A GMP PROJECT
On 2 remote sites, separated by 10 km in the region of Chartres (Eure-et-Loir), the Crédit Agricole group installed one of the largest computer centers in Europe. The objective of this project, called “Greenfield”, is to store all the group’s digital data in this gigantic datacenter. The buildings were constructed on large foundations the size of 4 football fields! The Greenfield project also had to respect the group’s sustainable development guidelines using natural, recyclable materials, and ecological cooling systems.
500 sqm computer rooms on 2 sites
free-cooling air-conditioning units
Christophe Calange, manager of operations and maintenance of Crédit Agricole Immobilier’s datacenter pole explained his company’s motivations to ratify a GMP contract with Cap Ingelec.
How long have you been working with Cap Ingelec and how did this GMP contract work out?
We hired Cap Ingelec in 2012 to perform an energy-optimization audit of both our datacenter sites. 4 options were identified and 3 were implemented, including free-cooling 1. The final option, which involved confinement of cooling aisles, has just been completed. At the time, Cap Ingelec had already been working under GMP contracts, but we were rather hesitant. After some convincing, we committed ourselves to this project. It’s the first time Crédit Agricole Immobilier has installed this sort of operation.
Why did you choose a GMP solution?
Datacenters represent a special technical challenge and require unique expertise. They are far different from traditional buildings where the work can be contracted out to anyone. It seemed important to use to minimize the risks by avoiding intermediaries and making sure that the chosen contract knew what he was doing. For this reason, we wanted to select an engineering company that would not only provide the design but also manage the implementation so that a single point-of-contact would manage the entire project. We wanted to prevent any supplier making any excuses, good or bad, for any failures. Knowing the rigorous and proven capabilities of Cap Ingelec, I chose the GMP solution because I knew that they would be successful.
So, the economic aspect of a GMP contract was not your principal objective?
We primarily hired Cap Ingelec based on its know-how and experience. The GMP type contract was favorable since it provided an upper budgetary limit. For the rest, we have a very large purchasing department capable of negotiating good prices. This financial dimension was not a high concern. On the other hand, the GMP approach allowed us to secure the worksite by ensuring Cap Ingelec’s complete and lasting involvement with total transparency and partnership-type relations.
How did this collaboration work out and how do you now feel about GMP contracts?
We are extremely satisfied with the methodology Cap Ingelec employed on this project. We were satisfied with the worksite supervision and progress. For this type of sensitive site, we would choose a GMP approach again, however, it is still considered an alternative solution only to be used under specific conditions. The GMP approach should be only be considered on a case-by-case situation since we do not consider it to be a universal panacea.