenge therefore was to explore options which allow controlled cooling within the data cabinets to match the equipment load.

    The feasibility identified options such as hot/cold isles utilising inter cabinet cooling modules, C02 based rack cooling and water cooled server cabinets.

    Another challenge was to manage EDF for provision of new transformers and agree location of a new sub-station and to work closely with the selected chiller manufacturer to design 'free-cooling' units to suit the available external space.

    Obtaining Planning Approval required the design of a plant screen and roof platform and the commissioning of a Background Noise Survey and Noise Impact Report.

  • Team Integration

    As lead consultant Fowler Martin chaired initial fortnightly Design Meetings with the Client department and Estates which was attended by the Directors of Information Systems.

    Visits were also made to a number of operational data centres in London to obtain feedback from end users on their experience with various systems. In addition, visits were undertaken to the chiller manufacturer to review and comment on the build process.

    During the works monthly Progress Meetings were conducted as well as regular site inspections.

  • Sustainability

    The water cooled data cabinets required a 12°C flow temperature and this allowed the use of 'free-cooling' chillers which inhibit the need to run compressors at low ambient temperatures.

    A BEMS system monitors and controls the installation and provides early fault and alarm warnings.

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