design & facilities Management Our experience at Sudlows has always been one of balancing continual innovation with scientific review and thorough in- house assessment to determine the best solutions for a project. We recognised early on that correct appraisal of a technology required an understanding of its strengths and its weaknesses, and not for it to be compared to the weakest contender but to the next strongest. True standards, such as BS EN and ISO standards, are a necessity to ensure that as an industry we maintain a common level of quality, safety and, importantly within an industry which consumes so much energy around the globe, consideration for sustainability and the environment. However, the development and publication of standards is not a quick task – some standards, specifically their technical committees, authors, and editors, do an admirable job of keeping up to date. One key limitation however of how quick a standard can and should move is founded in the underlying need for a standard to be built on an approach which has a proven track record. By definition, a standard would be on shaky ground if it was too innovative. 26 | May 2017 Fortunately, there are a number of good technologies which are entering into a phase of an established track record. However, there are still improvements which can be made. Engineering diligence Implementing established best practices while identifying opportunities for potential improvement is the way new best practices are formed but it is important to make sure that new innovations are implemented with the highest level of engineering diligence, and further monitored for performance. If a new approach is understood to have improved efficiency or stability, then it is best to have data to support and substantiate this claim. In addition, it is important to monitor other elements of the system such that any inadvertent negative impacts can be identified and mitigated. Alongside all of this, as an industry we demand the highest levels of availability, reliability, and confidence. As data centre designers, we have a responsibility for an acute appreciation of the balance between a leading-edge technology and a risk. True standards, such as BS EN and ISO standards, are a necessity to ensure that we maintain a common level of quality, safety and consideration for sustainability and the environment. Continuing to develop first class facilities and leading the industry with new best practices requires a continual investment in due diligence, research and development and computational simulation, well before systems are even considered for incorporation into a live project. With this approach, we can ensure that we don’t stagnate, that we don’t just settle for the way it has always been done, and that we don’t just accept inefficiencies because removing them is too complicated. Instead, we can improve, develop and innovate technologies in a safe and confident way, tested and proven to operate reliably with reproducible results and developing a basis for tomorrow’s best practice.