HDR | Hurley Palmer Flatt Group has contributed to the design of a pioneering new data centre in Townsville, Queensland, Australia, built to withstand extreme weather events, including cyclones.

HDR | Hurley Palmer Flatt Group provided the mechanical services design for iSeek’s North Queensland Regional Data Centre, in Townsville, a Tier 3 designed facility, designed to remain intact during category 5 cyclones with a force of up to 280 kilometres per hour.

Protecting the critical cooling system from flying debris was one of many challenges addressed in the design. Peter Gaston, Project Director at HDR | Hurley Palmer Flatt Group,explains:

“We considered all the scenarios to deliver this pioneering facility, including fixing mechanical components to the structure in a way that they can withstand extreme force, and addressing the knock-on effect on airflow. Add to that there are only a few types of protective mesh certified for use in cyclone areas, so the whole process demanded meticulous coordination of equipment and design.”

The data centre’s mechanical structures also had to contend with Townsville’s tropical climate. Auxiliary systems, which ensure IT systems can continue running in the event of serious downtime, had to be protected and positioned to prevent exposure to humidity. Due to the data centre’s remote location, HDR | Hurley Palmer Flatt Group engineers had to canvass local capabilities carefully to ensure the mechanical equipment could be easily maintained.

“There is no doubt this is a fantastic piece of infrastructure developed and supported by a group of forward-thinking organisations and individuals,” says Gaston.

ISeek’s newest data centre has been developed in partnership with Optus and Schneider Electric, with anchor tenants including James Cook University and Townsville City Council.

Ian Porter, Chief Operating Officer at iseek, says typical data centre construction methods have been amplified in the Townsville project:

“Everything has been considered, from double hinging gates, to condenser cages providing protection from flying cyclone debris, tropical climate humidity control, reinforced concrete walls, and internal walls to meet the Queensland Government Cyclone shelter standards. We have achieved a new benchmark in data centre design for environmentally volatile environments.”

The facility features fully redundant cooling systems, redundant power supplies to equipment; energy efficient, controlled air distribution to the data hall; energy efficient cooling using variable speed compressors; and variable speed fan control on CRAC units.

The data centre also features state-of-the art BMS control and condensation elimination.

HDR | Hurley Palmer Flatt Group is now working with iSeek to expand the capacity of its Eagle Farm campus in Brisbane with a second data centre for the precinct.

It will be a 6MW purpose-built greenfield facility that is Uptime Institute Tier 4 rated.