All posts by nithya_caleb

CSC’s Calgary set for annual design contest

The Calgary Chapter is gearing up to host the third annual Ignite Student Design Competition. The contest aims to improve integration of young professionals into the industry through mentorship and collaboration with experts.

Students from the interior design stream at Mount Royal University, Calgary, and architectural technology and construction project management programs at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) will participate in mockup projects for a real client.

The event is structured to bring together students with differing educational experience to work in a project team and to provide access to mentors and the client for advice and guidance on how the students can accomplish constructible, clearly communicated, effective design solutions under strict time constraints.

A fast-paced affair, the event commences on Wednesday, February 27, with a tradeshow and a kickoff night. This is followed by two intense weekend days with peers and mentors ending at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, March 3.

For more information, contact Kirsten Janes, DID, IDA, IDC, NCIDQ.

Canada ranks second on global LEED list

Canada is second in the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) annual list for the top 10 countries for projects certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Photo © www.bigstockphoto.com
Canada is second in the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) annual list for the top 10 countries for projects certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.
Photo © www.bigstockphoto.com

Canada is ranked second in the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC’s) annual list for the top 10 countries and regions for projects certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

The USGBC’s LEED Top 10 list recognizes markets outside the United States that are using the program to create healthier, more sustainable spaces where citizens live, learn, work, and play. Canada earned its second-place ranking for the current total of 3254 LEED-certified projects, totaling 46.81 million gross m2 (503 million sf) of space.

Since 2005, Canada’s LEED buildings have reduced 3.24 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, 16.7 million eMWh of energy and 30 billion L (7 billion gal) of water.

Toronto architects named as industry’s ‘Emerging Voices’

Irene Gardpoit and Eiri Ota of UUfie, Toronto, have won the 2019 Emerging Voices award by the Architectural League of New York. They designed this Chinese store of fashion retailer Ports. Photo courtesy Architectural League of New York
Irene Gardpoit and Eiri Ota of UUfie, Toronto, have won the 2019 Emerging Voices award by the Architectural League of New York.They designed this Chinese store of fashion retailer Ports. Photo courtesy Architectural League of New York

Irene Gardpoit and Eiri Ota of UUfie, Toronto, are the recipients of the 2019  Emerging Voices awards. They were honoured by the Architectural League of New York along with seven other architectural practices from across North America.

Irene Gardpoit and Eiri Ota founded UUfie in Tokyo, Japan in 2009. They relocated to Toronto in 2013. The firm’s output includes architecture, industrial design, art, and landscape design.

“Our work aims to make architecture a sensory and visceral experience, an interactive process that engages people in fluid interplays and unique juxtapositions of architecture and landscape,” said a statement by the partners.

Recent projects include a sculptural façade fabricated from glass bricks for fashion retailer Ports 1961’s flagship store in Shanghai, a vertical circulation space or verticalité in Paris department store Printemps Haussmann, and Lake Cottage, a treehouse-inspired home in Kawartha Lakes, Ont.

The annual awards program spotlights individuals and firms with distinct design voices and the potential to influence the disciplines of architecture, landscape design, and urbanism.

The jury that included past award-winners reviewed work from approximately 45 firms. It considered accomplishments within the design and academic communities as well as the public realm.

“This year’s Emerging Voices explore different modes of architectural inquiry—social, environmental, formal, computational, and material—to create ambitious design solutions across a broad scale, from installations and public space to housing and cultural institutions,” said the league’s program director Anne Rieselbach.

For more than 35 years, the program has identified over 250 practices that have gone on to develop influential careers. The league believes the work of each award-winner represents the best of its kind, and addresses larger issues within architecture, landscape, and the built environment.

The 2019 Emerging Voices award-winners will present lectures in March at the Scholastic Auditorium in New York City, New York. All lectures begin at 7:00 p.m.

CSC Vancouver shines light on glass railings

On Thursday, February 14, the Vancouver Chapter will have a lunch meeting at Sandman Hotel from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Mark Jacobson, CSI (Kuraray America), will present on “Designing Safer Glass Railings with Laminated Glass.”

The presentation will examine the safety concerns around glass in railing systems and the new building code requirements addressing the use of these systems. The results of impact testing will be presented. Additionally, the need to verify the compatibility of sealants and grouts will be discussed.

