All posts by nithya_caleb

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 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.

Energy and comfort transformations in multiresidential buildings

by Olivier Matte, Ekaterina Tzekova, PhD, and Keith Burrows, LEED AP

Photo courtesy The Atmospheric Fund
Photo courtesy The Atmospheric Fund

The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) and Ecosystem have partnered with Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCH) to perform energy retrofits on seven multi-unit residential buildings (The Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCH) manages more than 2100 buildings in Toronto. Founded in 1991, The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) invests in urban low-carbon solutions in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to reduce carbon emissions and air pollution. Ecosystem is a fully integrated design and construction engineering firm specializing in buildings’ energy ecosystems.). These retrofits, which are part of the TowerWise program, have reduced annual utility bills by $492,000 and carbon emissions by more than 920 tCO2eq per year, while addressing thermal comfort and ventilation issues for residents.

Maintaining housing affordability and indoor comfort while addressing high utility costs is an ongoing challenge for multiresidential building (MURB) owners. Through the TowerWise Retrofit Project, TCH saw a great opportunity to address these high utility costs (pre-retrofit energy use intensity was 284 to 318 ekWh/m2) as well as commonly experienced operational challenges such as year-round thermal comfort and poor ventilation.

Finding the right partners

TCH and TAF identified seven buildings within TCH’s portfolio that would benefit from deep energy retrofits. These sites were chosen based on their varied building form (low-, mid-, and high-rise) and occupant profiles (individuals, families, and seniors). Together, they contain more than 1200 units.

TAF and TCH issued a public request for proposal (RFP) in October 2014 with the goal of finding a design-build firm that could maximize project outcomes and utility cost savings. Rather than specifying desired equipment, systems, or services, TAF and TCH issued an outcomes-based RFP, providing bidders with the option of developing solutions to best achieve the desired project outcomes such as:

  • improving tenant comfort by enhancing indoor environmental quality;
  • decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 per cent;
  • reducing energy consumption and utility costs by 20 per cent; and
  • minimizing annual operations and maintenance costs.

The goal was to work closely with a firm that could effectively capture the needs of a range of stakeholders—including tenants, building superintendents, TCH Smart Buildings and Energy Management unit, and building operations/maintenance teams—using an integrated approach. Given the nature of this performance agreement, the bidders also needed to guarantee the expected utility cost savings and financial incentives, as well as monitor and verify the savings during the agreement period.

Maximizing outcomes

The winning firm, Ecosystem, a Canadian design-build company, began the project with an extensive energy audit of all the seven buildings. Next, the team undertook several design charrettes to discuss and prioritize the retrofit solutions. These meetings included a variety of project stakeholders (TAF, Ecosystem, TCH, energy management and facility maintenance teams, and building superintendents) and industry experts. The project team also took advantage of this integrated design process to collect energy and indoor environmental quality information to help prioritize the energy retrofit measures.

After a six-month analysis, the project team finalized the following energy retrofit measures:

  • installing 3-L (0.8-gal) low-flow water closets;
  • converting interior and exterior light fixtures to light-emitting diode (LED) luminaires;
  • installing motion sensors in underground garage bays, garbage rooms, and mechanical rooms;
  • cleaning radiators;
  • installing condensing boilers with high modulation capability (a condensing boiler is a high-efficiency [typically over 90 per cent efficiency] boiler, most often producing hot water. It is designed to condense water vapour in the exhaust gases and, by doing so, it recovers the latent heat of vapourization, which would otherwise have been wasted);
  • using gas absorption heat pumps for domestic hot water;
  • cleaning of fresh air supply and return ducts;
  • installing new makeup air units with heat recovery and variable frequency drives (a variable frequency drive [VFD] is an electronic component that controls AC motor speed and torque by varying the frequency and voltage of the electricity input. By doing so, a VFD allows for matching the motor energy consumption to the real-time needs in the building, so the motor does not have to run at 100 per cent speed all the time. A VFD is installed upstream of the motor’s electric input.);
  • modulating booster pumps for domestic water; and
  • installing new in-suite smart thermostats.

