The Right Treatment

Formwork system for South Health Campus recognized for innovation

It's not until you're right next to it that you truly appreciate the enormity of Calgary's new South Health Campus, though you'll have no problem spotting it from the highway.

With more than 1,500 tradespeople on site, the $1.4-billion South Health Campus is Canada's largest infrastructure project. EllisDon Corporation is the construction manager. Construction should be finished early next year.

The South Health Campus is more than a hospital. As Alberta Health Services points out, the word campus is used "to take into account the diverse activities on the site, such as emergency care, inpatient and outpatient care, services to promote wellness for patients and staff, and research and education of health care professionals for the future."

The campus will serve southeastern Calgary and surrounding rural areas, and will become a referral centre for southern Alberta. Services will include medicine, surgery, emergency services and critical care, maternal and neonatal care, mental health services, pediatrics, laboratory services and diagnostic imaging.

About 156,000 square metres of developed space will comprise the initial phase of the project. There will be nearly 300 beds for patients who need to be admitted for treatment. There will also be 12 outpatient clinics located on site for same-day treatment.

While all of that is impressive, what many may not know about is some remarkable innovation that went into making the South Health Campus a reality.

In order to construct a building with over 200,000 square metres of structural slab formwork located on the 44-acre site, a revolutionary formwork system was required, as conventional support systems would not meet schedule restraints. EllisDon had an idea to create a moveable formwork platform that could move not just in one direction, but in two.

Working with Germany-based PERI Formwork Systems, Inc., the result was a proprietary formwork system-the first of its kind ever built in the world-called the IntElliDeck system. The system is so innovative it enabled EllisDon (Calgary) to win the Canadian Construction Association's top award for innovation: the Hugh R. Montgomery Memorial Trophy.

A packed audience of design consultants, contractors, directors of the Calgary Construction Association (CCA) along with EllisDon's partner in the design of the formwork system, Peri Formwork, and Alberta Health Services gathered at the project site in April to recognize EllisDon's achievement.

CCA president Jim Clement of Graham Construction & Engineering Inc. noted that leaders from around the world state that innovation and research are key drivers for long-term economic growth and employment. Clement introduced South Health Campus project director Scott Thompson, who highlighted the system and pointed out how labour productivity was enhanced, crane lifting requirements were reduced and the project schedule was advanced, which led to a $50-million savings for the owner. In addition, Thompson said not one incident occurred in the utilization of the IntElliDeck system.

Alberta Health Services has envisioned the South Health Campus to be a place of care and healing with nature and with the surrounding community. It is designed to have a more home-like-not hospital-feel. And that should speed patients' healing time.

An innovative approach to health care. An innovative approach to a construction challenge.


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