PCL and SAIT – Partners in Building

At a time when the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) was undertaking the largest expansion in its history, administrators recognized an opportunity to do more than just build classrooms. Three new innovative buildings include state-of-the-art labs, flexible learning spaces, and a physical environment that will function as a teaching tool. The 740,000 square feet of additional teaching facilities at SAIT will allow more students to study in the areas of energy, manufacturing, and construction.

Partnering Early On

SAIT, Johnson-Cobbe Energy CentreSAIT, Johnson-Cobbe Energy Centre

Elevator mechanics left visible through glass for learning purposes.Elevator mechanics left visible through
glass for learning purposes.

"With contract documents only 25% complete, we engaged PCL, and their vast knowledge of construction, scheduling, and value management,” said Boris Dragicevic, associate VP, Facilities Mgmt/Campus Expansion for SAIT. “PCL played a vital role along with the designers and ourselves in the realization of savings opportunities and quality enhancements at no extra cost. Throughout the entire process we never lost sight of the needs of our clients, the students, and what could be done to enhance their learning experience. What has been produced is a testimony to the drive, dedication, and commitment of the project team, of which PCL was a crucial component.” 

Building a Learning Opportunity for Students

One way the students’ learning experience was enhanced was through embracing pedagogy, the art or science of teaching. It was a constant theme during the design and the construction of the project. Several structural, mechanical, and electrical details which are usually concealed in typical post-secondary institutions have been left  exposed in the classrooms, labs, and public spaces, allowing students to see and understand the systems and concepts being taught in the classroom. Other building systems and equipment that are often hidden behind walls and doors can be viewed through glass windows, allowing students to look into a mechanical room, electrical closet, or elevator shaft. 

An Eye to Quality

With a significant portion of the structure and the building systems left exposed for use by instructors and students in an integrated learning environment, it was important that PCL’s work represent a high level of quality.

“A quality program was implemented and became a regular component of every meeting and of how we executed our day-to-day work,” said Derek Pearce, a senior project manager with PCL. “By involving everyone, communicating expectations, and continually improving, a quality culture was created.”
Pearce is very pleased with the outcome achieved by the PCL team.
“The end result is a project that exceeded the client’s expectations on quality and a facility that will enhance the students’ learning experience,” he said.