Designing a new home for over 1000 Canada Post employees

Bird/Canada Post

Year Completed



Bird/Canada Post


Richmond, BC

Construction value

$200M (including equipment)


700,000 SF


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Designing the logistics of logistics

How do you integrate a 700,000 square-foot building and a custom-designed, mail-sorting machine with an 8 km conveyor belt? This is exactly what we did in partnership with Bird for Canada Post.

In replacing their existing mail-processing building in downtown Vancouver, Canada Post wanted to improve efficiencies in delivery, overcome changes in consumer demand, and consolidate several facilities across Metro Vancouver.

We designed and built a new processing centre located on the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) grounds. The new centre needed to achieve functional utility and maximize the human experience for more than 1000 employees, many impacted by the locational change.


Canada Post, Bird Construction, and the rest of the project team aligned with our vision for the project, and we all worked together to deliver.”

Clarence Nery




Finding creativity through a change in work environment

The processing centre was designed to accommodate a high-volume sorting machine that helped Canada Post improve its parcel delivery capacity. The machine’s size and custom design meant that we had to navigate spatial limitations, while ensuring the new design accommodated the needs of employees impacted by the change in working environment. We knew from the outset that achieving project success required special attention to stakeholder involvement throughout the design phases.



Testing our design and assumptions

Our project approach was to focus on human-centred design elements that did not sacrifice the building’s overall functionality or purpose. To achieve this, we leveraged a variety of BIM visualization and process-animation technologies to test our design assumptions. A 3-D model of the machinery allowed us to chart a package’s path through the centre, offering a unique perspective on how our design could improve overall efficiencies. We worked diligently alongside Bird and the rest of the project team to adapt to the processing centre’s evolution, and we continued to test our design through to construction.


It’s the most integrated and automated plant that Canada Post has, and probably in the world.”

Bill Davidson

Canada Post Vice President of Engineering



Delivering the processing centre in stages

We used an agile and phased approach to deliver the project, continually testing throughout the build. First, we focused on designing and constructing the housing for the sorting machine, allowing Canada Post to complete the extensive operational-readiness process while we completed the rest of the building.

Managing the complexity of parallel-project schedules required full commitment and coordination from the entire project team to meet our milestone. We worked closely with all project stakeholders, from the airport authority to commercial kitchen and cafeteria-design experts, to deliver the best possible working experience for Canada Post employees.



Increasing processing volume and employee well-being

Since relocating, employees have grown into the space and have taken advantage of the on-site amenities to help with the transition to the new processing centre. Gathering spaces connect indoor and outdoor areas to provide employees with an opportunity to take in stunning views of the North Shore mountains. Meanwhile, to mitigate environmental concerns within the enclosed machinery space, we implemented high-efficiency mechanical systems, maximized daylight, and reduced waste production. Our sustainability and occupational-wellness efforts were recognized with LEED Silver certification.

Ultimately, the custom designed sorting machine can organize over four million pieces of mail per day ― making the Canada Post Pacific Processing Centre a superlative example of designing the logistics of logistics.

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