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Many businesses are now either building or expanding designated data centers to improve their information infrastructure. These spaces have gradually become essential parts of a business or even the core of the business. The design and layout of these spaces are still poorly understood by many: data centers come with complex requirements, especially when it comes to maintaining a constant 365 day a year, 24/7 temperature. They even come in a ranked order of redundancy and permitted downtime. A Tier I data center might be all you need for your small business at first, but if you’re deeply dependent on online revenue, it might be time to upgrade to Tier II or Tier III. A company’s information nerve center also needs to be protected from the weather variables coming from the exterior but also the interior heat generated by its own hardware. Whether your burgeoning company is building its first data center, or if you’re an established firm expanding on infrastructure that hasn’t been updated since computers used punch cards, you want a contractor who understands the unique demands of this sector of construction.
If you’ve been given the task of finding a contractor for this kind of job, you’ll find that this list may well make your job a bit simpler. We’ve selected the top 25 firms that have worked on projects for notable IT and multi-technology companies such as Google, Yahoo!, IBM, Equinix, and CyrusOne. The ranking of firms is based on the scope of projects completed, experience levels, customer reviews, and industry awards, but any particular firm might be the right fit for your specific region and needs. Many of these contractors offer their services nationwide and even across the globe.
22) BlueScope Construction
1540 Genessee St., Kansas City, MO 64102
In 2015, BlueScope Construction was one of the general contractors selected to build the $1 billion-plus data center of Switch located at the east of Reno-Sparks in Nevada. This colocation facility has an area of more than 3 million square feet, and the data of industry giants like eBay, Xerox, DreamWorks, and Shutterfly is housed there.
The company specializes in the design and construction of large commercial and industrial facilities such as distribution centers, manufacturing plants, data centers, and aircraft hangars. Operating for nearly 50 years in the construction industry, BlueScope is among the few general contractors in the state that includes in-house services like structural engineering and detailing, material ordering, scheduling, project management, site supervision, safety, steel erection, and concrete. And they offer those services across the nation. BlueScope Construction is also a green builder that maintains affiliations with the USGBC LEED.
21) Vogel Bros. Building Co.
5460 Fen Oak Dr., Madison, WI 53718
Vogel Bros. Building specializes in construction services for companies in the science and technology, water and industrial, education, health and wellness, civic and commercial markets. It is a client-centric business driven to achieve one solid mission: to continually improve its services in order to enhance the lives of the people in the communities it serves. Its President and CEO, Peter C. Vogel is a leader and strategist who ensures that the Wisconsin and Florida offices are aligned. With 120 dedicated managers, craftsmen and support staff, Vogel Brothers continues to be an award-winning firm. Over its 91 years of service, the company has received several community awards including BUILD Wisconsin awards in 2016 and in 2018.
Among its portfolio of science and technology projects, Vogel Bros renovated a 2,500 square-feet space for Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc. The Tier 2 data center project—located in an existing office and warehouse facility—needed an uninterrupted power supply, emergency generation, and data center cooling during the construction process. The company worked closely with the owner and IT staff during the design phase to complete this sensitive project successfully.
1999 Ave. of the Stars, Suite #2600, Los Angeles, CA 90067
AECOM is a Fortune 500, world-class company that offers professional infrastructure services to over 100 countries around the globe. Officially established in 1990, the company specializes in architecture, engineering, design, science, management and more. It has produced numerous construction, renovation, design, and installation projects for many markets including commercial, residential, power, healthcare and transportation.
Chairman and CEO Michael S. Burke brings the company together by maintaining a clear set of core values: to operate ethically and with integrity, to create innovative solutions, to develop and celebrate its people, to understand the complexity of the clients’ challenges, to grow the business through operational excellence and flawless execution, and to transcend the industry by reimagining what is possible. With these core values, the company consistently adds to its list of accolades including the recent 2018 Project Merit award for climate change adaptation and resilience, and a Consulting and Engineering award for greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation from the Climate Change Business Journal.
