A look at the best projects of 2007

What a year for Alberta.

The economy is sizzling. Many businesses are expanding, the unemployment level is low, and it's hard to miss the construction cranes rising from all the new buildings. At last word, more than 1,000 construction projects totalling more than $220 billion are either in the works or planned for the province in the next few years. Today is a day to take a breath and look at some of the truly outstanding projects of 2007.

Welcome to Alberta Construction Magazine's annual Top Projects feature.

Projects were judged on five criteria:

  1. Design functionality and appearance
  2. Construction process-whether it was on time and on budget. Also, what innovative tools or building methods might have been used.
  3. Usage of unique or innovative construction materials
  4. Project delivery method (stipulated bid, design-build, construction management, P3, etc.)
  5. Any other unique features that made the project stand out, such as the use of recycled materials

The rules were simple: First, the project had to be situated within the province of Alberta. The project must have been substantially completed this year. (The key word is "substantially," as some buildings won't officially open until early next year.) Construction costs had to be valued at $4 million or greater. And companies could nominate only two projects in each category.

The innovation of many of these projects is truly amazing. You'll notice that not all this year's Top Project category winners or runners-up were megaprojects, proving that a smaller project can be as cutting edge as one costing hundreds of millions of dollars.

Another thing that struck us was the remarkable work done to protect or enhance the environment. It wasn't that long ago that sustainable buildings were a bit of a novelty. Today, it's common for a nomination to mention that the project is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. LEED recognizes performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

Construction pressures and deadlines have never been greater. But the projects on the next few pages illustrate how Alberta's construction industry has risen to the challenge.

Here are the nominees in each category:

Top institutional nominees
Blackfoot Crossing
Calgary Courts
Enterprise Square
Child Development Centre
Health Research Innovation Facility
Lois Hole Library
Mazankowski Alberta Health Institute
Petro-Canada Centre for Millwright Technology building
Robbins Health Learning Centre
Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre
Spartan Centre for Instrumentation building
St. James Church
Town of Cochrane Protective Services Centre
University of Lethbridge Centre for Sport and Wellness.
Water Centre

Top industrial nominees
Agri-Food Discovery Place
Albian Aerodrome project
Albian Village
Connacher Pod One oilsands project
Ideal Products of Canada Edmonton facility
Transwest Mining System Inc. facility

Top commercial nominees
Calgary Co-op vertical office expansion
Calgary Zoo's Elephant Crossing
Crowfoot West Business Centre II
Eagle Stone Casino
Lacombe Memorial Centre
Livingstone Place
Park City Toyota dealership
WestMount Corporate Campus Phase 2

Top civil nominees
Banff refreshing
Edmonton's South Campus LRT Station
Edmonton's Anthony Henday Southeast Leg Ring Road
Glenmore Trail/Elbow Drive/Fifth Street SW interchange
Highway 63:12 twinning (Suncor access to north of Mildred Lake, Phase 1)
Horn Hill Solid Waste Transfer Station
James MacDonald bridge rehabilitation
Red Deer River Sanitary and Water Trunks Crossing project
Rockyview General Hospital Parkade
Stoney Trail/TransCanada Highway

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