CFMD Spring 2024

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Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40063056 SPRING 2024 FOCUS ON OFFICE SEATING

The city’s first net-zero building brings fire stations into a carbon-minded era with solar and geothermal energy.


A historic building in Montreal has housed many civic services over the past 100 years. A major expansion of the Maisonneuve Library acknowledges the past.


An increasing amount of energy storage installations are prompting concern around the fire risks associated with batteries. Engineers recently discussed operational and emergency response procedures.


The building industry is urged to scrutinize the life cycle of materials used in projects. Negotiations are underway to develop a legally binding, global agreement on plastic pollution by the end of this year.

[ contents ] 18
The Beaux-Arts-style Maisonneuve Library.


Facilities are inherently linked to their surrounding communities, whether that comes from the programs and services they offer or how they sustainably support the local environment.

Many of the stories we touch upon in this, our energy and sustainability issue, focuses on just that. Our cover story looks at a library renovation that became a living room for the community. Like many heritage projects, it involved public engagement and repurposing historic elements to create a modern-day upgrade that the community came to appreciate.

We also look at Edmonton’s first net-zero building, which is also a fire station. The facility uses geothermal and solar power to achieve this feat. In turn, it’s helping to lower greenhouse gas emissions across the city.

On a more global scale, the conversation around the use of plastics in the built environment continues to accelerate this year as negotiators seek to form an international treaty on plastic pollution, based on a resolution the United Nations Environment Assembly adopted in 2022. Currently, only 1 per cent of plastics chemicals are regulated in the world. Advocates in the building industry have been scrutinizing building products and how they affect their larger communities. More about that on page 32.

Sustainability increasingly factors into many organizational decisions beyond the environment. Working conditions have become a top concern as Canada rolls out new legislation related to forced and child labour across supply chains. There are a number of best practices that companies can implement to move beyond compliance. More information about that can be found on page 30.

We also look at the fire risks associated with battery energy storage systems and how to prevent and manage potential incidents as installations become more common.

We hope you enjoy the issue!


SPRING 2024 Volume 39, Issue No.2


EDITOR: Rebecca Melnyk

ART DIRECTOR: Annette Carlucci

GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Thuy Huynh-Guinane


CONTRIBUTORS: Barbara Carss and Marcia O’Connor.

CIRCULATION: Adrian Holland

PRESIDENT: Kevin Brown



Canadian Facility Management & Design (CFM&D) magazine is published five times a year by MediaEdge Communications Inc., 2001 Sheppard Avenue East, Suite 500 | Toronto, Ontario M2J 4Z8 Tel (416) 512-8186; Fax 416-512-8344 email:


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[ observations ]

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A solar photovoltaic array at Commonwealth Recreation Centre in downtown Edmonton is now operating with 1,128 panels that cover an area of 40,760 square feet. The panels are expected to produce 708 MWh of energy in the first year of operation, the equivalent to powering 100 residential homes for one year. The installation can offset between 75 and 100 per cent of the facility’s energy needs in ideal solar conditions on a day with average building consumption.

Architecture firm DIALOG placed the installation on the field-house roof, adjacent to the Commonwealth Stadium, to reduce design complexities and capital and maintenance costs. The 600kW solar installation is expected to offset more than 300 tons of greenhouse gases per year.


Workers with disabilities in Canada have expressed significantly lower job satisfaction compared to the general population. Researchers at George Brown College conducted a survey of more than 900 workers. Here are some key findings:

1. Workers with disabilities are more than four times less likely to be part of an employee segment that feels job satisfaction, stimulation, fulfillment, growth, and societal usefulness.

2. Workplace satisfaction can be enhanced when persons with disabilities are given more responsibilities and receive customized job training. The study found higher salaries and impressive job titles are desirable, but the feeling of reliance is even more crucial for their satisfaction.

3. The degree to which colleagues and organizations support these workers directly impacts how they perceive and handle their disabilities. Increased support leads to an improved sense of standing within the organization, irrespective of compensation and external stakeholder engagement.


Urban trekkers weren’t necessarily in the mood to spend last year. Colliers Canada’s overview of foot traffic trends, drawn from anonymized cell phone data, reveals discount retailers, quick service restaurants and free attractions typically recorded a significant uptick in patronage in 2023.

All retail centre formats enjoyed more traffic in 2023 than the previous year, but neighbourhood malls and power centres generally outperformed regional and super-regional malls. Outlet malls welcomed a 23 per cent year-over-year increase in prospective shoppers versus a 7.5 per cent increase in arrivals at super-regional malls.

Similarly, both quick-service and full-service restaurants attracted more walk-ins, but gains were more pronounced for quick-service brands. In the latter cases, though, the disparity is partly attributed to greater growth in the number of quick-service locations last year.

Looking at retailers, there was a double-digit jump in foot traffic for those offering discount or mass market merchandise most prominently seen in Canada Tire, which registered a 24 per cent gain over 2022. Within the fashion sector, what Colliers typifies as “youth-oriented and casual” retailers captured a growing share of walkin prospects, while foot traffic declined to those offering higher-end and professional attire.


The largest healthcare construction project in Nova Scotia’s history is underway. The QEII Halifax Infirmary expansion will add an acute care tower with 216 patient beds, 16 operating rooms, upgraded diagnostic imaging, laboratories and treatment spaces, and a larger emergency department.


The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) announced its current president and CEO, Don Gilpin, has made the decision to not renew his contract after June 30, 2025. He will continue to serve in his current capacity as the board of directors proceeds with its succession planning.

First Vice Chair Lynn Baez said the association is in an “exceptional position for continued growth” under a new CEO. “We are committed to approaching this transition with the same care and diligence that has characterized our organization, ensuring that IFMA continues to thrive and serve its members with excellence,” she added. “We are confident in finding a leader who will build upon our foundation and drive IFMA forward into its next chapter of success.”

6 CFM&D | Part of the REMI network |
[ foundations ]


Improving quality for better decision-making and facility performance

Facility managers have access to vast amounts of data, but the quality of this data can vary widely.

Data serves as the backbone of facility management processes and influences decision-making at every level in an organization. Criticality of good data impacts various factors, such as validation that the facilities are being well-managed, equipment failures, determining future funding needs, compliance with regulations and standards, and mitigating health and safety risks.

Establishing practical solutions for improving the quality of data starts at the outset. This encompasses how the data is collected in a standardized manner, when the data is collected, how the data is being used, and how the data is maintained and updated. Automating data consumption from business applications and consolidation processes streamlines operations, enabling faster decision-making and response times.

Good data can make a significant difference, from better customer service and

improved work order responses to better use of work space occupancy levels.

Establishing standard operating procedures is essential for good data management to ensure where the data can be found and how the data is collected, validated and entered into a database for ongoing usage.

