Calgary Courts Building

Project Details

Alberta Infrastructure (A.I.) is conducting POEs of completed government owned buildings. A standardized, detailed and itemized methodology is provided to the consultant team along with a list of deliverables: a comprehensive and structured process. Deliverables require a high level of rigor in evaluating physical conditions and functionality according to Infrastructure’s ReCAPP AVS tool (Renewal Capital Asset Planning Process, and Asset Validation Survey), expressing recommendations, developing survey questionnaires and undertaking interviews. Our multi-disciplinary consultant team included engineers in the structural, mechanical, electrical, building envelope and air quality monitoring fields.

The facility, occupied in Q3 of 2007, covers 1,200,000 gross square feet in downtown Calgary. Construction value is noted as $350 million. Primary tenants include Ministries of the Attorney General, Justice and Solicitor General. All functions of the Provincial Court and Court of Queen’s Bench are housed in this location. The Court of Appeals was pulled from the program during design stage.

We began a review of relevant construction documents and as-built records for each of the disciplines described above, a pain-staking process as the volume of record drawings and details for a project of this size is massive. The facility management contractor provided access and insight into all building systems from electrical and HVAC to security and telecommunications. ACI developed a multi-part survey questionnaire – vetted by Alberta Infrastructure – for online distribution to the hundreds of building occupants. In parallel, we held interviews with senior management and front-line personnel who indicated a desire and an aptitude to capture and express practical information, as well as members of the design and construction team. Identified by A.I., architects, engineers and builders are also providing valuable insight into the delivery process through pre-arranged telephone interviews.

The ACI architectural team divided the twenty-four storey building into equal blocks to observe, record, question, photograph and challenge operational aspects from travel to security, wayfinding, detention and transport of accused persons, layout and technology of seventy-two courtrooms, utilization of support functions (libraries, judges’ dining area) and tenant spaces (legal aid organizations).

The primary driver is security of the judiciary, reflected in a complex circulation model providing distinct vertical and horizontal travel of judges separate from public, detainee, and witness transport. From the parkade directly through dedicated lobbies, judges circulate safely and freely throughout the facility. ACI’s observation uncovered little if any
compromises to this model.