Bronnenco Construction overcomes challenges for successful Earls Court Village project in London

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Bronnenco Construction overcomes challenges for successful Earls Court Village project in London

Ontario Construction Report special feature

Bronnenco Construction Ltd. has been recognized through the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) Builder Awards for its work on the Earls Court Village project in London.

The awards recognize projects substantially completed between January 01, 2012 and December 15, 2014. Award categories consider project value, type of construction, difficulty, complexity, size and overall project satisfaction.

Sharon Village Care Homes contracted with Bronnenco to be the construction manager for the new, LEED Silver 8,165 sq. m., four-storey long term care facility in the city’s northwestern area.

“The sub structure of the building proved most difficult, and despite having only 20 months to complete the project, we were able to meet the owner’s (2014) occupancy date,” said project manager Justin Nguyen.

The building has a library, chapel, dining spaces, theatre room, hairdressing, therapy rooms and a day program room. It also houses 128 beds for residents, as well as support areas for staff, including offices, medicine and supply rooms, nurse call stations and laundry facilities. Day program space for adults with acquired brain injuries, complete with separate access, is also included.

Nguyen says the new facility provides homes to vulnerable seniors, enriching their lives, regardless of their age or disabilities, with all the comforts and amenities of home.

He said the building’s location created challenges. “The building footprint is 1,886 sq. m. and sits on a total site area of 9,901 sq. m. The site is bordered on the south and north by residential houses and to the west by Highbury Ave., which is one of London’s main roads.”

He says there is a significant change in grade along Highbury Ave., dropping more than seven meters from the high point at the south to the low point at the north. Within the site itself, the major grade difference he said, occurred along a slope running diagonally from the southwest corner to the northeast corner; with the upper elevation up to nine meters above the base.

“Due to extensive topographic changes, the available site area consists of an elongated triangular parcel extending east from Highbury Ave. between the bottom of the slope running along the south side of the site and the slope created along the north.”

He said because of this, the staging area and parking were very limited. To accommodate parking for the trade contractors a temporary parking lot had to be created at the top of the hill at Jensen Rd. “There was no parking permitted on site except for one vehicle from each trade contractor firm. Trades were responsible to shuttle manpower and tools to the job site or walk down the hill via the path and temporary stairs created.”

In addition “the existing fill, topsoil, peat, marl and soft clay was not suitable to support the proposed building foundations and floor slabs due to the low strength and high organic content in the material,” Nguyen said.

To solve this problem and support the building, 308 steel pipe piles, 250 mm in diameter were driven to depths ranging from 4 m to 10 m below the underside of the concrete grade beam elevation. Once driven to the required depths, Nguyen says these piles were filled with 30mpa concrete. “The last steel pile was driven 2.5 months after the trade contractor mobilized onto site.”

He says additionally, due to the decomposition of fill material and organic matter in the peat and marl deposits, there were methane gas concentrations. “The design of the building foundation included a combination of pile caps and grade beams. The use of this foundation resulted in the area beneath the building being divided into individual cells, which would be isolated from each other and allow for gases to accumulate beneath the structural slab.”

Nguyen says it is an honour to win the OGCA award. “It brings satisfaction to Bronnenco knowing that we completed a project that is highly recognized by our peers within the construction industry.”

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