Imperial Towers: Managing a Project with 208 Homeowners
How Centra Construction Group Soared 26-Storeys above the Competition
When you think of a high-rise building in Downtown Vancouver, especially overlooking English Bay, you can’t help but think about the gorgeous views of the beach, the water and the mountains. This is exactly what the tenants of the 26-storey, Imperial Tower building see every time they look out their newly installed vinyl windows and patio doors. The project was managed by the Centra Construction Ltd. team and included months of pre-planning, 18,000 labour hours and installation of over 1,100 vinyl windows and patio doors. But, this is exactly what the 35+ year old, 100% employee owned and operated company does.
Mark Estrada, Marketing Manager, sat down with Jeff Foster, VP of Centra Construction Ltd. (CCL), to get his take on the challenges, the innovations and the scope of this massive restoration job using Centra’s vinyl windows and doors.
M: What does a project of this size mean to CCL?
J: “It’s always nice to win a large project and this project for sure, was a large undertaking. As the guy signing off on the project, I felt confident that it would be successful. Being the first window company to put vinyl windows on a 26-storey high-rise in Vancouver, was very impressive and this was the best option for [the customer] to go with.”
M: What made Centra stand apart from the rest of the competition?
J: There were two other bidders on the project and the owners and consultant elected to go with Centra as we were also manufacturing the windows. The customer saw us as a “one-stop shop” and that’s why they went with us.
The experience that the consultant, McArthur Vantell, our building code specialist, Anton Van Dyk, myself and the Project Manager, brought to the table, they knew that they had the experience to get the project completed on budget and ahead of schedule.
We’re also the largest vinyl window manufacturer and installer of multifamily and single family homes in BC. We’re in excess of 200 homes every month installing windows and patio doors.
M: The project was large in scope and probably the first of its kind for Centra, how was this project accomplished?
J: We were the first company [in BC] to complete a vinyl window job using a mast hoist system. But a project of this size required some innovative thinking.
M: I had the opportunity to experience the mast hoist system that was used on this project. What went into the logistics of using this system?
J: We started off with one and working with our project manager, we worked our plans to schedule a second machine. This helped to speed up the course of the job. There was a lot of work that needed to be done. We had to paint the building, use liquid membrane, replace the railings and perform sealant work. The mast hoist provided a level of safety and comfort for the guys on site.”
M: What were some other the challenges that the team faced with this project?
J: Working with stratas is always tricky because there are a lot of people involved. Especially when the units are still occupied by tenants. What I’m proud of most, is that during this whole project there were only three tenant issues that were filed out of the 208 units that we worked on. Even though it was a 26-storey apartment building, the issues were resolved well before the project was finished and also because we treated each tenant separately as if it was 208 individual homes that we were working on.
M: It sounds like you’re really passionate. What is the best thing about your job?
J: I like being the resource for people. There are a number of times, but one in particular where there was a job that a customer had with a specific window installation detail that they had never done before and they called me up. I spent about an hour on the phone with the customer designing the solution and she said she “really liked that detail, and that’s what we’ll use and that's what we’ll tender.” The best thing about that situation was that I got to help them, they were the experts, but they came to me. I love that!”
M: Was there anything else you wanted to add about Centra Construction?
J: We have a ton of experience here at Centra, and when you add up the number of years for our site supers, project managers and staff, it is outstanding to think about it. There were a lot of things that changed on the fly and many of the solutions were brought to the forefront by us. But our strongest asset is our problem solving abilities and people who genuinely care. A customer chooses Centra because we are an experienced crew of owner operators and a fully bonded, licensed and insured professionals who treat each unit in a complex, like Imperial Tower, as if it was that tenant’s single family home.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Imperial Tower series, where we sit down with our building code specialist, Anton Van Dyk to talk about the technology behind the glass and how this project was made possible with the current building codes.
To learn more about the Imperial Tower project, check out the featured project sheet here or contact our Centra Construction estimators at 604-882-5099 to Request a Quote on your next project.