University of Toronto Faculty of Law

TTC Steels Launch Shaft

The expansion of the Faculty of Law building at the University of Toronto incorporated the addition of another storey to the existing building. The increased loading required an upgrade to the capacity of the building foundation. HCM proposed an innovative solution to install micropiles next to the caissons to accommodate the additional loading. The micropile foundation was designed by RWH Engineering Inc. (RWH), an HCM Group company.

Specialty equipment was required to install the micropiles inside the existing building, as there was only four meters of headroom in some areas. HCM used a low head room drill to install micropiles to depths of 18 meters. The micropile design required triple post-grouting to achieve the necessary bond between the grout and the soil. The soil encountered was comprised of layers of sand, silt, and clay. To confirm the design adhesion, a sacrificial load test was performed to 250% of the ULS load.

This project is an example of how HCM/RWH can offer alternative foundation solutions to meet the needs of any project, including projects with challenging site restrictions.

Client: Eastern Construction

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Spray River Bridge

Spray River Bridge

During the 2013 flooding in Southern Alberta, the Spray River undermined the foundation of a 24m long all season bridge causing the bridge to collapse.   As the bridge was located on a non-motorized pathway in Banff National Park – 10km from the nearest road – the project required a solution that took into account the remote location. 

The existing bridge was able to be reused, but required a new alignment and redesigned footings.  RWH worked in conjunction with Parks Canada to design a piling solution for the new foundation.  A major consideration was designing for future scour depths and therefore pipe micropiles were selected. The design included eight micropiles, each extending 12m deep. The equipment was trammed to the location using existing fire roads and a cable tram was used to access the far side as protection of the surrounding natural environment was a key priority on this project. 

HCM’s versatile team worked together to handle this small, yet challenging job and successfully met the client’s unique project requirements.

Client: Parks Canada

Location: Banff National Park, Alberta

Sarcee Trail

Sarcee Trail

The foundation of an existing residential apartment building in Southwest Calgary was compromised and required remedial measures to be completed. 

RWH designed a micropile underpinning system based on the initial geotechnical investigation. Together, HCM and RWH developed a testing strategy to confirm the soil bond strength and the design parameters obtained from the report. This involved installing and loading a sacrificial micropile to 250% of the design load. The test was successful and the remaining production micropiles were installed as designed.   

The challenging aspect of this project was working within the confined space beneath the building.  Initially having only a 1.2m headroom restriction, the installation areas were excavated to 2.3m below the bottom floor in a series of trenches and ventilation openings were constructed.  A low headroom? TEI rock drill was brought into the confined space in pieces and reassembled at the drilling locations.  Furthermore, the compressor for the drill had to be located outside the building.

These challenges were met with efficient and safe solutions by HCM.

Client: Madden Matthews Eng. Ltd.

Location: Calgary, Alberta

TTC Patten Building

TTC Patten Building

HC Matcon was retained to install micropile foundation for TTC Patten Building on 835 Davenport Road, Toronto. The building was originally designed for storage of paper tickets and when TTC transitioned to using tokens the increased loading caused settlement and structural issues which required strengthening of its foundations. 

The project consisted of drilling and installing 90 micropiles to a depth of 15M.  Working conditions presented an issue as drilling was restricted in a basement of an existing building where headroom was 3.5 meters high. HCM mobilized the Klemm low headroom drill rig in order to complete the project with productions to meet the strict deadlines required from TTC. 

The project was completed in a timely fashion and on budget. HC Matcon is well equipped to deal with difficult conditions presented on any project and are experts in micropile installations.

Client: Toronto Transit Commission & Buttcon LTD.

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Medicine Hat Regional Hospital – New Tower Expansion

Medicine Hat Regional Hospital – New Tower Expansion

Medicine Hat Regional Hospital – New Tower Expansion

The Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services (AHS) have broken ground on this project, which will renovate and expand the hospital to improve patient services and reduce wait times. When complete, the $200-million redevelopment will expand available ambulatory care space and will allow more space for the emergency department, surgical suite, maternal/child care, and include a rooftop helipad.

HCM Contractors Inc. was successful with its’ proposal that included 100 Belled Caissons at depths up to 100 feet, 7000 ft2 of caisson wall, and the underpinning of 7 major columns to support the additional load imposed by the new structure. The underpinning is particularly challenging because much of the work is to be completed inside of an operational hospital with limited access and noise and vibration concerns. HCM employed a unique method of transferring the load from the column footings to the micro piles that ensured a good bond and efficient design.

This project comes on the heels of the newly constructed MHRH Energy Centre, another successfully completed project by HCM in the fall of 2012.

Client: Stuart Olson Dominion Ltd.
Location: Medicine Hat, Alberta

Centre 10

Centre 10

Centre 10

Two attempts had been made by others to build two high-rise condo towers on the site of the former Gaslight Square retail strip at 10th Ave and 4th Street SW, Calgary, Alberta. Centron, a developer, decided to buy it and changed the concept to a single building, mixed-use office retail development. The site was already excavated and seven levels of underground parking completed so a considerable amount of structural redesign was necessary; which includes the upgrade on the existing foundation system.

Designed by RWH Engineering, 80 micropiles are installed 20 to 30 feet below the existing footing to support the additional load. As the installation was undertaken in a 7th floor underground parkade, HCM had to deal with limited access and low overhead clearance. Man-portable drilling equipment was used to compile with these limitations.

Despite the challenges, the project went well with HCM scope of work being completed on schedule. The pile capacity is confirmed by one verification test and five proof tests.