There are many types of data that should be categorized and defined to help understand usage and benefits, which will impact the quality and credibility of the data. Many organizations omit the necessity to provide training and learning, assuming facility managers have this knowledge, education and expertise. Usage is based on the value and qual-

ity of the data to the organization. With the introduction of big data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), facility managers are able to access their data sources, providing an even more detailed understanding of the operation of their facilities. As AI evolves, its integration with good data enhances insights and predictive analytics, fostering continuous improvement in facility management.

Initiatives like OpenAI strive for AI accessibility and promise a future rich with optimization opportunities. In this intricate landscape, data quality becomes pivotal, shaping operational efficiency. Prioritizing data management and enhancing quality unlocks valuable insights, driving informed decision-making and optimizing facility performance.

Data plays a crucial role in facility management, offering valuable insights to optimize facility performance, improve operations, enhance asset management, and reduce costs.

Improving facility data helps plan strategically, make informed data-backed decisions, streamline processes, generate in-depth data to help optimize and reduce time to repair assets, ease administration work, reduce unpredictable costs and drive sustainable business practices.

When it comes to facility management, the question isn’t just, “how much data do you have?” but rather,“how good is your data?” | CFM&D

Marcia O’Connor is president of AM FM Consulting Group. She is a strategic-minded leader with more than 20-plus years of progressive experience in corporate real estate, asset management, and integrated facilities management. Marcia has a passion for mentoring young professionals and helping people, teams, and organizations see their potential. She is the lead instructor for the University of Toronto School of Continued Studies’ facilities management courses, including the FM Certification Program and many others.

8 CFM&D | Part of the REMI network |
[ management memo

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Proposed legislation would control uptake of federal funding.

Public sector facilities managers in Alberta could be forced to snub available funds for building and infrastructure improvements under proposed legislation that will constrain agreements between provincially controlled entities and the federal government.

Through the newly tabled Bill 18, Provincial Priorities Act, the Alberta government is moving to tighten its grip on municipalities and health and education-related agencies and institutions that are defined as “creatures of the province,” yet have conventionally had leeway to seek and accept direct federal investment.

The proposed legislation would require provincial approval before any such conveyance of funds could occur — a move that is presented as a response to federal activity in matters that are constitutionally designated as provincial responsibilities.

“Since Ottawa refuses to acknowledge the negative impacts of its overreach, we are putting in additional measures to protect our provincial jurisdiction,” says Alberta Premier Danielle Smith.

“Alberta’s government will ensure federal funding is aligned with provincial priorities, rather than with priorities contrary to the province’s interests,” states the media release issued along with the introduction of the bill. “Under the proposed legislation, provincial entities include Alberta public agencies and Crown-controlled organizations, as well as public post-secondary institutions, school boards, regional health authorities,

Covenant Health, municipal authorities and housing management bodies.”

The Act would give the provincial government authority to validate or invalidate any new, extended or amended agreement a provincial entity enters into with the federal government or its various agencies, boards, commissions and corporations — including organizations such as Canada Infrastructure Bank, Accessibility Standards Canada and the National Research Council. Details of the envisioned provincial vetting process would be contained in yet-to-be-developed regulations.

Provincial government departments and specified public agencies — Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis; Alberta Securities Commission; and Travel Alberta — already must receive approval from Alberta’s Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs before embarking on intergovernmental agreements with the Canadian, other provincial/territorial or foreign federal and state governments. Adding the broad slate of provincial entities into that mandate would replicate a policy that is in place in Quebec, but no other Canadian province.

Both Premier Smith and Alberta’s Minister of Municipal Affairs, Ric McIver, conflate the effort to intensify provincial oversight with ongoing tension around overlapping federal and provincial spheres of influence and the transfer of federal funds to the province. They contend the provincial government’s rightful role is being circumvented.

“For years, the federal government has been imposing its agenda on Alberta taxpayers through direct funding agreements with cities and other provincial organizations,” McIver says. “Not only

10 CFM&D | Part of the REMI network |
[ fm regulations ]

does Alberta not receive its per capita share of federal taxpayer dollars, the money we do receive is often directed towards initiatives that don’t align with Albertans’ priorities.”

Public sector facilities managers nationwide have long tapped into federal funding to upgrade buildings and infrastructure, whether through special arrangements or more widely available incentive programs. Many recent examples are tied to federal programs to promote energy efficiency, reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, climate change adaptation and accessibility. Proponents of those measures are wary that such funds could either become more cumbersome to obtain or be taken off the table entirely in Alberta.

“The health care sector has shown great enthusiasm for reducing its carbon footprint and we have had a lot of support from federal government programs that help health facilities do that,” observes Dr. Myles Sergeant, executive director of the Canadian Coalition for

Green Health Care. “If health facilities in Alberta are not able to participate in these kinds of programs, they will fall behind the rest of the country.”

Provincial/territorial governments have also been included among the prospective recipients for most of these recent federal funding initiatives.

Brendan Haley, director of policy research with Efficiency Canada, which promotes the dual economic and environmental benefits of energy and water efficiency, gives the example of funding that assists either provinces/ territories or municipalities to adopt progressive building codes and support compliance with more rigorous energy performance standards.

“Federal energy efficiency initiatives often work best when partnering with provinces or municipalities,” Haley says. “I don’t understand why the Alberta Premier wouldn’t want money invested in the province.”

Commenting on Bill 18 in the Alberta legislative assembly, Rachel Notley, leader

of the official opposition, New Democratic Party, called it unduly intrusive in local decision-making and damaging to economic development.

“Albertans democratically elect entire councils who fight to get funding for their communities. That’s local representatives standing up for their community. No one has elected this Premier mayor or councillor, so why does she think she has the mandate to pretend that they did?” Notley said. “This bill is giving major cities in every other province a huge competitive advantage over the Alberta mayors that she has now shackled with her red tape.”

Information posted on the Alberta government’s website notes there will be “comprehensive stakeholder engagement” to gather input for the regulations. That’s expected to occur in the summer of 2024, after the bill has passed into law. “It is anticipated the legislation will come into force in early 2025 once the regulations are finalized,” the website states. | CFM&D

Spring 2024 CFM&D 11



Located in downtown Winnipeg, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) is an innovative structure of steel and glass, and a striking symbol for the quest to achieve equal rights for all global citizens. Black & McDonald’s facilities management team has been instrumental to operations since the award-winning museum opened for business over a decade ago.

“I find it a privilege to work at a facility that stands for

human rights, especially being a Red River Metis,” said Claude Plante, Contract Manager. “The building has many unique and exciting features, including the smoke evacuation system, our heating controls systems, and a unique grey water collection system. We also monitor our energy consumption and usage and are always looking for ways to improve. It’s been very fulfilling working here, problem-solving and finding solutions to complex issues.”

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights


Over the course of the past decade, Black & McDonald has developed a great partnership with CMHR. Adam Rogalsky, Division Manager, Facility Management and Operations, Manitoba, says the relationship was built on transparency, confidence, and trust in the team’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to unforeseen issues.

