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Novella | Raise the Roof

Chapter 4

You know that feeling you get when you look up and realize that the task you’ve spent the last four years working towards is no longer simply a jumble of a million minor details but rather an impressive 7 storey concrete midrise? In the flesh? Yeah – that happened today.

It took 10 months but the roof is finally on and standing proud at 80 feet above street level, the character of the building is really starting to take shape. This is a big milestone for us. With concrete and formwork accounting for over 40% of our total schedule, we are well into the plot line of this novella.

Pouring the parkade and ground level of a building like this is always the most challenging. These levels are designed with large slab bands that support the entire weight/load of the building and are more intricate in design than the floors above. They also require greater amounts of rebar and concrete (33% of all rebar in Novella is in the level 1 slab) resulting in more work and multiple pour dates. By level 2 however, momentum is typically on your side… it certainly was for us! Now instead of six pours per level we were working on a two pour per level schedule. The floors were divided into north and south and we maximized efficiencies by staggering the sections – i.e. if the south was undergoing formwork and rebar install, the north had already been poured and was curing. Once the south was ready for concrete, the north was strong enough to re-shore (think: replace primary supports with reduced, secondary supports) and this in turn allowed us to swing or ‘fly’ the Fly-Tables (think: re-usable forms with integrated screw-jacks) up to the next level. The trades followed this pattern, bouncing from north to south all the way up, allowing us to effectively manage man-power and minimize time spent between floors.

Concrete testing also played an instrumental role in the above strategy. Required by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), these tests are commissioned regularly to ensure, among other things, acceptable slump levels (a measure of consistency or flow), air content, unit weight and compressive strength. Concrete strengthens with time as its particles react with water – a process known as hydration. To accelerate this process you can (and we did) modify the concrete mix by creating a higher cement to water ratio and introducing an accelerating compound. Additional concrete tests (think: cylindrical samples of poured concrete, intentionally crushed to determine their strength) were then commissioned to ensure that we met the required 18.75 MPa (Megapascal), prior to flying the tables up to the next level. The accelerated mix allowed us to do this in 2-3 days as opposed to the 10-14 days typically required with a standard mix.

In all, we’ve poured an impressive 5,100 cubic metres or 510 truck-loads worth of concrete at 711 Breslay Street. With major concrete work now complete, on-site efforts have been re-focused. Electrical and plumbing install continues: Equipment in the electrical room is going in, as is lighting in the parkade and our plumbing team is making their way up the building.

Next item on the critical path? Windows and patio doors. Measurements of all openings began back in May and with typical leads times of approximately 8 weeks, expect to see noticeable progress on this front in the next few weeks!



Katelyn Hollenbeck

Katelyn is the Development Manager at Springbank Properties. With degrees in finance and economics under her belt, she made the move out west in search of clearer waters, bigger mountains and to pursue her passion for real estate. She is an avid mountain biker, fervent foody and oversees all things related to this novella.