The building was designed to be functional after 9.5 earthquakes, 1.5 times the normal specifications for such a facility. (NOTE: the largest recorded earthquake was 9.5 on the Richter scale occurring in Chile on May 22nd 1960).
Engineers from Japan and California were consulted to ensure the building’s stability.
The building’s foundation is located on solid igneous rock, penetrating 22 km deep into the earth’s crust.
It is located 35 meters above sea level, safe from tsunamis, and water tables. In addition, water sensors strategically located within the premises that alert the off-site monitoring station of any water presence in the facility.
The facility is a steel I-beam structure and has been built to withstand 135 km/h wind. The roof was built with channels to eliminate the possibility of it being lifted by strong winds. (Note: the highest recorded wind in British Columbia was 122 km/h; highest recorded wind offshore was 132 km/h at Race Rocks.)
The facility does not use natural gas (disaster prevention) and there are no gas lines within 150 feet of the building.
The facility is equipped with a building-wide uninterrupted power supply (UPS) backed up by a power generator. If the power fails, the UPS batteries (50 KVA) continue to provide power to all essential circuits located throughout the facility. The UPS batteries will last for 30 minutes; however, within 8 seconds of any power failure, the power generators take over the delivery of conditioned power throughout the building.
There are four backup power generators (rated at 300 KVA, 275 KVA, 100 KVA, 50 KVA, respectively) located throughout the facility. The power generators are tested monthly under full load to ensure their readiness. All backup systems are set to run at 75% maximum capacity. There are enough generator supplies and diesel fuel on hand to make the building self-sufficient for 7 days. Refuelling can be accomplished by helicopter if roads are inaccessible.
The facility has one of the most sophisticated fire suppression and alarm systems in the world, composed of sensors and pre-action zoned sprinklers. There are hundreds of sensors in place to detect fire, heat, smoke, and ion particles. These sensors are integrated into the facilities’ security system and are monitored by Chubb Security on a 24 x 7 basis.
The fire suppression system is dry charged; under normal operations, the fire suppression water pipes are vacuumed. Water discharges very quickly from the water main, only on demand. This is how it works:
The sensor detects fire
The sensor is checked
A comparison query is made to secondary sensors
When confirmed, only the required sprinkler heads activate
Because the pipes are dry during normal operations, there is no danger of damage through leakage or pipes bursting.
The system is checked and tested once a year by an independent company. The facility is also inspected annually by the Fire Inspector.
Smoking is strictly prohibited inside the facility.
Walls throughout the facility are unfinished to reduce the combustible fuel load to less than 1.5 lbs per square foot of floor space. (Note: the average combustible fuel load in commercial buildings is usually 10 times this amount.)
In addition to water suppression, the facility utilizes an advanced compound called 3M T NovecT 1230 Fire Protection Fluid to safeguard important documents and equipment. This is the most environmentally friendly fire suppression system available today.
The electronic data centers have CO2 fire suppression.
Access to the facility is restricted, and entry is by appointment only. All visitors must have a reason to be on the premises; they must sign in on arrival and sign out as they leave. They are escorted at all times while in the facility. There are no exceptions to this rule.
The CUBE vault is built into solid igneous rock (granite) and video monitored with data stored indefinitely. The designated vault personnel are only allowed to enter the vault in pairs for security reasons.
All outside doors are locked at all times. Two security firms monitor entry to the facilities and all outside doors are electronically monitored. Access through doors is controlled either by palm scan or electronic key cards. The entire building is fully monitored, inside and out, for intrusion, with motion and vibration sensors. Digital surveillance cameras are also located throughout the building.
CUBE has a complete Chubb monitored security system with separate zones. Elements of the system include:
Biometric Hand Readers
Proximity Card Access
Glass Break Sensors
Digital Video Surveillance
24 Hour off-site monitoring
All staff is screened for security and checked by the local police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (Federal). Random security patrols are in place 24X7.
Post Disaster Facility
Public Safety in Emergency Preparedness Canada has designated CUBE as a post disaster centre for the Victoria region, due to its location, building structure, and utilities.
A helicopter pad is located on the roof of the building and is inspected annually by Transport Canada. Although snowfalls are not often a problem here the helipad was put to good use, for example, in 1996 when Victoria experienced Canada’s third biggest single snowfall.
Redundant, high-speed telecommunications are provided to the building. These include fibre optic cable connections from international service providers. Fibre services to the BC Government’s network are in place and wireless failover is available. In addition, there are 1200 telephone lines fed to the building. Communications may be expanded through Public Safety in Emergency Preparedness Canada. (a tenant of the Milwest Centre) to include VHF, UHF, HAM radio, and satellite communications.
In the event of a disaster and as the need arises, equipment can be seized for such requirements as snow clearing if the access to and use of the building is threatened.
The building is supplied and equipped to be self-sufficient for seven days. This includes drinking water, food rations, portable cots, medical supplies and chemical toilets.