“The contract is primarily in-house, labour-based, with a combination of hard and soft services,” he explained. “A portion of CMHR’s contracted services are also managed by Black & McDonald, and we play a supporting role with their capital projects and major improvements for the facility, as well as overseeing general site coordination and safety.”


From its award-winning design featuring curved lines and bold geometry, to its state-of-the-art systems and mechanical components, nothing about the CMHR

building is ordinary—and that can be said about broader operations, too.

The Museum is dedicated to human rights, which includes environmental responsibility. It calls attention to people’s rights to breathe clean air, access clean and safe drinking water, move freely and safely, and be part of something that’s overtly dedicated to the greater good.

For B&M, maintaining that responsibility means always looking for ways to improve efficiencies and cut costs so that any savings incurred at the operations level may be redirected toward areas that will deliver more important outcomes.

“Our great partnership has been built on understanding CMHR’s core business as well as bringing in numerous costreductions over time,” Rogalsky said. “I’m excited to see what the next chapter holds and am excited to have been a part of this great project!”


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fire station becomes the city’s first net-zero facility by harnessing the local climate to help achieve the sustainable target.

Fire stations have always exuded a strong civic presence as a conduit for the safety and protection of citizens. Over the years, they have evolved into a much broader sense of community as cities seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reach net-zero targets partially through design.

The 16,400-square-foot Windermere Fire Station is Edmonton’s first net-zero energy building. It officially opened last August in the rapidly growing southwest corner of the city. As Edmonton’s population is expected to reach two million in the future, the brand-new station will reduce response times and act as a local centre during emergency events.

Lead design architect gh3 worked alongside prime consultant S2 Architecture and PCL Construction, with a budget of $21.5 million and the city’s goal of

“All the choices one makes about interior finishes affect the carbon footprint of the building.”

becoming net zero by 2040. The resulting design mixes the comforts of home with the community’s safety needs in a climate-resilient space.

Pat Hanson, principal at gh3, says fire stations are an interesting type of facility in how they incorporate both industrial and residential uses. About half of the building includes a three-lane apparatus bay that houses fire trucks, a decontamination room for uniforms and gear, and emergency shower rooms.

Domestic quarters make up the other half of Station 31: dorms for firefighters, a gym, a study, and a television and games

room. The building also has a dedicated space to receive donations for community drives the department supports.

An eat-in-kitchen, where occupants prepare their own meals, overlooks an outdoor barbecue patio. Double-glazed, low-e windows bring in views of the natural landscape. “It’s increasingly more important that they go back to a space that is serene and comforting,” says Hanson. “Firefighters are often first responders for terrible accidents.”

One of the key elements of designing two distinct uses is ensuring that firefighters can quickly move from the

14 CFM&D | Part of the REMI network |

residential portion to the apparatus bay, and there are multiple entry points for that purpose.

Six side-folding bay doors through which fire trucks enter and exit take cues from the past. Hanson explains that for about 40 years, most fire stations had overhead doors similar to a residential garage.This side-folding design opens twoand-three-quarter seconds faster than an overhead door. “Even that response time is considered critical by the fire department,” she says.“They also perform a little better environmentally because they are faster and let less hot air out.”

To achieve net zero, a building must produce as much energy as it consumes. For Station 31, Edmonton required renewable energy equal to 1 per cent of total building energy needs, 40 per cent better energy efficiency than the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings 2011 (NECB 2011), 40 per cent better GHG emissions than the baseline using (NECB 2011), and 80 kilowatt-hours per square meter per year for heating needs.

“One of the things we’re particularly interested in as an architectural firm is making the architecture reflective of the sustainable ambitions of the building,” says Hanson.

The team was partially able to achieve this by harnessing solar energy to heat and cool the building. Solar is a very viable energy source in Edmonton as it’s one of the sunniest climates in Canada, says Hanson.As the sun shines there more than 300 days per year, the roof maximizes this opportunity through a sloped, south-facing design that features 382 panels with a rated capacity of 143 kilowatts.

Due to the energy used in the residential portion of the facility, along with the continuous opening of apparatus bay doors, the solar panels had to be combined with geothermal energy to help achieve net zero.

According to PCL, the geothermal field was created in an L shape outside the perimeter of the building with the header pipes feeding into the station. It features 35 boreholes at about 70 metres in depth, which provide energy for heating and cooling.


Spring 2024 CFM&D 15


envelope, which features walls with an R-value of 35 (compared with a typical house wall of R-20).The roof insulation is R-50 and the underslab R-20.

The brick was selected as a natural material. “All the choices one makes

about interior finishes affect the carbon footprint of the building,” says Hanson. “The masonry was a good choice for that reason.”

A woven pattern of the brick spread across the majority of the envelope also

gives the building a domestic scale, she adds. The masonry also works well as a screen that wraps around the south side where the outdoor patio is situated.

Stormwater management landscape innovations were also designed for the climate-resilient, post-disaster facility. “We’re also landscape architects so we like to think about the building and site at the same time,” says Hanson. “It’s really important as we continue to try and build sustainability to consider how we manage stormwater.”

All the on-site stormwater is brought into a rain garden located at the front, a small depression on the northwest corner, and a bioswale wrapped around the parking lot on both sides of the building.

As the water is managed and moves through the soil in a more natural way, it is cleansed before going back into the city stormwater system. “I like to think about it as a working site,” says Hanson. “We’re always thinking about how the site and building are working together.” | CFM&D

16 CFM&D | Part of the REMI network |
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At the Maisonneuve Library in Montreal, where the past coexists with the present, new programming and an expansion revitalize civic pride and preserve heritage. In turn, the building has become a living room for the community.


In the old city of Maisonneuve, now the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve borough of Montreal, a historic building has turned a new page in the story of its life.

The Beaux-Arts-style Maisonneuve Library underwent sensitive internal and external renovations to meet changing user needs and expand programming that was accessible for all. In doing so, EVOQ, in partnership with Dan Hanganu Architects, wanted to maintain the building’s significance and heritage value.

Once the headquarters of the town’s administration and council from when

it was built in 1912 until 1918, the building has since taken on symbolic meaning as a hallmark of community culture. From 1926 to 1967, the building housed the Radium Institute, where more than 67,000 cancer patients were treated with radiation during the early stages of oncology. The library branch began operating on the site in 1981.

“This was a very active library and people in the neighbourhood were very attached to the building as it was,” explains Georges Drolet, partner at EVOQ. “They voiced their concerns when they learned there would be a major construction.”

Like many projects that seek to redevelop the state of a much-loved historic landmark, public consultations were integral to the evolution of the library’s new look. The building is also protected under Québec’s Cultural Heritage Act. What the designers successfully proposed during the public architectural competition in 2017 was to keep the original structure as an identifiable architectural piece of the revival and redesign its outdoor public space to reinforce the library’s presence within the cultural hub.

Before it was annexed to Montreal in 1918, Maisonneuve was one of Canada’s largest industrial suburbs. “The city

20 CFM&D | Part of the REMI network |

councillors decided to create a centre of the town that was forward looking but also an important architectural presence within an industrial town, which was quite unusual,” says Drolet.

