Sick Kids Research Centre

Daily Commercial News and Construction Record 

May 25, 2010 

EllisDon to build new 21-storey tower for Hospital for Sick Children 

Constructing a 21-storey building on a tight urban site is one of the challenges facing EllisDon as it tackles a $400-million Hospital for Sick Children project in downtown Toronto.

The 750,000-square foot research and learning tower is being built at the corner of Bay and Elm streets, adjacent to both an Enbridge plant and a research facility that remains in operation.

“Getting out of the ground is always a challenge — and that is particularly true on this project,” says EllisDon senior project manager Dan Jolivet.

“We have to construct around a live steam and utility tunnel that is going into the Enbridge building. There is also going to be a lot of monitoring required for vibrations, given the proximity to both facilities.”



Ground was broken earlier this month on the tower, designed by Diamond + Schmitt Architects with HDR Inc. Designed to achieve LEED Gold, the building will include 17 floors of lab space, a learning concourse, administrative offices, lobby and retail space, 250-seat auditorium as well as two floors of below-grade parking.

The tower has been designed to encourage interdisciplinary research. Seven research neighbourhoods, spanning two and three floors, are connected by atrium spaces, staircases, lounges and kitchens.

It will be the largest high-rise research facility in Canada.

Jolivet, whose firm was awarded a stipulated-price contract to construct the tower, said there are some “unique” elements associated with the project, scheduled to be substantially completed in April, 2013.

Large, structural steel trusses span an entire storey, from the fourth to fifth floors.

“They will be actually cast into the fifth floor slab,” Jolivet said. “They get put in place and then temporarily braced. They cannot be un-supported until the fifth floor slab has been cast.”

Jolivet, a civil engineer who has been employed at EllisDon for 12 years, said the project also features some “complicated” curved curtainwall supported by ornamental, stainless steel cables.

“There are going to be some complicated connections, which will require a lot of co-ordination and planning.”

As well, close attention will have to be paid to installation of the mechanical-electrical systems, given the required “tight integration” with the hospital’s own building automation, fire alarm and security systems.

“This all needs to be up and running before we do our final commissioning of the building’s systems and equipment.”

The project is being undertaken by a team that includes structural engineers Halcrow Yolles and mechanical-electrical engineers H.H. Angus & Associates Ltd.

Jolivet said work is scheduled to get under way in August on construction of the concrete core. The building is to be topped off in March, 2012 and enclosed that fall.

A number of green features have been incorporated into the design.

These include sourcing local construction supplies with recycled content and wood from sustainable forests, harvesting rainwater from the roof in two cisterns for use in washroom fixtures and to irrigate landscaping and incorporating a building lighting control system with daylight sensors and occupancy sensors to reduce electrical energy consumption.

Other features are high-performance curtainwall cladding and low-emitting interior materials to improve indoor air quality.

Jolivet, whose firm has completed two projects that have been LEED Gold certified and has nine more either awaiting certification or under construction, said the key challenge from a contractor’s perspective is dealing with the additional paperwork.

Subtrade contracts have been awarded to: Comstock Canada Ltd. (mechanical); Ontario Electrical Construction Co. (electrical); Avenue Building Corp. (formwork); C&T Reinforcing Steel Co. Ltd. (rebar); Deep Foundations Contractors Inc. (caissons and shoring); and York Excavating & Grading Co. Ltd. (excavation/backfill).

New The hospital research tower will be located at Bay and Elm streets in Toronto


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