2004 – Division 15 Mechanical Ltd. was founded.
Evolving from the New Construction Division of Brighter Mechanical Ltd., two founding principals – Bob Cooke and Dale Miller – brought together a talented team dedicated to achieving advanced mechanical solutions on design-build and design-assist projects.
Year 1, 2004/2005:
Division 15 operated out of Brighter Mechanical’s offices for our first six months as we sought our own office space. Our first office was secured, and a number of core staff members from Brighter Mechanical joined us when we moved to the Crestwood Corporate Centre in Richmond, including Scott (Foreman), Kerry (Foreman), Marion (Admin), Kevin (Estimator) and Riley (Project Coordinator). Roger Decker was then brought aboard as Division 15’s first Controller.
There were a number of projects in progress at the time which Division 15 took over from Brighter Mechanical. These included the UBC Dentistry Building (with PCL), our largest project at the time, as well as the Metrotown Mall Expansion and Sears Guildford Renovation contracts (with Ledcor).
Division 15’s first significant project under its own banner was the Surrey City Hall Expansion and Renovation (with Ledcor). Others quickly followed, including the Loon Lake Lodge design-build project located in the UBC Research Forest near Maple Ridge (with Van Maren Construction), and our first fountain project at Metrotown Mall. Fountains have since become a specialty area for Division 15 Mechanical.
In 2005, the Mount Pleasant Community Centre (with VanBots Construction, now Carillion) became Division 15’s first LEED® Gold project. Built for the City of Vancouver, this 211,000 sq.ft. facility included a community centre, library and daycare and a 10-storey residential tower, and featured a geothermal energy system, heat recovery and radiant slab heating.
Year 2, 2005/2006:
Division 15 saw major growth during our second year with three major projects:
- The new food court project at Pacific Centre Mall, a complex renovation carried out within in the existing, operational shopping centre.
- The BCIT Aerospace Technology Campus project, which at $10 million became our largest contract to date. Secured on a design-assist basis with Ledcor, this was a new 330,000 sq.ft. educational facility that included a 45,000 sq.ft. operational hangar used for aircraft maintenance training.
- The Holt Renfrew store at Pacific Centre Mall, a significant fast-track project with a very short 6-month schedule. This intense $6 million mechanical project encompassed the entire block, and was included three levels.
Year 3, 2006/2007:
Dinos Hadjiloizou joined Division 15 in 2007 as a Project Manager, bringing added depth to our Project Management team. Dinos came to us with over 12 years of experience, including 7 years in Greece and 5 years in the United States, and he holds Mechanical Engineer and MBA degrees as well as a LEED® AP, BD+C designation. Dinos has gone on to become a key team member, bringing strong innovation, mentorship and project management skills to the company.
We continued to secure new major projects including:
- The CBC Vancouver Expansion and Renovation project (with Scott Construction Group), a major improvement of the existing facility in preparation for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler.
- The new North Vancouver Library (with PCL), which included an innovative green mechanical design targeting LEED® Gold designation.
Year 4, 2007/2008:
Year 4 saw Division 15 secure several pre-Olympic projects, as well as our first District Energy System job. These included two Canada Line (light rail transit) stations in downtown Vancouver, at Waterfront Station and Pacific Centre Mall. These were complex scheduling projects in operational, high-pedestrian traffic locations.
We also secured our first Neighbourhood Energy Utility, the Olympic Village Energy Transfer Station for the City of Vancouver. This project has since led to a strong track record with a number of municipalities in the construction of Energy Transfer Stations and District Energy piping distribution systems.
Design-build projects were also strong for us, with two new design-build projects:
- The St. Helen’s Hotel Redevelopment, a full design-build upgrade and renovation of a historical building to modern standards for BC Housing, as part of the Province’s housing initiative for the homeless.
- Langley Lodge, a new 6-storey seniors care facility. This design-build project included site-specific hydrotherapy bathing systems, and led to a second contract to renovate the entire 6-storey existing care facility. This work required phased construction and occupancy, incorporating appropriate infection control measures for the resident population.
