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Considerations for building a Comms Room/Server room

The location of the server room or comms room as it is more commonly known must be considered as a priority when designing an office as there are so many key elements that must be allowed for to ensure that the comms room is able to perform efficiently and effectively.

Building a server or computer room requires attention to six main design factors:


Computer or server room location needs to be considered before even thinking about the layout of the room’s contents. Where possible, the computer room, or comms room, should not be built against an exterior wall of the building. Exterior walls can be damp and may contain water pipes that could burst and effect the equipment. Avoiding exterior windows is also recommended, where the window may cause a security risk and may also be susceptible to breakages. It is also good to try to avoid both top floors and basements that may flood or leak. If a centralised computer room is not possible, server cupboards on each floor may be considered. This is where computer, network and phone equipment are housed in closets.

Designers also need to evaluate any possible sources of interference near to the computer room including electrical interference from power plants or lift rooms.

Other design considerations include room size, door sizes, physical security, ramps (to get equipment in and out), cable organization and maintenance access.

Air conditioning

Computer equipment is sensitive to heat, humidity, and dust. It generates heat; maintaining a stable temperature and humidity within high tolerances is critical to IT system reliability.

In many server rooms "close control air conditioning" systems, or PAC (precision air conditioning) systems as they are also known, are installed. These systems control humidity, temperature and particle filtration 24 hours a day and can be remotely monitored. They can have automatic alerts that activate when conditions in the server room move outside defined levels.

Air conditioning for these rooms can either operate as Up flow air conditioning or Down flow air conditioning.

Up-flow air conditioning

With up flow conditioning, air is brought in to the front of the air conditioning unit or air handler unit (AHU) and it is then cooled over the heat exchanger. The air is then sent as cooled air out via the top of the unit or via duct work.  This configuration suits retro-fitted computer rooms where raised floors are either too shallow or not available.

Down-flow air conditioning

This air conditioning unit draws the air into the top of the air handling unit, cools the air over the heat exchanger, then distributes the air out of the bottom into the floor void. This conditioned air is then discharged into the server room via carefully placed floor grilles and onwards to equipment racks. These systems are best for new office buildings where the design can encompass raised floors suitable for ducting to computer racks.

Fire protection

The fire protection main goal is to detect and alert a fire in the early stages, then bring fire under control without interrupting the flow of business and without threatening the staff in the building.


The demands of server rooms are constantly changing as businesses evolve and grow and technology changes. An essential part of computer room design is ensuring new requirements can be accommodated with minimal effort. As computing requirements grow, the server room's power and cooling requirements also grow.

The choice of racks in a server room are usually a prime factor when determining space.


The level of redundancy is determined by elements such as whether the business can tolerate interruption whilst fail over systems are activated, or must they be achieved without any business impacts. Other than computer hardware redundancy, the main consideration here is the provisioning of fail over power supplies and cooling.

C|S|M can assist in ensuring your Comms/server room is suitable for your requirements and considers the future needs of your business.

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