Case Studies

Data Centre – Eastern Creek Campus

Hanna Bros – trusted and reliable craftsmanship  

At Hanna Bros, we engineer hydraulic systems that are secure, resilient and robust. Our extensive experience in medium to large-scale commercial and industrial projects is one reason we were selected to work for a leading Australian operator of secure, world-class data centres. We were also chosen because of our innovative business practices, use of modern technological solutions and reputation for providing reliable services.

We tendered for this project, and we were hired as subcontractors by Hindmarsh Construction. We’ve already worked with the team at Hindmarsh Construction, and they knew they could trust us. We have a proven track record, as well as experience managing and completing projects on the scale that this data centre demands.

‘For us, selecting Hanna Bros was an easy choice,’ says Greg Byrne, Site Manager at Hindmarsh Construction. ‘Hanna Bros are known for their high-quality hydraulic services, large stormwater structures, sewer drainage and rainwater harvesting. Their entire team is experienced, professional and reliable – they’re all people you can trust.’

Background – data centre at Eastern Creek

Eastern Creek campus is a 150,000 square metre developmental site that housed an existing data centre. To put the size of this in perspective, 20 Sydney Opera Houses would fit inside the perimeters of the Eastern Creek campus. Currently, we are helping to transform the Eastern Creek campus into Australia’s largest data centre. This is something we are very proud of because we know how important it is for our government and private companies to protect their data in secure facilities.

Today, the Eastern Creek campus has three available, self-contained data centres (EC1, EC2 and EC3) that deliver 48 megawatts of power. When completed, the Data Centre – Eastern Creek campus will grow to six modular units (EC1 through to EC6), with the ability to reach 120 megawatts in capacity. From start to finish, this will be a 15-year project, taking place on a worksite that is roughly one kilometre long.

We are in our fourth year of working on this project, and we have completed EC1 through to EC3 – all finished on time and budget. For all these data centres, we were in charge of delivering a hydraulic system as a design and construct package. We designed, constructed, and certified that our hydraulic system works and meets all Australian standards and codes. This also means that we are in charge of looking after civil stormwater, the hydrant system, sewerage and fit out.

Laying the groundwork

At Hanna Bros, we pride ourselves on our ability to address challenges and adjust to new environments. We treat every project as unique, allowing us to engineer high-quality hydraulic systems that meet specific requirements. We tailor our solutions to your needs, rather than approaching tasks with a ‘one size fits all’ mindset.

For the Data Centre – Eastern Creek campus, we successfully installed a hydraulic system that was designed to overcome the challenges present in the worksite’s existing landscape. The Eastern Creek campus rests on an old quarry. Today, the entire site is backfilled – the bottom of the excavation is 30 metres deep. As this is a filled site, the ground underneath it acts differently to untouched soil. When air and moisture enter this ground, it shrinks. We addressed this challenge by using supported bracketing to ensure pipes will not drop or fall away when the ground subsides underneath them. Our suspended drainage system is attached to the structure of the building. This means that when the ground subsides or shrinks, the drainage system is still supported because the pipes are suspended on the building’s structure, which keeps them in place.

We also improved the hydraulic system that was in the existing data centre. This data centre was built in 2011, before the client purchased their Eastern Creek campus. To fix this hydraulic system, we conducted an exploration activity, hydro-vacuumed the soil and completed a close inspection of the work carried out by previous plumbers. We then replaced existing hydraulic structures and put robust, concrete bracketing on our new pipes. We also rediverted the hydraulic system and made new calculations of potential water rainfall.

‘We always set high standards,’ says Michael Wildman, Site Engineer at Hanna Bros. ‘I take great pride in our high-quality services and craftmanship. What sets us apart is our focus on designing and constructing robust hydraulic systems, rather than something that will soon need to be replaced. We know that our hydraulic systems will stand the test of time. This focus on durability and longevity is always at the forefront of my mind when I work. I want the work we complete to last for many decades to come.’

Installing a rainwater tank (in the middle of a global pandemic!)

At the core of our reliable service is our ability to be flexible. In every large-scale project, there are always a few unexpected hurdles and events. We know that we must be ready to adapt if we are to overcome these challenges and avoid lengthy delays.