Also in 2008, Division 15 expanded our existing offices that year to accommodate our growing staff.
Year 5, 2008/2009:
James Dixon joined our team in 2009 as a Project Coordinator. A recent UBC Engineering graduate then, he has grown with the company, and became a Project manager in 2012.
Construction in 2009 was very hectic in the final months before the Olympics, but Division 15 was able to continue to grow our field team and secure significant new work despite shortages in manpower at the time. These new projects included:
- The new Whole Foods flagship store at Cambie and Broadway. Part of the new Crossroads Centre development, this store incorporated all the latest features in high-end grocery stores, including deli, floral, bakery, specialty fish and meat departments, as well as organic produce.
- The Southeast False Creek Community Centre – our first LEED® Platinum project – was completed in the Olympic Village for the 2010 Winter Games. Mechanical systems incorporated in the design included rainwater harvesting, solar panels, an absorption chiller and variable refrigerant flow HVAC. The building was tied into the Neighbourhood Energy Utility system, and was able to either deliver or receive energy to/from the NEU as required. This highly successful project earned Division 15 its first VRCA Award of Excellence in 2010.
- Karis Place was an 11-storey LEED® Gold housing project for BC Housing, which incorporated a geothermal energy system tied to heat pumps, heat recovery ventilation, and in-slab radiant heat.
Year 6, 2009/2010:
This year saw a number of significant additions and changes to our staff, including:
- Dave Pirillo, a field foreman who moved into the estimating department in 2010 to aid in pursuing our growing list of opportunities
- Mike Coyne, who was brought in as a full time Safety Officer in 2010. He has helped improve our safety record, and helped Division 15 Mechanical achieve COR Certification with WorkSafeBC in 2010.
- Rob Campagnaro joined Division 15 in 2010 as a Senior Project Manager to help with the company’s growing workload. With more than 25 years of experience obtained with other large commercial/institutional mechanical contracting firms in Vancouver, Rob went on to successfully manage some of Division 15’s largest projects.
Division 15 was fortunate to continue working on a number of large projects despite the global economic downturn in 2008, including:
- The UBC Biological Sciences Building Project: The complete renovation of an existing 76,000 sq.ft. science educational facility, which was built on a fast-track schedule with Scott Construction in order to meet the funding deadline for federal infrastructure projects. Our most challenging project to date, it included new research laboratories, teaching labs, classrooms and academic offices, and targeted LEED® Gold. There were extensive mechanical systems in this building, as well as a large new mechanical room built in the existing basement. The Biological Sciences Building was the first project on which we used pre-engineering of piping systems for the mechanical room to create spool drawings, enabling our team to achieve accurate construction of the mechanical room within the tight project schedule. This project was successful on all fronts, achieved a final contract value of nearly $12 million, and enabled Division 15 to receive our second VRCA Award of Excellence in 2011.
- Guildford Mall in Surrey: Along with Ledcor Construction, this $9 million project was Phase 1 of a major expansion and renovation of the existing shopping centre. This phase included a new parkade, as well as 150,000 sq.ft. of retail space for Walmart.
- Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in Abbotsford: This design-build project came to us through our sponsorship of the Living Building Challenge in 2009. A 3-storey facility for the care of terminally ill children, Canuck Place Abbotsford includes a medical gas system, infection control measures and a commercial kitchen, plus an energy and cost-efficient heat pump system design. Though delayed a year due to funding issues, Canuck Place Abbotsford is now nearing completion. It is also one of the first projects on which Division 15 used Building Information Modeling (BIM) to coordinate our installation prior to starting construction.
Year 7, 2010/2011:
This year was a pivotal one for Division 15, in which we decided to implement Building Information Modeling (BIM) into our business. We were joined by Le Hien Huyhn, a University of Victoria Mechanical Engineering graduate who became our BIM designer, and thus began our research into BIM and beginning of our BIM and prefabrication program. Le Hien has also attained her LEED® Green Associate designation. Mark Fedyshen, a University of Victoria Mechanical Engineering graduate, also joined our team as a Project Coordinator.
