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Behind the Project: Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

The Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital is located in Vaughan, Ontario, just outside of Toronto. Entuitive provided structural engineering services on this project, which represents the first hospital ever to be built in Vaughan and the first hospital to be built in York Region in the last 30 years.

Recently, we sat down with Principal Sean Smith and Associate Belinda Wong to discuss the project in more detail.

Thanks for sitting down with us today, Belinda and Sean. Can you tell us a bit about the project?

Sean: The Cortellucci Vaughan hospital is a 11 storey, 1.2 million square foot facility that includes an emergency department, modern surgical services and operating rooms, advanced diagnostic imaging, specialized ambulatory clinics and intensive care beds, and acute-care patient rooms for infection prevention and control. It’s also the first hospital in Canada to feature fully integrated smart technology with systems and medical devices that speak directly to one another to maximize information exchange.

Belinda: The hospital recently opened its doors and is temporarily focused on creating additional ICU and acute care capacity to help manage the surge of COVID-19 cases that are sweeping the province of Ontario.

Sean: It feels good to have helped support the fight against COVID in some way by creating a piece of community healthcare infrastructure that is adaptable. Another interesting facet of the project is the carbon locking technique used in the concrete block used in the hospital construction. The process captures carbon and locks it into the concrete block, offsetting carbon emissions during manufacturing and construction.

Belinda: After I heard that the carbon locking technique was used here, I felt validated that there is a place for sustainability in these types of jobs. Now, at my next healthcare project, we will further our commitment to sustainability in the future.

Sounds like a super progressive project that is already giving back to the local community. What’s a challenge you had to overcome during the course of the project and how did you solve for it?

Sean: This was a really large project, and it was delivered in a relatively short period of time. That in itself was a challenge and one that’s typical of P3 projects. One of the great things about Entuitive is that we have the nimbleness and the capacity to take on this type of job.

Belinda: That’s true. It really did have to happen quite fast and how we managed the timeline was to be super involved and always keep the big picture in mind. We were hands-on, collaborating with all the consultants and PCL to ensure timelines were met and a useable design was put forth.

Sean: One of our biggest successes on this job to overcome the tight schedule challenge was creating a workflow schedule. Belinda did an awesome job of creating that timeline and sticking to it. There was a strong project management piece that goes beyond the typical role of a structural engineer. We felt a lot of trust from PCL after we created and began implementing this schedule, which was nice.

Belinda: We tried to automate a lot of our mundane processes like data transfer between our design models to our contract documents. By automating these mundane processes, the chance for human error is decreased. This is in line with our quality control efforts that get to the heart of producing a great end product. For instance, our BIM Lead on the project, Andy, created parametric tools in Revit that accurately represent bespoke structural details. These families were flexible to future change and were adaptable to the project’s needs.

Sean: Exactly – we’re always trying to maximize our use of technology to deliver projects efficiently and effectively. In this case by automating processes and document creation.

Belinda: Yeah, we set up the design in such a way that anything we did could be repeatable. Tools and models were set up in a way that things could be automated, so that for instance, every time we wanted to get tonnage we wouldn’t have to do it from scratch again.

Sean: This all went back to maintaining the schedule, which was really our main challenge on the project.

What was your favourite part of the project?

Belinda: Getting to work with amazing people. We had an incredible site team with the PCL guys. We were all collaborative, and respected each other, and listened to each other. It makes your job so much better when people appreciate and respect your thoughts. From PCL to Stantec to Plenary, there were some great relationships built and developed.

Sean: I was going to say something quite similar. There’s something special about some jobs where it’s just enjoyable all the way through and it’s totally about the people. This was a great job with great people and it really was about Belinda driving the project management process for us. There was an expectation of open communication and a shared goal of delivering a great project. No matter what project stage – bidding, delivery, construction – the people were different, but the goal and sentiment remained the same.

Any final thoughts?

Sean: This is a community project. Healthcare is a cornerstone of Canadian culture and developing a hospital that treats our clients and communities really drives to the heart of what we love to do at Entuitive.

Belinda: It helps that we’re very local and close to the hospital. For me, I know people who are going to be working there. Also, every single person I know who lives in Vaughan is so proud of the hospital. When the project was in construction, I would get people sending me pictures of it whenever they passed it. It speaks to the excitement of the community of having this hospital built.


Thanks for chatting with us, Belinda and Sean. If you’d like to learn more about healthcare design, connect with Belinda Wong or Sean Smith.


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