They turned to the City Beautiful approach of beautifying rapidly growing cities as a precursor of civic virtue. At the time, the urban planning movement was popular in the United States, with its wide boulevards and spacious public plazas, its BeauxArts elements of symmetry, decorative columns and grand entrances.

The architects worked closely with landscape designers to bring this past to life. “We wanted to keep this im-

portance of civic pride and identity and build that in,” says Drolet. “It was important for us to make this new open accessible library part of this public whole.”

Thestructure’s historic past is never far from view. One challenge architects were up against was a constrained site. With no room to build from behind, the project tripled the original floor-plate by creating two glass atriums on both sides. The glazing also brings the masonry of the limestone facade into visitors’ daily experience of the modern expansion.

“The ability to perceive the whole three dimensions of the historic build-

ing was super important,” says Drolet. “The interior was conceived to leave the side facades completely visible and give the ability to explore the sculpted stonework as you walk across the various parts of the library.”

Circulation spaces were created so the old building is always noticeable. As patrons move around the space, they also become part of the surrounding neighbourhood and city at large. Strategically placed windows bring views of traditional row houses in the community. Moving up, on the rooftop terrace, one can take in a panoramic view of the city and Mount Royal.

Spring 2024 CFM&D 21
“This was a very active library and people in the neighbourhood were very attached to the building as it was.”

Throughout the space, the programming speaks to the modern expectations libraries now hold for all demographics. “While you want it to be completely open, you want every segment of the population to feel comfortable,” says Drolet.

Features include teamwork rooms and a quiet lounge for reading and concentration, indoor and outdoor social spaces, a community room and cafe, learning and creative spots like a media lab and animation room for school groups, and an indoor garden. A rooftop garden produces vegetables and herbs for donating to local organizations, and offers activities geared to promoting urban agriculture. There are play areas for young children and teenagers, including a video game room.

The flexibility of the library was also a priority. Spaces can transform for exhibitions, conferences and thematic

events. “You have to be able to define the spaces specific for some users, but also give it a level of flexibility that gives the librarians an ability to be creative,” says Drolet. “Even during construction, we were in close contact with the librarians to make sure that they felt it was their place as well, not just something they were going to move into. That was a very rich experience in terms of a sustained conversation.”

Theuniversal accessibility of the expansion also reflects an inclusiveness that is vital for modern-day civic spaces. The team was able to do so without destroying heritage elements like the grand marble stairway in the existing building. Other heritage gems, unearthed while restoring the original building, were brought back to life, such as a floor mosaic with the emblem of the city of

Maisonneuve and plaster work hiding behind suspended ceilings.

Architects also revived an original stained glass dome at the centre of the upper floor, where the town council chamber was located, and a grand metal door of the main entrance.

Much care was delivered to the facade; it involved a fair bit of masonry work as the limestone suffered wear-and-tear over the years due to Montreal’s unforgiving weather. Some parts had to be dismantled and rebuilt.

On the newer side, in keeping with the city’s sustainability policies, highly efficient building systems keep energy consumption low and boost thermal comfort. A geothermal system was installed beneath the front yard to provide the library’s heating and cooling needs. Radiant floors also help maintain the temperature within the space, and the curtain wall incorporates thermal breaks and solar protection properties.

Libraries now play a wider role in creating sustainable and resilient communities, but also are a means for socializing, learning and creating. To make its libraries more of a “living room for the community,” the city had been moving through different neighbourhoods to renovate them, explains Drolet. Completed in March 2023, the Maisonneuve Library came with a budget of $34 million. Further funding was allocated for refurbishing the surrounding sidewalks and Place Ernest-Gendreau behind the library. Overall, the investment totaled $42.6 million.

Despite the public’s being able to view every proposal during the open competition, there was much worry over how the design would evolve. “Some were very vocal about their concern,” says Drolet. “During opening week, there was a line-up at the door; the place was packed with people all day.”

Those who were initially opposed to the project were now celebrating it.

“That sense of ownership of the place has been carried to this new life of the library and I think that is extremely rewarding for an architect when that happens.” | CFM&D

22 CFM&D | Part of the REMI network |
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From an infrastructure standpoint, each component of a facility introducing a proportion of risk requires proper maintenance. Managing the multitude of assets spread over a large area can be challenging. Buildings, Facilities, Infrastructure, Roadways, Highways, Parks and Green Spaces are a prime example. Each needs to be certified as safety and risk compliant, and there is a clear expectation that set standards will be adhered to. Thankfully, modern facility management software is evolving to make things easier. The use of geospatial data has been a turning point. It is now possible to recreate maps and plans of buildings—including hydrants, wind farms, water plants and greenspaces—to give proper orientation for facility workers and provide data pinpoints on a massive scale. VertiGIS FM provides Facility Managers a view of what is happening in their environment today, so they can make better informed decisions for tomorrow, all in one intuitive platform.

VertiGIS FM provides Facility Managers a view of what is happening in their environment today, so they can make better informed decisions for tomorrow, all in one intuitive platform.

There are many di erent facets of facility maintenance in multitudes of settings. Keeping track of information from a compliance level to ensure adherence to provincial and municipal regulations is extremely important.

In a school setting, the log of maintenance responsibilities is extensive. When a Catholic School in Austin, Texas, decided to merge their K-8 and 8-12 schools thereby doubling the amount of square footage, buildings and maintenance activities, it was obvious they needed a better way of managing their combined “to-do” lists.


At that time, the schools were responding to incidents and maintenance requests via email, a time-consuming process which failed to adequately track maintenance history. The school began looking for a simple, cloud-based software solution to align with their immediate and long-term goals, and selected VertiGIS FM to help them reach their vision.

VertiGIS started with an assessment of the school’s current environment. It was clear the school needed a more automated system to streamline day-to-day activities, and to provide clearer strategy for when issues arose. An overview of each asset was established, along with insight into each asset’s location and those which were most critical. The VertiGIS FM core functionality modules for Buildings, Maintenance, and Contracts were integrated providing a springboard for the school to operate. By creating an understanding of the school’s critical assets and processes, a short, medium and long-term plan was established.



With the school now expanding over two campuses, geospatial data was implemented to clearly identify locations and pinpoint areas carrying defects or pending repairs. By providing spatial representations of the school buildings, facility management expenses could be better managed and budgeted. Data information previously logged in spreadsheets was imported into VertigGIS FM and missing information flagged. Essential processes such as cleaning, inventory, and security access became easy to manage and record with standardized documentation. In addition, occupational health and safety hazards were identified and legal obligations consistently met.

With more control over their environment, the school was able to expand its use of the VertiGIS FM out-of-thebox approach to facility management. It was possible to visualize energy and utility consumption, identify cost risks, and standardize historical information. They are now equipped with visibility into what is happening in their environments today, so they can make better decisions and investments for the future.

