Tindall Corp

As part of a $30 billion-plus investment program to modernize, upgrade and expand Ontario’s public infrastructure, Infrastructure Ontario and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correction Services are replacing the Toronto Jail with the new Toronto South Detention Centre, a 1,650-bed maximum-security prison for adult inmates. In addition, the Toronto South Detention Centre will serve inmates  with special needs.

The $594 million project also will include the construction of the Toronto Intermittent Centre, a facility to accommodate individuals primarily serving weekend sentences.

Groundbreaking for the Toronto South Detention Centre occurred in October 2009, and construction will be completed by fall 2012. Ellis­Don Corp. and its joint-venture investment partner, Fen­gate Capital, have team­ed up with Zeidler Partnership Archi­tects under a design/build contract.

Best for the Job

EllisDon and Zeidler considered a number of building systems for the Toronto South Detention Centre, but ultimately decided precast was the quickest and most economic way to build the seven-story, 220,000-square-foot prison.

Tin­dall Corp. of Spartanburg, S.C., was am­ong the precasters bidding on the massive project, and according to David Britt, vice president of corrections sales at Tindall, competition was fierce.

“Whether it’s in Canada or the U.S., these jails and prisons are public dollars – taxpayers’ money – and they want competition,” Britt says. “We were successful in convincing EllisDon that we were the most efficient and effective way to get the prison built.

“We made the cells in Atlanta, while one of our competitors was going to cast near the job site and another just over the border,” he continues. “But with our manufacturing and shipping experience, we have it down to a science. We have perfected rail shipment to the point where we can not only be competitive, but we can also be the most efficient and economical for our customers.”

One-Stop Shop

Tindall is supplying 448 double-cell mod­ules, which equates to 896 cells, as well as an architectural exterior wall.

In addition to manufacturing and erecting precast cells, the company’s various divisions work together to provide critical building components ranging from col­umns, beams and precast walls to electrical, plumbing and mech­anical systems.

Its turnkey capabilities played a key role in Tindall being the successful bidder on the project, according to Chris Pal­umbo, vice president of business development. “We’re the only module manufacturer that can be a single source for all the precast for a corrections project,” Palumbo states.

“With the help of over 70 engineers in our company, we do a better building process through technology,” Britt adds. “It makes a difference when we sit down on the front-end with a customer, be it an architect, general contractor or owner, because we are not just selling a project – we are selling a solution.”

Every construction project is driven by economics, especially in today’s times, he points out. “Our brand-new manufacturing facility in San Antonio operates much like an automotive production facility,” Britt says. “In other words, we build the BMW cell at a Chevy price, and that’s what our customers like.”

‘A Real Showpiece’

Experienced craftsmen erect the walls and floors of the cells as they move down the production line. The cells are painted; fitted with bunks, desks, toilets and light fixtures; and then thoroughly tested. Being able to do this off-site in a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment ensures quality and consistency, and eliminates common site challenges such as challenging weather conditions, vandalism or theft.

“We started erecting our product in Toronto in October 2010, and we’ll complete our work in May – and that’s through one of the worst winters in Toronto’s history,” Britt notes.

“We plowed right through it and continued working. Our engineers worked with EllisDon, the architect and structural engineer to help make this facility come together, and the ministry will be very happy with it.”

He credits the project’s success to the team of highly skilled construction professionals working on it. “It’s a great team and a breath of fresh air to work on a project where everyone is so committed,” Britt says. “I think this project is proof that we can do a very complicated architectural finish anywhere in the world and deliver a total precast project that’s second to none. That’s what Toronto South Detention Centre says to me, and I think it will say that to the industry. It’s a real showpiece.”

Team Tindall Prevails

From its modest beginnings as a manufacturer of concrete pipes to its current position as a leader in providing precast, prestressed concrete framing systems, correctional cell modules and utility structural systems, there is one thing that has not changed at Tindall: its employees’ dedication to the company.

When Hurricane Katrina battered the company’s Biloxi, Miss., plant in the summer of 2005, all divisions of the Tindall team pulled together and had the facility operating within three weeks of the historic storm. “We take great pride in the diverse talents of our work force, and we value the collective strengths of all our employees,” Tindall says.

Recently, Tindall has taken its passion for quality and knowledge of sustainable building practices, and applied them to a new construction sector that benefits from its unique precast solutions: wind energy generation.

In April, the company began construction on a new precast, prestressed concrete wind tower base system on a 144-acre site in Newton, Kan. Encompassing between 150,000 and  200,000 square feet, the $66 million facility will take approximately  nine months to complete. “We are pleased to be applying our precast design and engineering solutions to the wind energy market with this new product,” Palumbo says. “This base system for wind tower monopoles boosts the turbines to heights above 100 meters into stronger, steadier winds that generate more power.”


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