Trotter & Morton

Trotter & Morton works closely with its partners on a university project. When the University of Calgary began planning for its new undergraduate laboratory building, its primary goal was to create a space where students could come together and collaborate on highly technical energy projects.

The result – the Energy Environment Experiential Learning (EEEL) project – “will be experiential, interdisciplinary, innovative and relevant for an engaged student population,” the university says. Even though the building won’t be opened to students until later this year, the EEEL building already has inspired a great deal of collaboration. That collaboration is among the many contractors working to bring the project to fruition, one of the most prominent of which is Trotter & Morton.

One of the most well-known and longest-running mechanical contractors in North America, Trotter & Morton’s work on the EEEL project is the latest in a long line of projects for the University of Calgary that spans more than two decades, according to Mechanical Construction Manager Dwayne Wilson.

The EEEL building, which began construction in 2007, will include classrooms, offices, laboratories and work spaces for students. The university’s plans for the facility include a rooftop observation deck for astronomy, a large instructional theater and foodservice areas for students. Throughout the building, the university’s primary focus is on creating space for students to share their work and collaborate without interruption. A multipurpose foyer area provides an informal space for students to occupy, which can be converted into formal conference space if needed. The classroom and laboratory areas also include break-out spaces for students to work in small teams if they require them.

Working Together

As the mechanical contractor on the project, Trotter & Morton’s work includes plumbing, pipefitting, sheet metal, fire protection, controls and other elements. The $31 million contract fits perfectly into the company’s experience and expertise, but that doesn’t mean it has been working on auto-pilot. “Needless to say, there’s a lot of piping and not a lot of space,” Wilson says. Because of the restrictions placed on the project team by the close conditions, a healthy amount of collaboration and communication has been necessary to keep the work on schedule. Wilson says Trotter & Morton has worked closely with the key subcontractors on the project, as well as with general contractor EllisDon.

“There’s a very good relationship on site, and we attempt to be very proactive on site and identify issues before they become issues,” Wilson says. A big part of that process so far has been the use of 3-D modeling on the project. Wilson says Trotter & Morton is experienced in using such software tools, but typically has used it mainly for coordinating work in mechanical rooms. The EEEL facility represents one of the company’s first efforts at broadening the use of 3-D modeling, putting it to use in collaboration with other trades for coordination and sequencing of work throughout the entire project. Up to this point, Wilson says, the company has been impressed with the results, saying the technology has proven its value.

“It’s been helpful to identify concerns and create sequencing for scheduling, and it’s something that in the future we’d like to utilize more,” Wilson says. Although the EEEL project is unique, Wilson says the principles that have kept it on track are the same as on any successful endeavor. “I think that’s typical to any project,” according to Wilson. “It’s always important to keep a good line of communication and keep everyone proactive and looking ahead.”

Higher Complexity

Communication and collaboration are especially important considering the higher degree of complexity in the EEEL building’s mechanical systems. Wilson says the chilled water system in the building’s design is unique in the sense that it utilizes multiple methods of cooling as opposed to simply using cooling towers or chillers. This includes radiant cooling panels as well as a dry cooling system and a backup that ties into the main campus system.

Wilson says many of the mechanical systems’ features were dictated by the university’s desire to build an environmentally sensitive facility. “Because it’s an environmentally friendly building, we’re reusing gray water,” he adds. “[The project is] unique in the fact that we’re utilizing the water where we have an actual cistern that we recharge.”Despite the complexity of the project, the EEEL facility fits perfectly into Trotter & Morton’s portfolio, according to the company. It says projects of this type are nothing unusual for the contractor.

“A diverse portfolio of technologies, expertise, experience and knowledge allows us to provide a single source solution for our partners,” the company says. “From design?build and install through to ongoing maintenance, repairs and retrofits, we have the capabilities to work through the entire lifecycle of a building in all disciplines.”The combination of experience, expertise and close collaboration with its partners on the project has contributed to a smooth project to date, Wilson says. He says the project is on track to be completed close to its targeted completion date in late 2011, with no significant potential roadblocks in sight.

Reliable and Collaborative

Trotter & Morton is no stranger to highly complex, technically demanding projects such as the EEEL building. In fact, many of the company’s past projects have been in complicated sectors such as airports or healthcare facilities. For example, the company recently contributed to the construction of the new McCaig Tower, part of a substantial expansion of Foothills Medical Center in Calgary. This project also involved the University of Calgary, as the university uses part of the Foothills Medical Center as a teaching facility.

The seven-story McCaig Tower adds approximately 67,000 square meters of new space to Foothills Medical Centre, which Alberta Health Services (AHS) says gives the hospital the opportunity to consolidate some programs and give others more space to expand. For example, the emergency department in the existing facility will be able to expand with the relocation of some services to McCaig Tower. Also part of the new McCaig Tower facility is a 36-bed intensive care unit. One of the unique features of the design is that the ICU rooms have interstitial spaces directly above them, which allow crews to perform necessary maintenance work without disturbing patients or doctors below.

This next ICU space incorporates the existing 25 ICU beds from the original facility. Other features of the building include 12 new operating rooms and an interventional trauma operating room that AHS says is the first of its kind in Canada. Trotter &?Morton also lent its expertise to the construction of the Downtown District Energy Center in Calgary for Enmax. This project is a heat-generating facility that in its first phase alone will provide heat for more than 10 million square feet of new and existing residential and commercial properties, according to the company. “District Energy provides heating through a network of underground insulated pipes and is more efficient than traditional heating systems which have separate boiler systems built into every building,”?Trotter & Morton explains.

“The Calgary Downtown District Energy Centre and distribution system is located to service current municipal-owned buildings and selected future downtown buildings,”?it adds. “This project is integral to the future development of the East Village which includes the development of buildings in the east section of Calgary’s downtown core.”With five locations in San Antonio; Kansas City, Kan.; Seattle; Vancouver; and Calgary, Trotter & Morton has made its mark throughout North America since its inception in 1927. The company says its reliability and collaborative efforts with clients have contributed to its success.

“Delivering projects on time and on budget is a reputation we continue to uphold; providing premier service is what we deliver,” according to the company. “We strongly support the project management philosophy that eliminates the traditional adversarial roles of the owner and the contractor and replaces it with a partnership approach – working together towards mutual goals.“Trotter & Morton, since 1927, has never failed to complete any of its contractual obligations,” the company adds.

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