Meanwhile, in California a VertiGIS FM client was looking

for a system to better manage flood prevention e orts. The customer was then using Google Maps and pins and sending to coworkers via email, attaching photos of the intended location. The system worked, but was only as e cient as the information sent, and was frequently otarget. In the VertiGIS FM platform, information is sent directly from within the software interface and automatically creates a work order to e ciently track the task workflow. This, combined with secured information via geospatial data made communicating locations needing attention a more e cient and swifter process.

VertiGIS FM simplifies building and facility management, in a lightweight, easy-to-use application which can be accessed by anyone, anywhere—even when o ine. It allows for a deep-dive into a facility’s critical assets, identifying risk and cost measures for each, and tracking warranties, invoices, schematics and drawings—all in one interface.

VertiGIS FM o ers modern solutions to meet facility obligations, risk minimization, cost reduction and optimization of infrastructure processes. VertiGIS FM is designed to make things easier. To learn more, visit

Spring 2024

[ risk management ]


In step with a projected surge in energy storage installations, fire safety advisors are actively working to help clean tech adopters understand and mitigate the risks.

The U.S. based National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a leading developer of standards that are referenced in many Canadian codes and standards, addresses many of those concerns in a dedicated standard, NFPA 855. Other general guidance for fire safety planning, emergency response, construction, operations and maintenance also comes into play.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that 7.7 gigawatts

(GW) of new energy storage capacity was installed in that country in the first six months of 2023, representing a 32 per cent increase over the same period in 2022. That growth trend is expected to continue with the planned flow of significant U.S. government spending into clean energy, and, to a lesser, but somewhat proportional degree, similar investment incentives are coming on line in Canada through a range of tax credits and financing options.

“A lot of the installations we see today are battery energy storage systems and particularly lithium ion,” Brian O’Connor, a senior engineer with NFPA, observed during a recent webinar. “We are seeing these installations everywhere.We are seeing more installations and, with that, we’re bound to see more incidents.”

Along with NFPA colleagues, he outlined a recommended approach for reducing that likelihood and more effectively containing events that do occur. That includes fire safety requirements for:

26 CFM&D | Part of the REMI network |

building, configuring and equipping energy storage facilities; operational procedures; and emergency response training.

Under NFPA 855, energy storage facilities must be located at least 10 feet away from the lot lines and other structures, storage areas or vegetation on the site or, alternatively, be enclosed behind a wall that extends 5 feet beyond the energy storage system in all directions and is no less than 5 feet distant from other external exposures. Inside the facility, units are to be separated into clusters of no more than 50 kilowatt-hours (kWh), each of which must be placed at least 3 feet from other clusters and any walls.

The standard also includes directions for sprinklers, fire alarms, ventilation and explosion prevention and protection. Where lithium ion, sodium nickel chloride or flow batteries are employed, 600 kWh of energy storage is the triggering threshold for various hazard analysis, training and emergency response requirements that will need to be documented in supporting plans.

O’Connor advises facility developers/ owners to begin that process with a series of ‘What if?’ questions related to potential “thermal runaway” in the storage units and the failure of the battery management system (which could cause voltage fluctuations) and any element of the fire protection system. From there, they should consider what precautions and interventions will be needed to achieve the required safety performance.

“You need to make sure that the fire is contained in that energy storage system room for two hours; that any explosion hazards are addressed; and that the products of combustion — being smoke, heat and any toxins associated with those — do not prevent the occupants from evacuating,” O’Connor reiterated.

Plans should identify key operational and emergency response procedures

Safety plan drafters will need to map out various operational and emergency response procedures, as well as the process for verifying that inspection, testing and maintenance of key systems is occurring. Plans should cover: safe shutdown and

“We are seeing more installations and, with that, we’re bound to see more incidents.”

start-up of the energy storage system; communications, training and drills for on-site personnel, other building occupants and emergency responders; and key contacts, such as service contractors for critical equipment and systems. Attention should also be paid to potential repercussions for the surrounding area and wider community.

“Make sure that staff and occupants know what to do in the event of a fire, in the event they smell smoke or they smell something off with what’s going on in the battery room,” O’Connor said.“Your personnel needs to be able to figure out, not only how to notify the fire department, but when to notify the fire department.”

Likewise, arriving firefighters should know in advance that there are energy storage units on site, and be quickly directed to the mechanisms that will disconnect all electrical charges.

“Don’t be afraid to bring your local authorities in for training, to show them,” suggested Holly Burgess, one of the NFPA’s emergency planning specialists. “Make sure that they understand where to go and what the hazards are.”

Solar photovoltaic arrays can be one of those lurking hazards if that’s the power source for the energy storage. Dean Austin, a senior electrical specialist with the NFPA, explained that installed PV panels are effectively “live” whenever there is sufficient light. Thus, NFPA guidance calls for a single-switch shutoff for all solar PV arrays mounted on a building.

“It has been documented that some of the emergency lights on fire trucks, used for illumination at night, will turn on the solar panels and begin producing energy,” Austin reported. “The disconnect has to be able to isolate the energy storage system from all other wiring.”

Additionally, qualified technicians are a fire safety imperative at every stage of an energy storage facility’s life cycle from installation to decommissioning. Beyond being a licensed electrician, NFPA guidance defines this as having knowledge of and experience with specific types of equipment and systems. That includes required technical skills along with the ability to assess and mitigate hazards, which may involve getting training from the manufacturers of those products.

“I have been a master electrician for 30 years. I’ve done a lot of work myself and I can tell you that I am not qualified to go into a medium voltage application and start doing electrical work in there,” advised Corey Hannahs, another of NFPA’s senior electrical specialists. “So this qualified person requirement is a big part of knowing what the problems could be.”

A poll of webinar participants found most are still at earlier stages of the learning curve, with 51 per cent of respondents indicating that they need a lot more training before implementing an energy storage system in their facilities and just 3 per cent stating they believe they are sufficiently knowledgeable. O’Connor promotes the NFPA standard as a tool for quantifying the risks, identifying gaps and moving forward.

“Decommissioning without failure (at the end of the facility’s life cycle), that’s what we’re all hoping for, but, if there is some kind of failure, we don’t want to have to figure it out on the spot,” he submitted. “We want to make sure that we’ve thought about this earlier and we have a plan in place, so that the failure and whatever damage might be done is limited.” | CFM&D

Barbara Carss is the editor-in-chief of Canadian Property Management
Spring 2024 CFM&D 27



the World’s Most Innovative Solution to Pavement De ciencies and Land Surveying PARKING LOT PAVING

They say that first impressions last a lifetime; this is still the case when it comes to facilities. A facility’s parking lot is typically the first thing a visitor sets foot on, and a cracked, uneven surface speaks volumes. The condition of the asphalt shows how well a building is cared for and maintained, and hints of healthy financial planning.

Potholes, pooling water, dips and depressions: it’s inevitable these issues will arise. When the time comes to repave your parking lot the work is dependent on budget and weather conditions.