Last date to signup is February 13. To register, click here.

Edmonton Chapter focuses on single-ply roofing systems

The Alberta Roofing Contractors Association (ARCA) will hold a “Single-ply Membrane Education Day” on February 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Members of the CSC Edmonton Chapter have been invited to this event.

Participants will have the opportunity to find out how details are done on parapets, curbs, drains, and wall tie-ins with the help of ARCA’s new (250-sf) indoor mockup. Attendees can watch the demonstrations of single-ply roofing membranes. A Q&A session will also be held to address warranties, inspection, and technical and specification concerns.

To register, click here.

Signs Alive blurs the lines between signage and brand vision

Signs Alive excels at integrating quality with style, helping businesses reach great exposure. The design team works co-operatively with your vision, to transform ideas into impactful and captivating signage. The creative designers use advanced technology, a wealth of knowledge, and experience to exceed project requirements.

Through their product innovation, Signs Alive exceeds business requirements of the past by developing signage that creates both a functional and eye-catching environment. Signs Alive transforms simple commercial buildings into striking facilities, bare private offices into alluring headquarters, and everyday stores into winning retail environments.

Serving all signage needs from electric signage/lettering, wall graphics, dimensional branding, ADA Braille, reclaimed wood treatments, and beyond, Signs Alive uses high grade products that are built to last, withstanding elements and time, just like your project.

Your sign is not complete until you see your custom designs through to precise and professional installations. In Oakville and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Signs Alive seeks the perfect final touches to your project’s image. All your signage installation needs will be met with our experienced installation team and stocked service trucks.

Visit SignsAlive.com to receive a quote and bring your project visions to the next level.

All information listed in this section was submitted by Signs Alive.
Kenilworth Media Inc. and Construction Specifications Canada (CSC) cannot assume responsibility for errors of relevance,
fact or omission. The publisher nor CSC does not endorse any products featured in this article.

Offsite versus onsite construction

by Keith Tilley and David Kennedy, P.L.(Eng.), LEED AP

The building envelope and roofing systems are commonly selected for offsite construction. With prefabrication it is possible to achieve the desired performance and esthetics, while reducing the timeline, waste, congestion, and risk of a project. Photos courtesy Mod-Panel Manufacturing
The building envelope and roofing systems are commonly selected for offsite construction. With prefabrication it is possible to achieve the desired performance and esthetics, while reducing the timeline, waste, congestion, and risk of a project.
Photos courtesy Mod-Panel Manufacturing

Offsite construction is becoming more prevalent in Canada due to its increased efficiency on jobsites, labour shortage, and tight project timelines. The market for prefabrication modular building systems is expected to rise as more sustainable building standards are implemented because offsite applications create less waste and use less energy. Further, the shift toward factory-based building construction techniques is increasing demand for panelized or volumetric systems due to inherent cost savings.

Collaboration with designers and contractors to facilitate procurement and integration of modular systems is important to offsite construction projects. Price normalization and stakeholder integration is also essential to understanding the full benefits of offsite construction during the estimating and design phases of a project.

Defining prefabrication

Prefabrication in its simplest form is assembling components offsite in a controlled environment, prior to installing onsite. On some level, it can apply to almost all types of buildings, whether it is mechanical systems, panelized walls, bathrooms, or fully finished volumetric boxes. Due to the more frequent use of prefabricated components, new technology and ideas have made offsite manufacturing easier to implement onsite.

The stages at which prefabrication systems are considered in a project determine how much of a building can be efficiently produced offsite. The flexibility of premanufactured solutions is a strong driver for designers, as it does not have to be an all or nothing approach. Many firms are dipping a toe into new building methods by implementing some portion or facet of premanufactured solutions to their building designs. Critical path items, such as building envelope and roofing systems, are commonly selected for offsite construction. It is the creativity of the offsite solutions provider to design a system that does not alter the original design of a building with traditional methods in mind. An example of this hybrid approach is the exterior envelope. In this case, the building structure, design, and esthetic can be achieved as designed, while reducing the timeline, waste, congestion, and risk of a project.

Prefabrication is not a one-size fits all solution. It tends to work best on projects with the scale to take advantage of mass production and repeatability. This does not mean the building has to be boxy or boring. However, if there is a repeatable pattern, factory-built solutions become much more efficient and thereby reduce costs.

