Wayne Gretzky Sport Centre project a showcase for cross-laminated timber
In what is thought to be the first such installation on a commercial development in Ontario, cross-laminated timber (CLT) is being utilized on a project currently under construction in the city of Brantford.
CrossLam panels manufactured by Structurlam Products Ltd. form the roof structure above a pool area in the city-owned Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre, which is undergoing a $53 million renovation and expansion.
The project is being implemented by Toronto-based CS&P Architects Inc. in association with Brantford’s MMMC Inc. Architects. Construction manager is Kitchener-based Ball Construction.
Paul Marcoccia, a senior associate in CS&P, the lead architects, said the project team “embraced this elegant and sustainable solution, realizing the benefits on both construction schedule and cost.
“This project is a perfect showcase for the structural capabilities of CLT panels, while also highlighting their beauty as an exposed and finished building material. We are proud to be a part of the success of another Canadian company.”
The first phase, which has been completed, included a new four-pad arena to replace an outdated three-pad facility, as well as a gymnasium, indoor running track change rooms, restaurant and other facilities.
The second phase, now under construction, includes the addition of a new 25-metre pool, therapy pool, additional change rooms, and a fitness and dry land training centre.
Built in the 1970s, the centre has been a hub of sports and leisure activity in the community.
A total of 61 CrossLam panels, measuring up to 8 feet wide by 40 feet long and approximately four inches thick recently were installed. The panels cover an area of 14,876 square feet.
“Each panel is quite large, which helps us install large areas quickly and efficiently,” said Michael Krans, president of Timmerman Timberworks Inc.
Panels were installed with the use of a crane.
Incorporation of the cross-laminated timber panels had been recommended to the architects by Ball Construction. The company had been approached jointly by Structurlam and Timmerman.
“We put a bug in their ear that maybe they should look at CLT as an alternative to the decking material that had originally been specified,” said Patrick Chouinard, Structurlam’s regional manager for Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.
“We put some numbers together for them, comparing costs and the amount of time required for installation.”
Chouinard said use of the panels shaved approximately three weeks off the construction schedule.
While Structurlam has supplied CLT panels for projects in western Canada, the Brantford project is its first in Ontario.
“The only design challenge associated with CLT is its unfamiliarity,” Chouinard said. “There is a tendency by architects and engineers to design with what they know or are familiar with.
“Apart from that, it’s actually very simple to design with and from a construction perspective, it simplifies and speeds construction time.”
Incorporation of cross-laminated timber in the project is considered a win by the province’s wood industry.
Sarah Hicks, a spokesperson for Ontario Wood WORKS!, which promotes the use of wood and wood products in commercial, institutional and industrial projects, said that even though the product has been used in Europe for years, “here in Ontario it is a new product.
“Ontario practitioners (architects and engineers) are interested in using it and are excited about its potential, but it’s new territory so I suspect there is some natural hesitation there.”
While Wood WORKS! can offer seminars and workshops on timber construction and show examples of CLT use from around the world, Hicks said “nothing compares to the impact that real, local project examples can have.”
She said the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre redevelopment will build confidence in massive timber construction and increase awareness of the product and how it can be used.
The project is scheduled to be completed early next year.