In January of 2014, 1 Engineer Support Unit (1 ESU) was approached by the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR) with requests to design and oversee the construction of office and storage buildings at Garrison Petawawa.
The buildings will be interim facilities until permanent CSOR facilities can be constructed. Although not an unusual request for 1 ESU, CSOR’s timelines were ambitious; 6 months for the design to be completed and 12 months for construction. In order to provide the maximum footprint for the minimal budget and within proposed timelines, both buildings required a straight forward design approach and employed a military labor force as contracted labor would be cost prohibitive. With this in mind, 2 Combat Engineer Regiment (2 CER) at Petawawa was brought on board.
2 CER’s Construction Troop (CT) tradesmen and supervisors were eager to seize the opportunity to exercise their skills on a large scale construction project. All construction trades are being employed with a focus on OJT for junior personnel. Additional tradesmen have been brought from bases across Canada to augment 2 CER’s CT. These projects cover many aspects of the trade training requirements while providing valuable cross-training, as tradesmen are required to support each other on the job site.
With designs, specifications, and material orders completed by 1 ESU, 2 CER Construction and Heavy Equipment Troops began breaking ground in August 2014. By mid-October, underground utilities were installed, foundations were poured and vertical construction began in order to have the buildings envelopes complete before the winter set in. During that same time frame, 1 ESU was tasked to support OP IMPACT theatre opening. This short fuse mandate tested 1 ESU’s resourcefulness in order to carry out project management with reduced resources. By January 2015 interior fit-up had begun with electrical, plumbing, and interior finishes carrying on into the spring. Building occupancy dates for both projects is set for July of 2015.
Both of these projects offer unique challenges to the tradesmen as well as the various stakeholders involved. Most importantly, these projects highlight the ability of the Canadian Military Engineers to design, plan, and implement significant infrastructure on our bases with minimal reliance on outside contractors. The project also provided an excellent opportunity for tradesmen from across the CAF. Particular credit goes to the excellent leadership of 2 CER’s Construction Troop and to WO Warren James of 1 ESU who assumed project management responsibility after the remainder of his Specialist Engineer Team was deployed on OP IMPACT.