An example of the company’s LEED Gold Certified project is the conversion of a 220,000-square-foot warehouse in New Jersey into a multi-tenant Tier 3 data center facility. The project was for a privately-held colocation company.
19) Weitz Company
420 Watson Powell Jr. Way Suite #100, Des Moines, IA 50309
Weitz Company is a full-service general contractor, design-builder, and construction manager that provides construction services for commercial, industrial, and heavy industrial companies. Agriculture, aviation, critical facilities, and data centers are just a few of the market sectors it serves nationwide. It was established in 1855, and it has built a reputation for being reliable, innovative, and efficient. It has earned several awards in the past including an ENR Midwest Region Best Project, the ENR Southeast Region Best Project, and a Build America Merit Award from the Associated General Contractors of America.
One of its most distinctive works is the mortgage home base of Wells Fargo in Iowa. It was completed in a fast-track schedule of 22 months. The 36,000 square-foot data center of the facility is located beneath a parking lot, one of the first in Iowa built underground. The interior of the office building features numerous unique finishes, including break rooms, an open atrium with custom artwork suspended from an overhead skylight, a state-of-the-art cafeteria, and aquatic features that include pillars cascading water.
18) Hensel Phelps
420 Sixth Ave., Greeley, CO 80632
Focusing on excellence in safety, quality, sustainability, and technology is the mindset that keeps Hensel Phelps at the top of its game. It celebrates 80 years in the construction industry serving California, Colorado, Virginia, Hawaii, Washington, Florida, Texas, and Arizona. With a broad range of services including construction, development, and facility services, the company has completed projects for a number of industries such as aviation, commercial, science, and technology. The company has earned prestigious awards from ENR including the 2018 Project of the Year Office/Retail/Mixed-Use Development Best Project and Excellence in Safety for an office building located in Denver. Also in the same year, ENR Texas & Louisiana awarded the firm with the Best Project of the Year 2018 for The University of Texas at Austin Engineering Education and Research Center.
In 2011, a private client from Cheyenne, Wyoming hired Hensel Phelps for the construction of a 77,478 square-feet data center. The facility was designed for the use of supercomputing, data storage, as well as collocation to third-party customers. The project won an Excellence Award for Fast Track Construction in 2012 from the American Concrete Institute, Colorado Chapter.
17) Nabholz Construction
612 Garland St., Conway, AR 72032
Nabholz Construction is a national multi-service contractor offering a full range of construction, industrial, civil, and environmental services. For 40 years, the firm has been licensed to provide its construction services in 43 states nationwide with offices located in Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Missouri. This award-winning firm is led by Greg Williams, an alumnus of the University of Arkansas and a former CFO of the company for 17 years. Every year since his appointment as CEO in 2014, the company has received Excellence in Construction awards from the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) of Arkansas. Nabholz Construction has been the preferred contractor in Arkansas of many prominent companies in the country, such as McLarty Nissan, Smith Ford, Inc., Harley-Davidson Corporation, and Hewlett Packard.
Among the company’s mission-critical projects is a four-story data center for Axicom, a technology and services company that provides data foundation for a number of worldwide players. This complex structure that features multiple data processing applications, teleconferencing capabilities, extensive computer/security systems, and other essential data center elements took only 10 months to complete.
16) Balfour Beatty US
3100 McKinnon St., Dallas, TX 75201
Balfour Beatty US is an international construction company based in the UK that maintains eight offices in the US. With its main US office located in Dallas, the company offers its construction and design-build services to clients nationwide. From civic to healthcare, offices to data centers, Balfour has completed over 130 projects and has reached a total revenue of $4.4 billion for the year 2018. Over the years, the firm has obtained a number of accolades including earning the 6th place in BD+C’s Top General Contractor in 2014, as well as 4th place in the Top 100 Office Construction Firms in 2016 from the same magazine. This top ranking general contractor specializes in performing heavy civil and vertical construction.
