Pre-fabricated modules answer several data center construction challenges, says Autodesk’s ‘queen of prefab’ Amy Marks.
Last week at Data Center World, Amy Marks, VP of Industrialized Construction at Autodesk, offered some remarkable insights into the next stage of efficient construction methods for large data centers.
The modern approach begins with a clear, data-driven understanding of the end-product and is enabled by the growing trend toward prefabrication and modularity of construction components. This is a major shift in building large-scale facilities; a change that affects every step, from design to completion, and is enabled by the next generation of technology-based engineering and manufacturing.
For the most part, designing and building large facilities has traditionally been a bespoke and highly complicated process that involves the input from owners, architects, contractors, governing agencies, and building product manufacturers, a task that often results in buildings that are a one-off proposition.
Marks contended that this is an outdated model for constructing data centers, and a process often rife with broken communication, supply chain problems, wasteful iterative processes and inefficient use of both materials and personnel. She believes that the use of “productized modularity” for clearly defined components offers the best economy of scale, quality assurance, speed of construction and repeatability for new, purpose-built facilities.
Data center construction goes modular
The model for Industrialized Construction follows a similar path by breaking out a large facility into primary components that can be manufactured offsite – independent of the weather – and brought to the location for final assembly in a fraction of the time required for a traditional building.