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IPD ‘magic’ being used on $85 million Barrie build

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by Patricia Williams

A team that includes a joint venture of Toronto-based Gillam Group Inc. and Alberta’s Chandos Construction is delivering an $85 million project in Barrie, Ont. using an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) model.
Construction is expected to get underway early next year on the new Barrie-Simcoe Emergency Service Campus. The facility will consolidate police, fire and other services in a central location at 110 Fairview Rd. in Barrie. The project is being delivered using an Integrated Project Delivery approach by a team that includes contractors Gillam Group Inc. and Chandos Construction.
Construction is expected to get underway early next year on the new Barrie-Simcoe Emergency Service Campus. The facility will consolidate police, fire and other services in a central location at 110 Fairview Rd. in Barrie. The project is being delivered using an Integrated Project Delivery approach by a team that includes contractors Gillam Group Inc. and Chandos Construction. - Photo: CITY OF BARRIE

The Barrie-Simcoe Emergency Services Campus will house the Barrie Police Service headquarters, Simcoe County Paramedic Services and Barrie Fire and Emergency Service dispatch communications in one location.

Construction is scheduled to get underway in early 2018, with early site preparations beginning this fall. The facility is expected to be operational by 2020.

The campus, to be located at 110 Fairview Rd. in Barrie, is believed to be the largest municipal IPD project currently underway in the province.

Plans for a police and fire training component have been deferred to a later date.

Gillam Group president and CEO Marcus Gillam said the project, which is a partnership between the city and the county, is a good fit for the IPD model.

"It's a complex program, bringing together three different departments," he said.

The project is the Gillam Group's inaugural IPD project. Its partner Chandos Construction has a number of IPD projects under its belt.

"I see huge opportunity in Ontario in the IPD space," said Gillam, whose firm hosted an IPD seminar in Toronto last year. "This model certainly adds value to projects."

The requests for proposals was issued last September.

"The team can change the design on a dime, if changes are necessary. We can price those changes within hours and days. These are things that would normally take weeks and months."

Marcus Gillam
Gillam Group

Key trade contractors, Geo. A. Kelson Company Ltd. and Wallwin Electric Services Ltd., were brought on board at the outset by the Chandos-Gillam joint venture.

"Those firms were strategic choices," Gillam said. "We have excellent long-term relationships with both firms. One of the keys to success in an IPD project is assembling a team with a common work culture."

The Gillam Group also has well-established relationships with other team members. Among them are divisions of AECOM Canada, LEA Consulting Ltd. and Lett Architects Inc.

The project was approved by Barrie City Council in late July following approval of a validation phase report, aimed in part at capturing the needs of facility users, creating a high-level design and establishing cost estimates.

This phase got underway in December 2016 after the IPD contract was awarded.

"We knew this was going to be a very intense process," Gillam said. "The challenge for us was to start with zero design and reach cost certainty only months later."

In all, the IPD team has representation from 17 organizations — stakeholders as well as companies. Early and "substantial" input from client organizations is considered a critical factor in the success of IPD projects.

"Investing a lot of time at the beginning means clients spend less time downstream dealing with problems," Gillam said.

For its part the Gillam Group itself currently has 11 personnel on the project. Six more people will be added once construction starts.

"It's a seamless (construction) delivery team," Gillam said of his firm's joint venture with Chandos. "If you walked into the office, you wouldn't know who is a Gillam team member and who is a Chandos team member."

Gillam, who believes that IPD has the potential to "revolutionize" the construction industry, said this model brings together "incredible tools and resources" in one room.

"The team can change the design on a dime, if changes are necessary. We can price those changes within hours and days. These are things that would normally take weeks and months."

The IPD team's "big room" meetings are being held on the second floor of an office building in downtown Barrie.

"That was an eye-opening experience," Gillam said of his attendance at a cost forecasting session. "This was nothing like I had ever seen before. The trade contractors and the designers were all forecasting their costs in an open and transparent manner."

In addition to Kelson and Wallwin, trades include Alliance Forming Ltd., Cesaroni Contracting Inc., Ontario Fox Corp. and Vipond Fire Protection Inc.

Participation in the IPD process has been a rewarding experience for Gillam Group project manager Benjamin Valliquette. The IPD team holds face-to-face meetings in the big room twice a week.

These are supplemented with conference calls and planning and breakout sessions "to make sure we all stay connected.

"It's been a fantastic experience, both from a project delivery perspective but also on a social and personal level," Valliquette said.

Currently, the project is in the detailed design stage. Building Information Modeling is being utilized.

"The magic about IPD is that it gives everyone really detailed, high quality information that is required to make decisions," Valliquette said.

"I think that is one of the things that I like best about the process."

Valliquette said the project will make use of "a lot of special technology" during the construction phase including drones and sophisticated Lidar scanning of the site.

"It is going to be a very futuristic jobsite."

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