Project Description

Vantage Data Centers

Santa Clara, California
Service:
  • Seismic Design & Retrofit, Specialty Materials & Engineering
Market Sector:
  • Data Centers, Commercial

The need for rapid and efficient construction schedules in mission-critical sectors such as data centers has created new opportunities for pultruded FRP structural materials. Frost Engineering & Consulting designed two structures for Vantage Data Centers in Santa Clara, California for rapid deployment within highly constrained site conditions that precluded the use of structural steel.

The CA22 structure was a cable bus support and multi-story maintenance personnel access platform which comprised approximately 7,000 sq. ft. The CA23 structure was a single-story maintenance vehicle access platform in a generator yard which comprised approximately 6,000 sq. ft.

Steel was originally planned for these massive, intricate structures, but the design for CA22 alone would have required sourcing almost half a million pounds of structural steel to transport, fabricate and erect with an aggressive construction schedule, scarce supply of skilled labor, and challenging site access restraints given the weight of key steel members. Thus, Frost directed the structural design with pultruded FRP, designed in accordance with the California Building Code and the pre-standard to ASCE 74, as well as baseplates and anchorage in accordance with ACI 318 including requirements for seismic design category D. Total project time was approximately four years to completion. CA22 weighed 120,000 lbs. versus 400,000 lbs. of the originally designed steel structure.

Frost led the engineering design for CA22 and was the engineer of record for CA23, directing all load generation, framing layout, and connection design decisions for both structures. Both structures were designed for Risk Category IV given the zero-downtime, “essential facility” classification voluntarily pursued by the owner. Frost designed both structures for an approximate 1-in-2500 year earthquake with over 1.0 g of spectral acceleration demands. Vehicle acceleration and braking demands on CA23 created even higher localized lateral loading conditions. CA22 represents the third heaviest free-standing FRP structure constructed to date and the largest all-FRP structure built in a high seismic region in the world. Other unique structural issues included large connection prying forces and elevated temperatures from neighboring equipment.

The American Composite Manufacturers Association (ACMA) awarded Frost Engineering the 2021 Award for Composite Excellence (ACE) for “Design: Most Creative Application” for this project in partnership with the University of Notre Dame.

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