January 28, 2010


The roof the new West Brampton Reservoir pumping station is comprised of three cold-formed steel truss systems.

FOCUS | Steel

Cold-formed steel key in construction of water reservoir in Brampton, Ontario

Cold-formed steel (CFS) trusses are a pivotal building material in the innovative design and construction of a new Peel Region water facility in west Brampton.

From a distance and even up close, the new West Brampton Reservoir pumping station being constructed on Mississauga Road just south of Bovaird Drive by general contractor King City Group looks like one of the few remaining barns in the — for now — rural area.

That is the appearance the region and Brown+Storey Architects wanted to achieve.

Instead of massive wooden beams, the roof is comprised of three cold-formed steel truss systems to form the distinctive “barn” profile chosen by the architect to allow the structure to blend in with its predominantly agricultural environment.

Two sections of mono-slope trusses on continuous bearing run the entire flanks of the building, while a full structural clear-span truss section comprised of 32, 64-foot trusses connect those sections to form a peak.

Petrolia, Ont.-based VanderWal Homes & Commercial Group is the designer, fabricator and erecter. After the components had been trucked to the site this fall the 20,000 square feet of roof trusses were fully assembled and sheathed on the ground adjacent the pumping station as the station’s concrete walls were being built.

Paul Prelaz

After the walls were completed the trusses were hoisted to the roof position by a 250-ton crane and a five-man crew, says site superintendent Paul Prelaz.

“The entire process took less than two weeks, saving the contractor valuable time, ‘drying in’ the building and allowing interior trades to work in relative comfort during cold and inclement weather. It was safe, fast and we didn’t interfere with the contractor’s schedule.”

Fortunately there was sufficient unobstructed space for the assembly work, adds Prelaz. “Luckily we had as much free space as we needed. Often, that’s not the case and we usually have to lift much smaller sections. On one or two occasions we’ve even had to lift and move material from one crane to a second one.”

Apart from the roof work the crew also installed a short structural beam in the second level.

It will be used for a five-ton monorail crane which will be used to transport chemicals, filters and machinery to the second floor once the pumping station is operational, he says.

Lifting the trusses into place was the largest lift ever undertaken by VanderWal, says Alex McGillivray, the firm’s sales and marketing manager.

“And since we’re one of the few firms that do this kind of work, it may have been the largest in Canada.”

He points to the West Brampton Reservoir as an example of the growing use of CFS trusses in a diverse number of buildings such as schools, correctional facilities and water treatment plants.

“This is due in no small part to the fact that they can accommodate practically limitless roof and ceiling profiles. They can span up to 80 feet from bearing wall to bearing wall, allowing more open plan designs and maximizing useable space within a building.”

Fabricated in a controlled environment, the non-combustible trusses can also be used to create a distinctive architectural look for “bland” looking buildings such as long-term care homes, says McGillivray.

While VanderWal has fulfilled the bulk of its contract at the West Brampton Reservoir, there are some final small assignments erecting barn-style roofs on several accessory buildings. The timing hinges on the progress of other trade work, says Prelaz.

Meanwhile the overall construction of the facility is on track for scheduled completion in March, says Robert Suffern, superintendent with the King City Group.

The $36-million project includes the construction of the 903-square-metre pumping station, an approximately 6,695-square-metre reservoir, plus associated work.

Designed to meet the anticipated growth in that area of Brampton, the reservoir will link with the existing Meadowvale North Reservoir via 6,000-metre-long 1,500-mm watermain now under construction as part of a separate project.

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