Colocation Markham

Colocation Markham

Project Summary

Design and construct a leading edge colocation facility in the Canadian market. Establish a new precedent in terms of certifications, where enterprise customers could quantifiably measure the reliability, security and efficiency of their hosting provider. Fully achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Uptime Institute Tier III certifications.


  • Fully complete the project in under 12 months, including site selection/design/permit/construct/commissioning
  • Select a suitable brownfield facility to allow for aggressive project timeline + space and utility growth potential
  • Difficult to achieve LEED certification for purpose built data centre facility (at this time LEED did not have a specific stream for data centres so the certification had to achieve the more rigorous general office specifications)
  • Attempting the first ever Canadian colocation Uptime Institute Tier III construction certification
  • Client request to incorporate best in class elements and technology to all aspects of mission critical offering


  • Short listed numerous brownfield sites and performed utility capacity assessment with local utility providers
  • Largest LEED risk was data centre cooling plant. Needed to quickly research the market for a free-air, non-water based, cooling solution. Required rapid engineering review and equipment selection without settling on obscure technology. Identified Vertiv (at time Liebert) DSE product which was still in alpha testing. Integrated very closely with vendor and client and became the first beta tester in cold weather winter climate
  • Supply chain management required parallel fast tracking of design elements for long lead time equipment
  • Established deeply embedded peer review with Uptime Institute to ensure high degree of first attempt success during their certification process
  • Identified other value differentiators for client to further enhance their colocation offering to enterprise clients, such as:
    • deployed cutting edge and vendor neutral integrated DCIM (data centre infrastructure management) system and advanced
    • fully interlocked biometric, access control and digital/HD based CCTV surveillance systems
    • Installed a gas fire suppression system with zero ozone depletion potential


Project Location:
Markham, Ontario


Uptime Institute Tier III LEED
LEED Silver Certified Building

10MW, 55,000 square feet


The CRSC team provided a turnkey solution including site selection, design, construction, equipment supply, project management, commissioning and detailed operational training. Coordinating all aspects allowed for the extremely tight schedule to be achieved.

The project team successfully delivered on time (actually 1 month early) and on budget, a LEED certified and the first ever Canadian Uptime Institute Tier III certified data center facility.

Tier III certification provides a higher level of reliability requiring redundancy of all critical components to enable concurrent maintainability, which means uptime will never be disrupted for equipment maintenance. In addition to redundancy, all equipment required significant testing for uninterrupted operation during maintenance activities. This included the generators, uninterruptible power supply systems, static transfer switches, and computer room air conditioners. The testing focuses on emergency power transfers at full load, and multiple scenarios which may impact the availability of the data centre under the most demanding conditions. CRSC spearheaded the entire testing procedure which required strict planning and project management.

The LEED certification means methods of design and construction were modified for environmental preservation, including recycling of construction materials, water preservation which includes the cooling equipment selection for the data centre, and energy efficient lighting both internal and external. The free cooling and non-water based mechanical system was deployed for the first time in a production environment and by working closely with the manufacturer, numerous adjustments to configuration parameters were made to further improve reliability in our cold weather climate. An excellent 1.16 PUE was achieved during testing at peak ambient summer time temperatures.

The facility was also constructed with expansion in mind. The incoming utility feeders and medium voltage (MV) switch gear was sized to handled the additional growth. A detailed space planning, logistics and constructability analysis was completed to ensure future phases would have a minimal impact on the live space and not negatively impact construction costs.

This data centre represents the eighth facility CRSC has designed and constructed for this client. CRSC continues to provide comprehensive preventative maintenance at each of these sites.

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