Founded in 1903, the University of Victoria (UVic) is British Columbia’s second largest research university. The Social Sciences and Mathematics Building is the new academic home for many UVic studies including Geography, Environmental Studies, Political Science, and Mathematics. Built to LEED Gold standards, this five-storey 98,000 square foot building features many interesting environmental initiatives, including a green roof.
As both electrical and building controls contractor, Houle played an important role in helping UVic complete the project to LEED Gold aspirations. Houle adapted to many design changes throughout the construction process and successfully met all aesthetic challenges of the modern building design. Included in Houle’s scope of work was the supply and installation of premium lighting and automated lighting controls.
In addition to data wiring, lighting control cabling, fire alarm system, and door access control, Houle also designed and installed all automated building controls. This included programming for energy management, reclaimed water management, humidity controls, and CO2 monitoring. These play a critical role in energy savings and in reducing the carbon footprint. Houle retrofitted an aesthetic rain gutter to accommodate exterior lighting, all without compromising the rain gutter’s function or architecture.
One of the first challenges faced by Houle was the late decision to create a green roof for the entire building. Houle had already completed rough-in, but then raised it (without disruption to the rest of the schedule) to accommodate the roof’s growing materials. Although the building’s Lantern was also introduced after construction had already started, Houle provided valuable design assistance to bring it from concept to completion.
Another key challenge for Houle was running extensive electrical and data cabling with “nowhere to hide.” Cables, cable trays, conduit, and lighting connections were often out in the open. Where visible, Houle’s workmanship became part of the architecture.
For the main lecture theatre, Houle was required to resume electrical rough-in work that had been started by a different contractor. In addition to taking over mid-stream, Houle was required to continue construction of the theatre and much of the work before electrical product specs were available.
Especially challenging was the installation of large ventilation fans. The product, as well as installation design, was not finalized until late in the construction process. Houle worked closely with consultants to ensure effective placement (via custom welding) of the fans’ actuators.
Despite mid-construction design and LEED-based modifications, Houle completed this project on time and on budget.
View our project video.