One of the most exciting times for any company is new construction. With so many systems network aware, ensuring that the your project’s IT needs are being properly looked at is more critical now than ever before. Today a building or office’s network may carry traffic for voice, video, data, security, automation, power control, and HVAC (Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning). Unfortunately your architect(s) may not be aware of what that integration involves and you will end up paying for that ignorance.
IT is very often an afterthought in the design process, squeezed in after a space has been laid out and all other systems have been added. This leads to added costs, network compromises, change orders, and future problems due to poor planning over a building’s life cycle. Most of that can be avoided with careful upfront planning and coordination. That means more than having your IT people talk to your architect, it means having people represent you that have construction and building systems knowledge. Just as important is an inspection regimen during the construction process to ensure that the infrastructure is going in correctly. A well planned design will still cost you time and money if it wasn’t installed correctly.
While a blog post is too short to cover every detail, below are some of the most common mistakes that we see from architects.
- The primary IT room are often placed in the furthest corner of a building when they should be placed as close to the center as possible
- IT rooms often are under powered and don’t have AC. IT rooms need an abundance of power and HVAC. For most larger structures a redundant AC system should be designed in.
- Architects often design runs between rooms that are too far for common Ethernet. If network resources are going to be further than 85 meters then intermediate network closets (IDF) need to be added to the design.
- Roof top spaces and voids are usually ignored. These spaces are ideal for wireless deployments and planning the space for future uses will provide an owner with maximum flexibility without a lot of expense.
- Rooftops have no provision for IT needs. Ensure your architect designs in penetration points with pathways back down to an IDF , MDF, or telco closet.
- Architects often don’t know what systems have network capability. All systems should be reviewed for network awareness and provisions made for connectivity even if the network controls are not planned to be used. (Has your IT guy talked to your security vendor, your local service providers, the engineers responsible for designing your building’s HVAC systems?)
- Architects and contractors often only include duct or pathways for what is on the drawing or required by a local service provider. Always include 2 spare ducts from the curb to your building’s IT room or service entrance. Always put in a spare duct with pull string between MDF & IDF locations.
These are just a few of the suggestions that will save your company time and money when it comes to new construction. These common sense suggestions apply to almost every type of structure from an office building to a luxury hotel. Don’t forget that a lot of these suggestions apply to retrofits and building out a space as well. Good project management and oversight during the design process right through to construction and building occupation will save you money up front and in the future.