The firm is experienced in handling construction work for data centers with a construction value of $50M – $100M. Its knowledge about Building Information Modeling (BIM) gives the company a competitive advantage in designing mission-critical facilities. Understanding that increased efficiency and reliability are crucial in the Telecommunications and Emergency Operations industries, the company ensures that all components of the infrastructure must operate continuously, without exception or incident.
15) Mortenson Construction
700 Meadow Ln. North, Minneapolis, MN 55422
Serving Chicago, Denver, Fargo, Iowa City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio, Seattle, Washington, D.C., as well as locations in Canada, Mortenson Construction is one of Minnesota’s fastest growing general contractors. It caters to a diverse set of markets from aviation to the science and lab industries. The firm aims to align the client’s facilities with their business strategies. Mort Mortenson is the Chairman Emeritus of the company. He is responsible for the planning and oversight of business development, operations, and services of the firm. With an exceptional management team, the company has won multiple awards from several organizations including a DBIA Award, a NAIOP Awards of Excellence, and a high ranking in the Top 25 Real Estate Developer Award from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal in 2016. In 2018, the company was ranked #3 Top Contractor by ENR Midwest.
One of the company’s data center projects was featured on NBC 5’s Chicago News. The project was made for a major client known as QTS, a leading provider of data center solutions in North America. It was completed in 2016 with a total construction cost of $80 million and a size of 317,000 square feet.
14) Swinerton Incorporated
260 Townsend St., San Francisco, CA 94107
Since 1888, Swinerton Incorporated has been working toward a common purpose, to be the preferred builder and trusted partner in every market it serves. With integrity, passion, and excellence, the company strives to be among the leading firms in the country. It provides an array of construction services from small tenant improvement projects to LEED-certified green building to ground-up residential towers to solar power plants. The company is a recipient of multiple awards including the Award of Excellence Federal/State/County/Municipal Category from the DBIA in 2018 and an Award of Honor for Project Design from the Community College Facility Coalition in the same year.
A great example of one of the company’s data center projects is a 93,000-square-foot build-out for Latisys, a national IT infrastructure services provider with a large data center in Irvine, California. The facility consists of four energy lab units, “hybrid” systems that provide 1,200 tons of cooling via air and water side economization and evaporative cooling. The project was completed in 14 weeks.
13) Fluor Corp.
6700 Las Colinas Blvd., Irving, TX 75039
A world-renowned engineering and construction firm, Fluor Corporation offers its engineering, procurement, construction, and maintenance services throughout the US and in 100 countries across the globe. The company focuses on providing these services to specific markets such as energy, power, mining, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing. With headquarters in Irving, Texas, Fluor is a Fortune 500 company that recorded revenue of $19.2 billion in 2018. Today, the company has more than 53,000 employees worldwide and has branches in 16 countries. In its long list of awards, the company is most proud of being placed on the list of World’s Most Admired Companies published by the Fortune Magazine. Fluor has also been acknowledged as the World’s Most Ethical Company by Ethisphere.
With a well-earned reputation, businesses with big names choose Fluor to be its contractor for its projects. One of Flour’s major clients is Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. Pfizer hired the company to build its new Central Research Division global headquarters, located in New London, Connecticut. The facility consists of a 700-seat cafeteria, a personal services mall, a 200-seat interactive training space, a self-contained data center, a 1,750-car parking structure, a daycare center, and a visitor’s welcome center.
12) Walsh Group
929 W Adams, Chicago, IL 60607
The Walsh Group is a family-owned construction company led by Sean Walsh, a fourth generation company leader with nearly 30 years of experience in the industry. Established in 1898 by Matthew Myles Walsh, the company started off as a small carpentry business. The time passed, and the company evolved, and as of 2018, Walsh Group is the 13th top contractor in the US. Today, the firm owns 18 regional offices and has a total of 8,000 skilled tradespeople and professional staff. It has built numerous projects for various industry sectors such as corporations, transportation, and hydro/power in its 121 years of service. Apart from its high rankings from ENR in various categories, it’s past projects with prominent clients such as Target, Blue Chip Casino, and Honolulu FBI Field Office proves that the company is one of the country’s most trusted, reliable contractors.