From a contractor’s perspective, a paving project typically begins with a manual survey and stake-out of the current asphalt conditions. This takes time, and involves taking photos, reviewing site maps, and evaluating square footage by using measuring wheels.

Now, new technology is changing the playing field for surveying mechanisms. An innovation known as “SmoothRide” is now available in Ontario, allowing for very accurate, 3D surface scanning of paved areas. Forest Contractors Ltd. are the first in Ontario to o er SmoothRide scanning for roads and are believed to be the first worldwide to be using the innovation to redesign parking lots!

Originally designed for roadways, SmoothRide is the first tech to combine Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and the Global Positioning System (GPS) into a unique paving solution. SmoothRide is designed to optimize the planning, design and execution of road and parking lot repaving projects, making them easier, more cost-e ective, consistently better quality, and less hassle to manage from a disruption perspective.


• Lidar scanning components are installed on Forest Contractor trucks. Using laptops to collect data, the full scope of the paved area is driven at the speed of moving tra c. Over 8500 data points per second are gathered.

• After the parking lot or roadway is scanned, the data is uploaded into the SmoothRide software. The information is then provided to a designer who manually designs the paving requirements based on desired thickness, final grading and smoothness requirements, and who can then optimize how much asphalt is initially removed and later put back.

• Milling, Paving, and Compacting work begins. Machines equipped with GPS are used to perfect grading to the nearest millimetre, to optimize elevations, and ensure that the thickness of asphalt and sub-base assures its maximum lifespan. Increasing the lifespan of asphalt means less asphalt repair long-term!

Shave and pave scan Proposed slopes scan


1. Quicker production speed

Cumbersome and expensive manual surveys are no longer needed; the time to mill, grade and pave is shorter, and there’s greater confidence in the work being undertaken.

2. Improved Accuracy and Visual Reporting

Elevations are optimized and accurately designed at a 1.5-2% slope towards local drainage. Smoothness levels can be madeto-measure using SmoothRide’s adjustable settings. GIS and GPS technologies reduce risks of human error and deficiencies.

The software provides mapped reporting of the existing paving’s condition, allowing Property Managers a better understanding of issues, and a detailed report to share with the Board or engineers and consultants.

SmoothRide reports provide a benchmark which can be referred to in follow-up years to see how the successfully repair work has sustained.

3. Reduced Costs & Timelines

With a better understanding of what’s below the surface, the amount of asphalt removed and subsequently dumped at waste facilities is significantly lowered, and less new asphalt is used

for the repaving process. This is better for the environment, and better for the budget.

The improved fuel economy reduces each project’s carbon footprint, and since the mapping designs provide better project certainty, it is easier to schedule the project within a firm timeline, making it less burdensome for those a ected by the work.

4. Increased Sustainability

SmoothRide Solutions optimizes the removal of old asphalt, minimizing the disposal of millings, and reducing the use of excess asphalt. The prolonged lifespan of the asphalt, coupled

with the elimination of deficiencies and e ciency optimization, results in reduced overall waste on each project. The enhanced e ciency in work completion times also contributes to increased fuel economy and improved air quality, ultimately mitigating Forest’s asphalt plant emissions, and Forest’s environmental impact associated with construction activities.

In cases where there are specific problem areas which may not warrant a full repaving project, SmoothRide makes it possible to complete a partial asphalt removal without removing asphalt in low areas, thus allowing for a su cient slope to be created. This can significantly decrease overall costs to a client and is almost impossible to achieve using traditional surveying methods.

Forest Contractors Ltd. are the first to o er this unique, innovative technology in Ontario. To book a visit with a site representative, or to find out more, please contact 416-951-2159 or visit



Companies file first reports under new legislation to prevent forced and child labour in procurement practices.

Canadian companies must have filed a first annual supply chain transparency report by May 31, 2024. Under this requirement of Canada’s new anti-slavery legislation, companies are expected to monitor for and guard against the use of forced or child labour in the products and materials they procure.

The legislation, Fighting Against Forced Labour and Child Labour in Supply Chains Act, came into effect on January 1. It is largely a response to post-pandemic challenges that have exacerbated human rights and labour equity concerns. Over the past two years, risk factors that lead to exploitation in the global workforce have skyrocketed.

Katie Martin, director of sustainability at Avetta, a risk-management software provider, unpacked the legislation during a recent seminar and discussed various technologies that help identify illicit supply chain behaviours.

Across the globe, post-pandemic re-openings have created labour shortages, while climate change has also shaken up human capital in the workforce as people migrate into new regions due to extreme weather conditions and loss of land. More than 100 million are expected to migrate over the next decade, causing further economic and social disruption.This is adding new context to an already pervasive issue.

“When we critically pull back the layers of our supply chains and our businesses, a significant amount of our economies relies on slave labour and forced labour,” said Martin. “This is prompting nations to put this in a regulatory perspective to drive change.”

As mandates roll out in other countries, Canada is establishing parity on this front to keep up with business opportunities. Further updates to the legislation may follow after this year.

As it stands, companies have been urged to update their policies, procedures and supplier due diligence.To understand the multiple facets of forced labour, the International Labour Organization has identified 11 key indicators that businesses can refer to for tracking risks and sufficiently meeting reporting requirements. Further guidance on how to use the indicators is offered through an ILO e-learning tool.


As businesses prepare their report, they must be approved by an appropriate governing body with legal, binding authority, complete an online questionnaire that aligns with the report, upload the report, and then make it publicly available on their website.

“Organizations that fail to submit a satisfactory annual report or make it public, obstruct a designated official, or fail to comply with an order from the Ministry are guilty of a summary offense and liable to a fine up to $250,000,” said Martin.

Failure to act can also tarnish reputation as consumers scrutinize brands and also create liability for directors and officers who may have participated in any offenses.

“As you’re thinking about planning and submitting your questionnaire, make sure you are also aware that it does need to be executed and signed off by your governing body, whether that is your senior leadership or official board,” she cautioned.“Make sure you leave time for that as the fines are pretty significant for failing to comply.”


Eligible businesses are considered an entity under the Act’s definition. They are either listed on a Canadian stock exchange or have a place of business in Canada while meeting two of the following criteria: have a minimum of $20

million in assets, generate $40 million in revenue, and employ at least 250 people.

Businesses must also be involved in producing, selling and or distributing goods within Canada or abroad, import goods outside Canada, and control entities engaged in such practices.

Companies are to report on their efforts to prevent or mitigate the risk. The legislation does not prescribe the specific measures that a company must take to remediate the problem. “The onus is on the business who is pulling in suppliers from high-risk regions of the world or high-risk products to prove that there is no forced labour, rather than respond to a claim of forced labour,” said Martin.

The report encompasses both internal and external data, such as relevant due diligence policies and processes and employee training, as well as how the entity assesses the effectiveness to ensure this labour type isn’t being used.

