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Managing Critical Infrastructure Projects

The Association for Project Management (APM) is an organisation dedicated to developing and promoting project management through its FIVE Dimensions of Professionalism: Breadth, Depth, Achievement, Commitment and Accountability.

Breadth refers to the knowledge required to manage any project. Depth refers to project management competences. Achievement is about how to progress your career. Commitment refers to Continuous Professional Development (CPD) and Accountability to ethical practices. The APM is well known for many its project management qualifications including PRINCE2.

PRINCE2 stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments is a process-based project management process. PRINCE2 is recognised by UK Government internationally as a process standard and is widely used in the private sector both in the UK and internationally.

PRINCE2 (an acronym for PRojects IN Controlled Environments) is a de facto process-based method for effective project management. Used extensively by the UK Government, PRINCE2 is also widely recognised and used in the private sector, both in the UK and internationally. The key points and features of PRINCE2 include:

  • Focus on business justification
  • Defined organisation structure for the project management team
  • Product-based planning approach
  • Emphasis on dividing the project into manageable and controllable stages
  • Flexibility that can be applied at a level appropriate to the project

Critical Environments and Project Management

At Server Room Environments, our work is essentially project management based and we work to the principles of PRINCE2 providing qualified project managers as required. What we offer is a total project management service including design, installation and maintenance of key critical elements and systems for server rooms and datacentres. Our growing client list is testament to the outstanding projects we deliver on time and to budget and specification for our clients.

Our procedures and processes are fully integrated and are designed to make sure our clients enjoy a smooth project management process. This can include new builds, rip-out and repair services, upgrades and refurbishments. This is no small feat when you consider the range of products and services involved in a server room or datacentre environment.

We provide a dedicated project manager for every client and contract who are experts in their fields. We ensure we match the right experience and skill set to the client project, using project managers who know the industry jargon, speak the language, understand the stress points and solve problems. Often our work involves working cross-functionally with a range of cultures and organisations; again, this is a skill set in itself. What we deliver is a flawless delivery and ‘turn-key’ project solution.

Turn-key Projects

When we refer to a ‘turn-key’ project we are talking about a project that has been designed and delivered to meet your site-specific specifications and requirements. It is a custom project; also referred to as a bespoke project.

When we design a custom project, the products, systems and services chosen are put together to form a completely integrated solution whether it’s an uninterruptible power supply and standby power generators, critical cooling system using free air cooling or raised access floor and server cabinet electrical and data cabling works.

At Server Room Environments, we are fortunate to have an outstanding reputation and work with industry leading product manufacturers whether its for LV switchboards, server cabinets or floor tiles. No matter what the product we source and install the right one for the project. Furthermore, our engineers are certified and manufacturer trained to ensure total knowledge when it comes to each individual product and specification. This allows us to be in control of the complete project and provide the service level we know differentiates us in critical infrastructure industries.

This service levels extends to complete product life cycle management and includes preventative maintenance contracts and emergency response solutions including 24/7 technical support.

Custom and Bespoke Solutions

Within any project there will be common elements and a bespoke or custom aspect. No two sites are the same. At Server Room Environments, we can offer a level of product and solution customisation. Sometimes this involves working with a product manufacturer or software house to develop a unique site-specific solution for a client. The final solution may simply involve pulling together a range of options such as a higher IP rating for a server cabinet or a complete construction such as a containerised and modular datacentre.

Whatever is required to meet the specification and client needs, we have developed our project teams to ensure that we can deliver.

Our Project Process

Whether working to PRINCE2 or some other project management standard, every organisation develops their own internal processes and procedures. Our procedures cover every aspect of a project including quality, health & safety and environmental.

We have developed our service portfolio over the years to cover every project aspect from how we carry out site surveys to electrical contractor works, commissioning, site acceptance testing and after-sales work including maintenance contracts. This allows us to support stand-alone deliveries, turn-key projects, new-builds and brown-field refurbishments, whether we are employed as the main contractor or a sub-contractor or third-party consultant.

At every stage of the project we monitor our progress in terms of milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure we are ‘on plan’. Our total project management process includes:

Site Surveys

This is the key ‘kick-off’ stage for us in any project. We need to quickly understand your needs and the site characteristics including all the stakeholder concerns and inputs, the organisational set-up, people, processes and potential single-points of failure.

For every site survey, we complete a comprehensive checklist covering the entire project scope we are working to. This includes scope, load profile, N+x resilience, environment, load profile, electrical works, switchgear and wiring assessment, power quality issues, energy efficiency targets and needs, environmental and physical space restrictions, finance budgets, total cost of ownership (TCO) projections, time frames, supply chain processes. The site survey checklist also covers the points needed for our Risk Assessment and Method Statements (RAMS). Generic versions are available for each process and service we provide but each site is assessed individually.

Design Stage

The information from our site survey together with client specifications and follow-up meetings allows us to set to work designing a solution. This can include thermodynamic modelling when it comes to critical cooling solutions, floor plans and layouts for UPS systems and 3D CAD drawings for server cabinet layouts, electrical and data cabling connections.

The information from the site survey and design stage allows us to drill-down into electrical supplies required for the installation. This can include a complete electrical installation or simply an upgrade in terms of switchgear, power distribution, breaker and cable compatibility and fault-clearances.

Logistics Planning

Not every site offers off-loading or a ground floor installation. Our site survey will identify potential hazards and obstacles along the delivery route. Our project managers and logistics team can then asses and review and identify solutions including parking permits, crane hire, stair climbers and floor protectors. We can also arrange for equipment unpacking and the removal and environmentally friendly recycling of any associated packaging.

Electrical Works

Working with our own electrical contracting teams provides us with complete control of the electrical aspect of any project. Working to drawings, project plans, bills of materials and project timetables, we can deliver cost-effective electrical works. This can include both AC and DC electrical works.

Our electrical installation engineers are both AC and DC works trained. This allows us to provide battery related work whether its on valve regulated lead acid batteries for a UPS system for lithium-ion for an energy storage system. As well as battery installations, we also provide on-site battery testing, replacement and eco-friendly removal and recycling.

Local IT Network and DCIM Integration

Many systems now integrate into the local network whether via a fixed point-to-point IP connection or through WIFI to provide SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) information and alarm reporting. As well as integrating any critical power or cooling or environment monitoring system into the local network, we can also work with the local IT team to setup SMS and email alerts and integration into any local Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) packages.

Testing and Commissioning

Each project can have its own testing requirements. Our normal process at this stage is to allow our engineers to work to manufacturer’s test and commissioning checklists and procedures. This can include on-site load bank testing for large power and cooling installations. For critical systems, we can also arrange factory acceptance testing (FAT) and site acceptance testing (SAT).

Following a successful test program, systems are handed over with follow-up training and the delivery of the necessary documentation including operating manuals, maintenance contract and call-out numbers, O and M manuals and drawings.

Maintenance Contracts

Every product and system we supply come with a manufacturer’s warranty with extended warranty options where available. We also warrant any of our installations works. In addition to this, systems may require annual inspections and preventative maintenance and this can be arranged through our contracts team. Maintenance contracts are available including 24/7 technical support, remote monitoring and response times up to 4-clock hours on a 365day contract. Crash kits can be stored on site for critical systems or drawn from one of our regional depots and service engineer hubs.

Project Review and Learning Opportunities

The key aims at Server Room Environments are to deliver projects that get great reviews and testimonials from our clients for the critical infrastructure products, systems and services we deliver. First time, on time, every time, to specification and budget. The final stage of any project management service is a complete project review to identify any learning opportunities for future works.

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