In late 2020, KESKUS, the International Estonian Centre being developed in the heart of Toronto, put out the construction manager contract for tender.
Development Manager David Kalm explains: “The Construction Manager is a key team player for a project of this magnitude and complexity. We customized the evaluation grid for proponents, received excellent proposals and interviewed the top 3 bidders. We decided in favour of Harbridge+Cross Ltd. (H+C). H+C is responsible for shop drawings, tendering, ensuring safety onsite and delivering the project on time, within scope and on budget.”
International Estonian Centre Inc. board member Bob Spokowski, a a 40-year veteran of the construction industry, 20 years as a structural design engineer and 20 years working for a large general contractor (read more here), adds that “H+C was a good choice with their fixed price approach to the project. They have a long history of successful builds. In addition to institutional projects for the Government of Ontario, City of Toronto, OCAD University, University of Toronto, H+C’s sweet spot is complex projects like KESKUS. It is a good fit for the size and complexity of the project and H+C has a reputation for working well with project architects and engineers.”
Bill Waters, P. Eng., is one of the owners of H+C, has over 33 years of experience, has a broad knowledge of all levels of construction, and is LEED accredited. Bill is H+C’s Project Manager for KESKUS and oversees the project team for estimating, site supervisors, health and safety, accounting, project managers, labour and administration.
“I’m at the stage of my career that I enjoy complex projects the most and KESKUS is just that,” says Bill and notes that at H+C, he has built over subway tunnels before and has a solid working relationship with the Toronto Transit Commission who owns and manages Toronto’s transit services.
KESKUS architect Alar Kongats has previously worked with H+C and with Bill Waters in particular. Alar notes that the $25.5m University of Toronto Mississauga, Terrance Donnelly Health Sciences Complex also had a complex glazing component and Bill’s careful management of the process was key to success of the construction deliverables for the award-winning building. Alar adds: “Bill’s methodical approach and calm demeanour is reflected in his whole team. Their depth of experience makes the complexity of building on a tight site with a tight budget and timelines manageable.”
A comparable for the KESKUS project is the recently completed Fort York Visitor Centre that was built by H+C adjacent to the Gardiner Expressway in Toronto, for the City of Toronto. It too had multiple stakeholders, a tight site and innovative architecture, with a similar budget and timelines.
Bill notes one more thing “I’m delighted to be working with Alar Kongats and his team and now with David Kalm, Ellen Valter, Veiko Parming, Hans Kukk, and others, increasing my circle of admirable Estonians”, and continues “plus already I’m impressed with the engineering coming out of Estonia with the curtain wall. It is a pleasure to incorporate the goal of KESKUS into H+C’s work on the project, that in all practicable aspects, it is an ‘Estonia First’ building. This means that we build tendering in Estonia into our timelines, to make sure the building reflects as much Estonian innovation, material and know-how as possible.”
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