New-Build Validation, Hand-over Testing and ISO 14644-1 Validation

Advice during design and build phase. Because of our unique expertise in all aspects of the data centre environment, we are often called in to work with the design engineers and architects to ensure that the optimum environmental factors are incorporated into the centre right from the start. We advise on materials specification, layout plans, power provision, proposed airflow designs etc. and can ensure that all these aspects are in accordance with CDM regulation requirements. During the build phase, we can periodically check to ensure that specifications have been correctly implemented.  

Independent, end-to-end, environmental testing for new-builds. Our new build verification test case database provides independent confirmation that a computer room is fit for purpose. We work with all project engineers and contractors to compile a set of comprehensive, cohesive test cases that will stress all aspects of the data centre environment operation, ideally before the room is fully populated. Our verification database testing is the only end-to-end test that addresses all environmental aspects of the room prior to the room being handed over to its new owners.

Air particle measurement testing for handover report. We can measure airborne particles and verify their levels according to ISO Standard 14644-1. This can be done as an individual exercise, or as part of a new-build handover report. We measure for particle density at key areas such as near each air handler, fresh air, fresh air makeup, and at two metre intervals through the room. If the particle count appears high, we will try to determine the cause. If required, we can also do pre- and post- air particle measurements for our own cleaning engagements.

Using Testing and Validation to Prevent Problems in a Data Centre - Case Studies

Client ordered nickel-plated floor components, but zinc-plated arrived and were installed.   

We were called in to validate the condition of a new floor in a data centre. We found that, even though the client had specified nickel-plated pedestals, zinc-plated pedestals had been installed. This issue was sorted out between the client and their supplier, and ultimately, the potential whisker growing pedestals were replaced.

Full end-to-end new build audit

Our client wanted independent verification that the newly-built data centre they had commissioned was working cohesively. We worked with the contracted engineers and agreed a comprehensive set of test cases, presented in a database format. During the handover test phase, we methodically worked through each test case and, when we encountered failures, we worked with the engineers to resolve the issues. In this particular project, for example, even though the engineers confirmed that fresh air make-up was working based on their temperature and humidity measurements, our own tests revealed minimal airflow. Further investigation revealed a closed damper on the fresh air make-up feed, something that was easily fixed. At the end of the test period, the client was confident that all aspects of environmental operation met their specifications.

Two screen dumps.  One showing a completed testplan summary, outlining the major categories for each group of test cases (examples of each category - EMC, EM, EPO system, Fresh air unit).  The other screen dump is of a test case form outlining the object to be test (example air handler, PDU etc.) the test result and the expected action, the status of the test (passed, failed, to be repeated)

Independent particulate measurements required after a clean as part of hand-over package

We used an airborne particulate counter to quantify particle concentrations across a range of particle sizes at various points within the hall, at sites of known contamination accumulation, such as in front of air handlers and, in this case, at points in the airflow emerging from floor void. The floor void measurements in particular, fully represented the air quality that will reach servers in the cold aisles once containment has been installed. The measurements were made at a height of 1 metre from floor tile level where open vented tiles were accessible, and above opened ‘brush protected’ cable cut outs where this was not possible. We found that the whole area met the ISO Standard 14644-1 Class 8 limit, with some of the room exceeding Class 7 overall. On the basis of our experience we would expect the room ultimately to perform at better than ISO Class 7.

Particle count table showing the readings and their designated class 7 and 8.  Class 8 is in yellow, glass 7 in green.

While doing air particle measurements, spotted zinc-plated stringers

While investigating the floor void as a part of a routine particle count measurement, our expert spotted an area under the floor that contained zinc-plated stringers. The client was able to replace the potential whisker growing stringers with hot-dipped stringers, before any kit was moved into the room.


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