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Data center consultants, designers and builders all play a critical role in projects for establishing a mission critical data center.

When seeking conformity to a standard like ANSI/TIA-942 an extra layer of complexity is added to the project and the success relies greatly on the competences of the consultant and designer and their level of knowledge and experience with the standard. Data center owners/operators should also ensure that the consultant and/or designer is familiar with the correct version of the standard for which the organization seeks conformity. Standards are living documents and a consultant and/or designer who is familiar with ANSI/TIA-942-A does not necessarily has the right competences to design a data center which requires conformity to ANSI/TIA-942-B.


Consultancy/Design/Build Companies

There are many data center design and build companies as well as organizations and individuals providing consultancy services.

We would like to advise data center owners/operators to be extremely careful with individuals providing these services as a “private” person. Whilst these inviduals might have the right competences, trusting your mission critical data center project to a single person, even if it is for part of the project, could pose a risk. What if there is an unfortunate event, e.g. the individual is on medical leave for an extended period? What liability can they take on in case there is a dispute? Etc.

It is therefore highly recommended to always work with companies which are well-established legal entities. They often have multiple people on the payroll who can take workload from each other, and they often have the financial backbone to hire external staff in case it is required. They also have the proper legal structure and insurances for liability-based disputes.

Via this link you can find consultancy/design/build companies. Please note that being listed here does not mean endorsement of any kind and the customer must do their own due diligence to validate whether the company has duly certified staff and the experience required for the project under scope.


Requirements for Consultants/Designers

Consultants/Designers must have the right competences to increase the success rate of a data center design and build project. Whilst there is never a 100% success formula, there are three basic considerations which one should evaluate to increase the likelihood of selecting the right individual(s).

First of all, validate whether the consultant/designer has the right educational background. For example, which certificates does the he/she possess and is it at the right level? There is quite a difference in designing the electrical subsystem within the computer room versus the High-Voltage incoming distribution system. In most countries it would even require a different license. An electrical engineer is of course not qualified to design a mechanical infrastructure based on a chilled water system. It is therefore very clear that creating a design for a data center requires a team of experts and it can never be a single person.

Secondly, validate whether the consultant/designer has the right qualification for the standard to which the data center is going to be designed. For an ANSI/TIA-942 based data center, you must ensure that consultant/designer has a valid CTDC (Certified TIA-942 Design Consultant) certificate. One should check whether the certificate is aligned with the correct version of the standard. The current version is TIA-942-B (July 2017). One should also validate whether the certificate is still valid/active. You can validate CTDC certificates of consultants/designers via this link.

Thirdly, what experience does the consultant/designer has? Ensure that the experience is relevant to the project under scope. For example, a consultant/designer who has experience on a Rated-2, 100sqmtr/1,000sqft project might not have the right experience for a Rated-4, 3,000sqmtr/30,000sqft project. Another often overlooked aspect is to validate whether the project experience is proven. For example, if a consultant/designer claims that the previous Project-A was designed as Rated-X data center, then validate whether the data center actually has been certified. It could be the design has met the requirements, but without proof by means of certification, there is simply no guarantee.  You can validate data centers which have been certified for their design or site facilities via this link


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