Facebook requires massive storage infrastructure to host the enormous stockpile of hundreds of millions of videos, photos, location information and other data added by users at a steady rate every day. The social media platform has therefore been building massive data centers in different parts of the world since 2011, with one being in Clonee, a village and townland in County Meath, approximately 16 km outside Dublin, Ireland.
Facebook’s Clonee Data Center, built on a 250-acre site, is a €300 million project in Ireland which became functional in 2018. Construction on the project began in 2016. The Data Center features two 25,500 square feet buildings that currently house eight data halls, linked by an administrative building. The project uses 100 percent renewable energy Facebook employed 1500 people to build the data center and spent €596 million on construction activities. The general contractor for the Clonee Data Centre ─ the Mace Group ─ used Autodesk’s AEC collection – BIM 360 cloud-based platform ─ for construction management.
Autodesk’s BIM 360 solution was used by the Mace Group across the entire project lifecycle, that is, from pre-construction to design and planning, construction and operations and maintenance. The client team of Facebook, Mace group employees, and contractors, all bought BIM 360 and Cloud technologies for Cloud-based coordination. BIM 360 was used to spearhead pre-construction coordination and allow for Cloud-based clash detection using design models. In the pre-construction and construction phase, stakeholders could make, consolidate, and share changes in real-time from the construction site, a process that would otherwise have taken more than a week. By using BIM 360’s Common Data Environment (CDE) platform on Cloud, the team was able to compare the design models with the real-time data of the construction site. The team was able to thus map and align the delays, defects and surprises faced by contractors on the construction site with the designed models and simulations. The real-time collaboration across teams also helped Mace manage supply-chain performance, logistics and track construction progress in real-time. Since Facebook also had access to the real-time Cloud-based system that hosted the design models, models, the review process was collaborative and quick. Mace also automated the process of aggregating the design team’s Revit BIM models, reducing the time of model management from 440 minutes to 10 minutes.
Mace used drones to monitor the construction site and used the aerial imagery to manage the quality and inspection process by integrating the captured data with BIM 360. Additionally, Mace used virtual reality (VR) technology to provide Facebook with walk-throughs of the model before the drawings were sent for construction, so as to reduce the time of design approval.
Further, since Facebook required accurate as-builts to facilitate the operations and maintenance, Mace used laser scanning technology to create precise as-builts. The laser scanner captured multiple scans and millions of point cloud data to develop accurate models of supports, walls, building systems, etc. These data points were also further integrated with Revit models for managing the construction and operation and maintenance (O&M) processes of the data centre.
The Mace Group won the Large Project Award at Autodesk’s AEC Excellence Award 2018 for the construction of the Facebook’s Clonee Data Center in Ireland. Mace’s use of cloud-based construction management and Autodesk’s AEC collection – including Autodesk Revit and Autodesk Navisworks ─ helped Mace’s employees be 35 per cent more productive. Client teams, designers, and contractors could all participate in quality assurance, decision making and controls processes and save more than 14 hours each week via real-time collaboration. All the stakeholders using BIM were able to save 8 hours per week and were at least 21 per cent more productive.
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