London East Build Blog – Weeks 37 to 39

Our team enjoyed some much-needed time off over Christmas, following a long run of works on-site at NLE in the closing months of 2020.

This first instalment of the Build Blog for the new year shows the current state of the facility as we head firmly into 2021 – the year in which our new site will launch to clients for the first time.

Before we start, did you catch our NLE envelope time lapse video? If not, here it is again for your viewing pleasure!

Weekly overview

The first few weeks of January have primarily been comprised of desk work, bringing end-out plans together as we enter the next phase of development.

As part of this, we’ve made great strides in finalising plans for our diverse dark fibre routes, which we will be announcing very soon.

Aside to planning work, we’ve also been completing some smaller tasks on-site, which have helped keep progress up despite the Christmas break and the focus on more general plans and scheduling.

So here’s an update of photos showing additional work completed since our last update, along with some general site photos to serve as a starting point for the Build Blog in 2021.

Here we see some of our new checkerplate cladding being prepared for installation to the wall system in high-risk areas
The checkerplate installed along the first floor corridor, to protect the walls throughout customer routes
Another view of the first floor corridor with its checkerplate in place
A look at the checkerplate which flanks both sides of Data Hall 1 (and will follow in all other halls), protecting walls behind the outward-facing row of racks in each pod
A look at the evaporative cooling system and cold corridor containment at the rear of Data Hall 1, with the flanking checkerplate on both sides of the room visible
Here we see the rear of the CREC system in Data Hall 1, which is the cold corridor space
One of the two supplementary air conditioning downflow units in place in Data Hall 1
A look across Data Hall 1, to the temporarily placed racks, showing the second supplementary air conditioning downflow unit in place
A view down the length of the first floor corridor, with the completed checkerplate fitted
Here we see the two supplementary downflow AC units in place in Data Hall 2, ready for future occupancy
This is the full blank system in place in Data Hall 2, which will be replaced with evaporative coolers at the time of conversion into an occupiable colocation space
This closer view of the custom blanking system, which is used to create the dynamic cold corridor space, shows full population with blanks – there are final finishing blank strips to be installed along the top of the plinths, along the floor edge
This is a rear view of the CREC blanking system in Data Hall 2, comprised exclusively of blanks, with the rear access panels for filter changes in the plinths visible along the floor line
First Floor Loading
Our first floor loading bay has also now been clad in checkerplate
First Floor Loading
The view looking towards the warehouse from the first floor loading bay, which will have a special fall risk safety system installed once the site is live
A view down into the loading bay, as the warehouse checkerplate sheets for that area are test-fitted
Data Hall 3 on the ground floor is currently being used as an extended storage room while works are ongoing
An alternative view of Data Hall 3, and some of the items currently held in this space while works continue
Data Hall 4 remains the emptiest white space inside the new facility at this time
Another view across Data Hall 4
This view of Data Hall 4 shows the adaptable cold corridor space that will hold the future cooling plant for this space, in whichever format best suits at the time of fit-out – this also leaves options open for private room conversion for a single large tenant
This view from the rear corner of the DR suite space shows the room ready for future fit-out, later in the build process
Ground Floor Loading
This is the ground floor loading bay, looking out into the warehouse, which sits directly below the first floor space of the same nature
Ground Corridor
A look down the ground floor access corridor, with the entrances to Data Halls 3 and 4 seen on the right – this space will have its checkerplate installed in the coming weeks
A view down the entry way ramp to the speed gates, which are close to having their integration completed
The first floor atrium at the top of the stairs, showing the lift internals nearing completion
The view down to the entrance ramp, from the first floor atrium / landing, with what will be our two-story green wall clad in timber on the left
The custom made triple-flight access staircase which sits centrally within the new facility
A look up the double-height atrium from the first staircase landing, with the timber clad shaft wall shown on the right, which will have the green wall fitted to it
This is a view inside one of our LV power rooms, with some of the UPS and battery enclosures in temporary dust wraps held for future use in this space
This is the same LV room as above, looking out towards one of the the risers (left) and the ground floor loading bay
This is the second LV room, a reflection of the first, with the same kit in temporary dust wraps ready for future deployment
The reversed viewing angle from the above LV room, again showing a riser (right), leading into the ground floor atrium
The completed feature / texture wall in place in the NLE meeting space, which matches the tiles used on the large feature wall at the NLC NOC
Build Room
This is our new build room and customer breakout area, with some white goods now on-site ahead of kitchen installation in due course

The checkerplate is the most obvious visual addition since the last instalment of the Build Blog, covering the walls in all high foot fall customer routes. This gives much-needed protection and a great deal of added visual energy to the space. Custom plates for all high risk doors will also be installed soon.

The reason for having most of the ceiling tiles still in a state of removal is simply for ease of ongoing access. We still need easy accessibility above the grid for cabling overhead services during the build, and as such we will only be installing the tiles once access requirements calm down. This is to ensure the tiles are installed with the least amount of disturbance once in place.

As you can see from the wider facility photo set, the progress made in the last ~8 months is impressive to say the least. As a reminder of where we’ve come from in that time, we’ve included a set of day one photos of the space below.

Warehouse 1
A view from the rear of the main warehouse area
Warehouse 3
The main warehouse space, viewed from the front, with the existing amenities block in view
Office NOC
A view across the office and future NOC area

What our team have managed to achieve in this time is staggering (even more so as this all occurred in the middle of a global pandemic!), and we’re incredibly proud of everyone involved, particularly as we move onto the next phase of energisation, preparing us for launch later this year.

What else has been happening?

We’ve expanded our team!

We’ll be making the official announcement soon, although the hawked eyed among you may have already seen this causing quite a stir online.

We’ve also been going through our first ISO recertification audit, following our initial accreditation to both ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 back in 2017. This will renew our certificates for another three years, with annual surveillance audits covering the 12 month cycles in between. The scope of our certifications will be expanded later this year, to include the new NLE site. This is our first fully remote audit, thanks to the COVID pandemic, which has been an interesting new approach to the audit process.

What’s next?

Planning on the next phase of electrical works will continue, with a number of exciting developments to announce very soon.

We’ll also be continuing with a wide variety of supplementary works, which will includes taking delivery of our first customer enclosure pod; racks, containment, blanks etc, which will allow us to layout our first occupiable colocation space within Data Hall 1.