Building the largest tower west of Toronto in North America’s northernmost metropolitan area with a population over one million provided some unique challenges that required a smarter approach, namely, Job Site InsightsTM (JSITM) PCL’s smart IoT construction platform.
Located in Edmonton, Alberta, Stantec Tower is a 69-story mixed-use building designed to LEED® Gold certification. The building has 28 stories of office space on the lower levels and 483 premium residential units—the Sky Residences--on the upper levels. Stantec Tower is part of Edmonton’s ICE District, Canada’s largest mixed-use sports and entertainment district and was completed in 2019.
With 69 stories, upscale finishes and grand design elements such as a lobby that opens into the public plaza providing access to the adjacent Rogers Place and Ford Hall, Stantec Tower was a complex project with a tight multi-year timeline. A multi-year project in Edmonton comes with environmental challenges: the potential for 70-degree Celsius temperature swings over four seasons. Temperatures must be controlled with heaters to ensure optimal conditions for millwork and other material installations, and to mitigate cold weather pipe burst risk. With 1.2 million square feet, the task of monitoring conditions manually could have proven as grand as the project itself.
The Stantec team used Job Site InsightsTM to get the real-time data and analytics that help PCL build smarter, leaner and greener. JSI™ is a smart IoT construction platform that brings digital sensor and analytics capabilities to construction’s workface. IoT sensors installed throughout a project monitor vital construction conditions and alert job site personnel to adverse conditions that can lead to costly damages and rework. JSI™ virtualizes and models a job site, mapping sensors, equipment, assets and people to a single view accessible from any PC or mobile device.
JSI™ helps construction builders and general contractors get actionable, real-time insights and predictions into the construction project allowing them to adapt to changing conditions, increase worker safety, enhance project efficiency, reduce energy consumption and avoid rework and costly insurance claims.
Smart sensors were installed throughout Stantec Tower during construction. The sensors were programmed with specific temperature, humidity, pressure, concrete strength/maturity and leak detection parameters then mapped out and installed during construction, and in convenient and discrete locations throughout the hotel and residential suites, public corridors, lobbies and mechanical and electrical rooms to capture and record data. The JSITM interface created a virtual model of the site to map the data and sensors to the model. The project team monitored indoor environments in real-time through a mobile device or PC to confirm that interior areas were ready for materials to be installed per the project quality and safety requirements.
Overall, JSITM helped the Stantec project team increase quality, productivity and safety on the project, reduce energy usage and costs, reduced rework and warranty claims, and shorten the projects schedules.
With optimized heating thanks to JSITM, over the winter of 2018 the project reduced gas heater usage by 46% saving approximately $180,000 while also reducing electric heater usage by 58% saving around $69,000 in power bills.
In addition to efficiency gains, JSITM’s real-time alerts saved more than $170,000 in conservatively projected rework costs due to potential millwork damage caused by adverse temperature and humidity conditions that are present on all job sites. In one event, the project team was alerted to a temperature spike in a residential unit. Workers found that a heater had been left on inadvertently risking damage to the finish of new cabinetry that was installed earlier in the day. In another event, a low temperature alert tipped off crews that a heater had been left unplugged in the main waterline area. Thanks to JSITM, the team was able to plug the heater back in before the lines froze, saving the project from a possibly costly repair that would also have resulting in schedule impacts.
Concrete sensors proved a huge success that enabled us to achieve our lofty schedules. We had no need to prepare and break cylinders, cast multiple field cures, travel from project site to laboratory, protect samples from damage, coordinate sample collection from the lab and return to site to report results. Instead, we had concrete strength status in real-time. That allowed PCL to complete the scope of work almost 30 days ahead of schedule.
With real-time monitoring and alerts, regular in-person monitoring was not required, saving the team untold hours in manual labour. Teams held a regular JSITM debrief each morning before getting on with building Stantec Tower.
“It’s great to see the construction industry evolving, adapting, and embracing technology to bring real-time information into processes that are hundreds of years old. These advances make our jobs easier every day.” – Myke Badry, Senior Project Manager for Stantec Tower and SKY Residences
During construction, sensors provided:
- Temperature monitoring - ensuring heaters work on necessity, reducing energy consumption and providing freezing protection
- Humidity monitoring – ensuring optimal environmental conditions and quality for items such as drywall, paint and millwork
- Air pressure monitoring – providing real time insight into air pressure changes due to temperature and winds aiding in building envelope seal tests
- Water leak fault detection – reducing the chance of water damage claims by enabling the team to deal with issues immediately
- Concrete strength and maturity insights:
- Eliminated reliance on third-party testing agency for formwork stripping.
- Eliminated the need for storage of field cures on-site.
- Limited the hours the third-party testing agency is on-site.
- Eliminated the requirements to carry cylinders down the tower by hand, or by use of a crane or hoist.
- Is a simple, standardized method for measuring early concrete strengths of all building elements.
- Representative of the concrete within a structure, versus a small sample that is externally stored.
- Stored all data (including temperature) for the curing period, not just a specific point in time.
Job Site Insights TM (JSI TM) brought the Stantec Tower project lower costs with the elimination of unnecessary heating. It allowed the team to determine the right time to start critical phases of the project with correct heating and humidity levels. It lowered the need to physically check critical areas on the project and provided real-time temperature and humidity reporting as well as real-time alerts for supervision.