Pan Am Aquatics Centre/CSIO Building Swimming in Steel

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Pan American Aquatics Centre (PAAC), field house and Canadian Sport Institute Ontario (CSIO) comprise a high-performance aquatics and athletics facility currently under construction on the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games.

Right now, the main competitor at the centre is KC Welding Ltd. & Steel Erectors of Angus, Ont., the project’s steel erection contractor, working with approximately 2,800 tons of structural steel. PCL Constructors Canada is the general contractor on the $158.8-million design-build-finance project, with Walters Inc. providing steel fabrication services.

The centre will feature two internationally sanctioned 10-lane, 50-metre pools; a five-metre-deep diving tank, dry-land diver training facilities; and a seating capacity for approximately 6,000 people.

It also includes a field house featuring flexible gymnasium space for training and competition and will provide an additional seating capacity of approximately 2,000.

“It’s a very tight site, logistically,” says Gary Hooper, project supervisor for KC Welding.

“Because of the fact that it’s an aquatics centre, the project begins with two very big holes in the ground, the beginning of the excavations for the two pools. We worked closely with PCL, who accommodated us by devising compressed-earth ramps that would allow us to take our cranes safely down into the base of the site.”

The steel contractor employed three cranes on the job; an 80-ton crawler, a 400-ton crawler and a 75-ton hydraulic Terex. The Terex is owned by KC Welding, while the two others are supplied by Mammoet Canada. They’re being used to position and hoist approximately 20 trusses, each measuring as much as 265 feet in length. Twelve of the trusses weigh in from 40 to 80 tons apiece, while the remaining eight weigh approximately 20 tons.

“The steel trusses were arriving at the site in three separate sections,” says Hooper.

“We built special cribbing – great big wooden mats – on the ground and set them out level. We then unloaded each piece and made sure they cambered right, then bolted them together. We built them two at a time, one on top of the other, before swinging out with the crane, grabbing them and hoisting them into position. Walters played a huge role in staging this job to make sure we were making the best use of our own time and the use of our cranes.”

In addition to the structural steel, the company is also erecting steel bleachers along one side of the facility.

While the overall project involves some welding, the 25 workers supplied to the site by the contractor are employed largely in bolting the sections of the giant frame together.

Hooper estimates that at the end of May, the steel work will be approximately 75 per cent finished.

“We’re working alongside the forming guys and the electrical guys and the roof deck workers now, but we’re well ahead of schedule,” he says.

“We’re shooting to have this project finished by the end of July. It’s certainly an important job for us. It’s not often that you take on a project that will be guaranteed to be seen by people across the entire Western Hemisphere.”

Daily Commercial News - Peter Kenter

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