Our major projects that year included:
- Fit-out of the new Walmart store at Guildford Mall, in addition to several other small contracts at the same site.
- UBC District Energy System Phase 1: The first phase of UBC’s steam-to-hot water conversion District Energy Project, which was one of the largest in North America, consisted of 1.5 km of underground distribution piping system (DPS) and eight energy transfer stations (ETS). This was an historic project for Division 15, as it was the first job on which BIM technology was actively implemented to pre-engineer and design all piping components. The team used scanning of existing mechanical rooms to create point clouds, indicating all objects currently in the space; this was then used to design new piping systems around the existing space, and create piping spool drawings of each mechanical room for prefabrication in the field prior to the scheduled start date. This enabled Division 15 to keep this difficult project on schedule, earning us our third VRCA Award of Excellence in 2012.
- District Energy contracts with Simon Fraser University for the first phase of a District Energy System.
- Expansion of the City of Vancouver’s Neighbourhood Energy Utility at False Creek.
- Multi-Sport Centre of Excellence: A specialty training facility designed for professional athletes and sports teams for both training and rehabilitation, the complex is attached to an athlete’s village residence tower, where teams can stay together as they undertake their training regimes.
Year 8, 2011/2012:
This year brought a number of significant advances for the company, including the purchase of our own 2-acre property in the fall of 2011. Complete with a renovated office, warehouse and yard facilities, the company moved to its current location in Spring 2012. Dan Cooke, a University of Victoria Mechatronics Engineering graduate also joined us in 2012 as a BIM Technician and Project Coordinator. Dan also studied BIM while in Ireland in 2011.
A large number of projects were in progress as well, including:
- Participation in a UBC study into the implementation of BIM in a small to medium-sized specialty contracting firm (see report via attached link under the BIM Tab).
- The large display fountain project for the River Green residential development in Richmond, which is being built around the Olympic Speed Skating Oval.
- District Energy projects for:
- UBC DES Phases 2 and 3, with BIM used on all ETS on the project.
- Parklane Homes River District residential development in Vancouver, Phase 1.
- Another large phase expansion of the City of Vancouver’s NEU along Main Street, to include Science World and several new high-rise developments being built in the area. BIM was used on all phases.
- A small washroom renovation, our first project at Vancouver International Airport in several years, re-established our presence at YVR, which has capital plan of $1.8 billion over the next 10 years.
Year 9, 2012/2013:
This year included two significant additions to the Division 15 team:
- Justin Parks, P.Eng, PMP, joined Division 15 as a Senior Project Coordinator, and brings strong experience in the U.S. on airport and military facilities.
- John Loughrey joins our estimating department to assist with opportunities.
2012/2013 has been a breakout year for Division 15 Mechanical, which was awarded a number of District Energy and major mechanical projects:
- Several million dollars in Tenant Improvement contracts, both at the new High Street Shopping Centre in Abbotsford, and the new Translink Headquarters in New Westminster.
- A new 6-storey office building in Langley with Graham Construction (a new client).
- Sears Building Redevelopment at Robson and Howe: A major project in downtown Vancouver, this $13 million mechanical contract included a BIM requirement which factored into our success in securing this fast-track, design-assist project.
- Airside Operations Building at YVR: A $5.4 million mechanical contract for a LEED® Gold project, being built to post-disaster recovery standards.
- Two more contracts at UBC to expand their District Energy System, employing BIM in our construction of all ETS.
- Another phase of SFU’s District Energy System.
- Expansion of a District Energy System to the new TELUS Garden tower project in downtown Vancouver.
Over the course of 2013, Division 15 has been developing one of the buildings at our Surrey location into a piping fabrication shop. Our intention is to prefabricate all major mechanical room piping in our fab shop, from spool drawings developed from our BIM program. This will enhance productivity, accuracy and schedule performance. We have prefabricated a few small jobs to date for ETS projects, and the Sears Building Redevelopment project will be our first large-scale prefabrication.