Seamless data center project delivery starts with a health and safety mindset

By: Johnson Tan, P.E

There’s one question every client asks us before starting a project:

Why should we choose you over the competition? 

Here’s how we answer that: 

At Yondr, our speed to delivery is lightning quick. We have extensive in-house capabilities. We’re home to some of the most skilled and experienced people in the industry. 

But most importantly, we have a health and safety mindset. 

Don’t be fooled – we’re not just ticking boxes. The reason Yondr builds at such high speeds is because we embed health and safety strategy into everything we do. And as someone who’s worked client-side in the past, I know how much this attention to detail matters. 

Taking on a data center project is a huge commitment, regardless of location. But entering the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region can be particularly anxiety-inducing for clients who are new to the area. Risks of bribery, corruption and reputational damage can make these locations intimidating.

Even within APAC, health and safety standards vary greatly. The likes of Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore have established markets with standards similar to those in the US and EMEA region. Developing countries like India, Vietnam and Indonesia are still developing reporting capabilities and on their way to achieving international health and safety standards. 

At Yondr, we set an international standard for health and safety. So whether we’re operating in Amsterdam or India, clients get exactly the same project delivery experience. And we only work with partners who can uphold and deliver on these standards, too.  

People power
Before our construction partners lay foot on the ground, we take a holistic look at their capabilities, assessing whether their standards align with ours, and the client’s. We look at their financial, experiential, and reputational track record. 

And to seal the deal, we pay a visit to one of the sites they’re working on so that we can see how they match up in real life. Sometimes, clients have their own preferred contractors. In which case, we’ll always work with them ahead of the competition. 

An important aspect of health and safety is how we make people feel. Psychological safety shouldn’t be underestimated; workers who feel safe and valued are likely to be more engaged with the work, and collaborate with other people on site. For those who practice a religion, we provide dedicated spaces for prayer. And in light of the pandemic, we’ve taken extra steps to make sure our people feel protected and appreciated, including mask provisions and onsite healthcare.

Living like a local
Local knowledge can be the difference between seamless project delivery, and construction grinding to a halt. Having experienced people on the ground who are familiar with the area makes entering a new location for the first time a lot less overwhelming. 

We were reminded of the importance of having local talent on the ground recently, when purchasing a plot of land. 

After discussions and initial site due diligence with the land owner and broker, we were feeling confident about the new site. They were keen to close the deal, and we were ready to get started. However, upon a final check with our local engineer, it was revealed that the piece of land was actually contaminated due to the previous land occupant.

Without the insider knowledge courtesy of our local engineer, we’d have been none the wiser. When you hire local talent, you get access to exclusive, hard-won knowledge that can’t be found anywhere else. 

Because we know local talent works, we haven’t relied on the remote control of operations. During the pandemic we were able to mobilise people on the ground, who could keep projects moving smoothly, and investigate what was happening on site at any given time. Not only is this reassuring for us, it gives our clients peace of mind too.

Consistency
Imagine hiring a contractor to decorate your home. Except, someone different turns up each day to pick up where the person before them left off. Finishing off someone else’s job isn’t easy – especially if you’re not sure what they were doing in the first place. 

And you’re bound to step on a few nails in the process. 

One way we mitigate risk at Yondr is by prioritising consistency. Human error is one of the biggest risk factors when it comes to health and safety, and this multiplies when there’s a rapid rotation of staff on site. The contractors we hire for construction work with us from start to finish. No picking up where someone else left off. No disorientating shift changes. 

Business continuity is really important if we want to deliver projects on time, and keep our people safe. Remember I mentioned speed earlier? Having to brief new recruits on a regular basis and introduce them to the existing workflow takes time. And we’d much rather build long term relationships with existing workers instead. 

Let’s not forget, this also benefits employee morale. There’s no better feeling than seeing the fruits of your labour. When there’s frequent staff turnover, workers don’t get to feel the reward of their efforts. The result is disconnected teams, who feel less invested in the work. 

A brilliant project starts and ends with the people. Making workers feel safe, supported, and engaged is our best chance at minimising risk and defining Yondr as data center experts in the APAC region and beyond. 

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