Sustainable Biz Canada

B+H designs PCL Toronto’s new LEED v4 office space


PCL Toronto has settled into its new Oakville office space in Westbury International Centre, which reflects both its heritage and future as Canada’s largest construction company.

PCL Toronto Office

Image courtesy of B+H Architects.

“Our previous space served us well for more than 25 years,” said PCL Constructors Canada Inc. (Toronto) senior vice-president and district manager Todd Craigen of the former location at 2085 Hurontario St. in Mississauga. “However, it was dated and in need of a major renovation.

“As our business has grown and the industry has evolved, we recognized the need to elevate our Toronto workplace to sustain our operations well into the future, with focus on a more collaborative work environment focused on employee engagement and wellness, and sharing of information and technology.

“We see our new space as an important investment in our employees and our partners that sets the stage for PCL to recruit and retain the best people in the industry.”

PCL is a group of independent construction companies involved in the infrastructure, heavy industrial and buildings markets across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean and Australia. While the company’s North American head office is in Edmonton, the Toronto office oversees its largest district, with more than 550 employees and annual construction volume of more than $1 billion.

Westbury International Centre was built in 2016 and received a LEED Silver designation last year. The seven-storey building has 219,175 of space, of which more than 100,000 square feet isn’t yet leased.

B+H Architects-designed collaborative spaces

PCL occupies 51,000 square feet on two floors designed by B+H Architects.

“B+H is a talented design house with innovative and creative thinkers,” said Craigen. “Our long history of great projects with B+H has spawned a unique relationship between our firms.

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“There is good alignment with shared cultural values and a relationship built on mutual respect and trust. I think everyone will agree, B+H delivered on our vision and exceeded our expectations with the design of our new home.”

B+H’s design involved the installation of an internal stairwell connecting PCL’s two floors, as well as creating plenty of collaboration and meeting spaces and using the most current technology to help collaboration with other offices and project teams across Canada. It also includes a café lounge with a kitchen that can host large interactive meetings while acting as both a work and relaxation space.

“They had become siloed and disconnected because they grew so much,” said B+H interior design principal Peter Heys of PCL’s issues with its former office. “This was an opportunity to re-introduce themselves to each other.”

To reinforce PCL’s position and heritage as a prominent construction company, the office design includes plenty of wood, exposed concrete, exposed steel, glass and metal.

PCL’s desire for LEED v4 offices

PCL’s office was designed and built to LEED v4 standards, with Green Reason acting as the LEED consultant and being instrumental in achieving the LEED v4 goal.

“We had to work within the parameters of what the building offered to go the extra mile to get that accreditation,” said Heys.

Included in the customization particular to the PCL office was working with and adapting the building control systems, including lighting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). Plumbing met all new standards for fixtures and water usage.

Every material and component that went into the space was scrutinized and tracked so that they met LEED v4 criteria, according to B+H senior interior designer and senior associate Adrian Berry. The reflectivity of the ceilings, workstations and furniture was taken into consideration so they would produce as much light as possible while using as little energy as possible.

“Knowing that it would take a steep learning curve to implement the new requirements to obtain LEED v4 ID+C for commercial interiors, we decided to use the project as a test case in partnership with B+H and Green Reason to explore this new and challenging rating system together for application on future client projects,” said Craigen.

“With PCL acting as both the client and construction manager on this project, we were able to create a successful outcome for our employees, while utilizing the project as a living lab to gain important knowledge that we can translate for our clients interested in adopting LEED v4 on their projects.”

Westbury International Centre

The Westbury International Centre’s 11-acre site at 2201 Bristol Circle is easily accessible via the Queen Elizabeth Way, Highways 403 and 407, and public transit. It’s in close proximity to more than 20 restaurants and coffee shops, as well as banks, retail shops, hotels, fitness facilities, schools and daycare facilities.

Westbury International Centre’s features include: rooftop exposure; four computer-controlled elevators, with one to facilitate move-ins; a two-storey main lobby with indirect lighting, granite floors, feature walls and sculpted drywall ceilings; two common washrooms per floor; a central high-efficiency, energy-saving HVAC system located in the penthouse; a smart water system installed for the exterior landscape to conserve on water usage; and four parking spaces for every 1,000 square feet of leasable space.

Westbury International (1991) Corporation’s portfolio of managed properties includes 40 tenants in more than 900,000 square feet of class-A office space in Oakville and nearby Burlington. Its headquarters is located in Westbury International Centre.

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Steve McLean

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Steve is a veteran writer, reporter, editor and communications specialist whose work has appeared in a wide variety of print and online outlets. He’s the author of the book Hot Canadian Bands and has taught reporting to college students. He is based in Toronto.

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