For the Data Centre – Eastern Creek campus, it’s safe to say that we never envisioned working during a global pandemic! Despite this unprecedented event, we still managed to install a 2000 litre rainwater tank, overcoming both logistical hurdles and delays caused by COVID-19. The sheer size of this rainwater tank – 17 metres long and 4 metres in diameter – presented a challenge for us. It had to be delivered as one pre-made unit, on the back of a truck. When the rainwater tank reached the Eastern Creek campus, we used vehicles to manoeuvre it into location. From here, we employed a construction crane to place the tank into an excavated site.

We ensured that our excavation was safe and able to accommodate the rainwater tank.
The excavation was 6 metres deep and its base was 6 metres wide. We also calculated the required benching, allowing the top of the excavation to be 15 metres wide. After these careful calculations, we successfully installed the rainwater tank into a very difficult location. This is because the tank needed to be placed between Eastern Creek’s existing data centre and EC4. As this is a live data centre site with live hydraulic and electrical services, manoeuvring the tank required precision and patience. We relied on our skill and expertise to ensure that no damages or accidents occurred throughout this whole process.

‘In 2020, when the bulk of COVID-19 hit Australia, we were worried that EC3 might be delayed,’ recalls Scott Webb, General Manager at Hanna Bros, who is currently overseeing twelve projects. ‘We had to go full steam ahead if we wanted to complete this section on time. This was particularly true when it came to installing the rainwater tank. We were waiting on products coming in from China because there was a shortage of resin and fibreglass. We overcame this delay and minimised its impact by pre-installing certain items and then backfilling the tank in a shorter timeframe than we had previously planned for. This hard work and flexibility allowed us to put the project back on track and avoid extended delays.’

Caring for our environment – high-quality and sustainable pipes

When designing and engineering the Eastern Creek campus’s stormwater system, we employed innovative and sustainable technology. In the past, stormwater systems relied on reinforced concrete pipes (RCP). Instead of RCP, we used StormPRO pipes which are made of plastic. StormPRO are twin-wall, corrugated pipes suited for a range of applications, such as non-pressure stormwater and drainage. These plastic pipes are faster to install and significantly lighter than RCP, but they maintain the same strength and class as concrete. The benefits of polyethylene (PE) pipes, such as StormPRO, are numerous and include:

• improved strength and flexibility
• crack resistance
• lightweight
• lower occupational health and safety risk
• easy and more time-efficient installation
• optimum hydraulic flow
• increased adaptability.

The lightness and flexibility of StormPRO pipes allowed us to minimise the risk of injury – particularly as some of the stormwater trenches were ten metres deep. On top of this, polyethylene uses recycled materials and is more environmentally sustainable than concrete. As StormPRO pipes are made from polyethylene they are also more sustainable than Polyvinyl chloride (PVC). StormPRO pipes have an efficient design that reduces raw material usage, improves their longevity, and allows for them to be recycled. These pipes are also less likely to crack than rigid pipes, resulting in less leakage and subsequent environmental issues.

‘At Hanna Bros, we take great pride in our innovative business practices and modern technological solutions,’ says Nathan Hanna, Founder of Hanna Bros. ‘This commitment to cutting-edge technology allows us to provide high-quality and reliable services. It also helps us look after the safety of our team and care for our environment. These responsible work practices are reflective of our core values. We’re a family-owned and operated business. Even as Hanna Bros has grown over the years, we still uphold family values because these values are at the heart of our company’s culture.’

Experts in our field

Constructing a data centre is no easy task. There is a team of highly skilled Hanna Bros employees working on the Eastern Creek campus. Their expertise ensures that our hydraulic systems are secure, resilient and robust. We know that our work at the Eastern Creek campus will stand the test of time. We have even engineered our hydraulic systems to withstand a range of catastrophic events, such as seismic activity.

The three data centres that we have helped construct will soon be part of Australia’s largest data centre. This world-class facility is an important and much-needed undertaking. We take pride in knowing that Hanna Bros’ robust, high-quality hydraulic systems are keeping Australia’s knowledge, resources and information safe.

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