Stuart Olson Dominion Construction

For many years, the city of Edmon­ton has turned to Stuart Olson Dom­inion Construction to fulfill its building needs. “We’re a recognized contractor in the city,” Project Manager Doug Hager says, adding that the contractor built Edmonton’s city hall.

This experience made the company a good choice to build Edmonton’s new Ter­willegar Community Recreational Centre, which was de­signed by SAHURI + Partners Architecture Inc. The new 250,000-square-foot centre features a running track, yoga and aerobic rooms, and four full-size multipurpose ice rinks.

Stuart Olson Dominion started work on the project in July 2008 and finished this March. “This building is a real flagship for the city,” Hager says, noting that this is the largest recreation centre Ed­monton has ever constructed. Two more rec centers of similar magnitude are currently close to going to tender and one more is in the planning stage.

The centre also features four swimming pools, including a full-size, 53-metre competition pool; a leisure pool with a wave generator and a water slide; and a pool for teaching children. In addition, there is a 40-person Swirl Pool, “which is basically a giant hot tub,” Hager says.

He adds that the 53-metre pool has two moveable fiberglass bulkheads that al­low the pool to be segmented into different sections and accommodate various programs simultaneously. “It also has a moveable floor at one end, which allows the depth of that area to be adjusted to suit different activities such as aquasizing,” he says.

“The depth can vary from a couple of centimetres to about two met­res,” Hager says. “These design elements allow the large pool to be utilized in many ways as compared to a regular full size pool.”

Second to None

Hager adds that the aquatics facility features a cutting edge filter system that is second to none in the world. “The filters were manufactured in Germany and brought to Edmonton early in the project,” he states.

“Due to their large size, it was much easier to install them before construction was too advanced,” he adds.

In addition, “Each pool basin has a separate filter system so there is no interchange of water between pools,” Hager continues. “This al­lows each pool to be treated separately in the event of a contamination event.”

In the arena, “The heat generated by the ice making plant is captured and used to heat the ground level concrete floors in the public concourse and the main bleacher, which seats about 800,” he says. “The recaptured heat is about 7 million [British Thermal Units].”

Because the entire facility is built on an old gravel pit that was backfilled with various materials, “It was decided that everything needed to be structurally supp­orted, including all grade level slabs,” Hager continues. “This required the in­stallation of approximately 900 compacto piles. One hundred millimeters of void form was installed under all slabs to separate the structure from the grade.

“All parking areas were also stripped down 1.5 meters,” he says.

“Geotextile fabric was installed at this elevation and then engineered fill was used to bring the area back to grade before the installation of the granular fill and asphalt,” he adds.

Good Teamwork

Stuart Olson Dominion experienced many challenges as it constructed the centre. “Last summer was particularly wet,” Hager recalls. “It caused us a lot of grief with regards to getting the parking lot areas completed.” The company lost about six weeks on its schedule due to the weather.

“We were able to get the paving in before the final freeze-up,” Hager ex­plains. Stuart Olson Dominion worked with an array of consultants, who were from as far away as Toronto and Victoria, British Columbia.

“They were spread out right across the country,” Hager says. “That was a challenge. All the consultants were not local by any means.” The company coordinated with them through a rigorous meeting program and constant e-mail and telephone contact.

Stuart Olson Dominion also completed the project safely as well as on time. All of the company’s senior foremen are accredited construction safety officers, and it had safety meetings regularly with its subcontractors.

“All subtrades are required to have their own safety meetings and provide daily hazard assessments for all their crews,” he says.

Stuart Olson Dominion maintained strong relationships with its subtrades, consultants and owner. “My site team [worked] to develop a team atmosphere so we were not all beating each other up,” Hager says.

“We were very successful at doing that on this project,” he declares. These positive relations were accomplish­ed by keeping communication lines open at all times and treating everyone honestly and fairly. This allowed Stuart Olson Dom­inion to deal with the inev­it­able change process very efficiently.

Continued Success

Based in Calgary, Alberta, Stuart Olson Dominion specializes in performing work on commercial, civic, healthcare, industrial and residential projects. Today, the company says it strives to operate in an environment where people are honest and open. “Together, we grow challenging careers that balance work and leisure in an organization that rewards excellence,” it says.

In addition, the company strives to be environmentally conscious. “We will lead in green construction because we believe in it,” it says. “We strive to protect the environment on every job.”

“At Stuart Olson Dominion, we measure success by far more than financial results,” President and COO Don Pearson said in a statement.

“We place an equal value on developing and maintaining significant long-term relationships with clients, consultants and employees,” Pearson continued. “This in turn has continued to fuel our opportunities for growth and our desire to maintain our status as a value-added contractor.”

According to Pearson, Stuart Olson Dom­inion also strives to create a work environment in which not only its employees, but also where its clients, consultants and trade contractors are able to mutually thrive. “Today, we are more excited than ever about the future,” he said.

“These turbulent economic times will challenge us to continually adapt our app­roach to the management of our busi­ness and our construction practices,” Pearson said. “We are confident that by staying focused on our transparent business principles, we will ensure the continued success of our partners and our company.”

On the Upswing

Hager notes that Stuart Olson Dominion currently is finding its construction market to be strong, which is thanks to its location in Alberta.

“Alberta is the center of the oil industry in Canada,” he says. “We’re in an economy that moves on a different wave than other parts of the country.

“We’re seeing a tendency [for the construction sector] to be back on the up­swing as the industrial sector starts to pick up steam,” Hager continues, adding that the company is now bidding for some prom­inent projects in the province, including the upcoming rec centres.

“We have also started an industrial division to capitalize on up­coming work in that sector.”

Along with staying busy, Hager predicts that Stuart Olson Dom­inion will continue to grow after recently growing from a merger. “Our parent company, Churchill Corporation, recently acquired Seacliff, another major construction company in Canada,” Hager says.

Sea­cliff owned Dominion Con­struction, which was a major general contractor. Domin­ion’s operations were folded into Stuart Olson’s and Stuart Olson Dom­inion was the result. “Now we’re expanding from [being] a western Canada-based company into a more national presence,” he says. “[But] we’re not looking out past the borders of Canada at this point.”

At the moment, Hager says, the company has a strong amount of work al­ready on its plate to keep it on its side of the border for now.


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