Thermoplastic membranes: Changing the low-slope roofing market

Photo courtesy Sika Sarnafil
Photo courtesy Sika Sarnafil

by Mike Ennis, RRC

Thermoplastic roofing membranes, one of the fastest growing forms of low-slope roofing products, come in different material families, including thermoplastic olefin (TPO), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and PVC alloy. Long before TPO was introduced in North America, PVC membranes capitalized on several events during the 1970s to solidify their position. First, the oil embargo of 1973 inflated the price and restricted the availability of quality roofing asphalt. At the same time, high energy costs increased demand for roof insulation systems with high R-values. This began to make single-ply membranes more appealing. This attractiveness included their direct compatibility with polyisocyanurate (polyiso) insulation, also a growing product at the time.

In 1984, Ducker Research (now Ducker Worldwide) predicted single ply sheets (including PVC and PVC alloys, ethylene propylene diene monomer [EPDM], chlorosulfonated polyethylene [CSPE], and chlorinated polyethylene [CPE]), would capture 25 per cent of the low-slope market. By
the middle of that year, single plies’ share reached 35 per cent of the roofs installed and Ducker soon revised its year-end forecast.

TPO membranes were introduced in the late 1980s, and by 2006, the thermoplastic market share had grown astonishingly. PVC and TPO together represented about 30 per cent of the commercial roofing market in Canada and the United States, according to Ducker Research.

Thermoplastic materials are distinguished from thermoset materials (EPDM) in that there is no chemical crosslinking. Unlike thermoset materials, thermoplastics do not form irreversible chemical bonds during the curing process. These membranes can be repeatedly softened by heating or hardened when cooled. Due to the materials’ chemical nature, thermoplastic membranes typically are seamed by heat welding with hot air or solvent welding.

Five years ago, Single Ply Roofing Industry (SPRI) also reported the great majority of the billions of square feet of single-ply membrane cumulatively sold in North America (including TPO and PVC) performed without issue.

“Single-ply membranes, including thermoplastics, have become a great addition to the roofing industry,” says Wendy Fraser, P.Eng., technical manager of the Canadian Roofing Contractors Association (CRCA) in Ottawa, Ont.

Prefabricated thermoplastic olefin (TPO) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) accessories like the pipe boot shown here continue to be a boon to roofing contractors. If non-preformed flashings are used and become stiff in colder climates, the contractor will have a more difficult time completing details. Photo courtesy GAF
Prefabricated thermoplastic olefin (TPO) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) accessories like the pipe boot shown here continue to be a boon to roofing contractors. If non-preformed flashings are used and become stiff in colder climates, the contractor will have a more difficult time completing details.
Photo courtesy GAF

Attributes of TPO/PVC membranes

Some attributes shared by TPO and PVC membranes include long-term weathering resistance, cold temperature flexibility, resistance to tear, puncture, and chemicals, and heat-seaming capability.

These membranes can be manufactured in a wide range of colours, do not cure after exposure to the elements, and remain capable of hot-air welding throughout their service life.

Each TPO and PVC membrane has a unique formulation. Probably the most noticeable distinguishing physical attribute among these thermoplastic sheets is their relative stiffness. Some thermoplastic membranes feel relatively soft and flexible while others are more rigid. This has no relation to cold temperature flexibility. These stiffness characteristics may affect the membrane installation process in very cold weather. However, the cold-handling properties of thermoplastic membranes in the field do not affect their cold-temperature mechanical properties. During installation in cold weather, some roofing contractors claim stiffer sheets require less effort to heat weld because the membrane is less likely to move and form voids as the automated welder creates the finished seam. A stiffer sheet can also be easier for the contractor to move around and properly position once unrolled.

Stiffness is more of an issue when installing non-reinforced flashing. Flashing membrane is used when completing details requiring the membrane to be formed around penetrations of various shapes and sizes. If the flashing is stiff, the contractor will have a more difficult time completing details. Fortunately, many thermoplastic membrane manufacturers have formulated their non-reinforced flashing material in such a way as to increase its flexibility.

Thermoplastic membranes also are highly resistant to a variety of chemicals, and both TPO and PVC materials are formulated to be fire-resistant. When designed as part of an appropriate roof assembly, both TPO and PVC roofing systems can achieve Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Class A fire-resistance listings. Beyond fire testing, thermoplastic membranes have been certified by Factory Mutual (FM) Approvals and have wind-uplift resistance classifications exceeding 2224 N (500 lbf).

