Two engineers on a construction site looking at a laptop

All too often, IT infrastructure and architecture are not thought about early enough in a construction project.

If considered too far along in a project’s lifecycle, it can be too late to implement exactly what the client wants. Additionally, everyone involved needs to understand the various roles in place and consider all elements required, from infrastructure and cabling, through to equipment, end-user devices and services. Developers should therefore get IT on the agenda from the outset, clearly establishing requirements from all involved.

Managing the key elements

With over 30 years’ experience in supporting Kent County Council (KCC) with capital projects, Cantium Business Solutions are working with UK construction companies to provide the essential IT element for new builds. Tailored to the needs of each project, this can include strategic planning and consultancy, infrastructure design and installation, IT purchasing and ongoing IT infrastructure support for the client.

For each project, construction companies may have many systems in place, and without these being linked, it can be hard to get a comprehensive overview of all the information needed. This is another area where an IT provider like Cantium can help, by linking systems to allow for easier access to shared knowledge across a team. Also handling the installation of important IT and communications infrastructure from the outset.

Construction projects usually involve several Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Plan of Work stages, so early involvement in the process is key to effectively advising on what’s needed, whether this is simply a broadband connection, on-site servers or systems specific to the building function. With an understanding of the defined standards for education and healthcare facilities, we can ensure the different installation needs are met, helping contractors and developers to navigate these.

Working from the ground up

In the capital projects programme that Cantium is delivering to KCC, our team is structuring this alongside passive and active network elements installed by the contractors, meaning that when the client moves into the building, the correct standard of IT infrastructure will already be installed and considered from (literally) the ground up. Similarly, we can support construction teams by providing ‘day 1 connectivity’, ensuring they can access their corporate systems from the minute they walk on site to manage the project remotely.

Within the service, we also help to manage the division of responsibilities. If contractors aren’t clear on their requirements, delays are inevitable; something which we have experienced on past projects, with broadband lines and lifts being ordered too late. Although early involvement would have allowed us to identify this, we were able to develop tailored 4G solutions to temporarily support these systems and enable the construction team to maintain the project timeline.

Such experiences are why we look to take responsibility for overseeing and managing projects from day one – providing quick turnarounds for IT installation with the ability to implement systems such as CCTV and alarm systems early on.

Recently, we successfully completed a project at the Rowan Tree Health Clinic on behalf of construction company, Beardwell, receiving excellent feedback. The scope of works included IT passive and active network design installation, testing and commissioning, electronic access control, staff attack and intruder alarm systems, CCTV and fire alarm systems, and specialist lighting.

More than just IT infrastructure and architecture

Truly, the scope of our projects often involves more than just IT infrastructure and architecture, with support even extending to better managing the snagging process. Managing this all under one banner helps to give peace of mind to contractors and ensure consistency, efficiency and high standards of installation and service. By providing an end-to-end solution, from strategic discussions through to ongoing infrastructure support, we simplify the process, removing the need to work with multiple providers.

As technology continues to advance, new buildings will inevitably require more comprehensive networked systems. Furthermore, the rise in video conferencing and hybrid working setups will make it more vital than ever for these systems to be considered well in advance and managed efficiently to ensure the right technology is accessible.

Going forward, contractors should prioritise IT requirements from the outset, seeking out providers that deliver end-to-end IT infrastructure and architecture solutions, to allow for a smooth, efficient installation.

If you would like to discuss how Cantium can support your project, speak to one of our experts today on 03000 415555.