Companies with multiple legal entities can file one joint report. All entities must share the same risk profiles and controls to address risks in their supply chains. The Act also creates a prohibition on importing goods made by forced and child labour. Canada Border Services Agency will be enforcing this.


Since the onus is on the business to determine what suppliers pose this risk, it is crucial to engage with suppliers to extract necessary external data to grasp an understanding of how they are preventing forced and child labour.

Looking internally, in their first reporting year, businesses may need third-party support from consulting groups that can help audit current processes and specific sector risks.

A business is liable once it becomes aware of forced labour, but companies often bookmark their response plans until risks are found, warns Martin. In the past, companies have immediately detached from suppliers when incidents come to light.

“While that is an approach, what we’ve come to find is that, oftentimes, the con-

30 CFM&D | Part of the REMI network |
[ fm

text, the societal challenges and the regulatory challenges pushing people into labour that is exploitative is only exacerbated when that connection is broken,” she said. “We have child laborers in areas of the world where, if they’re not working in this factory, they still need to be earners in a much more dangerous situation.”


To follow reporting requirements means engaging partners in preventative measures for mitigation, assessing supply chain risks and impacts, training and communicating across the supply chain, and developing a code of conduct. To assert internal controls, businesses can monitor compliance, remediate violations, conduct an independent review, and report performance and engagement.

“Every organization has some risk for forced labour,” Martin said. “If you’re in the construction sector, manufacturing sector or facilities management, it’s likely to be much higher than finance or professional services. Sometimes we’re surprised at how these things are pulled into our supply chain. A lot of that has to do with vending out contract work.”

Engage and educate: This can include: helping sourcing teams to identify forced labour; training suppliers and their line managers on the ILO’s indicators and how to work with responsible recruiters and agencies; and teaching line workers to understand their rights and what to do if they see or experience forced labour.

Getting on-the-ground information creates more transparent workplaces. In one example at an overseas factory, a manufacturing corporation rolled out e-learning classes about workplace rights and safety and how to report instances of non-compliance.

“Within 30 days of having that compliance training completed, they saw a 50 per cent increase in the number of health and safety incoming messages they were getting through the channels they built for people to give feedback,” said Martin,

This also helps create reportable data on how companies are building a culture of safety and compliance and providing opportunities for workers to engage. Assess risks in supply chains: Supply

chains are incredibly complex and yet companies must extract data and verify that suppliers are operating in a way that protects them and the company.

One step is to cross-reference suppliers against relevant industry lists of entities that are presumed to be using forced labour, such as UFLPA.

When you have a sense of the high-risk suppliers, map out your supply chain— both upstream and downstream—for forced and child labour hotspots to understand where exposure points are and which suppliers require deeper due diligence, said Martin.

Investing in tech capabilities and third-party services, such as SaaS and sSCM, further conducts due diligence and executes dynamic screening at scale. Companies can also consider integrating screening into business infrastructure systems, such as CRMs.

Train and communicate across the supply chain: Once high-risk suppliers are identified, they require training. Compliance can unfold through accessible training, either developed in-house or through other services. Risk mitigation can integrate into existing SCRM programming to ensure suppliers are set up for success. They should understand company standards, best practices, and the ILO’s forced labour indicators.

“A lot of times we already have the data or connections with our Tier 1 suppliers, those that we’re vending with directly,” said Martin. “The challenge is that those suppliers vend out labour and contracts and sometimes vend out further. That Tier 2 and beyond is where a lot of the social risks lie.”

Building relationships with Tier 1 suppliers and incorporating their mapping into due diligence processes is vital for minimizing risk.

Monitoring compliance and remediating violations Subcontracting can add layers between the company and the worker and exists out of the scope of many audits, which are one control mechanism for mitigating risk. However, audits often provide only a snapshot of a specific moment. Companies can begin with audits before moving beyond this mechanism.

Change comes by working with suppliers to recognize business constraints while acting in compliance. Suppliers should be empowered to address challenges and deliverables without feeling that they will lose the contract and make poor staffing decisions as a result.

Reporting performance and engagement: Besides compiling regulation-specific reports, broader supply chain performance data can be incorporated into traditional reporting.

After digesting what the data is showcasing, begin to integrate some of that data and KPIs into existing business dashboards, across other functions like procurement, health and safety and compliance training. “There is going to be a rich story coming through and an opportunity to capitalize on it,” Martin explained.


Blockchain, IoT and AI are boosting rapid and scalable assurance and transparency.

“Blockchain is becoming a really strong tool to mitigate the risks that we have with our audit process, both in terms of how slow and labour-intensive they are and how prone to corruption or editing,” she said. Transactions recorded on blockchain cannot be altered or deleted.You can trust the efficacy of it, both while you’re reviewing it and when your auditors are going through that process as well, which can reduce the risk of fraudulent activity.”

Through AI, free-form text and unstructured practices help identify forced labour patterns. Data mining tracks illicit behaviours. Supply chain management software such as Forced Labor Risk Determination & Mitigation (FRDM) uses machine learning to measure forced labour risks at each level of production in real time.

“In this year one, there’s not an expectation to get to Tier 2 and Tier 3 but you should have that on your data map for 2025 submission,” Martin suggested. “I think there will be requirements for that since we know that’s where a lot of the risk is.” | CFM&D

Spring 2024 CFM&D 31


Ongoing treaty negotiations address eradicating plastics pollution.

The use of plastics in the built environment is an increasingly pressing issue affecting human health and the biodiversity of the planet. The impacts of chemicals on occupants across live-work-play settings stretches far beyond the four walls of a building and into surrounding communities. This occurs at the beginning of a material’s life cycle, right through to its end of life.

Sustainability advocates relayed some overwhelming statistics during a recent online discussion, hosted by Habitable. Their urgency comes as negotiators from around the globe seek to form an international treaty on plastic pollution.

The United Nations Environment Assembly adopted a resolution on March 2, 2022, to end plastic pollution by 2040. The treaty process is expected to be completed by this December.

“There are negotiations going on right now and there are obligations on the table to address plastics throughout their life cycle, starting with a call for production reduction,” said Bethanie Carney Almroth, a professor at the University of Gothenburg. “We need to bring down the amount of plastic that is being produced. It is unsustainable. Our planet can’t tolerate more; our bodies can’t tolerate more.”

Concern is mounting over a weak commitment to curb plastic production, as fossil fuel and petrochemical interests block progress. During the fourth session of the United Nations Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution, which wrapped up on April 30, nations struggled to agree on the treaty’s scope and key substantive provisions. The final negotiation session is scheduled in November.

Current world estimates for plastics to date are at 11 gigatonnes.

“Building and construction is the second largest user of plastics and also one of the biggest users of PVC, which is at the top of the list of hazardous problematic polymers that maybe should be phased out,” Almroth urged.

In mid-March, a group of scientists in the European Union released a study funded by the Norwegian Research Council, outlining 16,000 different chemicals found in petroleum-based plastics. They found that 4219 of them have known hazardous properties, but more than 10,000 chemicals lack sufficient data.

