Building a hotel atop an eight-storey parkade has earned Graham Construction and Engineering a 2012 VRCA Silver Award of Excellence.
Graham won for the River Rock Casino Resort – Hotel Expansion in Richmond, B.C.
The hotel is a five-storey, 193-room structure that has a four-storey lobby complete with ponds and waterfalls.
The new facility, which is 98,700 square feet in area, contains four storeys of guest space and a penthouse floor with room for mechanical equipment and storage space.
Graham Construction was familiar with the River Rock Casino before it started construction of the new hotel, as it had undertaken renovations of the first hotel and casino.
The hotel’s location on top of a parkade was unusual as was the fact that the parkade remained fully operational during the 11-month construction period, which ran from the beginning of December 2010 until the end of October 2011.
“What makes the project different is that the finished product is a casino hotel with a high level of finish, and that it was built using a number of innovative solutions to difficult logistical challenges,” said Roland Shuttleworth, Graham Construction operations manager.
To begin with, the project site was sandwiched between the existing River Rock Casino and Hotel and the busy transit hub at the Bridgeport SkyTrain station and TransLink bus loop.
“It was an extremely congested location in respect to vehicular and pedestrian travel,” said Shuttleworth.
“The construction team had to develop a strict plan to work within the site constraints and, at the same time, to keep the parkade operational. To accomplish that, it came up with a set of specialized traffic management procedures to keep everything moving efficiently and safely.”
In addition to the physical constraints that surrounded it, the project also faced one above it.
Because it lies directly under the Vancouver International Airport flight path, the project had a ceiling limit of 147 feet.
“Because of the ceiling limit, we decided to bring in a flat-top crane,” said Shuttleworth.
“We built a foundation for the crane on the seventh floor of the parkade, and we created a hole in the top floor so the crane could extend through it. And then we re-shored the parkade all the way down to the ground floor, to make sure it could carry the increased load.”
To enable the crane to swing in all directions at different stages of the construction of the roof, Graham Construction worked with the design team to alter the roof into a three-piece truss design.
To minimize use of the crane, material management and deliveries were conducted through the hotel parkade.
Because it was working in such a physically constrained setting, Shuttleworth said Graham Construction strived to work as efficiently as possible.
“We developed an innovative man-hoist installation, an exterior elevator for delivering people and materials to upper floors,” he said.
“Although it was costly to install, it was more efficient than using a crane,” he said.
In order to accelerate completion of the structure, Graham Construction worked with the project’s structural engineer, Read Jones Christoffersen, to revise a conventional cast-in place structure to a shotcrete application for all vertical elements.
Despite all the constraints Graham had to work within, there were no days lost due to injuries and the company managed to complete the project one month ahead of schedule.
“It benefited the building owner with an additional month of revenue,” said Shuttleworth.
The cost of the project cost is just over $15 million, according to Shuttleworth.
The owner of the new hotel is the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation of Vancouver. The architects are DA Architecture and Planners, Vancouver.