Houston 2 update: FM 1-120 Roof and Depressed Concrete Slab

Aug 28, 2014

Purpose-built Data Center with Structural Integrity

Almost all data centers in the Houston area are retrofitted facilities – frequently old warehouses or other large, open buildings that have been converted into a data center. Retrofitted facilities make compromises in critical data center design elements, which expose companies to unnecessary risks that can result in downtime of mission-critical IT systems.

From the very beginning, we knew the only way to satisfy the increased demand for colocation and disaster recovery services in the Houston area was to build a premium, purpose-built data center. The advantage of designing a purpose built data center (rather than retrofitting an existing facility) is that Data Foundry can control the design and quality of the power, network, cooling, security and structural integrity to ensure 100% up-time of the facility.

Data Foundry’s 20+ years of experience as a data center owner/operator contributed to every detail in the design and construction of Houston 2. The structural design of a data center is a key component in its overall reliability and security. In this construction blog update, we will explain two key structural elements of our Houston 2 data center; the FM 1-120 (185mph winds) rated roof and the unique design features of our depressed concrete slab.

Current time lapse video

To view the full time lapse from April 2014 to August 2014 click here.

185 MPH Rated Data Center Roof

Over the past week, our construction team reinforced and waterproofed the steel roofing structure for Houston 2. We utilized a fleece backed reinforced roofing membrane to provide a stronger waterproofing barrier on the data center roof. This will allow Houston 2 to withstand wind speeds higher than Category 5 hurricanes and it is rated to handle wind up to 185 mph. Also, independent of the wind rating, the roof is Factory Mutual (FM) 1-120 rated.

Five layers of Factory Mutual approved roofing material staged and ready for application

Crew installing material to waterproof and reinforce the Houston 2 data center roof

The Houston 2 roof is laid and is FM 1-120 rated with a wind rating of 185mph

Purpose Built Data Center Slab

It’s what you can’t see under the slab that really separates a purpose-built data center apart from other retrofitted data centers. In preparation for the concrete slab, conduit for electrical and telecom cabling were laid down and the sub-foundation was leveled. By laying the conduit underneath the slab, it adds both additional protection and reliability for the conduit. Even though the Houston 2 facility is located outside of the 500-year floodplain, we added an additional 4 feet of select fill to raise the foundation level 3 feet above street level for further flood protection. A thick waterproof membrane was then applied on top of the compacted select fill for increased waterproofing. The last step was to pour the concrete on top of the waterproof membrane. The final result is a uniquely designed depressed slab, which means zero ramps or steps from the loading docs to the data center white floor space.

Illustration of waterproofing membrane between the sub-foundation and the concrete slab

Thick waterproofing membrane laid down in the data center hall prior to concrete pour

Concrete slab in data center with temporary plastic covering to help prevent cracking.You can also see the main trench for the chilled water pipes.

Our grand opening celebration in Q1 of 2015 will be here before you know it! Stay tuned as we continue to update you on the construction of our largest data center project to date. UPS installation, data center raised flooring and interior walls are next on the project list.