Tower cranes don’t belong in telecom closets… and other lessons learned

April 1, 2024
Sam Holt

Sam Holt

Managing Director

A Help Net Security article I recently read, Advanced AI, analytics, and automation are vital to tackle tech stack complexity cites that ‘organizations are drowning in data’ and that for ‘88 percent of organizations their tech stack has increased in complexity over the past year.’ Many of those same organizations report that they expect their tech stack to continue to grow more complex. With this comes new challenges: more data to manage, more complex cybersecurity challenges, and new operational hurdles. In my two decades in this industry having worked in roles spanning from PM, PX, Project Superintendent on Mission Critical projects, to now managing technology integration as the director of Aptitude, I’ve observed this explosion in technology and the challenges around it first-hand.

Years ago on a job site, a tower crane was placed up through the electrical rooms creating a considerable delay for our electrical trade partners. While this memory is comical now, it’s a good example of how building systems can be viewed as lower priority in a construction project. The problems that arise when not prioritized are getting worse as technology ecosystems become more complex. To put it simply; it is stressful for everyone involved if the technology does not work. Not only that; it must work on day one, and it must work in the way the owner intended. Those goals are a tall order for even the most skilled teams if they aren’t given the time and space needed to do their jobs.

This tendency to compress the technology integration project into a smaller portion of a project timeline is systemic across our industry. The implications of this mistake combined with the growing complexity of technology in buildings has long-lasting implications. We need to consider that every decision surrounding a technology ecosystem and how it’s connected is as important as the architectural and structural decisions for a modern building. When the technology integration portion of a project is compressed into a short timeframe, it leads to unnecessary stress, and often leads to avoidable costs. Now is the time for our industry to recognize that technology work is integral from concept through commissioning. Teams such as Aptitude can lead this scope of work, but we need owners, operators, superintendents, project executives, architects, and engineers to give us the opportunity to do what we do best.