In its impressive portfolio of data center projects, this four-story office building with a 185 square-foot area stands out. It was built for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk as a secure command and control facility for acquisition, assimilation, and analysis of real-time intelligence. It contains an automated data processing center with Tier II-plus reliability, open and closed high-security workspace, conference rooms, a video teleconference center, a technical library and more.
777 Woodward Ave. Suite #300, Detroit, MI 48226
In the 103 years of Walbridge’s existence, it has completed numerous complex projects for various commercial, industrial, and government sectors. Because of the firm’s skill and experience in creating diverse structures, it has become an established construction company recognized globally for its ability to work on elaborate projects on time and within budget. Over the years, the firm has amassed a myriad of awards and recognition that boast of its abilities. Most recently, the FCA named it the Supplier Diversity Supplier of the Year—a title that recognizes companies that have shown exceptional commitment to the FCA by providing innovative and quality products and services. In 2018, Walbridge was named The Association of Union Constructors (TAUC)’s Thomas Reynolds Award for Safety and Health award winner. In the same year, the firm ranked 48th on ENR’s Top 400 Contractors list and 23rd on Building Design+Construction’s Top Data Center Contractors list in its 2018 Giants 300 Report. In addition to these, the firm was also recognized by publications such as the Detroit Free Press and Crain’s Detroit Business.
In the realm of data centers, one of Walbridge’s most notable projects is Compuware’s One Campus Martius—an award-winning 17-story complex that houses corporate offices, street-level retail and restaurant spaces, a food court, a wellness center, a daycare, and other supporting spaces along with an attached parking structure. This complex’s Tier III data center is 42,000 square feet in size—roughly 15,000 square feet of this structure has a raised floor and is a dedicated computer space, while the other 27,000 square feet houses a technical library for computer system operations. Carrying an N + 1 redundancy design, this data center is able to handle a 900kW critical load and features a 1,400kW uninterruptible power supply along with a 2MW backup diesel generator.
10) Brasfield & Gorrie
3021 7th Ave. S, Birmingham, AL 35233
AmSouth Bank established its Regions Operations Center in Hoover, Alabama. The Tier III/IV data center is an approximately 460,122 square-foot facility built by the state’s award-winning general contractor known as Brasfield & Gorrie. The building consists of 1,401 square-feet central plant area, 15,000 square-feet of white space, 120 W/square-feet density, a total critical IT load capacity of 1.8 MW, and 2N redundancy. It also has raised access systems to give space for computer and data wiring and cables and two chilled water systems to cool the computer units. The project received an Excellence in Construction Merit Award from ABC.
Brasfield & Gorrie is a 55-year-old company that began as a small general contractor working on commercial and remodeling projects for niche markets. Today, Brasfield & Gorrie offers its construction services nationwide with an annual revenue of more than $3 billion and an average project value of $14 million. The company has been highly ranked by a number of magazines, including #13 among the country’s top BIM construction firms and #21 among the top Data Center Facilities construction firms listed by BD+C. It also topped several ENR lists and has earned awards from multiple organizations.
9) Gilbane Building Co.
1499 W Palmetto Park Rd. Suite #105, Boca Raton, FL 33486
Listed as one of the Top 400 Contractors in the US in 2018 by ENR, Gilbane Building Company is a globally integrated construction and facility management services firm owned and operated by the Gilbane family. Chairman Thomas F. Gilbane Jr. is the seventh family member to lead the company since its founding in 1873. The company provides its spectrum of services to a variety of business and industries, including civic, cultural, education, commercial, science and technology, transportation, to name just a few. It has multiple awards and high rankings from a myriad of organizations and magazines; highlights include ranking #3 in the Reconstruction category from the BD+C Giants 300, #4 in New Contracts from the ENR Top 400 Contractors list, and a National Excellence in Construction Awards in 2015 from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).
A project that required the company’s fast track scheduling service was the renovation of a national operations center for Quest Diagnostics. It houses the Human Resources Shared Services and contains a 24-hour call center that serves as a central hub.
