In the late 2000s, Edmonton’s international airport needed to expand—a lot. To enhance the passenger experience and accommodate higher traffic to the tune of nine million additional passengers, the airport decided to expand its south terminal building by 446,000 square feet and to renovate and renew an additional 167,000 square feet of existing space.

In close partnership with the Edmonton Regional Airports Authority, PCL delivered this complex, fast-track project in multiple phases to minimize impacts on passenger experience and high-security mission-critical operations. For example, in the first stage, the airport team built six new gates to maintain capacity while construction was underway. Demonstrating forward-thinking innovation, the temporary walkways linking the terminal to these new gates were designed as stackable modular units that could be stored and reused in the future.

The first phase also included the construction of three new elevators, more than 90 fully commissioned and operational security doors and the successful execution of a design assist strategy for structural, building envelope, mechanical and electrical scopes of work—efforts like these allowed operations to continue throughout the multi-year project.

An emphasis on sustainability drove the project to achieve LEED® Gold certification after completion.

Perhaps no single element of the project better captures its spirit than the spectacular “living wall” vertical garden.

During construction, the team learned that the original design for the garden would cause delays and increase costs for the client. Focused on maximizing value for best price, PCL found an alternative system that was easier to install and maintain as it made use of the airport’s existing mechanical systems. The change saved the client approximately $280,000 and provided some valuable lessons learned for vertical gardens such as advising clients early about the ongoing maintenance costs of a living wall. And one more lesson… If any unwanted insects manifest themselves in the plants, the green solution is to release other insects that prey on those unwanted guests.

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