Working closely with an interior designer on renovations to a call centre for Canada's most popular frequent flyer program

Aeroplan is a Montreal, Quebec--based loyalty marketing program created by Air Canada as an incentive program for its frequent flyer customers. Aeroplan has approximately five million active members in its program and in 2009 celebrated its 25th anniversary.

 

"This project was exciting as it was critical to complete the renovation and have the Aeroplan call centre move in without interruption in their service. Coordination and cooperation between team members was excellent, and the project was completed on time and under budget."

--Brian O'Donnell, Prism Engineering

Challenge

In 2003, Aeroplan wished to convert 2,150 square metres (23,000 square feet) of standard office space at Air Canada's Vancouver Operations Centre into a call centre to accommodate 450 employees. The cooling and ventilation requirements of the new high occupant density space were to be met using existing air handling systems in combination with new mechanical systems. As this project was fast-tracked, it had a very short timeline--four months from project start to occupancy. DH Designs was the prime consultant on the project. Prism had experience with both the building and the team and was asked to be the mechanical engineer on the design team.

Solutions

Prism evaluated the facility to determine existing conditions relating to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), plumbing and fire protection systems. Prism then estimated the new loads of the proposed call centre and designed the upgrades required for the new occupancy. Working closely with the interior designer, Prism evaluated strategies for increasing air supply capacity and distribution utilizing existing air handling systems, "mothballed" rooftop units along the perimeter and new roof-mounted units. The work included the following mechanical design steps:

  • conducting load calculations for each area and establishing air volumes for each diffuser
  • rezoning and extending the air distribution to suit the revised space layout
  • updating direct digital controls (DDC), adding terminal box DDC control, revising operational strategies and relocating thermostats
  • revising sprinkler coverage
  • preparing mechanical drawings required for building permit

Prism then prepared drawings and specifications for mechanical revisions to obtain bids from the general contractor. During the construction phase, submissions of shop drawings by the mechanical contractors were reviewed to ensure compliance with tender documents. Prism also reviewed construction work, issued deficiency reports and revised AutoCAD drawings to suit as-built conditions.

Results

Due to the coordinated efforts of the project team, including the client, the interior designer and Prism staff, the project was completed with no interruption to Aeroplan's call centre service. As well, Prism's mechanical team was able to minimize costs while providing capacity for a much larger cooling load than the existing air handling systems were designed to accommodate.