Aspire Managing Director Nigel Begg was struggling to find a company with the right qualifications to put a specialist roof on his latest expansion.
So he took a course and built it himself.
Nigel said he wanted to ensure the work on his £1.2m, 3,500 sq ft datacentre stayed in the region:
“The project is really important to the future of the business, but we still wanted the work to go to north east firms.
“However, the architect wanted a very high-spec roof on the datacentre and the nearest firm with the requisite skills was in the south of England. The roof had to be both highly secure and eco-friendly, and the roofing system specified by the architect had to look good too.
“I was also very interested in the construction process so I thought, ‘you know what, I’ll do it myself.”
So Nigel took a couple of the contractors working on the site with him and the three travelled to Wales and spent two days on a Tata-Steel approved installation course.
“We were based in a huge steelworks that had a roof set-up a couple of metres off the ground,” he explained.
Nigel returned to Aspire’s Heworth Hall HQ with the necessary skills and spent weekends and spare hours over a fortnight completing the datacentre roof.
“I enjoyed the work, and I now know the building far better than I would have otherwise. The datacentre will give our customers greater flexibility and assurance and I like to think the episode shows exactly what we will do to improve our service to customers.
“The datacentre will take us to the next level in terms of what we can offer our customers. It will be categorised as Tier 3, which is one of the most stringent datacentre ratings offering the highest levels of resilience, security and 99.98% availability.
“We wanted the independence and flexibility that a datacentre would give us and our customers. It will enable us to support the evolving needs of the marketplace and provide high availability solutions, virtualisation, consolidation, remote management and remote monitoring.”
Chris Fraser, Technical Director of Aspire, added:
“The datacentre will be among the most energy efficient in Europe, using revolutionary evaporative cooling technologies rather than traditional refrigeration which results in greatly reduced electricity consumption for all IT equipment and servers. This in turn reduces operational costs which can then be passed on to our customers.
“We already have presence in five data centres across the UK, all of which we will retain moving forward. It’s important to point out that the new facility is not about replacing existing space; it’s about further expanding our business and meeting demand.”
Funding for the data centre came from Aspire’s management and a Let’s Grow grant from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) of £220,000.