Case Study

The WBS Group

The Challenge

While the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged construction worldwide, the market for data centres has seen significant acceleration as data centre owners and operators look to meet the increased demand for capacity.

With the global requirement growing, and operators seeking to retain competitive advantage, it has become more critical than ever for operators to bring new functionality onstream quickly and deliver against their service commitments.

For M&E contractors such as WBS, consistently delivering against the schedules set is a significant source of competitive advantage.

The Solution

WBS had experimented with cloud technology solutions before, but project and site teams had found them hard to use. By moving to a platform solution with Procore, WBS has ensured that information is being captured from sites more efficiently and accurately, and trusts that their teams are working from a single source of truth across the project.

This is particularly critical on data centre projects, which are known for their tightly orchestrated timelines, complex stakeholder dynamics, and increasingly aggressive time-to-market requirements. Using real-time insights and project analytics, WBS can see if and when projects are at risk of falling behind.

Procore’s Platform has provided a stable foundation that scales as WBS continues to grow its operations across EMEA, with the flexibility to customize parts of the platform as required.

The Results

“For complex projects like custom data centres, you need a collaboration platform that’s secure, in one place, and easy to use because of the nature of the business. You have to ensure the tools you’re using are watertight, and Procore is a perfect fit.”
Alice Ketley
ICT & CAD Manager
WBS
Interior of a finished building

The Story

Founded in Nottingham, England, WBS has expanded to support the increased demand for data centre installations, and now has offices in Slough, Frankfurt, Paris and Istanbul.  As the business expanded, WBS saw the need for a platform that would support the demands of WBS’ mission-critical and complex data centre projects.

Data centre projects are like no other. A hyperscale data centre of the kind that WBS works on is less like a warehouse, and more like a distribution hub. Every component of the data centre is modularized, and the configuration of every module is optimized to maximise cooling efficiency, ensure electrical availability and balance workloads across servers. Every aspect of the building is constructed with power efficiency in mind.

As the demand for data centre capacity has started to ramp up, so has the competitive intensity of the data centre market. Operators are keener than ever to retain the advantage they have, and that means bringing new capacity online faster than ever before and delivering against their commitments. M&E contractors such as WBS are a mission-critical partner in bringing facilities online on time and on budget.

Because Procore connects all teams and projects on one platform, it is easy to quickly identify potential issues and their impact on the schedule and budgets. Procore’s project overview also gives a complete picture of any outstanding items.

Exterior shot of a building's base construction

Supporting Project Visibility on Complex Builds

With Procore, WBS has a complete picture of project status and deliverables across their project portfolio. “It was critical for us to trust that everyone on the project had access to the latest information from a centralized location,” explains Alice Ketley, ICT & CAD Manager, WBS. “On a mission- critical project like a data centre, any delay can have large consequences, so information must be updated instantly so nothing gets missed.”

With sites spread across different countries, project reporting is critical for WBS. Everything in Procore is reportable, and Procore’s company-level reporting provides WBS with over 100 ready-to-go-reports on all aspects of the project. WBS can track the number of open items across projects at any time.

The ability to create custom reports also appealed to Alice. “The scope of risk changes all the time on a data centre project.For example, at the start of a project you might be concerned with your budget as you buy your materials, and toward the end, it’s schedule and scope creep that’s keeping you awake. Being able to quickly create reports that cover different aspects of a project is a real benefit.”

Construction workers finishing up a hallway

Integrated Approach and Ease of Use Drives Project Adoption

WBS prides itself on its collaborative approach to project delivery.Working carefully to align site and senior management with the needs of their clients is a key differentiator in UK construction and beyond, and one that has allowed WBS to win continued repeat business.

For Alice, the solution needed to be easy to use and implement, both for WBS and its supply chain. “We’ve used other similar systems in the past, and found that a lot of them were very time-consuming. If you weren’t uploading into it every day, you would easily forget things.”

Procore’s integrated health, safety, and environmental management system is key to building trust and transparency on projects. Procore’s Inspections Tool, for instance, enables WBS to create checklists on projects, which can then be used to track the performance of the supply chain and shared with clients. And when it comes to project closeout, the Snag List Tool enables WBS to maintain a clear list of snag items, assign responsibility, select a due date, and track status until completion.

When asked what she would say to other data centre contractors who were evaluating software solutions, Alice said, “For complex projects like custom data centres, you need a collaboration platform that’s secure, in one place, and easy to use because of the nature of the business you have to ensure the tools you’re using are watertight, and Procore is the perfect choice.”

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