Devil's in the details as library construction hits homestretch
There is a light at the end of the tunnel for Jasper’s infamous, interminable construction project.
However, builders at the Jasper Library and Cultural Centre aren’t out of the woods yet.
Difficulties coordinating subcontractors, an airtight accommodation market and the availability of construction materials are the main factors which could thwart the library’s latest completion deadline of October 2.
“That’s the target,” said site supervisor Bob Hoffmann of Delnor Construction. “I’m doing everything in my power and ability [to hit it].”
That includes, at times, looking for places for his tradespeople to stay. Accommodations are scarce in Jasper during the summer; Hoffmann’s found that out the hard way.
“It’s become a big issue,” he said. “[Contractors] not being here impacts another trade.”
So does materials not being here. Where the elevator will eventually go, Hoffmann has been waiting for the ceiling to be tiled. But the ceiling can’t get installed until the cedar clad that will go on the elevator is put in. The cedar is on hold until the elevator box shows up.
And what’s taking the box so long?
“That’s something you’ve got to ask the elevator company,” Hoffmann said.
That’s just one example. Hoffmann said priorities can—and do—change on an hourly basis.
“Everything is affecting everything else,” he said.
The project has been plagued with issues, as Jasper readers well know. Three years and three million dollars over budget, last fall the municipality and the builders finally resolved the road blocks which were bogging things down, including uneven floors, shoddy concrete finishing on walls, mechanical room issues and disagreements on staircase design. However, even with all of the large deficiencies attended to, as the construction hits the homestretch, the devil is in the details.
“So many variables change on a daily basis,” Hoffmann said.
When it’s completed, the building will get two green thumbs-up from the regulators at Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Parks Canada’s Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office (FHBRO) will slap their stamp of approval on the project too, as it has incorporated the original 1926 Tudor-style building which housed Jasper’s first RCMP detachment, then the library that generations of Jasperites grew up in. As if Hoffmann didn’t have enough paperwork to complete, documenting the site’s LEED and FHBRO commitments every step of the way has been cumbersome, to say the least.
“At times it can cause conflicts with the trades,” he said.
Conflict is something Hoffmann—and the municipality’s clerk of works, Gord Hutton—want to avoid. But Hoffmann knows the reality of a busy, complex construction site.
“Sometimes it’s not just a matter of one trade being in the way of another, sometimes it’s a matter of people not getting along with each other,” he said.
Painful as it’s been, all parties involved are anxious to see the keys handed over to the client.
“Everybody will benefit,” Hoffmann said. “There’s just so much possibility.”