Standing at 48 stories tall, One Wall Centre is one of Vancouver’s tallest and most iconic high-rises. Constructed in 2001, this elliptical tower is occupied by a hotel on the first 31 floors and residences on the upper 17 levels.

Our involvement with the building began in 2006 when the owners of the residential units asked us to investigate the cause of fogging of their windows, also known as insulating glass units (IGUs). Unlike the hotel section of the building, the residential-level IGUs had clear, nonreflective glazing. In addition to extensive window fogging, the residential suites were overheating. We found that a systemic failure of the IGUs was occurring.

Addressing the IGU failure presented several challenges. The existing IGUs were designed for a specific framing system, so installation methods had to be adapted for the new units. Additionally, the more reflective and spectrally selective glass that was needed to address the overheating problem had to be negotiated with the municipal authority. Finally, gaining access to the upper floors above an operating hotel and handling large IGUs presented logistical challenges and unique safety requirements.

In 2011, our team was retained as the Construction Project Manager to implement and manage the glazing replacement program. After careful examination of the structure, and by working closely with the developer, hotel operations, and the residential owners, we joined forces with the access contractor to design a unique custom platform. The platform encircled the tower and was suspended from the roof, allowing one complete floor of glazing to be replaced each week. This approach caused minimal disruptions to hotel operations and the residential owners.

The new triple-glazed low-e IGUs are more energy efficient and provide a more uniform look to the building. The feedback from the owners has been extremely positive. Internal summertime temperatures were reduced by 5°C on average and glare was significantly reduced, leading to a vast improvement in living comfort.

Watch the video:

Date:

May 11, 2019

Client:

Strata LMS 4456

Our Role:

Construction Project Manager, Building Science Consultant

Key Services

Building Enclosure Condition Assessments and Investigations
Construction Project Management (CPM)
Renewal and Rehabilitation
Maintenance and Planning

A building enclosure condition assessment (BECA) and investigation may be required when an enclosure is suspected of having a problem, such as a leak. A BECA report describes either the current condition of the overall enclosure or specific components, such as windows or a balcony, and aims to identify problems or potential problems. If we detect failures, we will recommend the next steps that may lead to repairs or a renewal.

Our team will review the original building drawings, carry out an owner survey, and then spend time onsite visually reviewing various components of the building enclosure. In addition, we will make exploratory openings to assess the condition of hidden components. Our team may use a range of testing and special analysis techniques, such as thermography. We provide a written report of our findings and recommendations and present them at meetings with the owner group.

Brian Hubbs | P.Eng.

Principal, Senior Building Science Specialist
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Ed Thiessen | P.Eng.

Principal, Senior Building Science Specialist
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Rob Orlowski | AScT

Associate, Façade Specialist
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Michael Roche | B.Sc. (HONS), MCPM

Principal, Manager of Construction Services
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James Higgins | AScT

Associate, Building Science Technologist
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