Gamuda unit aims big in data centre market

PETALING JAYA: With all the hype surrounding data centres these days, Gamuda Engineering Sdn Bhd is convinced that the timing is ideal for Malaysia to be getting on the bandwagon, at least for the next five years.

The case is made even stronger for the engineering arm of construction titan Gamuda Bhd to stay in the budding sector, as it is utilising the group’s next-generational industrial building system (IBS) to fast track the delivery of data centres.

“The data centres that were built even just two to three years ago are very different compared to what we are constructing today, because at the present moment, we are looking primarily into AI (artificial intelligence)-enabled and IoT (Internet-of-Things)-enabled data centres,” Gamuda Engineering executive director Lim Hui Yan told StarBiz. She revealed that Gamuda Engineering’s order book for data centres stands at RM500mil with the projects from AIMS Group to build the latter’s Block 2 and 3.

AIMS Group, the data centre arm of TIME Dotcom Bhd, was recently reported as saying that it would start the construction of AIMS Cyberjaya Block 3 this month, following the completion of AIMS Cyberjaya Block 2.

According to AIMS chief executive Chiew Kok Hin, the construction of Block 2 using Gamuda’s next-generation IBS was faster than expected, completed in eight months rather than the anticipated 13 months.

“As such, we trust Block 3 would be completed in the second quarter of 2025, if not sooner,” he said.

Lim said the company is also ramping up production capacity of data centre construction materials to quickly get ahead of the curve, in order to capitalise on the opportunities ahead.

She said the firm is confident with the prospect of doubling or tripling the orders from data centres.

“We used to have two factories for data centre materials production and they were temporarily closed due to the lockdowns. At present, we have resumed operations for both factories, which signifies our confidence in the demand.”

She said given Gamuda’s reputation in the domestic construction industry, the company was first approached by AIMS Group for the construction of the latter’s data centres, which gave Gamuda Engineering the initial foothold into the industry.

“One reason is these operators and owners of data centres find that we share their ‘green’ and environmental-friendly values, especially in utilising our IBS system. As such, we can complete our data centre construction using significantly less time and manpower.”

On her optimism that the data centre boom could go on for at least the next half-decade, Lim said clients of local data centre builders usually would have had a few phases or projects of construction lined up, though a possible case of saturation could occur if contractors were to join in the boom en masse.

However, she believes the crowding-out scenario is unlikely because data centre building stretches a company’s resources and supply chain, which is why it serves Gamuda Engineering to build quickly for a swift turnaround, especially when compared to township development.

Acknowledging that other countries in Asean are also potential data centre markets, she said: “Malaysia has its own strengths, given the availability of raw material resources and the multilingual traits of Malaysians.”

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