The cost of prefabrication

Prefabrication transforms a construction site from a place where structures are built to one where large pieces or components are erected.
Prefabrication transforms a construction site from a place where structures are built to one where large pieces or components are erected.

Most stakeholders can grasp and accept the idea of prefabrication. After all, cars and most of the goods used daily are built in a factory. Why then, does it not make financial sense to engage modular construction techniques? A few factors in the construction market contribute to the cost of prefabricated solutions being equal to, or sometimes, slightly higher than in-situ building methods.

Prefabrication requires a large factory to build and store the products. This space is typically a leased or owned space adding overheads to the manufacturer that is included in the product cost. This is in contrast to sub-trades who may have little or no overheads. As prefabrication becomes mainstream, this overhead burden will decrease.

Anything fabricated in a factory must eventually get installed onsite. This requires large transport trucks and trailers. Transportation is expensive, a cost traditional construction methods do not have to include in their price, as suppliers will often ship directly to site or raw materials can be delivered by contractors using pickup trucks or cargo vans depending on the size of the project.

Creating an accurate budget when comparing traditional construction methods to prefabrication is difficult. Getting a true apple-to-apple comparison requires a deep understanding of what is included and excluded when procuring offsite solutions. In most cases, sub-trades will provide an approximate estimate for the entire scope. This estimate will have to be broken down into individual scopes to evaluate the prefabrication option. This technique works in theory, however not engaging all parties to collaborate and provide clarity of precisely what is included in their scope of work, generally leads to skewed numbers. During the estimating and procurement process, documents must be clear and concise to facilitate a true comparison of offsite versus onsite work.

Prefabricated building systems must be designed to a higher standard because there is less ability to adjust onsite and is often inspected more than once during the cycle. This results in a slight increase in cost due to extra strapping or a more rigid frame to undergo dynamic loads during transportation to and from the manufacturing site. In the case of modular bathroom systems, the unit will undergo quality assurance/control (QA/C) testing in the factory and again onsite when the product is connected to the overall building systems. In-situ built bathroom systems usually require an inspection only during rough-in and as the final fixture installation stage.

The implementation of prefabrication for a project requires higher level of understanding from all stakeholders. From the owner’s vision to the building site team, the process and factors that must be considered are new and require looking at a project through a different set of lenses. Prefabrication transforms a construction site from a place where structures are built to one where large pieces or components are erected. There is a fundamental difference in those activities. Taking the building process offsite and simply placing the finished product on a site has many positive advantages to the net cost of a project that are less obvious to calculate when filling out an estimate or pro-forma.

By using prefabrication methods, the overall cost of risk for a project is minimized due to the drastic reduction of exposure. Conventionally, a project’s biggest risk is safety. In certain conditions, traditional construction methods are inherently dangerous, and despite great strides made in the past few decades, injury, lost-time accidents, and death are still prevalent in construction. According to the 2018 Report on Work Fatality and Injury Rates, there were 204,682 loss-time injuries in Canada in 2016. Prefabrication takes many of the higher risk trades, such as drywall and cladding installation, away from the active site and places them in a factory environment where the conditions and risks are more predictable and easier to monitor. This reduction in risk is a long-term benefit for all stakeholders. However, it is hard to quantify the cost of this risk when evaluating the procurement of prefabricated products.

Control the content you see on ConstructionCanada.net! Learn More.

Bridge low-carbon building skills gap in Ontario: CaGBC

A new report by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) emphasizes the need to close the low-carbon building skills gap in Ontario’s construction industry. Photo © www.bigstockphoto.com
A new report by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) emphasizes the need to close the low-carbon building skills gap in Ontario’s construction industry.
Photo © www.bigstockphoto.com

A new report by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) provides an action plan to close the low-carbon building skills gap in the Ontario construction industry. With structures accounting for 30 per cent of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, addressing the current gap in low-carbon building skills is important if Canada is to meet its 2030-target of reducing emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels. In Ontario, the most country’s populous province, the impact of the skills gap is estimated at $24.3 billion of gross domestic product (GDP) in foregone company revenues, with an additional $3.7 billion lost in foregone taxation.

