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Modernizing City Hall’s mechanical systems improves operational efficiency and helps Brampton to meet compliance requirements

Brampton, Ontario's City Hall is a vital hub for municipal operations and hosts numerous events, council meetings, and administrative activities. As part of an ongoing commitment to replace aging infrastructure and ensure operational reliability, the City of Brampton engaged Associated Engineering to undertake critical upgrades to the emergency power system and existing air handling units (AHUs) as a part of the HVAC systems at City Hall. The project's scope of work also included updating the cooling and humidification systems as part of the AHUs, replacing the humidifiers serving the AHUs, and upgrading five existing drinking fountains to comply with current accessibility requirements, codes, and standards.

The City of Brampton wished to improve the reliability and efficiency of the emergency power system and HVAC infrastructure. The outdated emergency diesel generator and AHUs posed significant issues, including potential operational disruptions during power outages and inefficiencies in maintaining indoor air quality and temperature. Project Manager and Building Mechanical Lead Engineer, Azad Khamforoush, advises, "We worked with the City to develop a robust solution to mitigate these issues, provide uninterrupted operation, and meet compliance standards."

The project team overcame many challenges during design. These included a lack of background documentation and restricted access to the generator room due to existing, large, rooftop cooling towers blocking the only entry to the room; sequencing the construction work and managing a crowded City Hall with noise and odour restrictions during occupancy hours; supply-chain issues causing delays in generator delivery and challenging design constraints that limited acceptable generator vendors; complex lifting and rigging operations required for demolishing the old generator and transferring the new one to the highly restricted rooftop generator room; and coordination with neighbouring businesses for potential temporary power shutdowns during the crane lifting process.

Azad tells us, "We came up with an effective solution to use an existing exhaust damper opening on the penthouse’s exterior wall for generator entry and exit, coordinated with vendors to ensure accurate dimensions of the new generator set, and collaborated with crane consultants to confirm the feasibility of the lifting operation in a constrained urban environment. We also requested hiring of specialized millwright teams along with a crane consultant in the design documents for safe generator demolition and installation. We phased the work to avoid operational disruptions. This required extensive planning to manage constraints of working in a busy, urban environment."

The team implemented a phased approach for AHU replacements to ensure the continuous operation of HVAC systems at City Hall. To accommodate unforeseen supply-chain issues, timelines and budgets were adjusted. Meticulous planning and coordination helped to overcome changing circumstances during construction.

The project is nearing completion, with all equipment installed and mechanical items commissioned. The final commissioning of the generator set is pending, ensuring the City Hall will benefit from a reliable emergency power system and efficient HVAC operations.

The project highlights Associated’s capability to manage complex retrofit projects in challenging environments, leveraging our experience on municipal and industrial projects. Associated's key personnel on this project are Azad Khamforoush, Dusan Fil, Yang An, David Holyer, and Dennis Cheng.

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