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Server Farm TOR2.1 Data Centre

Summarize the project's program, features and achievements?

The Server Farm TOR2.1 Data Centre project is a landmark development in data center construction, being the first of its kind in Ontario to utilize tilt-up concrete panels. This two-story facility was meticulously designed to meet the rising demand for data storage and processing, incorporating innovative construction methods to tackle various challenges. Initially, the project was set to use precast panels, but the team faced significant backlogs with precasters. To keep the project moving forward, they pivoted to using fully insulated tilt-up panels. This crucial decision allowed for construction to proceed despite initial delays in obtaining permits. Due to site constraints and not having the proper permits for the floor slab prior to starting the site, the team thought outside the box and created a temporary casting slab on the other side of the site, which helped maintain progress and created the need for a unique way to lift the tilt-up panels. The construction involved casting 49 composite tilt-wall concrete panels on-site, covering a total of 43,542 square feet. These panels were essential for transferring shear and lateral loads to the foundation, leading to notable steel savings, even though they were not load-bearing.

One of the most impressive aspects of this project was the dual-crane operation used to lift and transfer the panels. Given the distance of the temporary casting slab from the building's footprint, each panel had to be initially lifted by one crane and then transferred to a second crane for final placement. This process required precise coordination and meticulous planning to ensure safety and accuracy, showcasing the team's adaptability and technical expertise.

The Server Farm TOR2.1 Data Centre project also holds significant importance due to the exceptional crew involved. Despite the often-negative stereotypes about Gen Z, our team of young professionals rose to the challenge and completed this complex project with great success. Our crew consisted of 12 individuals with an average age of just 31, including two site supervisors who were only 22 years old, and a skilled crane operator who was just 24. Their expertise and dedication were crucial in ensuring the job was done safely and efficiently. This data center not only pushes the boundaries of construction methodologies but also supports the technological infrastructure growth in Ontario. It plays a crucial role in various industries and contributes significantly to the local economy. The project's recognition in the Group 3 (Project Value from $25M-$75M) Innovation Category of the Ontario Builder Award has drawn more attention to the capabilities of tilt-up construction within the province. By overcoming numerous challenges, the Server Farm TOR2.1 Data Centre project stands as a pioneering achievement in the field of data center construction.

What obstacles were overcome related to the schedule, budget, program, specification, site, etc. on this project?

The Server Farm TOR2.1 Data Centre project faced several significant challenges. One major hurdle was the delay in obtaining permits, which threatened to disrupt the construction timeline. To counter this, the project team decided to cast the tilt-up panels on a temporary slab away from the building's footprint. This allowed panel construction to proceed without delays, and once the floor slab was completed, the panels could be erected promptly.

Site constraints required additional creative solutions. The limited space around the construction site necessitated the use of two crawler cranes to lift and transfer panels from the temporary casting slab to their final positions. This dual-crane operation was complex and required precise coordination to ensure safety and efficiency. Panels were first picked with face picks by the initial crane, then transferred to the second crane using top picks while still supported by the first crane. The second crane then moved the panels to their final positions. This solution involved extensive preplanning, including creating a 3D video of the transfer process to ensure all aspects were accounted for and to guarantee worker safety.

Despite these obstacles, the project demonstrated remarkable problem-solving abilities and a commitment to excellence. The team's innovative solutions and effective management ensured the successful completion of the Server Farm TOR2.1 Data Centre, marking it as a significant achievement in the face of adversity. The use of temporary casting slabs and dual-crane operations exemplifies the project's ingenuity and ability to adapt to challenging conditions while prioritizing safety and efficiency.

Please communicate any engineering complexities or unique features of the panel design for this project?

The engineering complexities of the Server Farm TOR2.1 Data Centre project were significant and required innovative solutions. One key challenge was designing the tilt-up panels to accommodate both front pick and top pick systems used by the crawler cranes. This required precise coordination and timing to ensure the panels were safely and accurately placed without damage. The panel design had to incorporate these dual pick systems, adding another layer of complexity to the engineering process. Although the panels were not load-bearing, they played a critical role in transferring shear and lateral loads to the foundation. This required careful engineering to ensure structural stability and integrity. The innovative design not only met structural requirements but also resulted in significant steel savings, demonstrating both engineering creativity and cost efficiency. The combination of these engineering solutions and the successful execution of such a complex project highlights the team's technical expertise and commitment to delivering a high-quality, innovative data center.

What is the potential for this project's impact on the community and/or environment?

The Server Farm TOR2.1 Data Centre project holds significant potential for both community and environmental impact. As a cutting-edge data center, it supports the growing demand for data storage and processing. This facility enhances the region's technological capabilities, fostering growth and innovation in Ontario. Additionally, the project's recognition in the Group 3 (Project Value from $25M-$75M) Innovation Category of the Ontario Builder Award has drawn more attention to the capabilities of tilt-up construction within the province.

On a community level, the construction of this data center created numerous jobs, boosting the local economy. The team engaged local suppliers and contractors, fostering community involvement and economic growth. Following construction, the data center continues to provide employment opportunities and supports local businesses that depend on robust data infrastructure.

Overall, the Server Farm TOR2.1 Data Centre not only advances technological infrastructure but also demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and community development. Its successful execution serves as a model for future projects, highlighting the benefits of innovative construction practices and sustainable design. The project's success and the subsequent award recognition have increased awareness and enthusiasm for tilt-up construction methods, paving the way for similar advancements in the future.

Main banner image for Server Farm TOR2.1 Data Centre

Project Location

North York, ON M9M 3A8

Project Images


Project Team (TCA Members)

General Contractor:
Concrete Contractor:
Tilt Wall Ontario
Krahn Engineering LTD

Project Specifics

Project Category:
Building Types:
Data Center
Paint (Flat)
Sandwich Panel (Composite)
Number of Floors:
Number of Panels:
49 panels
Total Floor Area:
120,000 sq ft (11,148 sq m)
Project Footprint:
60,000 sq ft (5,574 sq m)
Tallest Panel:
44 ft 11 in (13.69 m)
Widest Panel:
15 ft 5 in (4.70 m)
Largest Panel:
811 sq ft (75.3 sq m)
Heaviest Panel:
83,321 lbs (37,794 kg)