TPO and PVC membranes have a reinforcement layer made of either polyester or fibreglass, incorporated at the factory using a variety of techniques. Regardless of manufacturing line configuration, the compounded material is heated to a high temperature to allow the forming process to occur.

Mitten’s shake products meet everyone’s needs

Mitten offers a complete line of shake products to fit any exterior design style, profile, or colour need in the market.

Novik RS8

Novik Shake offers the authentic warmth and charm of deep wood-grain texture, without the maintenance and upkeep of wood.

Exclusive to Ply Gem is the Novik 8′ cedar shakes matched to Mitten vinyl siding colours. Precisely colour-matched to 23 of the most popular Mitten vinyl siding colours, the 8′ Rough Shawn Shake panel provides authentic detail and a lasting, traditional look to any structure.

Novik Northern Perfection

Northern Perfection was created by Novik in response to the unique needs of homeowners looking for a low-maintenance exterior that does not require them to compromise on the authentic beauty of cedar.

Exclusively available in Mitten’s most popular vinyl siding colours, Brownstone, Rockaway Grey, and Gunmetal Grey, Northern Perfection Shake was created with the installer in mind. The triple course panel is lightweight, impervious to moisture, and makes one-person installation fast while simultaneously reducing installation cost.


Deep texture is the hallmark of Foundry Cedar Shake siding. With the look of hand-split cedar, its random grooves and grain demonstrate extraordinary authenticity. Within each shake, this depth creates captivating contrast between light and shadow to heighten visual appeal.

For more information on shake product distributed by Mitten, click here.

All information listed in this section was submitted by Mitten.
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.

Manitoba awards contracts for flood protection projects

Contracts have been awarded for engineering, design, and construction oversight for the Lake Manitoba outlet channel project. Photo ©
Contracts have been awarded for engineering, design, and construction oversight for the Lake Manitoba outlet channel project.
Photo ©

Two engineering firms have been awarded contracts for engineering, design, and construction oversight for the Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin outlet channels project.

Hatch was awarded the Lake Manitoba engineering, design, and construction oversight contract. The Lake Manitoba channel includes the flood protection channel, water control structure, and preliminary design of two bridges. TREK Geotechnical, Stantec Consulting, and Dillon Consulting will assist on this project.

KGS Group was awarded the Lake St. Martin contract. The Lake St. Martin channel includes the flood protection channel and water control structure. WSP Global and North/South Consultants will assist on this project.

Severe flooding in 2011 and 2014 resulted in extensive damage to homes, businesses, and infrastructure in the province. The flooding resulted in thousands of evacuations, damage to homes and properties, significant economic disruption, and billions of dollars in costs for response and recovery.

“The Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin outlet channels project is vital to protect Manitobans who have sacrificed so much because of flooding,” said Ron Schuler, the province’ infrastructure minister. “Better water control means better protection against flooding for these Manitobans and the sooner this work begins, the better.”

The overall cost of the two projects is $540 million.

Geodesic domes blend harmoniously with Québec forest

Set on a wooden patio, the Dômes Charlevoix is an eco-luxurious accommodation in Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, Qué. Photo © Maxime Valsan
Set on a wooden patio, the Dômes Charlevoix is an eco-luxurious accommodation in Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, Qué.
Photo © Maxime Valsan

Designed by Bourgeois / Lechasseur architects, the Dômes Charlevoix is a new concept of four seasons, eco-luxurious accommodations located in Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, Qué.

The three geodesic domes, the first phase of a larger tourist project, blend harmoniously with the landscape. Each one is located on the mountain side and perfectly integrated to the landscape.

They can be accessed via a path through the trees from a common parking lot at the entrance. The dome is set on a wooden patio and houses a spa overlooking the natural setting. The south-facing windowed area offers a breathtaking view of the St. Lawrence River and maximizes exposure to natural light.

The concrete floor adds a touch of comfort and helps maintain a uniform temperature inside the domes.

The grey canvas and the fireplace create a warm and cozy atmosphere. A black streamlined service area is set in the centre. In the volume are concealed a kitchen, main bed, and a bathroom.

A boat staircase leads to a second bed above the service area.

The Dômes Charlevoix is an invitation to experience luxury in the mountains, in harmony with nature and its elements.

