ANU High Performance Computing Facility

Project Features

  • High performance computing and data services facility
  • Approx. 4,000 sqm
  • 24/7 operation requiring uninterrupted supply
  • High power computer rooms house Australia’s most powerful computer system
  • Condensed project time frame
  • Use of BIM technology to configure revised plant room pipework layout
  • Off site prefabrication of pipework and ductwork systems
  • Installation of two new HEX’s into tight plant room
  • Upgrade and replacement of cooling towers
  • Temporary relocation of equipment to support uninterrupted supply
  • Future motorised valves cut in to allow for seamless changeover to and from “free cooling” cooling tower
  • Stainless steel underfloor loops (valves, fittings, pipe) to support distilled water system requirement
Year Completed

Project Details

Located at the Australian National University in Canberra, the purpose-built High Performance Computing and Data Services facility is home to The National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) and contains the most powerful supercomputer in the Southern Hemisphere.

Benmax successfully completed the mechanical services fit-out for this 4,000 sqm purpose-built building back in 2012. Designed with capacity for future expansion, the facility contains office accommodation, boardroom facilities, meeting rooms and staff facilities across one level, with the second level housing two dedicated high power computer rooms. The facility operates 24/7 across 365 days of the year and requires an uninterrupted power and cooling supply to maintain the performance of its critical data services.

Since the original construction and fit-out was completed, advancements in technology meant that the high-power computing systems housed at the site had become more energy efficient and an upgrade of the cooling system was required to reduce the overall energy consumption of the facility. With technical expertise a key consideration for the project, Benmax was awarded the mechanical services contract for the upgrade by Shaw Building Group.

The existing facility was running on 18-degree chilled water however, the new system runs at 32-degree cooling water meaning the system is able to utilise “free cooling” from the cooling towers. This resulted in significantly less cooling load being placed on the chillers and allowed for the removal of one (now excess) chiller from the system. Further project works included the upgrade of cooling towers and the installation of new HEX’s within the tight plant room space.

The Benmax team utilised BIM technology throughout the project to support the design of the revised pipework layout in the plant room, and to enable the offsite production of prefabricated materials. This process greatly assisted the team in meeting the condensed construction time frame and critical need for minimal disruption and downtime during works. The project was successfully delivered in mid-2020.

Following completion, the ANU HPC upgrade project went on to win a significant industry award and we congratulate our project partner for their achievement.


2020 Master Builders ACT Building Excellence Awards

  • Winner – Project Displaying Technical Difficulty or Innovation Shaw Building Group.
Mechanical services fit out for 4,000 sqm purpose built high performance computing and data services facility

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We design, build and maintain specialised mechanical systems for commercial and industrial facilities to provide healthy, safe and efficient indoor environments for people to live, work and play. We’ve spent three decades building our reputation. We’ve done that by doing a good job, and getting another job.

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