Kanata, Ontario, is well-known for its technology businesses, so the centralization of Ciena on a new campus in the city is a commitment by the U.S. networking company to the area. Ciena is leasing a building formerly occupied by smart phone company Blackberry Ltd. that is located in the Kanata North development. The company plans to centralize all its offices and employees in the area in two additional structures that are being built by Broccolini to match the first.
The $90 million project will add approximately 287,000 square feet to the campus in a three-story structure called Building C and a four-story one called Building B. The existing first building, Building A, is five stories tall. “The intent is to have one harmonized campus so all the buildings match,” Main Project Director Mike Lisi explains.
The concrete structures will have no levels below grade. They will have exteriors consisting of architectural precast concrete, with aluminum glazing, paneling and louvers. “At the end of the day, there will be a very close similarity among the three buildings,” Lisi declares.
Although the two new office buildings will be owned by Spear Street Capital, the requirements for electricity and cooling are being provided by Ciena because of the computer equipment that will be on the first floors of both buildings, which will be dedicated to hardware and software labs. “We do have specific requirements that come from Ciena in terms of cooling and electrical loads that are above and beyond your base building requirements,” Lisi points out.
Running and Designing
A challenge of the project has been designing and building it around the activities of the existing Building A. “It’s always challenging to build a facility for a client where they have to run their day-to-day business and design a future facility,” Lisi notes. “For some of the requirements in terms of data cabling, security and audio/video – because we are always a few steps ahead of them – we need them to be onboard. That’s a common problem with the majority of our projects nowadays. It’s always challenging when clients have a 9-to-5 job to get their job done and feed us information to get the project done. When you deal with a large organization, decision-making at times can be very challenging because of the many levels of approval.”
This project has a tight timeframe and a strict delivery date because Ciena employees have to move from the former facilities in Ottawa of Nortel Network Inc. Those former Nortel facilities were purchased by the federal government in 2009, which will start sending its employees there this fall. The new labs being built by Broccolini at Kanata North will have to be brought online and run simultaneously with the old ones before the old labs can be decommissioned. “There’s no on/off switch to power on the new labs,” Lisi quips.
Fortunately, the new Kanata North site has enough space so Broccolini can stage materials and allow Ciena and construction workers to get to their workplaces.
“Once we mobilize on site, the first thing to do is to make sure we have circulation areas, a building path and parking areas,” Lisi says. “We create our staging areas and ensure sufficient areas for the workers to park their cars and receive equipment and materials onsite.”
The greenfield site on which the two buildings are being constructed was kept vacant for additional future development. That allowed construction of both buildings simultaneously.
“We have a large site and a big playing field,” Lisi says. “We’re able to minimize lost time. So whenever we run into problems with one building, we can always turn around in a day or so and transfer labor to the other building. That was one of our successes when we built the infrastructure schedule for the superstructure.
“At the time when we were doing superstructure work, we had three specialties to coordinate – our form contractor, our rebar contractor and our concrete supplier. So when one building ran into a problem, the day after we would shift the crew. So the lost time was kept to a minimum.”
The construction of Building B is slightly behind Building C primarily due to the pile foundations. One-quarter of the structure consists of piles and the remainder is directly laid on rock.
The two buildings, which were designed by Gordon Krieg from Pye and Richards Architects Inc., use the latest energy-efficient systems.
“The mechanical and electrical teams have done a great job in selecting the most efficient and up-to-date technology for the project, such as high-efficiency boilers, chillers and air handling units,” Lisi says. A sophisticated automation system will interface with all the building’s systems.
Broccolini is self-performing rough carpentry and cleaning. The rest is being handled by up to 25 subcontractors, some of whom Broccolini has worked with extensively in the past. “We have a lot of interface on this project because Broccolini is construction manager for the big building and also for the lab, and the lab fit-up has a separate architect and mechanical and electrical team,” Lisi notes. “So there is definitely a lot of integration that occurs between both consultants from the base building and lab fit-up.”
Lisi emphasizes that a successful project starts at the early planning stages. He is proudest of “the tremendous work the entire team has put together to get where we’re at, facing challenges that we had. We had a tender schedule to respect. Despite delays with the tender packages and dealing with them in a piecemeal fashion, we were still able to have the building closed up for the winter and maintain the overall base building schedule.”