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Behind the Project: BMO Centre


As part of the Rivers District Master Plan, Calgary’s BMO Centre is undergoing a major expansion that will more than double its floor space to nearly 1 million ft², making it the largest conference facility in Western Canada once complete. The expansion will also add more amenities, loading and storage areas, and modernize the audiovisual/technology infrastructure. The expansion recently reached substantial completion, a huge milestone for all involved. 

Entuitive is providing Building Envelope Consulting (BE) and Building Envelope Commissioning (BECx) services for this project, which will be a major catalyst for Alberta’s economic diversity, trade, and tourism. 


One Project, Two Lenses 

As the Building Envelope Consultant and the Building Envelope Commissioner, Entuitive’s team has had the opportunity to look at this project through multiple lenses. 

As the BE Consultant, we’ve worked directly with the architect and client, facilitating and completing a peer review of their design. We’ve also provided support on detailing building envelope components. 


On the BECx side, our role as the Commissioning Provider lies in ensuring that the owner’s project requirements are met and in keeping the project on track. We also facilitate the testing of components to validate that the owner’s project requirements are satisfied.  

Looking at the project from both sides allows our team to provide a holistic set of solutions for all stakeholders. 

Technical Challenges  Begun in 2019, the BMO Centre expansion involves connecting the newly constructed portions of the project to the existing building. On the north side, for example, the connection of new to existing building components is technically demanding at multiple elevations.

Large Curved Canopy  

The 50-metre-long front sweeping curved canopy structure is particularly interesting as it is located completely outside the envelope in terms of air and vapour barrier continuity, but must still act to provide watershed and drainage off its surfaces adjacent to the primary entrance and grand staircase. This created a challenge with roofing areas sloping in multiple directions, where they would typically want to drain in one direction. Cognizant of this, Entuitive worked through the steps with the team to confirm the canopy roofing system is robust and designed to drain most effectively.   

Thin Brick Veneer System 

The architect envisioned a high-end look, reminiscent of a brick masonry facade, for the Centre. This look was achieved in many areas with a thin veneer system installed outboard of precast concrete wall panels. Our team worked with the architect from both the BE and BECx sides to ensure the desired aesthetic could be achieved while maintaining a high level of performance, with the veneer looking similar to full-depth masonry brick units. 

In particular, the precast concrete wall panels presented a challenge in terms of their overall thickness, and efforts were required to complete the sealants at the joints between panels. Our team reviewed mock-ups and discussed with the installers how to utilize custom long nozzles, so that the panels could be sealed with a repeatable, simplified process. 


BECx Testing – Glazing, Flow, and Flood

As the Commissioning provider, Entuitive completed multiple tests, including air and water testing, flood tests, membrane adhesion testing, and infrared thermographic reviews during this project.  

Air and water testing was undertaken to determine whether the air and water tightness of on-site installations fell within the specified project requirements, as well as to determine where any leaks/system bypasses are happening and how installation procedures can be modified to eliminate them. 


Air testing chamber.


Flood tests involved roof or plaza areas being subjected to short-term hydrostatic head, which boils down to filling the area with up to 100mm (4 inches) of water after waterproofing is installed and observing if any signs of leakage occur. These types of tests are important to show that waterproofing systems perform well before covering them with overburden materials, which in many cases at BMO include accessible walking surfaces at paver covered plaza areas.



Showcasing the plaza during flood testing.


Thermography is a non-destructive review typically completed near the end of a project. Via infrared imaging this testing allows thermal anomalies to be flagged and further investigated by installers where they may relate to heat loss, air leakage, or other inconsistencies in the building envelope systems.


 

The BMO Centre Expansion project highlights the benefits of bringing Building Envelope and Building Envelope Commissioning together. Entuitive was able to effectively collaborate, reaching conclusions internally and managing deliverables that required input from both sides of these processes. We look forward to the official grand opening in June, prior to the start of the Calgary Stampede.   

If you would like to learn more about Entuitive’s role on the BMO Centre, please reach out to Heather Elliot, Barilelo Nghana, Sarika Nahal, or Rumor Pryor.  



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