Cost model: how construction can meet the data centre challenge


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With the demand for data storage soaring, the construction industry must find ways to rise to this challenge efficiently and sustainably, against a background of land and energy scarcity


Source: Shutterstock

01 / The age of the data centre

Data centres are the critical infrastructure enabling modern life, and they are undergoing a period of rapid expansion. Increasing demand for data storage and processing power will put resources – particularly land and power – under increasing strain. This presents an acute challenge for the construction industry: meeting the rapidly increasing demand both efficiently and sustainably, while navigating a complex landscape of construction costs, and ever-evolving land and energy scarcity.

The boom in data centre demand is focused particularly in the FLAPD markets (Frankfurt, London, Amsterdam, Paris and Dublin). The UK data centre market is the largest in Europe, having passed 1GW at the end of 2023, and it is expected to pass 2GW in the next few years, with London accounting for around 80% of the UK market.

The International Data Corporation estimates that 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years, and within another two years the volume of data stored worldwide will double in size.

In this article we present an outline of the market, the commercial considerations for data centre projects, and offer a cost model for a notional 30MW facility in the south of England.

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