8) Fortis Construction
1705 SW Taylor St., Suite #200, Portland, OR 97205
With the goal to make an impact in every project, Fortis Construction is driven by its core values that focus on building relationships, pushing boundaries, strengthening the will to win, and maintaining an excellent work ethic. Its core competencies include general contracting, preconstruction, construction management, and Building Information Management (BIM). In the short 15 years of its existence, the firm has delivered outstanding work, recognized with significant awards including a 2018 Industry Professional Distinguished Leader of the year award by the Design-Build Institute of America, and an AIA People’s Choice Award. They’ve also ranked high on the list of Inc. Magazines 5,000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies, and another ranking in Oregon Business Magazine’s 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon.
In the company’s portfolio of data centers, the 1,000,000 square-feet Facebook Prineville Data Center Campus stands out for a number of reasons. The center is located in Prineville, Oregon and is still expanding today. The project earned a LEED-NC Gold Certification which addresses the environmental impacts of site and materials selection, demolition, and construction.
7) Skanska USA
350 Fifth Ave., 32nd Flr., New York, NY 10118
For over 120 years, Skanska has been providing its construction, project management, and engineering services to different countries around the globe. The Swedish construction firm established its US branch in 1971 in New York which now serves as its US headquarters. The company has worked on major projects, from hospitals to stadiums, airports to corporate headquarters, and power plants to tunnels and bridges. Skanska has built millions of square feet of data center projects around the globe making them one the most experienced data center builders in the country.
Skanska USA alone has built five—mostly Tier III+—data center projects for big telecommunication and tech companies such as IBM. The company’s past projects reached up to $44 million with a total area of 1,000,000 square feet. These mission-critical projects include the construction of a two-story Tier IV data center facility for a confidential client. A lean design-build delivery approach was implemented for this project to meet schedule, budget, and quality standards. Among other challenges, Skanska USA had to rework the building’s control system in order to deliver a cooling strategy that uses nearly 35 percent less energy and to expand the 16 MW phase one project to 69 MW. This 3-year project was completed in 2010 and achieved a LEED Gold certification.
6) HITT Contracting
2900 Fairview Park Dr., Falls Church, VA 22042
HITT Contracting offers preconstruction, sustainable construction, and virtual construction nationwide. This Virginia based company also has regional offices in Georgia, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, Virginia, Washington, Florida, and Texas. Specializing in commercial real estate construction, the company has built corporate offices for clients such as the Center for Strategic & International Studies, the Glenstone Museum, and Boston Properties. It has also produced buildings for tech-companies and organizations such as Datacert, the US Department of Veterans Affairs, and the National Cash Register (NCR). Chairman Emeritus Russel Hitt has been an active member of the community and a supporter of both local and national organizations. He assists in the Building Construction Program at Georgia Tech, and he has held board positions for the Northern Virginia Builders Association, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce, the Washington Golf and Country Club, and the Arlington YMCA.
An example of the HITT’s projects for a confidential tech-company is a large data center on the Network Access Point (NAP) of the Capital Region’s campus.
5) Structure Tone
770 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
Structure Tone is one of the leading construction management and general contracting service providers in the country. The company uses advanced tools that help reduce costs, stay ahead of schedule, and improve market speed to keep the team fully adaptable throughout the entire construction process. Whether in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas—or international locations in Canada and the UK—the company provides services and maintains high-quality standards in all of its projects. With a strong management team led by James K. Donaghy—Executive Chairman of the Structure Tone Organization—the company continues to secure a myriad of achievements from prestigious organizations and publications. In 2018, the company won a Design & Construction of a New Facility (under 40,000 square-feet) award from the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) and four awards from the General Building Contractors Association (GBCA). This year the Dallas Business Journal and ENR recognized various professionals in the company for their achievements.
The company has worked on a number of projects for markets such as broadcast/media, commercial, cultural, healthcare, and more. We found this mission-critical project, the data center project for Yahoo!, especially intriguing. This high-density data center has a total of 184,000 square feet, it’s 100 percent air cooled by an outside system using hot/cold aisle separation, and it employs an air economizer and an array of louvers for air intake and heat rejection.
