With the original building at PCL’s North American headquarters
—aptly named Building 1—nearing the end of its lifespan, it was decided that a new building would be constructed to take its place. Taking a cue from other innovative builds on the business campus, PCL decided to up the ante with construction of the new Building 1.
A computer rendering of the expansion to PCL’s North American Headquarters.
As Jason Portas, operations manager at PCL explained, the new Building 1 will do more than provide space for a growing workforce.
“Building 1 represents a model project for PCL, from a process standpoint and from a constructability standpoint,” Portas said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to push the envelope in terms of how a project comes together as well as in terms of the final product.”
Innovation and Collaboration
The first stage of the project depended on a highly collaborative process between PCL and its consultants, featuring daily interaction between the two parties. Portas calls this process a “fast-track design-build,” which permits the development of a workable design much faster than in a traditional design process. In addition to expediting design, this collaborative process results in a more flexible method of design, allowing PCL to begin construction of Building 1 to achieve aggressive milestones.
Innovative 3-D virtual models replaced traditional blueprints for the build from the start of the design process. In addition to the improved perspective in three dimensions that this advance provides to designers, the 3-D models mean that the build will be a virtually paperless process, helping to improve the environmental sustainability of the build.
“We won’t be drafting the standard blueprints in two dimensions and then making a digital 3-D model,” said senior construction manager Howard Kerr. “These designs will be digital and in three dimensions from the start.”
What’s more, locating the virtual models on a central server means that anyone on the design or build team can check and make updates to the design in real time. Combine that with modeling various components on 3-D printers, and the project team is working at the leading edge of how structures are designed and reviewed prior to building.
From Website to Construction Site
The build site will be fully Wi-Fi enabled to allow builders to access the designs throughout the project site. Construction crews will be equipped with wireless handheld devices to view plans that would traditionally be provided on standard blueprints. That means everyone working on the project, from start of design to finish of construction, will be applying innovative building solutions and advanced construction technologies.
“We’re really elevating expectations about how technology can be integrated into the construction industry,” said Kerr.
The final product will be a three-story showpiece featuring 44,000 sq. ft. of LEED® Silver office space, workstations, and meeting rooms surrounded by a glass and concrete exterior.
“PCL is always looking to implement innovative building solutions and add value to the projects we build for our clients,” said Rob Holmberg, executive vice president of Canadian Buildings. “When the time came to construct a new building for ourselves, we took it as an opportunity to use innovative techniques that we can apply to future projects we build for others.”