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Jury finds in favour of pretrial centre expansion project

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by Peter Caulfield

Two companies have won VRCA 2014 Silver Awards of Excellence for their work on the expansion and renovation of the Surrey Pretrial Services Centre.
Jury finds in favour of pretrial centre expansion project
Photo: PCL WestCoast Construction Inc.

PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc. got the nod in the General Contractor over $55 million category.

PCL is targeting LEED Gold on the public-private partnership.

"It will be  the highest level of sustainability ever achieved in a correctional facility in British Columbia," said project manager Ross McNeely.

The $78 million project had two separate components.

First, PCL built a 100,000-square-foot, three-storey addition to the existing maximum-security centre that included 258 inmate cells, common areas and support spaces.

PCL also completed a 17-phase renovation of the original five-storey facility that will enable it to accommodate an increased number of inmates.

In order to bring natural light into the common areas in the addition, PCL's design included large glazing walls between the secure, open-air exercise yards and the common areas.

The sustainability targets for the project were achieved through such design innovations as radiant in-slab heating.

That type of heating is used throughout the new structure to regulate the indoor air temperature in all the living units.

The ground floor of each living unit, which serves as a common area for inmates during the day, is a concrete slab which encases a network of radiant tubing.

The tubing extends into the floor slab of the ground floor cells and the roof slab of each individual cell, which also serves as the floor of the cell above.

Each living unit is made up of three stories of independent pre-cast cell modules.

Because the modules were manufactured off-site, the radiant tubing had to be cast into the roof slab of each cell and the connections carefully coordinated so that final connections of the tubing could be made on-site after the cell erection was complete.

Thanks to a successful application to BC Hydro's Powersmart Capital Incentive Program, PCL was able to include energy-saving measures in its design.

The energy conservation measures include increases to the building envelope insulation in all exterior walls, roofs and below-grade foundations.

They also include improved mechanical systems, including the use of central air source heat pumps, which provide hot and cold water to make-up air units and radiant slabs.

Domestic hot water is provided by air source heat pumps with a gas-fired boost from condensing boilers.

"An independent analysis of the energy-saving measures we included in our design shows an annual savings of just over 1.1 million kWh," said McNeely.

Because the project agreement included provisions for penalties if the schedule was not met, PCL used pre-cast and modular construction techniques to accelerate the process.

"Most of the vertical structural elements of the building were tilt-up, pre-cast concrete wall panels," said McNeely.

The cells were manufactured off-site by Oldcastle Precast, Inc. of Auburn, Wash.

They were then shipped 240 kms to Surrey, complete with finished exterior envelope and all interior finishes that included two bunks, a toilet, sink, mirror, coat hooks, doors and glazing, and epoxy paint finish.

The cell modules were transported on flatbed trucks in a predetermined sequence and erected much like large Lego blocks.

Erection of the modules took 13 days to complete.

The new facility was occupied in October 2013.

Once B.C. Corrections began operating the new facility and had relocated the health care centre to the new building, PCL began the second and final phase of the project, which was converting the old health care centre into a new inmate programs facility.

Because the centre was operating the entire time, the renovation took place in 17 separate phases.

PCL engineers worked with building inspectors from the City of Surrey and developed an interim occupancy system, which was used for safety inspections and occupancy approvals for each phase.

The completion dates for the individual phases were monitored and adhered to as staff and inmates had to be continuously relocated after each was completed.

The first phase of the renovation was completed on schedule in August 2013, with the remaining 16 phases finished in March 2014.

The Surrey Pretrial Services Centre is adjacent to the Surrey Law Courts, near the intersection of King George Highway and Highway 10.

The project owner is the Province of British Columbia - Ministry of Justice (B.C. Corrections Branch).

Also winning a Silver Award for its work on the project is Western Pacific Enterprises GP in the electrical contractors over $2 million category.

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