4) Hoffman Construction
805 SW Broadway Suite #2100, Portland, OR 97205
Construction management, general contracting, design-build, and integrated project delivery are just a few of the many services offered by Hoffman Construction throughout the US. The firm was founded in 1922 by a former architect who graduated from Harvard College, Lee Hawley Hoffman. With the company’s new technologies, advanced construction methods, challenging project types, and safety practices, the company has provided construction services for complex markets such as biopharmaceutical, transportation, mission-critical, and hi-tech industries. Its exceptional works have received notable awards in the past including an AIA Merit Award, a Preservation Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Best Hotel Award from Boutique Design.
Its most significant data center project is the construction of a 30,000 square-foot facility for the BendBroadband Vault which serves its West Coast customers, built to 24/7, “critical facility” standards. It won a LEED Gold Award for its energy-efficient cooling feature, a thermal wheel known as the Kyoto.
3) Holder Construction
3300 Riverwood Pkwy, Suite #1200, Atlanta, GA 30339
As the leading data center contractor in the US, Holder Construction has been in the business for over 50 years earning more than $1 billion in revenue in 2017. Recently, the firm was selected by major tech and IT companies to construct its data centers such as Facebook’s $750 million data center located in Stanton Springs, Atlanta. Another project expected to be finished by June 2019 is Iron Mountain’s 550,000-square-foot expansion in Phoenix which will cost $430 million for its first phase. The company continues to make it to the top five best data center contractors by BD+C earning first place in 2017.
Holder Construction is also an award-winning firm in other categories such as commercial construction, higher education, corporate office buildings, resorts and hotels, aviation, and more. The company is currently being managed by Chairman and CEO Thomas M. Holder.
2) DPR Construction
1450 Veterans Blvd., Redwood City, CA 94063
DPR Construction is a commercial and general contractor that serves customers nationally and internationally through 28 regional offices around the country and three other offices in different parts of the globe. It offers a variety of construction services, including collaborative virtual building, sustainable construction, pre-construction, and a special services group. Advanced technology, commercial, healthcare, higher education, and life sciences are the company’s core markets. The name DPR comes from the name of the firm’s three founders: Doug Woods, Peter Nosler, and Ron Davidowski. The firm has completed over 590 projects, many of them decorated, including a 2019 Silver Award Winner for Best Medical Project from the Los Angeles Business Journal, a Golden Trowel Award from the World of Concrete event, and an Excellence in Safety Award from the Construction Employers Association.
One of DPR’s exceptional mission critical projects is a 600,000 square-feet data hall with an additional 50,000 square feet of office space on the 40-acre site. It is one of CyrusOne’s fastest and largest ground-up data center projects to-date which was completed in just 11 months. It is part of an area in Loudoun County, referred to as the “Data Center Alley,” which hosts several data centers that are collectively responsible for as much as 70% of the world’s internet traffic.
1) Turner Construction
375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014
This international construction firm headquartered in New York has built a total of 39 data center projects in multiple states. It has provided construction expertise to notable clients in the data center industry such as Equinix, Data Realty, AT&T, Fujitsu, and more. The company’s construction services for Tier III+ data center facilities include high-density office space for research and development, extensive critical power control and reliability systems, installation of telecom fiber, hot aisle containment, server racks, extensive utility relocations, rock blasting, and a lot more. Many of its mission-critical projects received LEED Gold and Silver certifications.
Since 1902, Turner Construction has been offering its construction, design-build, engineering, and BIM services to diverse market segments locally and worldwide. It is globally recognized and frequently awarded for its large, complex, innovative, and sustainable projects such as the San Diego International Airport which won the 2014 Project of the Year award for the Green Build Expansion from ENR. More recent recognitions include high rankings from Advisory HQ, earning the 6th place in the Best Commercial Building Contractors In The US, and another top ranking from ENR, earning a place in The Top 100 Green Buildings Contractors and Green Buildings Design Firms.
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