Case Study

Delivering Smarter and Faster Data Centre Construction With Ardmac

The Challenge

Data centre construction projects are fraught with complexity. Ardmac ensures that every decision, from technical submittals to RFIs, receives sign off from multiple parties during the planning stage. Often, each action needs to go through a number of different gates for approval.

Ardmac’s ability to seamlessly manage these processes while aligning and establishing priorities among its vast workforce is complicated further by remote work, especially since many stakeholders operate across different time zones. Fergus Nugent, Technical Manager, Ardmac, explains:

“Traditionally, we would hold a huge number of in-person meetings, establishing requirements for the data centre—from critical path elements, to zones, to rooms—using different materials, from models, to drawings. All of which would be captured in different software packages to establish how these huge facilities can be constructed.

“It can be incredibly hard to keep oversight of so much information, every day, with a crew this large. We need to record everything we do, from marked up drawings to meeting minutes, all stored and shared in a way that allows us to collaborate smoothly.”

The Solution

A unified platform solves this challenge. Ardmac was looking for something to improve collaboration and communication across teams and stakeholders, offer insight into team productivity, and deliver better, real-time insight into project information and materials. The solution also had to be intuitive and easy to use.

That’s where the team at Procore came in.

Fergus says, “There are people who’ll always struggle with technology, but at Ardmac, we all love the Procore solution: You have access to everything you need, all on one platform. It’s easy to use, it isn’t scary, and you can’t break it. It has ensured we’re able to better plan, collaborate, and deliver on data centre construction projects.

“At Ardmac, we work SMART. We deploy innovative technology like Procore throughout our business to empower our people, drive performance and delight our customers. We apply lean construction principles and technology to everything we do, analysing problems through a structured innovation process to solve them in a focused manner. These initiatives are always implemented with the customer in mind, and Procore is absolutely a part of that.”

The Results

Data storage units

The Story

Ardmac’s growing prominence in data centre construction has seen the company meet stringent procedures and policies, as well as maintain the increasingly high level of quality, required to build these mammoth structures. So far, the company has managed this superbly and has provided, to date, over 400,000m² of white space and over 600MW of capacity for some of Europe’s largest data centres.

The company’s reputation for embracing the latest, most innovative technology to improve processes, increase efficiency, and solve industry-specific problems has resulted in Ardmac becoming a trusted partner to companies across the UK&I and Europe.

Procore’s single-platform technology is vital in completing data centre projects in a smarter and faster way than ever before. The platform ensures the team always has access to the information it needs. Fergus elaborates:

“Using Procore, we have achieved far greater insight into performance across our projects, and we can continually improve. We developed a group-level dashboard in Procore Analytics to view all metrics across all projects. We start with the basic processes: Are our site diaries filled out every day? What’s the percentage of completion?”

The team also checks whether safety and quality audits have been completed before tracking quantitative metrics, such as the number of overdue submittals and RFIs.

“We then move on to qualitative checks. For instance, if the site diary is being completed every day, is it being done correctly? Procore is helping us see what’s going well, what’s not, and what still needs to change.”

Procore also ensures the once onerous task of manually tracking this documentation is now seamless. According to Fergus, “Everything is captured digitally, time and date stamped, correctly formatted, and free of illegible handwriting. It saves us so much time and drastically reduces the chance of errors. It’s incredibly valuable to us.”

Data storage area

Improving collaboration with the right data, at the right time, through Procore

Over the past year, the Ardmac team has been forced to tackle the challenges of an increasingly disparate workforce while managing already-complex projects. Fergus explains that Procore has enabled the team to drive efficiencies in the new normal:

“Prior to the pandemic, we’d typically have a large construction office on-site. With everyone on the same campus, meetings and approvals could be carried out face-to-face. This couldn’t happen last year, so we’ve been communicating mainly through Procore, storing and sharing all our information on one, single platform.”

Fergus tells us that Ardmac’s use of Procore only increased as it turned to the platform to develop and store COVID compliance audits, contact tracing checklists and more.

“Whether sharing RFIs or establishing dedicated workflows, everyone across different teams is able to track progress and remain on the same page,” Fergus says. “For example, if a document is with the architectural team and hasn’t been reviewed within 14 days, we’ll use Procore’s traffic light system on the dashboard to flag that it’s outstanding and needs approval. People all over the world can collaborate more efficiently, which is vital in order to deliver best practice in data centre construction.”

Data storage space

Ensuring alignment with Meetings, Drawings and Timesheets

Ardmac’s use of a broad range of Procore capabilities has helped drive other efficiencies as well. This includes the Meetings functionality, which allows users to seamlessly manage all aspects of project meetings in one place, managing anything from agenda distribution to post-meeting approval of minutes. In projects where the number of meetings can escalate to the hundreds, a tool that enables Ardmac to streamline the entire process and keep a clear record of actions is invaluable.

Another key tool is Procore’s Drawings, which allows Ardmac to view, manage, and archive all project drawings and revisions. This ensures that team members always have access to the most current set. Fergus explains:

“The Drawings tool is fantastic, especially when you understand the pain of building something from the wrong revision! Revision control on a huge data centre site can be challenging as it’s not always possible to check approvals with every crew member.

“As a project manager, Procore gives me peace of mind as I can easily establish that the drawings we are building from are accurate. To be able to immediately ping observations and revisions to our design team, regardless of their location, saves a huge amount of time, and ensures a project remains on track.”

Procore’s Timesheets tool has also been crucial to the smooth-running of Ardmac’s projects as it helps the team track productivity and drive efficiency.

“In a data centre, when you’re building at scale, being even slightly off on labour can have a massive impact on the project,” explains Fergus. “Procore’s Timesheets tool enables us to ensure we’re managing our productivity in real time.”

The importance of ease of use

Finally, Procore’s ease-of-use, learning resources, and intuitive interface have proven critical in Ardmac’s decision to embrace the platform, Fergus concludes:

“A key factor in our decision to adopt Procore is its user-friendliness. Not everyone is IT savvy, and in data centre construction, we simply can’t afford to introduce a tool that increases the complexity of our job. It had to continue to empower us to work SMART, allowing us to consistently deliver excellence across multiple sectors and geographic regions. Using technology that enables us to do this, and to delight our customers, will always be our priority. This is definitely the case with Procore.”

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