Western States Fire Protection Co. received notice May 1, 2006 to install a fire sprinkler system in Microsoft’s data storage facility in Quincy, Washington. Microsoft is constructing several large data storage facilities around the country with Quincy as their first stop. Quincy is a farming town in Central Washington, located hundreds of miles from Microsoft’s home office in Redmond. Originally a potato producing community, and town with only two stop lights, Quincy is quickly becoming a silicon community with the new Yahoo facility a mile away from the Microsoft site. The 55 acre site is slated for three buildings, each one approximately 500,000 sq. ft., for a total of 1,500,000 sq. ft. of data storage. Upon completion 30 to 50 people will be employed at the facility. The site was selected for it’s inexpensive land, cheap power and location in a non seismic zone.
The data storage facility is unpretentious looking from the outside, like an ordinary warehouse, but houses rows and rows of server racks that consume unbelievable amounts of power. The site has an electrical substation, diesel generators and batteries for backup power in case the power is interrupted. The site requires 48 megawatts of power which is enough electricity to supply roughly 14,000 homes.
Western States Fire Protection Co.’s first day on site was May 5, 2006. They were handed new drawings and specifications, none of which the project estimator/salesman had seen before. June 1, 2006 FM Global joined the team, further changing the scope of the project. Construction started May 10, 2006 and they started installing pipe July 17, 2006.
Most of the fire sprinkler pipe was fabricated at Vipond Fire Protection in Canada. The 669 Union field crew, headed up by Carl Svarverud, worked day and night shifts in some of the most unfavorable conditions; 100 degree plus heat, dust storms in 80 foot boom lifts, and night work with rented light towers. Work started two weeks after structural steel erection with no concrete slab to work on. Boom lifts were required to maneuver over miles of buried electrical conduits and what seemed like endless buried electrical vaults. With all of these challenges, the field crew beat the estimated field labor hours with safety their number one priority.