Client: Centron
Location: Calgary, Alberta

Dufferin Jog Elimination

Dufferin Jog Elimination

This project involved the extension of Duffering Street under an existing CN rail line and through the abutment wall of a century old CN bridge at Queen Street in Toronto. HCM performed a design-build tied back caisson wall solution for the main staging effort.

The geology of the soils was a combination of fills and wak silts over rock. The old bridge was jacked onto tower frames supported by cased micropiles. Low headroom caissons were installed by churn drilling with permanent liners. Further innovation included a tieback connection through abutments which avoided damage to the future surface of the structure.

HCM met scheduling requirements while performing several services throughout multiple phases, facilitating overall project success.

Client: Dufferin Construction

Location: Toronto, Ontario

Canada Post Micropiles

Canada Post Micropiles

No Emissions, No Problem

The Canada Post McKnight Mail Processing Centre Expansion project involved the installation of micropiles to support a renovation within the facility in northeast Calgary, Alberta. As the project was undertaken in an active mail processing facility, the execution presented a number of challenges. Due to the nature of the building, HCM had to deal with limited access and low overhead clearance.

Notably, there was a requirement that forbade any emissions within the building from operating equipment. This resulted in restrictions on the mobilizing of equipment, where fuel-powered engines could not be used. To solve this problem, the equipment was moved into place using an electric forklift. To satisfy the zero emission policy during work, a ducting system was conceived that vented the exhaust from the operating machines to the outside air via a connection through the roof of the building.

The nature of the facility also meant that work had to be conducted on weekends, when operations at the mail facility are light. HCM’s crew had to abide by security restrictions which limited access to specific parts of the building.

Despite the challenges, the project went well with HCM’s scope of work being completed in two days. To achieve the required capacity of the micropiles, post-grouting was required. Seven days after the installation, the piles were load tested to 150%.

Client: Scott Builders
Location: Calgary, Alberta

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Redevelopment Project

St. Joseph's Healthcare Redevelopment Project

Unique Soil Conditions

The future location for this tower is located immediately adjacent to the emergency wing of the existing St. Joseph’s hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. HCM is a recognized shoring contractor that will take on many challenges relating to foundation design.

On this particular project, HCM took on the tasks of:

  • shotcrete shoring
  • caissons
  • micropiles
  • excavation
  • site services
  • demolition with the constraints of limited access and project complexity.

A portion of the work was to be performed indoors, which required special care towards the patients of the hospital and the HCM workers. The original design for this inside work included conventional pad footings dowelled in to existing caissons five feet below the finished floor. The soil conditions are unique on this project due to the fact that the site is situated at the bottom of the Niagara Escarpment where bedrock is on an incline. This increased the depth required for adequate bearing stratum, requiring the entire area to be excavated and the perimeter shored. To save costs to all parties involved, HCM proposed an alternate to the original design to provide hand-dug caisson caps around the existing caisson and column construction. Caissons were excavated to depths of 18 feet below the finished floor using reinforced compression rings and shotcrete shoring to reach adequate bedrock.

The above innovations were the optimal solution for this portion of work resulting in another successful hospital project by HCM on budget, on time.

Client: PCL
Location: Hamilton, Ontario

TTC Wilson Complex Modification

TTC Wilson Complex Modification

Engineering Solutions

The Toronto Transit Commission will be purchasing all new subway cars in the near future, creating the requirement of larger maintenance carhouses. The original contract drawings employed caisson wall, soldier piles and lagging, and conventional concrete underpinning for the earthwork specifications related to our field of work. HC Matcon proposed an alternative engineered solution that included the use of shotcrete, underpinning, micropiles, soldier piles and shotcrete lagging (SPSL) to achieve the same effect. The acceptance of this proposal allowed for a substantial cost savings to the owner, as well as a shorter construction schedule for the various contractors involved. Mechanical jacking pits were built where shoring is used as a backform for manholes. Shoring for carhouses below- grade will be used as a backform for foundation walls. The substitution of shotcrete underpinning in lieu of caisson walls will allow for easier access to the tunnel portion of the project. This will allow for less demolition of the existing building and less clearance issues.

The above are just a couple examples of the innovations that HCM Contractors Inc. will use to add value to any project.

Client: Aquicon Construction
Location: Toronto, Ontario

Credit Valley Hospital

Credit Valley Hospital

Alternative to Save Time and Money

The Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, Ontario is undergoing a massive expansion and renovation. HC Matcon was brought in to undertake the shoring, underpinning, and caissons for this construction. The majority of the work included the drilling and installation of 222 concrete caissons, ranging between 24- and 84-inches in diameter. The original design required concrete-encased steel beams and conventional timber-lagged shoring adjacent to the operating hospital for support of the existing building and excavation. HC Matcon proposed an alternate to use vertical micropiles and shotcrete shoring in lieu of the above, which resulted in less disruption to the functioning hospital. The acceptance of this proposal also allowed a savings in cost and schedule time for the general contractor and owner. HC Matcon is able to overcome challenges while working with all parties involved to add value and cost savings to a project.

Client: Bondfield Construction
Location: Mississauga, Ontario

Grand House

Grand House

Difficult But Not Impossible

The Grand House is a student designed and constructed co-operative housing project located in Cambridge, Ontario.  It has won awards and is a landmark building.

  • Due to the topography of the site, limited access, and constructibility concerns, specialized foundation members were required.
  • Conventional footings and caissons were not feasible given the site parameters. HC Matcon Inc. designed a series of micro piles which were installed battered and upon which a structural steel web was installed and used as the base for traditional framing.
  • A total of 30 micro piles were installed at an average depth of 30′” each.

The use of non intrusive construction methods allowed the owner to develop the property and provided considerable cost savings.

Client: Grand House Student Co-op
Location: Cambridge, Ontario