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Category Archives: Harlow Enterprise Zone

JCA showcases data centre firsts at DCW18 with Kao Data London One

Innovations in data centre design, energy-efficiency and sustainability are being showcased at Data Centre World 2018 by engineering services led principal contractor, JCA, which has just delivered one of the UK’s most advanced data centres for its client, Kao Data.

Offering industry-leading flexible configuration and environmental performance credentials, JCA’s design and construction of Kao Data London One followed the innovative principles of the Open Compute Project, one of the first carrier neutral wholesale data centres to do so.

Officially opened last month, Kao Data London One is the first of four planned data centres that will comprise the Kao Data Centre Campus on the 36-acre Kao Park development, located in Harlow on the London-Stansted-Cambridge technology corridor.

Each building in the £200 million campus will be split into four halls, totalling around 150,000 square feet of net technical space.  In addition, each technology suite will be capable of supporting a 2200KW IT load, representing a total technical load of 8.8MW per data centre. Rack densities up to 20kW and beyond can be accommodated within the data hall, which is designed around the principle of hot aisle / rack exhaust air stream segregation with flooded style supply air distribution.

Kao Data London One offers the latest incarnation of Indirect Evaporative Cooling systems. These are so efficient that there is no requirement for any form of mechanical cooling, which assists towards total facility PUE of 1.20 even at part load.

JCA designed Kao Data London One to deliver market leading efficiency from the innovative use of technical infrastructure and building engineering expertise, to provide Kao Data with a campus that has the highest standard of data resilience, operational sustainability and connectivity for national and international customers, as well as environmental performance. As a result, Kao Data London One achieved BREEAM Excellent Design Certification.

Tom Absalom, Managing Director, JCA, said:

“We are delighted with Kao Data London One, which JCA delivered to Kao Data on time and within budget at the end of 2017. This industry leading data centre is a showcase for our full design and construction capability, as well as demonstrating our innovative and collaborative approach to critical infrastructure projects, working closely with both client and supply chain partners to achieve the highest levels of operational and sustainable delivery.”

Paul Finch, Chief Operating Officer at Kao Data, commented:

“I’m delighted that the first phase of the Kao Data Campus has been brought to market according to schedule with all objectives met and importantly, on budget. From the outset of the project we went back to basics with an acute focus on reliability and availability.  We have shown these attributes can be complementary to lower capital and operations expenditure, energy-efficiency and sustainability.

“From a procurement perspective, Kao adopted a collaborative and shared risk approach to delivery, which in light of recent high-profile failures in the construction sector, has strongly positioned both us and our partners well for the future phases of the development.  This is due in no small part to the experience of the management team and the decision to partner with an engineering-led main contractor, JCA Engineering and key equipment suppliers.”

The Kao Data Campus is powered by a specifically installed UK Power Networks 33kV/11kV 43.5MVA substation within the campus security demise. The 33kV utility power supplies are diverse with N+1 33/11kV transformers in the UKPN adopted substation located within the security demise of the campus. The objective of the concurrently maintainable design is to offer 100% availability with N+1 11kV power generation specific to each data centre and each generator comes complete with 48hour fuel storage.

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Blog – Tackling the skills conundrum in UK construction

With the UK continuing to face a chronic shortage of skilled tradespeople, leading building engineering and fit-out specialist, JCA, looks at the changing landscape for the construction labour market and its future prospects.

A healthy construction sector is hugely important to the UK economy. It generates over £110 billion annually, equivalent to 7% of GDP and employs approximately three million people, a figure that’s representative of 10% of the nation’s workforce.

Construction is a high cost, high risk, long-term activity, so its performance is a good yardstick for the general health of the wider economy. When economic growth slows or declines, therefore, construction investment can dry up quickly but when the economy begins to recover, the industry can overheat just as fast.

Having shed over 140,000 jobs in the 2008 recession with a further cull during the 2012 dip, the sector has found itself in dire need of a range of both professional and practical skills, as the industry has begun to expand once more. It is thought that around 20% of all vacancies in the wider construction sector are persistently hard to fill. This is because businesses are finding it extremely challenging to recruit staff with the right skills, qualifications or experience but demand for such roles is forecast to rise even further this year. The impact of Brexit on the labour market could also weigh heavily on businesses, as around 45% of the UK’s 270,000 migrant construction workers are from EU countries.

Research by the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors (RICS) shows that skills shortages are holding back the sector, with 62% of surveyors citing this issue as the major impediment to growth. That figure is up from 40% in 2012 when RICS began its quarterly UK Construction and Infrastructure Market Survey. To compound matters, the retirement rate is on the rise, as 22% of the sector’s workforce is over 50 years old with 15% in their sixties. In recent years, the industry has also lost out to competing sectors, where work is perceived to be more stable.

In tackling this major obstacle to future growth, we must also consider the image of the construction sector within the labour market and perhaps crucially, amongst the next generation of workers. Data from the Construction Industry Training Board shows that the overall appeal of the construction industry as a career option for young people is low, scoring 4.2 out of 10 in the 14 to 19-year old age group.

The Government’s introduction of the new Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017, paid at a rate of 0.5% by employers with a payroll of more than £3million per year, expects to raise over £3 billion a year by 2019-20 in order to fulfil its commitment to increasing vocational opportunities. The funds collected will be accessible to employers who want to purchase Apprenticeship training, regardless of whether they paid the levy or not.

For its part, JCA is exploring the possibility of introducing its own Apprenticeship and potentially graduate-based programmes with the objective of developing ‘home grown’ skills. The Stevenage-based building engineering and fit-out specialist has expanded significantly in the past two years and now employs almost 200 staff.

JCA strongly believes that apprentices have the potential to be the entrepreneurial, motivated business leaders of the future. The company acknowledges that there is a powerful connection between high-quality vocational training and employability but accepts there is a lot of work still to be done to achieve the parity of esteem between academia and Apprenticeships, in order to attract the brightest talent into our sector.

Carol Pape, JCA’s Human Resources Manager, said:

“We need to get young people interested in the sector or the skills gap will widen further. Investing in apprentices and graduates will bring skilled, home grown workers into the market, so we need to work together to appeal to both ends of the spectrum of construction employment. On one side, convincing skilled professionals to see the rewards of working on projects that build a sense of legacy. On the other, encouraging young people to commit to Apprenticeships secure in the knowledge that there is a clear pathway for personal and professional development within a dynamic industry.”

For further information about current opportunities with JCA, please click here

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