Canadian Consulting Engineer

Buildings: Halsall’s Transformation In Ottawa

Asked what he's most proud of in their renovated offices in downtown Ottawa, Halsall Associates' Scott Shillinglaw, P. Eng. names two additions that have proven popular with the employees. One is the ...

December 1, 2008   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Asked what he’s most proud of in their renovated offices in downtown Ottawa, Halsall Associates’ Scott Shillinglaw, P. Eng. names two additions that have proven popular with the employees. One is the bicycle storage room they built in the parking lot, which led to 40% of the employees cycling to work in the summer. The second is that they took a windowless storage room in the penthouse and converted it into a daylit staff lunchroom leading to a rooftop patio.

While its head office is in Toronto, Halsall has 30 staff in Ottawa and has leased space in the 1971 building at 210 Gladstone Street for 36 years. They decided to stay in the building because of the convenience for employees, with restaurants, stores and other amenities close by. But this meant negotiating with the landlord in order to make major changes. Halsall gutted and renovated part of the third floor, the entire fourth floor, and converted the penthouse. They persuaded the owner to add shower facilities for employees and were permitted to add the bike storage room.

To open up the space they added skylights and oriented the workstation partitions in a north-south direction. That way, daylight from the glazed long north and south sides of the building could penetrate. Any partitions in the east-west direction were glazed. The new configuration has made space for 25 additional staff.

The HVAC system belongs to the owner and serves the entire building. However, Halsall paid for improvements such as adding a humidifier (previously air in the office was so dry, Shillinglaw says, that employees would receive static electricity shocks all the time). More than half the employees now have their own temperature and ventilation controls. They added a 95%-efficient boiler in the penthouse to provide hydronic heating for the lunch room and domestic hot water. They also added separate ventilation with a heat-recovery-ventilator in the washrooms and photocopy room.

New lighting gives a 66% improvement on the energy consumed by the old lighting, and a 42% better performance than in the Model National Energy Code for buildings. The new lamps are T5 fluorescents and compact fluorescents, and there are occupancy and daylight sensors.

Over 25% of the materials were recycled. The board room table, for example, incorporates a salvaged steel Ibeam from another building close by.

The project was given a LEED-Commercial Interiors (CI) Platinum rating within eight weeks of its commissioning in May 2008. It was the first LEED-CI rating in Ontario, and has the highest score in Canada.

Halsall Associates design team: Scott Shillinglaw, P. Eng., Ghislaine Johson, Brandon Malleck

Other key players: KWC Architects, Gabriel Mackinnon Design, Vanfort, Goodkey Weedmark, Pivotal Projects


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