Entitled “Trading Up: Equipping Ontario Trades with the Skills of the Future,” the report puts forward recommendations for new types of training, incentives, and construction processes to help the trades workforce support the construction and mass retrofit of buildings to lower GHG emissions. Specifically, tradespeople need to be trained on:

  • building efficient building envelopes, including framing, insulation, windows, and glazing;
  • installing advanced mechanical systems including HVAC; and
  • maintaining energy-efficient furnaces, boilers, water heaters, solar panels, and geoexchange systems.

CaGBC’s report also demonstrates technical skills alone will not satisfy the requirements of low-carbon buildings. The report shows the threshold for mistakes in high-performing buildings is narrow and demands a higher level of sophistication, integration, and precision for the entire project team.

The report explores different delivery modes for training, ranging from full-time, in-class courses to short, online programs and on-the-job training, as well as calling for a new certificate for low-carbon skills to help the industry identify and secure skilled trades for future projects.

The report was compiled by CaGBC with Mohawk College, design firm McCallumSather, the Cora Group, the City of Toronto, and the Ontario Building Officials Association (OBOA). The project was funded, in part, by the Ontario government. While the report examines the Ontario construction industry, its recommendations can be applied throughout Canada.

Developing a state-of-the-art home for CBC in Montréal

Rendering of the new Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)/Radio-Canada building in Montréal. Image courtesy Johnson Controls
Rendering of the new Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)/Radio-Canada building in Montréal.
Image courtesy Johnson Controls

Broccolini Construction is developing a new, high-tech Maison de Radio-Canada building in Montréal to house the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)/Radio-Canada. Through a long-term lease, the new building will help meet the needs of CBC/Radio-Canada in today’s digital and media environment.

“The new Maison de Radio-Canada will not only be esthetically pleasing, but also improve the future of broadcasting in Montréal with the largest broadcasting datacenter in Canada including benefits such as more predictable operating costs” said Roger Plamondon, president, real estate development and acquisitions, Broccolini.

The 38,833-m2 (418,000-sf) headquarters is expected to improve collaboration, innovation, productivity, and safety with new critical equipment, systems, and infrastructure. It will also feature green spaces and rooftops along with water and energy management.

Johnson Controls is supplying technological solutions, such as card access, video management and air handling units. It will also provide life-cycle services to the CBC/Radio-Canada for a guaranteed fixed cost for the next 30 years.

Construction on the project is set to be completed late this year, with a move-in date of early 2020.

Message from the President: Stop the ineffective communication loop

by Paul Gerber

Communication is essential in any business. CSC understands it is critical in the architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) sector. Therefore, it is one of the key goals of the association, along with ‘educate’ and ‘collaborate.’

Ineffective communication can drive a nail into a project’s coffin faster than any other issue. Whether it is between the building owner and the project’s architect, the architect and engineers, the consultants and constructor, or the constructor and subcontractors, a lack of communication will cause the project train to go off the tracks.

Our communication strategies have changed over the last three decades. We used to talk to each other, first in person and then on the phone. When I began working in the AEC industry, a pink piece of paper on the desk would let me know who had called and why if I could not answer the phone or was out of the office. Then came voicemails (recordings of missed calls). The introduction of mobile phones has now set the expectation we can always be reached when someone needs us.

In the seemingly long-forgotten past, it was not unusual to send a fax memo to follow up on a meeting or telephone conversation. This became a permanent record of the discussion points and decisions made. With the advent of e-mail, the memo was replaced with an electronic record. Today, we are inundated with e-mails and text messages. It is not uncommon to spend a majority of the day reading and responding to these correspondences.

E-mail is probably the most ineffective way to communicate. There is no voice intonation or looking into the other person’s eyes to make sure they understand the discussion. In fact, depending on the recipient’s mood and stress level, a seemingly negative tone, unwritten or unintended, can dominate the message and throw the communication off course. Further, e-mail notifications popping up on computer screens can distract one from critical tasks. How many times have e-mails been exchanged back and forth with no resolution of the issue at hand, only resulting in wasted time?

Let us stop the ineffective electronic communication loop. Pick up the phone and talk to or meet the person who needs to be a part of the solution. Choose whatever solution works best for you and the situation and then follow up with written communication to confirm and create a record of the decisions made. We will get better solutions faster and the train will also stay firmly on the tracks.

I am CSC!