September 11, 2013
Flooded Calgary parkade a challenging fix
CALGARY PARKING AUTHORITY
Contractors hired by the Calgary Parking Authority (CPA) are in the midst of a major restoration project at one of the largest parkades in downtown Calgary, after the underground structure suffered extensive flood damage.
“We are currently rehabilitating the parkade, which filled up with water to seven levels below grade,” said Sean Blais, facilities coordinator with the CPA.
“Everything in the parkade that wasn’t concrete had to be removed, including all electrical and mechanical infrastructure, windows and door frames, all door hardware and tiles. The whole interior including the stairwells had to be sandblasted and repainted.”
The Civic Plaza Parkade, which is located beneath the Municipal Complex, is currently closed after being hit hard by a one in a 100-year flood event from the Bow and Elbow Rivers on June 20 and 21.
The water rose so quickly that the CPA didn’t have enough time to prepare a defence. At the peak of flooding, the water was two feet high and pouring into the overhead doors. Seven levels of the underground structure were completely inundated with water.
“As far as a response, we assessed the damage and formulated a plan to reclaim the structure,” said Blais.
“We brought in electrical, mechanical and structural engineers and did a full assessment of the facility. We determined the parkade was structurally sound.”
The flood did not affect the post tension cables, but there was 100 per cent damage to the electrical and mechanical infrastructure. The electrical systems are in the slab and had to be replaced along with the mechanical system, which is mainly ventilation.
CALGARY PARKING AUTHORITY
The elevators were only partially damaged because the equipment was above the ground and didn’t need to be replaced. However, all metal, doors and cable had to be replaced, and all concrete blocks had to be removed and replaced.
The CPA hired Canam to do the electrical work and Botting is taking care of the mechanical replacement. AMAC is doing the air quality testing, while EllisDon is doing all the things that don’t fall into the scope of electrical and mechanical.
One of the biggest challenges at this stage is the long lead time for equipment, which can take four to six weeks. For example, there are 700 light fixtures, exit signs, lobby lighting and electrical switches, which can’t be bought off the shelf.
Currently, there is a crew of about 35 people undertaking the demolition and more people will get involved once the various sub-trades are needed.
Blais said the restoration project is scheduled for completion in November or December.
“It was a unique situation, because we had no power and the electrical generators weren’t running,” said Blais.
“The emergency generator was above level, but the distribution and energy transfer switch was all under water. We went from flood to mobilization to pumping water out in less than 48 hours, with the first vacuum trucks arriving on Sunday (June 23).”
Crews from Tervita, Halliburton and ULS were the first contractors to respond to the situation and provide assistance.
Halliburton brought in big diesel powered pumps, which were operated inside the underground structure and required the exhaust to be sealed and transferred to street level.
They also used about 25 48-inch fans for ventilation, but this was only a short-term solution until the motors and the fans in the building could be replaced.
Initially, these crews couldn’t pump the water out fast enough. The water table was so high that the parkade was filling up again. In addition, the water was being pumped into the storm sewer, but it was back feeding because the storm gates were closed.
In response, the crews got the authority to put the water into the sanitary system.
The crews had problems with some of the equipment, because they couldn’t pull water straight up.
In response, Xylem supplied a very large pump with a 12,000 gallon a minute capacity. The 10 inch discharge lines were put down the mechanical air shaft. A large portable generator was used to power the pumps.
The CPA staff worked 18-20 hours a day between June 23 and July 5, while the contractors were working on shifts 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the same period.
Overall, 55 million cubic litres of water were pumped out of the parkade between June 21 and July 9.
The lower floors had seven to eight inches of mud, while there was mud and silt in every crack and crevasse of the structure.
It took crews longer to remove the mud and silt than pumping out the water.
CALGARY PARKING AUTHORITY
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