The addition of 258 inmate cells to the Surrey Pretrial Services Centre (SPSC) in Surrey, British Columbia, doubled its capacity making it the largest provincial correctional facility in the province. In addition to increasing the housing capacity for remanded and sentenced inmates, the expansion included a unique layout and state-of-the-art security features to further enhance the safety of both inmates and staff. PCL used an innovative approach to modular construction to shorten the project schedule while ensuring the quality of the finished project.
The expansion included a unique layout and
state-of-the-art security features to further enhance
the safety of both inmates and staff.
The modules arrived to site fully finished, complete
with two bunks, a toilet, sink, mirror, coat hooks,
doors, and glazing and epoxy paint finish.
Traditionally in secure correctional facilities, the cells and movement corridors are constructed with masonry block. Secure block construction is time-consuming and requires significant manpower and scaffolding, which restricts access during construction. As the contract included provisions for significant penalties if the schedule was not met, the team looked to precast and modular construction techniques as a way of accelerating the schedule to ensure they achieved their goals.
The PCL team worked with a precast cell supplier to design and fabricate precast cell modules. The modules arrived to site fully finished, complete with two bunks, a toilet, sink, mirror, coat hooks, doors, and glazing and epoxy paint finish. The production rate of the modules was one module per day, with each module consisting of two cells. Because the modules were fabricated off-site, the cell production could occur while site preparation and foundation work was happening at the project location, rather than having to wait for the site work to be completed first. This resulted in a schedule reduction of four months and greatly reduced the number of masonry workers required on the project, which helped to increase the productivity of the other trades.
The Proliferation of Precast
Precast cell construction technology has been common in the United States for a number of years, and has recently gained popularity in Canada owing to its many benefits. The SPSC project was the first in Western Canada to use precast cells.
Building masonry cell walls is a labor-intensive process and requires a great deal of trade coordination. The mechanical trade must be on hand to locate plumbing and sprinkler sleeves along with the blockouts for the HVAC system. An electrician is needed to locate outlets, data drops, lights, and smoke detectors. The traditional method of construction may require up to eight different tradespeople to build a typical cell. When the cell is precast, one firm is responsible for all the work which greatly increases product quality and worker productivity.
The quality in a factory-built and finished cell is exceptional. All outlets and blockouts are square and located in the same relative location in each cell, which allows mechanical trades to prefabricate piping and ductwork in a controlled environment off site. As well, all interior painting and security caulking can be completed in a controlled environment before the cell reaches the jobsite.
Ultimately, PCL’s use of precast cells on the SPSC project provided the time-saving solution the team needed while also delivering superior results.