There is very little transparency and few reporting mechanisms, which also includes bio-based renewable sources that make up a smaller percentage. An estimated 99 per cent of all plastics are made from fossil fuels.

Last year, a study from the UN Environment Programme found that only 1 per cent of plastics chemicals are regulated in the world. Some hazards that plastics are labeled with include aquatic toxicity, carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive toxicity and endocrine-disrupting chemicals that interfere with a body’s hormones. “They’re persistent, bioaccumulative; they’re mobile, they’re toxic, they’re in our environment, they’re not breaking down, and they have impacts on both humans and organisms,” Almroth said.

The planetary boundaries framework, conceived in 2009, has since generated interest within science and policy, and inspired researchers like Almroth. It describes a set of nine earth boundaries that define the safe operating space for the stability of the planet and for humanity to continue thriving. As of 2023, data indicates that six of the nine boundaries have been breached.

Martha Lewis, senior architect and head of materials at Henning Larsen, said construction products have high environmental impacts, but many certified buildings that are build-asusual are failing to address these risks. Looking at biodiversity, pollution and climate change are key when approaching projects in order to make better choices that don’t overstep the safe operating space.

“It’s really where we should be putting our efforts right now, as opposed to trying to get the top score in a LEED platinum,” she said. “I think some of these strategies may be much more effective.

“These earth systems are deeply interconnected; the decisions we are making in terms of waste in our projects or the synthetic chemicals in the products we’re selecting also have very clear impacts on the loss of biodiversity.”

Global chemical usage is expected to double between 2019 and 2023 and double again by 2050, according to the UN Global Chemical Outlook. “This is all highly relevant for the construction sector because the sector is the number one in market for global chemical production, coming in at about 28 per cent,” said Lewis.

Yet there exists a lack of transparency in building documentation. Lewis says certification systems are failing the industry in how they ask consultants to screen for problematic substances.

Across the Nordic countries, she worked on an initiative in Denmark with top construction company NCC and SundaHus from Sweden on the use of problematic substances in building products and boosting material data collection. Much of the problem is related to glue found in adhesives and binding agents, as well as in construction materials, such as

32 CFM&D | Part of the REMI network |

fillers, solvents, paints and lacquers and surface treatments.

She says the industry requires a detailed list of the chemical properties found in products and their resulting health effects, as well as declarations for all building products as they affect the end user.

One of the most proactive reports she has seen recently is from the Green Science Policy Institute, which charts PFAS uses in the built environment and material alternatives. PFAS serves as weatherproofing, corrosion prevention and stain resistance.

Addressing biosphere integrity on construction projects may seem daunting but she says a lot has to do with initial decisions to not build on green sites or agricultural lands. Build less, renovate, transform,” she urged.“Be very wise about specifications. . . for plastic specifications, be really clear about what kinds of undesirable properties won’t be admitted into the project.”

As the construction and design sectors set out to build more, it also becomes prudent to scrutinize the whole life cycle of materials and its environmental justice impacts.

Veena Singla, professor in the department of environmental sciences at Columbia University, cited a study on spray foam, a plastic polyurethane material that mostly contains hazardous isocyanates. Researchers found that facilities making spray foam ingredient generated millions of pounds of toxic chemicals in communities that are disproportionately low income. This occurred over one year.

Singla highlighted her work with the Agents of Change in Environmental Justice program at the school. Their mission is to empower leaders from historically excluded backgrounds in science and academia to reimagine solutions for a just and healthy planet.

“How can you start to bring in those who have been excluded and disempowered into partnerships and

collaboration and leadership with the work that you do?” she posed. “If your work touches the built environment, you are impacting people’s health and justice as we move forward into the future.”

A study published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society this year found that healthcare costs attributed to four classes of chemicals used in plastics was $249 billion in 2018 alone in the United States.

“We need to look at who is benefitting and who is paying the price and make decisions thereafter,” said Almroth. “A lot of those decisions need to be top down.”

But in the move to a new materials economy, there exists a great deal of pushback from chemical producers due to economic interests, she finds, adding what is required are policy changes to hold companies accountable, support for those policies through voting, bold decision-makers, and more guidelines around transparency to help consumers make better choices. | CFM&D

Spring 2024 CFM&D 33


New office furnishings reflect ongoing trends in modern workplace design, from space-saving options that can be stacked away to personal customization. Furniture also blends waste solutions with aesthetic appeal.

HBF’s latest office seating product, Karina Armless Guest Chair, re-introduces Scandinavian aesthetics with a contemporary twist. The mid-20th-century-inspired design is 32 inches high and 23.50 inches wide and is made with premium joinery and solid wood.

Encore Seating’s latest collection, Sunny, offers a subtle nod to California’s surf culture. Customizable guest and lounge chairs offer varying degrees of recline. A settee encourages sideby-side seating. Occasional tables come in various sizes and can be specified in wood veneer, laminate, Fenix, and solid surface options. The ash wood frame and aluminum connectors come in a wide range of standard and custom finishes. Mix-and-match materials offer a warm, neutral aesthetic or vibrant pops of colour.

Allseating launched Allora in partnership with Italian-based design studio ScagnellatoFerrarese+Masiero. The customizable, singleshell collection comes available in a stackable Guest Chair, Collaborative Chair and Beam Seating. Features include an upholstered seat pad, tablet arm, and book basket.

DeskMakers announced its venture into the waste and recycling category with the introduction of Spruce and Tidy: designforward receptacle solutions that maximize space efficiency. Spruce boasts a distinctive aesthetic appeal, while Tidy offers a simpler, budgetfriendly option. A range of size options are available to suit various space requirements in offices, public spaces and beyond.

34 CFM&D | Part of the REMI network | FOCUS ON OFFICE SEATING


H&S Building Supplies Ltd.

H&S stands as your central resource for property maintenance needs. Our commitment goes beyond providing a diverse range of high-quality products; we are dedicated to delivering comprehensive solutions tailored to your unique needs. Whether it's everyday necessities or specialized tools, H&S ensures you have everything required for efficient property maintenance. With a focus on excellence and reliability, our mission is to be more than just a supplier – we aim to be your strategic partner in elevating property management standards.

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Serving the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) & its surrounding regions, including Ottawa, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton, London, and Burlington.

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Consistent supply and reliable delivery of maintenance supplies are crucial for property management, ensuring that needed items are always available. Our emphasis on customer service simplifies the process for property managers to acquire the appropriate products, receive assistance as needed, and promptly address any issues. Emphasizing streamlined processes and efficient logistics enhances the property management business by facilitating smooth transactions and ensuring on-time deliveries. Efficiency Reliability H&S Building Supplies Ltd., 96 Maplecrete Road, Concord, ON L4K 2B5 | 1 - 800 - 207 - 8325 HSBUILD.COM What Makes Us the Right Choice? We offer a comprehensive range of maintenance supplies, catering to various needs in property management.

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