Revealing the finalists for Winnipeg’s Market Lands design competition

Architecture firm Dialog that designed the Royal Alberta Museum in Calgary, Alta., is one of the five teams shortlisted for the Market Lands (Winnipeg) design competition. Photo courtesy Royal Alberta Museum
Architecture firm Dialog that designed the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton, Alta., is one of the five teams shortlisted for the Market Lands (Winnipeg) design competition.
Photo courtesy Royal Alberta Museum

CentreVenture Development Corporation has shortlisted five teams to participate in the design competition for the 0.32-ha (0.8-acre) southern parcel of the Market Lands site in Winnipeg. The teams are:

The southern parcel of the Market Lands site will be the centrepiece of a new mixed-use development project in Winnipeg’s historic Exchange District. Following a year of public consultations, the urban design framework for the site was released in March 2018. It envisions the creation of affordable housing, new urban park spaces, and a modern public market building on the southern parcel. The design competition will take those ideas to the next level of detail, providing more definition to the architecture and character of those buildings and spaces. Teams will be required to create designs that establish a new welcoming destination in the city, celebrating the rich culture and history of the neighbourhood while applying innovative design techniques.

The five shortlisted teams have to submit conceptual designs for a 100-unit affordable housing complex with a main floor cultural hub, a public market building, and integrated public realm and plaza space.

The competition’s interdisciplinary jury is comprised of Bruce Kuwabara (KPMB Architects), Eladia Smoke (Smoke Architecture), Angela Mathieson (CentreVenture), John Kiernan (City of Winnipeg), Alan Tate (University of Manitoba), Zephyra Vun (Winnipeg Design Quarter), and Annitta Stenning (CancerCare Manitoba Foundation). Manitoba architect Dudley Thompson will oversee the design competition as its professional advisor.

The eight-week contest will culminate in a public presentation of proposals on December 7 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Steel framing and panelization chosen for mid-rise retirement residence

Photos courtesy Amico Design Build
Photos courtesy Amico Design Build

By Jon Hiltz

Cold-formed steel (CFS) construction has evolved into a logical and efficient way to build many structures. Further, steel framing can be combined with offsite construction techniques to fully capitalize tighter tolerances and precision assembly processes.

This was the chosen method for building the Seasons Retirement Community in Cambridge, Ont. But it was not the original plan.

Originally, the building came to structural engineers Atkins + Van Groll Consulting Engineers as an all-concrete structure. At the client’s request, the firm redesigned the building to employ light-gauge steel framing. The selected composite steel/concrete floor systems uses about half the amount of concrete of cast-in methods, and thus is generally more cost-effective for this type of structure.

Seasons’ Cambridge facility consists of about 125 suites in a 11,706-m2 (126,000-sf) main building plus a memory care wing. The structure also incorporates 2611 m2 (28,100 sf) of parking. The building’s superstructure is comprised of a poured concrete foundation, light-gauge steel frame, and composite steel/concrete flooring system.

The new apartment building will offer residents a range of care options including independent living, assisted living, and memory care. It will also feature amenities like a café/pub, recreation areas, an exercise room, theatre, hair salon, dining room, wellness centre, and a 1486-m2 (16,000-sf) green-roof terrace located over the parking structure at the second-floor level.

The exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS) was installed onto the prefabricated wall panels prior to delivery to the jobsite.
The exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS) was installed onto the prefabricated wall panels prior to delivery to the jobsite.

Floors three to eight are strictly light steel framing (LSF). The basic building blocks of LSF construction are steel channels, coated with a zinc or aluminum-zinc alloy coating.

For Seasons’ Cambridge building, both the exterior walls and interior main partitions walls are loadbearing. The exterior walls employ 152.4-mm (6-in.) structural steel stud with 41.3-mm (1 5/8-in.) flange, 0.84 or 1.09 mm (33 or 43 mil). Additional CFS sections were 92-mm (3 5/8-in.) steel framing or 152.4-mm steel framing. The steel deck of the composite floor is G90 18-gauge galvanized steel.

A distinctive feature of this building is the construction method of the exterior steel walls. These were constructed offsite, as a pre-finished panel. The exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS) is pre-installed onto the panel allowing the panels to be placed by crane around the exterior and secured. The EIFS are finished in either stucco or faux brick. This method eliminates the need to go back and apply exterior insulation and finishes once the structural work is complete.

