October 31, 2014
by BRADLEY FEHR
The development is a public-private partnership being built by a joint venture comprised of Bird Construction and Bouygues Building BC Inc.
ETDE Facility Management Canada is a third partner in the joint venture that will focus on operating and maintaining the facility, once it is open.
“Each company has brought forward their area expertise,” said Nick Joosten, the CEO of Green Timbers Accommodation Partners, the joint venture.
“We don’t see them as separate entities. They work well together.”
The partners agreed to a fixed price contract of $966 million to design, build, finance and maintain the 76,000 square metre facility for 25 years after construction wraps up. This included $263 million for design and construction as well as $703 million for project financing, building maintenance, and lifecycle repair and renewal. The project includes four different structures on the site, with the office tower reaching seven storeys above grade. One of the buildings is being built to be a post-disaster emergency operations centre.
“It’s built to withstand a big earthquake and stay operational for 72 hours,” Joosten said, adding this project uses restraint rather than a floating system to address seismic concerns.
“It will move, but it’s more restrained,” he explained. Joosten said the facility not only meets B.C. building code requirements for seismic stability, but surpasses them. The development is also aiming for LEED Gold certification.
“We worked with a number of consultants, who worked specifically on LEED,” he explained. “We have an energy consultant, which is somewhat unique.”
The facility will run on 90 per cent electricity and 10 per cent gas. “We did a lot of energy modeling,” Joosten explained. Sustainable features include white roofs, green roofs, chilled beams, natural light and a retention pond that can also be used for irrigation. The facility will become home to what was formerly 23 separate RCMP detachments and security is important. Some contractors had to undergo security checks and the plans weren’t always what they seemed. They were what is called sanitized.
“What you see in the drawings is not necessarily what will be built in the field,” he said, adding what may seem like a board room could have completely different operational use. In addition, complete floors of buildings would be locked off and only accessible with a high security clearance after a certain stage of construction. Stewart Borrett is the deputy project director for the Bouygues-Bird Joint Venture. He was employed by Bird before he started on this project. He said the integration of the construction teams has been seamless and that up to 700 people have been on site at the peak of construction. He said the security precautions presented some challenges, but nothing that couldn’t be overcome. Borrett added that the technological specs for the project led to a lot of cross-disciplinary discussion. “There was a lot of communication between electrical, mechanical and data,” he explained. Borrett is also proud of the green building features, both those that helped obtain LEED points as well as other features that were added.
“We’re not just concentrating on LEED, we’ve going to make it a sustainable building,” he said. He added that the size and scale of the formwork has been a little unusual. The project will consolidate existing RCMP headquarters throughout Metro Vancouver to the new site.
Kasian Architecture did the design.
During design and construction, 450 direct jobs and another 450 indirect jobs will have been created. Joosten said that most of the workers have been Canadian, despite Bouygues having French roots. The project isn’t complete, but it has already earned kudos. It won the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships Award of Merit for Innovation and Project Partnership in 2010.
“It’s what we’ve fostered through this whole process,” Joosten said. “It’s how you deliver something of this size and magnitude.”
After 25 years, the facility must be handed back in the same condition that it was when construction finished. Construction is expected to wrap up by the end of the year and those involved are confident that the deadline will be met. “The building will be ready to be occupied by Dec. 23,” Joosten said, adding there are massive punitive penalties for being late.