Overcoming Data Centre Construction Challenges with VisiLean

Optimising Data Centre Construction: Overcoming Major Challenges with VisiLean
Categories: Blog

Overcoming Data Centre Construction Challenges with VisiLean

In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, our reliance on the internet has more than doubled over the last few years. With digital transformation exceeding in every sector, the high demand for information exchange leads to increasing growth of data centres. However, numerous challenges often plague these projects, ranging from complex and high-cost endeavours to coordination issues with multiple stakeholders. This blog will delve into overcoming data centre construction challenges with VisiLean effectively.

Challenge 1: High Complexity and even Higher Costs 

Data centre projects are inherently complex and entail substantial costs. A lot of trades are interdependent. These projects have high levels of risk attached to them and without proper management, they can quickly spiral out of control, leading to delays and budget overruns.

VisiLean advocates implementing Lean Construction principles and tools to optimise project efficiency and reduce costs. By streamlining the production processes, you can focus on micro-level detailing of the project plan. Such lookahead plans are then linked with the BIM model to track the current build status through effective visual management. VisiLean helps in elaborative construction planning by upgrading from traditional sticky notes, typically confined to a room. With dedicated construction management software, the project team can focus on improving workflows, enhancing productivity, and eliminating repetitive processes. This ensures that data centre projects are completed on time and within budget.

(Read more about Lean Construction, here.)

Challenge 2: Multiple Stakeholders and Coordination Issues 

Data centre construction involves multiple stakeholders, including architects, engineers, contractors, suppliers, and clients. Coordinating activities among these diverse parties can be challenging, leading to delays and communication breakdowns.  
VisiLean offers collaborative planning tools that facilitate real-time communication and collaboration among stakeholders. With greater involvement of the stakeholders on the unified platform, it leads to the efficient and safer execution of projects. It improves the delivery of the trades from the work getting committed to checking off prerequisites in the Weekly Work Plan (WWP) for execution. This creates a sense of certainty and reliability amidst the team towards delivery of the project, before hitting ground. By providing a centralised platform for production management, VisiLean ensures delivering high value to the customer. 

Challenge 3: Poor Communication on Project Status and Go-Live Targets 

In data centre construction, having visibility of the project status and go-live targets is crucial for success. Clear-cut visibility into the project status enables better cost control in real-time. This helps in monitoring budget utilisation and identifying any cost overruns early in the project lifecycle for taking corrective actions. However, traditional project management methods often involve multiple communication channels, leading to a lack of transparency. This makes it difficult for the project team to track progress and make informed decisions.  

VisiLean aligns with the increasing demands of data centre projects by managing construction activities based on the physical location. Through effective location-based planning, work continuity is ensured on the basis of quantity and resources to achieve realistic productivity targets. This approach enhances coordination by assigning activities to the relevant zones within the project site. In the fit-out phase of the data centre projects, these zones typically have numerous modules to be installed which can be tracked in real-time through a detailed installation programme. This is very useful in allocating resources based on the proximity of the work area for efficient space management. With VisiLean, Project Managers can easily monitor progress, identify bottlenecks, and adjust timelines as needed for scheduled completion of projects. 

Challenge 4: Lack of Work Clarity Impacts Deadlines and Costs 

Lack of work clarity can lead to project delays and control failures. Any deadline missed can be heavy on the pocket of all stakeholders involved. They may have to pay humongous, liquidated damages or penalties which will also impact the project timeline. This is why project teams are always on the lookout to keep the construction on track by planning effectively and communicating change orders clearly, wherever necessary.

VisiLean facilitates smooth workflows for better coordination among project teams. The platform enables micro-level detailing of all work packages during the lookahead (4/6/12 Week Lookaheads – WLA) meetings. On VisiLean, these tasks provide important details to teams on the ground, such as make-ready date, location, priority, attached documents, quantity, constraints, notes, etc. During these lookahead meetings, tasks are assigned to the relevant owners, who would provide live status information from the site by using the VisiLean mobile app, LiveSite. Streamlining communication and providing clear guidance on tasks and responsibilities will be useful in overcoming data centre construction challenges with VisiLean.

