The TransLink SeaBus administration building on the north shore of Vancouver was originally constructed in 1976 and required substantial upgrades. TransLink has been undertaking a program of improvements to this building and the surrounding property over the past several years. The building includes a maintenance shop which is used to maintain and repair components of the SeaBus ferries, including engines and azimuth thrusters.
Ausenco was engaged as the prime consultant for the design of upgrades for the facility, leading a multidiscipline design team of architectural, structural, civil, geotechnical, mechanical, and electrical consultants. We were involved throughout the lifecycle of the project, from scope definition in 2020 to conceptual, preliminary and detailed design, to support during construction.
The scope of work included overall interior tenant improvements to the existing Translink SeaBus administration building. This included interior finishes, lighting, electrical upgrades, HVAC upgrades, a new rooftop air-handling unit, addition of a platform lift, and replacement of a steel mezzanine, steel lobby stairs, an overhead door, the bridge crane hoist, and various equipment within the machine shop. A new storage shed (13 m x 10 m) was also constructed at the southwest corner of the property near the seawall. The storage shed is a single storey pre-engineered metal building, approximately 5 m tall on a new concrete slab-on-grade foundation.
Project challenges and our solutions
One of the main challenges of the project is that the SeaBus maintenance staff required the machine shop to remain operational throughout the construction of the building improvements.
To mitigate this problem, the entire shop operations was moved temporarily to the newly constructed storage shed adjacent to the main building. This allowed the renovations of the machine shop to proceed efficiently, including the construction of a second storey mezzanine, replacement of the bridge crane and other major shop equipment.
Another challenge on this project was the unforeseen site conditions. As the facility was 50 years old, there was incomplete information on the existing building. Our team performed underground locate surveys of the existing building to identify pipes and the extent of the existing concrete foundation. There were also hazardous materials that the team had to contend with as part of the upgrades, including asbestos and lead paint. Our team led the coordination of the testing for this hazardous material and supported abatement planning.
The SeaBus property straddles two jurisdictions, with a shared boundary between the City of North Vancouver and the Vancouver Port Authority. This created additional coordination that was required for permitting and project planning. Our team submitted multiple building permit applications and coordinated the division of project scope between the jurisdictions to effectively move the project forward.
Outcomes and achievements
The upgrades to the facility were successfully designed and constructed, providing a more functional and safer building for TransLink and SeaBus staff. The improvements designed by our team will facilitate the effective maintenance and administration of SeaBus ferries for many years to come.