The Build Must Go On



by Chris Coward, Head of Project Management, Business Critical Solutions

How BCS are building a data centre 1000 miles away (during a pandemic).

A major data centre construction project in Italy’s former Covid 19 red zone is still going ahead despite the challenging commercial backdrop of Covid-19. Project Managers at BCS have confirmed that the construction of a 15,000 square meter 10-Megawatt datacentre facility is progressing well with a permanent presence on site.

Overcoming a pause in the operations back in March and facing the constant threat of closure if a single case of the virus is detected, the BCS team have had to oversee the Bologna project remotely from over a thousand miles away.

Since the site re-opened in March, with strict new operating procedures including social distancing, increased sanitisation and staggered shifts, Chris Coward, Head of Project Management at BCS, has spoken about the excitement throughout the company regarding the new multi-million pound build.

He said: “We’ve got three alternative shifts working hard and have received positive reports and images from the Italian team. They’re pushing ahead despite some incredibly challenging circumstances. It helps that most, if not all of the materials are readily available in Italy, unfortunately, none of our UK team can travel there in person at this stage. We have a duty of care as an employer, and with government restrictions, we’re managing remotely, which is new for us and everyone in the industry.”

The specialist services provider to the international digital infrastructure industry has been working hard to ensure the welfare of everyone involved with the project. As part of the new safety procedures, staff on site have their temperature taken daily to identify any symptoms of the virus.

The Italian authorities would be forced to close down the site for a blanket 14 days on the confirmation of any positive diagnosis of Covid-19.

Due to the travel restrictions, the Italian client is regularly updating the BCS team with video and photographic records of the progress.


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The project which is currently at the civil engineering stage in the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy; where Covid-19 has been particularly prevalent, was awarded ‘essential status’ by the Government. Therefore, it one of the first construction sites to reopen in the country.

The eyes of the entire Emilia-Romagna region were on the project following restart as they entered unchartered territory with respect to the Health and Safety measures and operating procedures.

In the initial stages of the lockdown, sourcing concrete and steel from the neighbouring Lombardy region was proving a difficult task but is now a lot more reliable.

Chris Coward added: “The Italians really are leading the way on this. Collaborating on any project always poses unique complexities but undertaking the build of a multi-million pound datacentre in such an unprecedented environment of a pandemic, requires solid teamwork and great communication.

“Our culture is an agile one, and as a team, we know that in today’s market, you have to respond flexibly and innovatively to ensure you’re moving forward. We have excellent standards in every project we take on, and the dedication and commitment of our teams hasn’t changed despite the lockdown.”

The future demand levels for data centres continues to grow, with the industry tipped for an increased demand in the next 12 months. BCS expects to see a further expansion in their global data centre portfolio in the coming years.

The data centre specialists have delivered large scale projects for market leaders in recent years, and have played a leading role in some of the world’s highest-profile mission-critical and datacentre programmes.

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