5 of the Biggest Challenges on Data Center Construction Sites


5 of the Biggest Time-Wasters on Data Center Construction Sites

In an ideal world, your data center construction project would go off without a hitch. You’d beat timelines and come in under budget, and you’d never have to deal with mistakes, rework or disagreements.

Unfortunately, that’s pretty much never the case. In fact, research suggests that 70 percent of large construction projects experience “time overrun,” and 60 percent of them are considered “delayed.”

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five biggest time-wasters in data center construction—as well as what you can do to overcome them.

1. Skilled labor shortages

You can’t break ground on a data center construction project if you don’t have the right people in place to make it all happen.

The world is facing a skilled labor shortage where it’s harder than ever to find the talent needed to build fast-to-market, custom data centers. One recent survey found that 91 percent of contractors are struggling to find the workers they need, to take on construction projects. 

Making matters worse, the average age of a construction worker is 42.6. As many of these individuals retire, the problem will only compound—especially considering that only three percent of younger workers are interested in construction jobs.

2. Looking for project data, obtaining permits and cleaning up

One recent report found that only 65 percent of a crew’s time is spent doing the actual building and installation of a data center. Teams spend the remainder of the week looking for information, obtaining permits and cleaning up the site.

Though these activities are no doubt critical when you’re building a data center from scratch, they slow down timelines considerably. And who knows? Maybe project resources are misplaced, maybe the engineering design process takes longer, maybe getting a permit was harder than expected and maybe you end up with more waste than you thought was possible—delaying things further.

[Infographic] Have a delayed data center construction project? Follow these  nine steps to breathe new life into delayed projects.

3. Stakeholder disagreements

In an ideal world, everyone working on the same project would share the same vision. Of course, we know this is rarely the case. People think differently, and in the world of data center construction, disagreements and different ideas for the path forward often come with the territory.

In fact, one recent report found that construction teams spend seven precious hours each week trying to resolve conflicts and stakeholder disagreements. That’s essentially a full workday each week, which extends timelines once again.

4. Fixing mistakes

Failing to conduct a complete infrastructure assessment, choosing the wrong equipment and technologies to power your data center and not looking beyond the completed build-out are just some of the common data center construction mistakes that organizations run into time and again.

Mistakes, of course, are enormous time-wasters. 

When your goal is to get your data center up and running as quickly as possible, you can’t afford to build something, only to learn the hard way that you have to stop, make changes, and replace equipment.

5. Change orders

Change orders tend to rear their ugly heads later in the design and construction process. Whenever you decide to pivot during a project, you’re going to have to spend time organizing and implementing your new plan. You’re also going to have to regularly talk to the construction team to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

When you’re building a data center on-site, the old-fashioned way, change orders often come with the territory. It’s pretty much impossible to stay on schedule when you’re forced to recalibrate your plan and move in a different direction.

Speed up timelines with the modular approach to data center construction

The good news is that you can overcome all of these time-wasters and get your data center online much faster, by embracing the modular approach to data center construction.

By doing so, you’ll gain access to a team of skilled workers that builds prefabricated data centers in a factory all year round. By partnering with a modular vendor, you won’t have to worry about tracking down information, obtaining permits, fixing mistakes, changing orders or mediating stakeholder agreements. Construction takes place off-site in accordance with the plans you select, and then the data center is shipped to your site and installed by experts.

Simply put, it’s the easiest way to make sure you stick to your construction timelines and ensure a quicker time-to-revenue.

To learn more about why organizations are increasingly taking the modular approach to data center design, check out our free guide, The State of the Data Center Industry in the New Decade.

New call-to-action


Subscribe for the latest news, research, and innovations in data center design and construction.