Challenge 5: Lack of Spatial Planning and Time Waste

The waste of time through waiting, defects, and rework, is a common problem in data centre construction. It is often caused by inefficient spatial planning and delayed deliveries. VisiLean advocates for the implementation of just-in-time delivery through systematic and visual-spatial planning techniques to minimise such waste and improve project efficiency.  
With VisiLean, the team details the zone-level schedule during the Phase (typically, 12-16 WLA) planning. By using digital tickets, the relevant project information is linked to the 3D BIM models during the collaborative meeting itself. This transforms the BIM models into a visual planning tool that allows the team to overview the current build status at all times. Further, this interactive 4D environment in VisiLean also allows the trade to visualise the sequence of works in the lookahead meetings, prior to their execution. The optimised flow of materials and resources saves time for the entire team when compared to the conventional process of reviewing hand-drawn markups on dozens of 2D documents. VisiLean helps reduce waste and streamline construction processes, ultimately leading to faster project completion. 

Challenge 6: Delayed Deliveries and Coordination Issues

Data centre construction often involves working with specialised vendors and suppliers who provide critical components and equipment. Delays in deliveries or coordination issues with these vendors can significantly impact project timelines.  

VisiLean helps address this challenge by establishing clear involvement of suppliers and their deliveries within the production planning systems. The Kanban-style ticket approach is used during the execution of the project to overcome this challenge. This streamlines the handovers among the quality supervisors, task managers, and commissioning agents through push notifications and fosters closer collaboration. VisiLean ensures that deliveries are timely and coordinated effectively with vendors by implementing robust supply chain management practices. This leads to the timely completion of the commissioning phase of the data centre projects. 

Challenge 7: Data Centres Being Perceived as Unsustainable

With growing concerns about environmental sustainability, data centre construction projects face increasing scrutiny. Reports suggest that data centres and data transmission networks alone contribute to upto 1% of energy related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To align with the Net Zero Emission targets for 2050, emissions must be cut in half by 2030. The stakeholders constantly ensure that the designs of data centre projects meet sustainable and green goals. In fact, during the operations of these projects, it is also important to acknowledge the need to achieve sustainable targets.

VisiLean supports the Net-Zero targets by adopting sustainable construction practices for the efficient execution of data centre projects. By minimising defects and rework through detail-oriented planning, VisiLean promotes resource efficiency to reduce the amount of waste from the construction processes. This bottom-up approach to resource management at the ground level is useful to plan and track labour, material, and equipment, during various production stages. VisiLean’s Sustainability Tracker (in development) will calculate real-time carbon emissions from each of the production phases to help monitor and minimise their environmental impact to meet the sustainability goals.

(Read further about VisiLean’s motto on sustainability, here.)


In conclusion, data centre construction presents numerous challenges that can impede project success in the industry today. However, with VisiLean’s innovative solutions and expertise, these challenges can be overcome effectively. With a track record of helping build numerous hyper-scale data centre projects since 2018, VisiLean promises efficient gains for all stakeholders; from Clients, General Contractors, to even their Subcontractors. By implementing Lean construction principles, utilising collaborative planning tools, and adopting sustainable practices, data centre projects can be completed on time, within budget, and with minimal environmental impact.

Unlock the full potential of your data centre construction projects by booking a demo with VisiLean now!

Don’t get left behind. Discover how VisiLean can enable your teams to be more efficient. Want to know more? Head to our YouTube channel , or visit our website, to learn about all our features and book a demo with our team!

VisiLean had a transformative year in 2023, marked by significant achievements and milestones. We made strides in enhancing our construction management solution through embedded reports on the mobile app LiveSite, integrated with Procore for document management, and introduced Takt Visualiser, which solidified VisiLean's commitment to lean principles. The collaboration with NICMAR University in India furthered research in Lean construction and BIM, while the participation in events like Digital Construction Week and presenting our research paper at IGLC 2023 showcased VisiLean's thought leadership in the industry. This year culminated with the celebrations of VisiLean's Foundation Day, setting the stage for continued innovation and collaboration in 2024.
Construction industry's future is here! AI empowers teams, integrated systems unify data, & sustainability takes centre stage. Discover how construction trends of 2024 & VisiLean can streamline your projects & build a greener future.

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