Ontario Construction Report special feature
Located in the charming community of Tottenham, Vista Blue is a six-storey condominium development with both underground and open-air parking. The development is just a short walk from the picturesque shopping district and the nearby Tottenham Conservation Area.
It’s a modern, urban design in a rural setting and contractor Bertram Construction has delivered the project despite facing challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. The successful completion, in part, was made possible by great working relationships. Bertram worked with partners including iSPAN Systems and Teccon Waterproofing Specialists to build the state-of-the-art structure.
“We’ve had the pleasure of working with the iSPAN a few times and while there’s certainly a lot of up-front co-ordination required, the system comes together quickly on site and allows you to build a ceiling with far fewer bulkheads than most other building systems,” said Curt Snoddon, manager of pre-construction at Bertram Construction.
“What you end up with are really smooth, clean looking units. Furthermore, working with cold-rolled steel instead of wood means less movement in the building itself which means fewer drywall cracks as the building goes through its first four-season cycle.”
Teccon has been a part of Bertram’s construction team for about three years.
“We were happy to contribute our knowledge and expertise in foundation protection to the Blue Vista project,” said Teccon’s crew chief.
“Bertram stands out to us as being a company that upholds the ability to put out superior products and services for their customers. With prompt communication, site preparedness and trade teamwork, projects are completed to the utmost of everyone’s ability.”
Basic building code requires damp-proofing and at Blue Vista, Teccon used a dual component spray applied waterproof. Long term, this protection will bridge future cracks, withstand Canada’s weather, and has little carbon footprint with our products zero VOC characteristics.
Gerrits Engineering was the structural, mechanical, and electrical engineer firm on the project and Bertram has built some iSPAN buildings together as a team in the past. The engineers’ familiarity with the system is valuable as it leads to fewer hiccups throughout the process, particularly on the coordination side, Snoddon said.
iSPAN’s TotalFraming package provided the load bearing and corridor walls using our TotalStud framing, as well as the lateral shear walls located in the stair walls and elevator shafts that used our formwall system.
The floor system consists of our 16” Composite TotalJoists with a 3” concrete topping. Working with the iSPAN system allows contractors to minimize sub-trades on site and control the schedule more effectively by using one supplier for load bearing walls, floor systems, and lateral shear walls.
Vista Blue has a modern design aesthetic with nine-foot ceilings in each suite – almost all the services are contained in the Composite TotalJoist floor system. The 84,000-sq. ft., 62-suite condo includes amenities spaces, a communal green space, and a storm-water pond.
Snoddon says the development may be unique to the New Tecumseth area, but perhaps sets a new standard.
“These types of buildings are absolutely the way things are going,” he said. “So many areas have densification targets in an effort to make efficient use of municipal infrastructure, and to limit the environmental impact associated with developing large swaths of previously undeveloped land.”
The best way to do that is to build up rather than out. Also, the desire of both millennials and retirees to minimize the amount of time they spend on home maintenance, makes mid-rise condos trendy in what would traditionally be considered “rural” areas.
Vista Blue’s uniquely sloped site shows a seven-storey southern facing elevation that transitions to six storeys. This provided an ideal placement for the underground parking structure.
The building shell is placed on concrete foundations and consists of an iSPAN Structure System. Poured concrete form-walls make up the elevator shafts & precast stairs. Each suite included either a precast balcony or a terrace space. The exterior shell consists of brick at the first two levels and than continues upward with an EIFS system.
“Covered parking is becoming increasingly important to condo buyers in the snowbelt, so the developer (MDM) made the decision to build a mixed outdoor/covered parkade with 47 outdoor parking spaces at the vestibule level and 62 covered parking space below,” Snoddon explained.
“Providing that many parking spaces on a lot this size without going to an extensive and potentially costly multi-level below grade parking meant that a tiered parkade was the best solution for the project.”
Vista Blue’s site plan application was first submitted in May 2015 and construction of the new building at 64 Queen St. S., across from the Tottenham Mall. After many revisions, construction began in June 2018. The 1.7-acre property fronts onto Dillane Street West and Queen Street South, and it will also connect to the Trans Canada Trail.