Client: Defence Construction Canada
Location: Kingston, Ontario
Size: 4,600 m2 (49,513 ft2)

The Sawyer and Girouard buildings serve as the primary teaching facilities at the Royal Military College (RMC) of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. The facilities house undergraduate and postgraduate social sciences and engineering programs and are comprised of a variety of wet and dry laboratories, classroom spaces, academic offices, and a range of specialty support facilities. In 2006, Defence Construction Canada (DCC) retained J.L. Richards & Associates Limited (JLR) as Prime Consultant for a major retrofit of the building complex. JLR provided complete multidisciplinary architectural and engineering services for the building retrofit, including civil, electrical, mechanical, structural, fire protection, seismic, universal design, telecommunications infrastructure, sustainable development, and cost estimating support.

The retrofit program for these two buildings included the replacement of the building envelope, ventilation and heating systems upgrades, implementation of accessibility upgrades, and seismic upgrade of the building structure. Part of JLR’s mandate on this project was to ensure that there would be no disruptions to undergraduate activities during construction. This presented an interesting challenge, which JLR met by constructing a flexible and robust swing space consisting of a large premanufactured modular building and implementing an innovative construction sequencing plan. Between May and September of each year, the swing space was reconfigured to house a new module of the Sawyer Girouard complex. This allowed students, teachers, and administrators to continue their activities uninterrupted while construction was completed on the vacant modules. This process was repeated each year for six consecutive years, and the project was successfully completed without any disruption to academic or administrative functions.

Heritage restoration projects have always been an important part of JLR’s scope of services. For example, JLR’s 10-year recapitalization of the Sawyer and Girouard buildings focused on major architectural and engineering retrofits, but also included the preservation and restoration of many heritage aspects of those buildings.