The selected EIFS system consists of the following layers: expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation with factory cut channels, insulation adhesive, glass fibre reinforcing mesh, base coats, and a finish texture coat. This 10-mm system is Underwriters Laboratories Canada (ULC) rated as non-combustible cladding, meeting building code requirements for non-combustible construction.

Message from the President: There is No ‘I’ in Team

By Paul Gerber

I recently had the chance to attend CONSTRUCT 2018 and the Annual CSI Convention in Long Beach, Calif. On a personal note, this has always been one of my favourite shows (next to the CSC conference, of course!). The educational sessions are top notch, and the exhibit hall is a showcase for the latest products and services for the AEC community. At the same time, I was also able to attend the annual meeting of Specifications Consultants in Independent Practice (SCIP).

This year was my first time attending the CSI event in the official capacity of CSC President. It was an honour to represent our association and it was an experience I will not forget. Thank you to the entire CSI team for making the CSC contingent feel so welcome.

I was fortunate to once again participate as a mentor for the Young Professionals Day. It is energizing and encouraging to interact with passionate professionals in the early days of their careers. I had some great conversations about what help they were seeking and offered suggestions for them to maximize their opportunities.

I would be remiss if I did not take this opportunity to congratulate CSC Executive Director Nick Franjic on receiving the CSI Board Chair plaque for bringing consistency to the relationship between our associations! Another highlight was seeing my friend and mentor, David Stutzman (who is also a CSC Grand Valley Chapter member), inducted into the CSI College of Fellows. Congratulations!

For those who may have had the opportunity to attend previous CSI conventions or similar events, you quickly understand the trials and tribulations south of the border as they relate to the construction industry are not much different than those we experience here. But what I like most about these shows is they bring together like-minded individuals who have a passion for what they do and recognize that by working together, there is no problem too big or solution that cannot be found. It is all about teamwork.

The relationship between CSI and CSC remains strong. I am proud to be a member of both organizations, and I feel fortunate to have developed many long-term relationships, indeed, friendships, that have been of personal and professional benefit.

To me, the greatest value of membership comes from the networking opportunities and the comradery that ensues. What price are you willing to put on advice from a colleague that helped you with a difficult project, or a recommendation that garnered you a new business opportunity?

I think that is the real value of membership. It is why I belong to groups that foster and encourage dialogue. I hope you feel the same. I am CSC!

The reasons for choosing IKO are all around you

The reasons for choosing IKO are all around you

The ATB Centre Arenas, Phase I project, in Lethbridge, Alta. employed IKO’s signature commercial roofing and building envelope products, including the dependable IKO two-ply styrene butadiene styrene (SBS) roofing system and an IKO AquaBarrier air and vapour barrier (AVB) system. This three-story municipal sports facility includes both ice skating and curling facilities for the City of Lethbridge, Alta.

The challenge

Alan Roberts, manager for installing roofing contractor Charlton & Hill Roofing of Lethbridge, talks about the multiseasonal installation for this nearly two-year project.

“Work on a multistory facility during the rainy season and winter in Alberta presents several challenges for roofing contractors, including rain, mud, wind, snow, and ice. Our crew was ready for the project, with all the right gear and the right IKO products, so the project went along smoothly,” says Roberts.

The solution

A comprehensive IKO building envelope solution was installed on this project, including a durable Torchflex roofing system and AquaBarrier AVB system.

“IKO provides a good product and good support for us,” Roberts comments. “They made a site visit to the project to make sure everything went together well. The IKO technical team is very responsive.”

IKO roof system

  • 13 mm (1/2 in.) gypsum board;
  • IKO #15 perforated felt;
  • IKO Easy-Melt™ 200 (Type III) asphalt 76 mm (3 in.);
  • IKO therm insulation;
  • IKO Modiflex™ MF-95-FS-Base; and
  • IKO Torchflex™ TP-250-Cap.

IKO wall system


  • IKO AquaBarrier™ AVB;
  • IKO S.A.M.™ adhesive;
  • mineral fibre insulation; and
  • metal cladding and masonry block.


Commercial warranty issued

The roof is warranted with a 10-year certificate of assurance (COA) through the Alberta Roofing Contractors Association (ARCA). The wall system has a five-year IKO material warranty.

All information listed in this section was submitted by IKO Industries.
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.