Author: Andy Lake
Date: 9th July 2020
My name is Andy and I work for The Bunker as an electrical engineer at their Newbury site. I have been working as an electrician for more than 10 years on various sites from houses to colleges to farms and hospitals. I have worked in office blocks, factories, new build houses and renovations. I have worked for a charity maintaining a substantial amount of England’s historic monuments. One field I hadn’t worked in was a data centre. I applied and here I am, 4 months later.
I knew working in a data centre would be different to a regular electrical environment. The closest I came to was a hospital or a tech company office. They had generators, cooling and even a UPS. But they don’t compare to a tier 3 data centre. You can’t come to a data centre and expect to work like you did before. You can’t just flick a breaker of to quickly change that item or move that cable. Everything is planned, everything is risk assessed and nothing is a surprise.
The building I work in is rich with history, being an old command centre for the RAF you can still see some existing items specifically made for that bunker. I like having to swing open giant blast doors to get outside, it is a fantastic security feature both physically and mentally. Last month we had a hydraulic specialist come in to maintain a hydraulic pump that was used to open and close the air dampers outside. Being an existing building, we are presented with challenges daily like the amount of reinforced concrete walls between floor voids. A cable run is not as straight forward as you would think and takes a lot of planning to get it right. The command centre would have had to have had the best telecom connections in the world and our sites take full advantage of that fact. Resilience is built in with multiple connections for our networking and power systems. We maintain a vast array of cooling systems with backup capacity should anything break.
It is a privilege to work in and maintain such fantastic piece of history, and what better way to repurpose it as a critical piece of infrastructure. This building could have been left to decay and fall, it maybe could have been used as an office block or some flats. We are recycling this building as befitting its design and preserving it’s cultural significance.
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