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Concrete to the CORE for construction of company’s HQ

A look at Tomlinson Group’s award-winning HQ


June 7, 2019
By Andrew Snook

At 100 Citigate Drive in Ottawa is a building that very much stands out from its suburban surroundings. That building is The CORE, short for “Central Operations for Results and Excellence.”

This is the headquarters for the Tomlinson Group of Companies, one of Eastern Canada’s leading construction companies with 2,000 employees active across the environmental, construction and transportation infrastructure services sectors.

If you were to walk inside the impressive complex without seeing the name at the front, you might mistake the building to be the home of a high-end architectural or design firm, not the headquarters for a construction company housing its ready-mix concrete, asphalt, aggregates, infrastructure, construction, and environmental services divisions. A running waterfall and beautifully designed steel staircase greet you as you enter the lobby of Tomlinson headquarters. To keep a more industrial feel inside the building that is closer to the company’s roots, which started up in 1952 with one single-axle dump truck, a restored 1928 A.A. Ford dump truck and the cab of a Sandvik DP1500 rock drill (used in Tomlinson’s quarries) sit at opposite sides of the building’s entrances.

The 84,703-sq.-ft. facility took three years to build and officially completed construction in June 2018. R.W. Tomlinson was the general contractor on the project. Christopher Simmonds Architect Inc. was the architect of record and Cleland Jardine Engineering Limited was the engineer of record. The forming contractor for the facility was Bellai Brothers Construction Ltd. Material suppliers were Tomlinson Ready Mix.

When the building was being designed and built, Tomlinson wanted its core values of quality, excellence, and environmental consciousness represented. The building was targeted to be certified LEED Silver. One way this was achieved was through the use of sustainable concrete construction techniques. Tomlinson was so successful in using sustainable concrete construction techniques that it was awarded the Sustainable Concrete Construction Award at the 2018 Ontario Concrete Awards. In total, there was 7,000 cubic metres of concrete used in the construction of the facility.

Concrete design
To reduce energy consumption levels, the company used concrete for its low albedo and heat retention.

Tomlinson also chose a concrete roof slab for its longer lifespan and because of the material’s ability to reduce water and fire damage. The concrete supply for the building’s construction also had a significant amount of post-industrial recycled content, almost 27 per cent. The design also incorporated exposed concrete walls and ceilings to reduce the amount of new building materials required.

Specialty concrete mix designs used in the construction of the facility included:

  • Architectural self-consolidating concrete for feature walls and retaining walls;
  • High slump silica fume columns;
  • LEED positive mixes;
  • Integrally coloured concrete was used to create a natural stone-like finish and provide permanent colour for the concrete patios at the building’s entrances;
  • Non-chloride accelerated mixes for cold weather concrete; and
  • Smart concrete technology added to mixes for producing more accurate temperature readings to calculate the strength of the concrete earlier and minimize heating costs during winter, while accelerating the construction process.

Additional features
Concrete techniques were only a few of the sustainable features of this building. It was also built with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer staff sustainable lighting for staff and helps regulate indoor temperatures; and the parking lot was built with spots for electric vehicles. Additional features of the facility include a large open lobby offering a town-square setting; large meeting areas and breakout rooms on all four floors; a gym; modern training rooms; state-of-the art testing labs; and much more. For more details on the construction of The CORE and the Ontario Concrete Awards, visit www.concreteawards.ca.