Pepper Construction successfully completed a mission-critical data center project for a global company headquartered in Chicago using one of their latest product innovations. The general contracting and construction management firm integrated KNAACK’s recently introduced DataVault product with the project’s cloud-based document management software, StratusVue, to complete the project in less than six months.
The data center’s owner had two goals: speed to market and the potential to expand. The 27,000 sq.-ft. greenfield enterprise data center features 7,800 sq. ft. of white space, a high-volume air-cooled design utilizing a 48-in.-high raised access floor and a parallel redundant UPS design, and mechanical and electrical systems designed to N+1 with a Tier 3 fault tolerance. The initial phase opened with enough equipment to mirror an existing site and allowed for an estimated 10 years of expansion capability.
To meet the deadline and collaboratively bring the project to life, the team needed a solution that would streamline communications and improve efficiencies across the jobsite. There were a lot of moving parts from both the programming and design phase to the execution phase.
“We were working on an active headquarters campus, work was being done onsite every day and because of the visibility and impact of this particular project, we needed to execute the project flawlessly,” said Kevin Bredeson, director of Virtual Construction at Pepper Construction Company.
Beyond the extremely fast-paced timeline, the project had several unique challenges, including the facility’s location, the high-profile importance of the project and the environment of the campus. Pepper Construction was using Building Information Modeling (BIM) on this project and wanted to leverage the technology as much as possible to create additional efficiencies. Mobility was also a key factor.
A Mobile Solution
To meet its needs, Pepper Construction beta tested the DataVault product, designed to connect jobsite professionals to information by providing a fully protected digital plan storage solution for onsite job management. Powered by StratusVue’s cloud-based document management suite, which the project was leveraging, the combination gave Pepper the ability to bring technology to the field safely and ensure the project could be managed more efficiently. It provided an opportunity to get critical, current project information within feet of where the actual work was happening. Prior to that, field superintendents would need to walk back and forth between the jobsite and trailer, often traveling five to 10 minutes each way, just to access specification needs or updates.
Right away, the Pepper Construction team began seeing value from the combined solution. Instead of spending time in the project trailer, the information was accessible on the jobsite for execution. “There was a need for real-time data where the action is, but before we had struggled with how to get it there efficiently,” stated Bredeson.
The combined solution allowed Pepper to access information in real-time. It provided the confidence that the information was up-to-date on buildable plans and allowed Pepper to focus on the work vs. waiting on responses. It provided a substantial benefit for the field team and the speed to market was the driving factor in the Pepper implementation.
To maintain the aggressive schedule and to meet the needs and expectations of this high-profile customer, the combined technology solution provided a tangible outcome, resulting in a full project build in less than six months. Benefits included:
- Faster access to the data. By putting the information into the hands of the trades people working on the jobsite, the data could be viewed by several people on a large monitor and reports, specs, and drawing details could be printed as needed. This provided significant value vs. a group of people huddled around a mobile device or traveling to the trailer every time there was a question.
- Increased confidence and reduced mistakes. Because specifications and drawings can change, it’s critical to have access to the latest revisions and addendums in real-time. This eliminates the potential for communication errors and ensures that everyone on the jobsite is working from the latest designs.
- Improved BIM Integration. Access to their models on the jobsite was particularly helpful for the mechanical and electrical trades, because the ability to see a 3D representation of complicated configurations ensured better accuracy. Standing in the location where the work is being done helps the teams visualize it because they now had access to the model within the build space.
- Reduced wait times. On a fast-paced project, the amount of time spent waiting for RFI responses to be communicated to the field can be a significant hindrance to on-time performance. The StratusVue/KNAACK solution allowed superintendents to check a RFI status right from the location of work, and to begin implementation as soon as the answer was confirmed.
- Improved durability, security and mobility: While some contractors have built their own custom solutions to protect electronic equipment in the field, these solutions are often expensive and inadequate for proper jobsite use. The DataVault product allowed for software integration, was mobile, rugged and built to securely withstand jobsite conditions. Even simple items such as being able to move the DataVault through door frames was critical when working on such an aggressive timeline.
The combined solution was used by everyone working on the jobsite, from the project managers to the superintendent to the labor field teams. The project began in July 2013 and was completed in December 2013.