At PCL, we strive to be innovative solution providers in all we do. This mindset helped us meet the immediate challenges of COVID-19 and provide as much assistance as possible to our communities. Our project sites located within active healthcare facilities took measures to ensure patient and staff safety. Our teams working on new state-of-the-art facilities implemented practices to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission so work could continue during the pandemic. A couple of our teams partnered with industry leaders to develop solutions including the Citizen Care Pod and care home visitor pods. 

Our team working on the Stollery Children's Hospital Pediatric Critical Care Redevelopment project at the Walter C. Mackenzie Centre (WMC) was as prepared as they could be for a pandemic. The team had already implemented best practices and requirements that met COVID-19 protocols.

Located in the heart of the WMC hospital, with active patients around, above and below the project site, consideration for patient and staff safety was an integral component of construction planning, job hazard analysis and safe work procedures. The project classification required strict infection prevention and control requirements including sealing the project perimeter from the hospital and setting up a negative air atmosphere from surrounding areas, as well as negative air vestibules with pressure recording monitors in each one. These measures are highly effective in helping maintain patient, staff and visitor safety and preventing spread of COVID-19 during construction.

When the pandemic was declared, we were able to continue working in the hospital for a short period of time before the client paused the project for three months. Pausing the project was done under an abundance of caution during the early period of the pandemic and limited non-hospital staff in the facility in anticipation of a potential spike in cases and hospitalizations.

When work resumed, additional safety measures were implemented, including requiring all construction staff and workers to go through COVID-19 screening prior to entering the hospital, maintaining social distancing requirements, wearing cloth masks and gloves, setting up hand washing and sanitization stations, adding lunchroom areas with protective plexi-glass barriers, staggering lunch breaks, replacing paper forms with electronic forms and performing additional cleaning of high touch areas. To limit the number of people on site, we used StructionSite VideoWalk for remote project reviews and collaboration and Microsoft Teams video conferencing for project meetings.  

Hospitals are complex to construct. Even more complex, when the project team is nearing substantial completion during a world-wide pandemic. When the Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital team broke ground in 2016, they took many considerations into account to successfully deliver the first new, non replacement, hospital in Ontario in more than 30 years. All project partners embraced the vision of bringing more comprehensive and specialized care closer to home for the growing community. Little did they know that in addition to delivering a smart hospital vision, using ICAT Healthcare and the Internet of Things to provide quality healthcare, they would need to finish the project during a pandemic.

A combination of strong relationships, collaboration and perseverance allowed the team to overcome unprecedented challenges and successfully deliver the building to Mackenzie Health. The hospital will double access to care for nearby communities and will add required capacity to the health care system.

“The passionate pursuit of a shared vision motivated us to overcome any challenge, and I’d like to commend over 1,000 women and men whose commitment to safety enabled us to complete this hospital for the community during a global pandemic, with over three million hours worked without a lost time injury.” says Kelly Wallace, Vice President and District Manager, PCL Constructors Canada Inc. 

The COVID-19 pandemic challenged people across the globe to pivot at a moment’s notice and develop innovative solutions to help navigate a time of uncertainty and unknowns. Teams across PCL rose to the challenge and demonstrated resilience, compassion and a commitment to shifting our practices to positively contribute to our communities in a time of need.

We turned to our extensive modular and prefabrication manufacturing experience and developed a modular toolkit of solutions in partnership with architectural, trade and technology partners that are quick to market, and offer all levels of customization as well as rapid manufacturing and deployment. Solutions include the Citizen Care Pod, Quaran-Tin Pod, visitor pods, modular handwashing stations and portable health facilities and office structures. 

A multi-disciplinary team of industry leaders led by Citizen Care Pods Corporation, WZMH Architects and P​CL Construction collaborated with Insight Enterprises and Microsoft to bring the Citizen Care Pod from concept to completion in less than a month.

 “At PCL, we anticipate challenges and are proactive in developing solutions that make construction safer, more efficient and more sustainable. The Citizen Care Pod’s modular construction and integrated technology make it a sustainable, plug-and-play solution that can be rapidly deployed to support the safe reopening of our economy,” says, Kelly Wallace, vice president and district manager, PCL Construction.

PCL is manufacturing and assembling the pods by retrofitting 20-foot and 40-foot shipping containers with customizable options to support rapid delivery and installation to any site, including high-traffic and remote locations. Equipped with a suite of intelligent, customizable technologies powered by the trusted Microsoft Azure cloud platform and Azure AI, the Citizen Care Pod incorporates Insight’s Connected Platform and PCL’s Job Site Insights™ Internet of Things hubs to enable safety and security in the physical testing environment.

With its customizable features, the Citizen Care Pod makes COVID-19 testing mobile for any high-traffic business or community to expedite testing, screening and eventually vaccination on mass scale to support a health-secure future.

“With the onset of the pandemic, our Winnipeg team identified immediate needs in our surrounding communities,” says Monique Buckberger, district manager, PCL Winnipeg. “We recognized that COVID-19 would make it hard for families to connect with loved ones living in personal care homes.”

In response, we converted 90 single-use sea-cans into visitor shelters that can quickly be set up as exterior visitation rooms at personal care homes. Each visitation pod comes equipped with a desgined mechanical and electrical system that will provide heating and cooling with continuous exterior fresh air circulation. The pods include easy to clean finishes that will make them a comfortable space for residents and their families to meet and spend time together. The 40-foot-long units will be connected directly to the exterior of the homes via a fully-furnished, temperature-controlled walkway to shelter residents as they enter and exit. A small divider can be put in place between residents and visitors if more protection is needed.