Is continual investment in training budgeted for or overlooked?


Sudlows’ Managing Director of Critical Infrastructures, Andy Hirst, highlights the importance of continual training of engineers to reduce risk and improve resilience.

The mission critical environment is well known for the continual development of technologies, from the hardware to controls, and down to software. Yet some organisations presume that the Engineers, whether from the Design Team, Construction Team or the Commissioning Team naturally understand these new systems.

Although experienced Engineers will take time to self-teach, this inevitably introduces an element of risk to the critical facility.

At Sudlows, we have introduced a programme of continuous product training and by working closely with our supply chain partners, when new products are introduced, we are already technically up to speed on the latest R&D developments. Yes, this still has an element of risk, but enabling our Engineers access into understanding it from an early stage, certainly abates the potential impact to the design, installation and commissioning considerably.

How can this be budgeted for in order that the right type of investment can be allowed for? How do you know what manufacturers are working on and their timeline for releasing the products?

Clearly it is a potential risk should you over or even under forecast any budget on this area, but surely it is a bigger risk not to have continual upskilling. At Sudlows we are a big believer of talking to our core suppliers and manufacturers, working closely together with them to enable us to map out what technology is going to hit the market.

With some manufacturers we actually have joint test beds, just so we can collaboratively assist with critical elements of the research and development.

Sudlows’ view is that we want to be more than just a design and build organisation. Our philosophy is to look deeper into all projects in order to see if we can improve on efficiencies and resilience at the earliest part of the manufacturing stage, whilst at the same time upskilling our Engineers and so reducing risk.

With all this innovation happening, we at Sudlows realise that mind-sets have to change so that Engineers are not just installing equipment, but continually understanding and improving it.

What happens if this mind-set is not followed? Well, we have countless case studies of newly developed technology, installed on site, that has not been rigorously assessed under our testing policy. Sadly, this has been an issue that we have repeatedly seen on 3rdparty data centre facilities and has either cost or is costing the client money, time and inconvenience.


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