Bird Construction – Seton Recreation Facility

Bird SetonBird Construction’s work on the Seton Recreation Facility will bring an array of amenities for individuals and families to southeast Calgary.
By Eric Slack

With 95 years of construction experience in Canada with offices coast to coast, Bird Construction is a leading general contractor that provides construction services to a long list of new and repeat clients. Today, Bird is a publicly traded corporation with employees forming a significant shareholder group. This enhances the degree to which employees at all levels commit to the company’s clients.

“A hands-on approach to the business has given Bird an edge in being able to make decisions quickly and to adapt to the requirements of our clients,” Business Development Lead Jade Neher says.

Founded in 1920 and incorporated in 1930, Bird completes work worth in excess of $1.5 billion annually and has more than 2,000 employees in 11 offices. Bird’s extensive list of capabilities includes pre-construction services, and it has acted as a key member on many recent public-private partnership projects. Reflecting its broad scope, Bird's clients include leading firms in the commercial, institutional, retail, multi-tenant residential, industrial, mining, water and wastewater, energy and civil sectors.

Presence in the Market

In the company’s Calgary District market, Bird does a lot of work for the City of Calgary and Alberta Infrastructure, as well as many private clients. Its target projects vary and include commercial, recreational, educational, senior care, self-storage and office facilities. “We are competitive in the marketplace and complete our work under many different contract formats,” Neher says. Bird Construction Seton

Among the projects that Bird is handling at present is the Seton Recreation Facility in Calgary. Bird was prequalified with the City of Calgary to bid on the four new rec centers and was successful in securing two of the four projects under a hard bid format.

“The success on Seton can largely be contributed to the Quarry Park project nearing completion as Seton was due to start,” Neher says. “Our project team was involved early in the tender process for Seton as they were nearing completion on Quarry Park. This approach allowed our team to leverage existing relationships with subcontractors and provided our team with the opportunity to easily transition from one recreation project to another.”

The total budget for the Seton Project is $193 million. The facility is 30,697 square meters, and it is located in the new community of Seton adjacent to the South Calgary Health Campus. The scheduled completion date is July 31, 2018, providing a timeline of 882 days. “This is a very aggressive schedule considering that the Quarry Park Project took 838 days for a project one-third the size,” Senior Project Manager John Preston says.

The primary stakeholder is the City of Calgary. Secondary stakeholders are the YMCA as the facility operator and the Calgary Public Library. The Bird project team consists of project managers, site construction manager, superintendents, coordinators and foremen, as well as its various subtrades.

“We have taken lessons learned on previous projects and ensured that the team become integrated and incorporates the owner, the architect and consultant group, the general contractor and all of the subtrades working together to deliver the facility,” Preston says. “Technology is fully utilized to aid in the construction, and a rigid QA program is in place to minimize reworks. These are complex projects and changes are a fact of life but the sooner a change is identified, the easier and less costly it is to implement.”

Key Aspects

The project includes a 50-meter, 10-lane competition pool, full competition diving facilities complete with tower, a water park with flow-rider surf machine, a spectator viewing area, a leisure pool with wave machine, and hot tubs and steam room. Additionally, it includes two multipurpose ice rinks, three gymnasiums with multipurpose flooring, a fitness center with cardio and strength training equipment, fitness/aerobics studios and a running/walking track.

It also has large and small rooms for use as studios, classrooms and meeting spaces, as well as a 25,000-square-foot full-service library. Other features are a youth center with dedicated space for activities and programs; an art-making, studio and gallery space; a 300-seat theater; childcare/child minding facilities; foodservices; and a physiotherapy/medical clinic.

In addition to the amenities, a number of project elements stand out. The project is targeted as LEED Silver, as there is a cogeneration component with a natural gas-fired generator providing a portion of the power. The heat from this unit is fed into the building. All lighting is LED and controlled and balanced electronically to meet the needs of the space and the occupants. Large areas of skylights and curtainwall provide for natural light.

“The facility will be incredibly striking at night,” Preston adds. “The site is sloped and the facility steps down. The roof is undulating, reflecting the underlying contours of the site. The parking area is partitioned as basketball courts and hockey spaces for outdoor basketball and road hockey. The exterior of the building is comprised of masonry, cementitious panels and composite metal. It appears to be a neutral palette blending into the surroundings.”

Among the challenges the project has faced are summer weather that saw Calgary’s annual precipitation amount met in July, as well as an aggressive project schedule that has building foundations and erecting of structural steel spanning the first winter.  The expectation is that the looming winter will not be as friendly to construction as the preceding winter.

“We have altered some of the methods and sequences to enhance constructability,” Preston says. “We are working with the consultants to utilize materials more suited to winter construction for upfill and backfill. The foundations and superstructure over this coming winter represent the major challenge. Once that hurdle is made, the project develops a flow: foundation, superstructure, envelope and finishes. With the completion of each sections envelope, we have a manageable point of attack for interiors completions.”

Bird believes that the Seton project will be a legacy project for Bird nationally for years to come. Hard bid projects in excess of $100 million are rare, and Bird’s tender approach is being touted nationally as a successful model to replicate. The experiences gained throughout the course of the project will enable Bird’s project team to grow within the industry and perform larger and more complex projects in the future.

“These projects form the center of a community and the lifespan of the facility goes beyond that of the typical building,” Preston says. “These facilities represent a 50- to 100-year design, 25 years between refurbishments. Materials are more robust and the design more complex. These projects do not often present themselves and as such these represent projects the team can point to with pride.”

Current Issue

Check out our latest Edition!


alan blog ct

Contact Us

Construction Today Magazine
150 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60601


Click here for a full list of contacts.

Latest Edition

Spread The Love

Back To Top