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How Dalton is Modernizing a Large-scale Health Care Facility in North Toronto

An eight-storey, medical building in North Toronto is currently undergoing a comprehensive upgrade and Dalton is leading the charge on the $15M project.

Here’s an artist’s rendering depicting the future look of the building, which is located at 240 Duncan Mill Rd:

Rendering courtesy of Thomas Payne Architects.

The project–which is a collaboration with Forest Ridge (our Client), Prism Partners (Project Manager) and Thomas Payne Architect­–involves risks that require equal parts savvy, collaborative planning and creative problem solving to overcome.

Currently, our team is delivering Phase One of the $15M project, which is focused on executing an evolving series of work packages within a continuous construction timeframe. The work packages are related to three main areas:

  1. Building envelope thermal performance upgrade

  2. Parking garage structural rehabilitation

  3. Mechanical and electrical infrastructure replacement

Let’s dive into greater detail of each work package to give you a boots-on-the-ground understanding of our Alternative Approach to Building in action.

Building Envelope Thermal Performance Upgrade

The Problem

The existing building envelope–the elements of the outer shell that maintain a dry, heated, or cooled indoor environment and facilitate its climate control–has reached the end of its lifespan. This outer shell is comprised of elements such as windows, frames and gaskets and it has lost its ability to perform effectively. Plus, the building envelope is no longer aesthetically pleasing and the owner’s goal is to create a modern, technologically-advanced medical facility with enhanced amenities, so it needs a refresh.

Here’s a photo of the building with its existing windows.

This makes upgrading the building envelope necessary, which involves 240 separate window bays, but this undertaking leads to another issue. The floors in the building are occupied by tenants and there is a steady flow of visitors and staff entering and leaving the occupied building. Also, the installation began in the winter, so our team had to find ways to manage all that cold air blowing into exposed window bays during replacement.

And finally, rigorous quality control measures backed by thorough photo documentation were also required.

The Solution

First, our project team created a pedestrian and traffic plan to protect the health and safety of visitors and staff. Barriers, scaffolding and signs were erected around and in the building. The structure had to be cleaned and repaired, which involved the application of an elastomeric coating, which helps waterproof the exterior of a structure. Then, the new vapour barrier membrane is installed, followed by a new punch window installation. And finally, the new insulation and aluminum cladding system.

Here’s a crew installing a window (please note that this photo was taken prior to the current COVID-19 site measures that we have put in place in all our construction sites):

Workers are using articulating boom machines to install the windows.

In the photo below, note the difference between the new windows depicted in the bottom frame compared to the old windows.

This recent photo shows off the new windows as workers apply the new exterior coating:

Site manager Sam Catricala inspects newly installed windows:

The new double pane windows feature a Low-E coating and are vastly more energy efficient than the existing single pane units. Not only does the Low-E coating minimize the solar heat gain (thereby reducing the cooling loads on the building during the summer) but the double pane system greatly improves the thermal value of the building façade (reducing heating loads on the building during the winter).

Parking Garage Structural Rehabilitation

The Problem

Water above is permeating the concrete and leaking into the underground parking lot, which is located below the building. Here’s one leak:

This is creating structural issues in that must be addressed to keep the parking garage operational and safe. Also, tenants and visitors need to use select areas of the parking lot during construction.

The Solution

The upper and lower parking lot was divided into work areas and live parking areas, which will be rotated as the lot is rehabilitated. Structural engineers test the pavement and concrete and mark certain areas that are dilapidated and required repair. You can see where the engineers have marked the ceiling in the underground garage in this photo:

The next step is removing the old concrete and replacing it with new material. This concrete rehabilitation must be done meticulously so that the structure isn’t compromised.

Mechanical and Electrical Infrastructure Replacement

The Problem

The existing mechanical infrastructure had reached its end-of-life capacity. It was a pneumatic system that is less efficient in comparison to modern, digital systems. Older pneumatic systems can also lack precision controls, are sensitive to vibrations, and can become increasingly loud and noisy as they age.

Here's a look at the existing supply air returns in the building in the mechanical room.

The Solution

Our project team is installing a modernized Building Automation System (BAS), which uses an interconnected network of software and hardware to operate the building's mechanical and electrical systems, including heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC), lighting, security and fire systems.

The new system will generally improve the conditions for building occupants; increase the efficiency of building system operation, reduce the consumption of energy and operating costs, and optimize the life cycle of the facility’s utilities.

In addition to the modernization of the mechanical controls, a fundamental improvement to the operation of the building involves the addition of hundreds of new isolation valves installed throughout the building to minimize disturbance to the tenants during future servicing and maintenance.

Substantial completion of the work we are completing at Duncan Mill Rd. is scheduled for Winter 2021. Watch out for final photos and updates in the future about this project.

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