Data center operators are being warned about a costly oversight that could lead to downtime and remedial construction work, according to a new sector report.


Concern is raised around incorrectly designed and installed flues for backup generators leading to overheating and system failure during grid outages. Critical infrastructure malfunction-related downtime may not only lead to steep penalties for data center operators but also reputational damage for the construction and design teams involved.

With research from the Mediterranean Center of Social and Educational Research (MSCER) claiming around 30% of data center construction is remedial work, incorrect design and installation of building services is a disruptive and costly issue that could be avoided.

To support the industry with best practice for flue specification and installation in data center design and construction, leading chimney and flue manufacturer Schiedel has detailed its recommended “critical path” process in its new report the report Flue First.

“This paper aims to address the chimney blind spot in the industry by promoting a 'flue first' mindset, using insights from Scheidel's team of experts,” said Dean Moffatt, technical sector expert at Schiedel. “It discusses the various factors that make correct specification crucial, outlines key considerations for contractors and architects, and provides a better understanding of what a successful installation entails.”

As Savills research cites, data center construction will double by 2025, so ensuring all critical infrastructure is installed correctly first time is essential. With pressure on operators to deliver capacity to meet growing demand, risking the financial penalties and reputational damage that remedial works could pose is not an option.