Case Studies

View our posted Case Studies of the completed and current projects, where you can sort by Service, Date or by Building Type to find the Case Studies that interest you. This is not a comprehensive list as we continue to build and update our website, so please Contact Us if you require more information or have questions of our project experience

PROJECT
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Saskatoon Police Service Headquarters
2014-11-19
Multi-Use Building
Commissioning

Saskatoon Police Service Headquarters is an impressive facility amalgamating seventeen separate locations into one, including offices, holding cells, indoor firing range, K9 unit housing, forensics lab, 911 call centre, and large parkade in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Service completion: Summer 2014
Scope of services: assist in Fundamental Commissioning (EAp1) for CaGBC LEED: New Construction 2009
Size: $125,000,000 construction budget, 350,000 sq.ft.
Building systems: Nine air handling units (predominantly VAV) with radiant ceiling heating, condensing boiler, condensing domestic hot water plant, water-cooled chiller with fluid cooler providing “free cooling”

Thurston Engineering Services was brought into this project during system verification when the contracted commissioning agent, CFMS Alberta, realized the benefit of partnering with a local commissioning agent to provide more manpower in commissioning and to deal with the smaller everyday commissioning tasks.

The system verification activities found many issues that, when summed, would have resulted in a costly, unending investment in the City’s infrastructure.  Almost none of the necessary equipment alarms were set-up, such that an untended alarm may have seriously damaged costly air-handling units or worse.  The humidification system was non-functional due to a failed humidifier and leaking valves; radiator and reheat valves were non-responsive and air-locked; outdoor air damper on an air handling unit stayed open during fan shutdown which could have caused an expensive freeze-up of air-handling unit components in winter.  Finally, the exhaust fan in the firing range did not even engage – necessary to exhaust toxic lead and other gun emissions.  Holy smokes!

Affinity Credit Union Campus
2014-11-19
Office Building
Commissioning

Affinity Credit Union Campus is consolidation of this Affinity’s departments from all across Saskatchewan into one central administration building in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  A progressive workplace culture influenced the creation of more staff facilities (meetings rooms, fitness facility), an entire new floor dedicated to staff break-out/relaxation areas and kitchen and lounge space.          
Service completion: Summer 2013
Scope of services: Commissioning for system verification and testing
Size: $22,000,000 construction budget    
Building systems: Chilled beams and reheat coils, fed by 2 boilers (1 condensing, 1 non-condensing) and air-cooled chiller along with fluid cooler for free cooling

Thurston Engineering Services was hired for system verification and testing, with the owner recognizing the immense benefit of this third party system tuning before occupancy.  The owner got their money’s worth, with Thurston Engineering Services finding and managing the rectification of many significant comfort and efficiency issues.

No matter what was done on the building management control system, the fluid cooler was not cooling water!  It was found that the unit was factory-set to “heat recovery” mode: it was trying to extract heat from air rather than eject heat to air.  The air handling unit valves were not fully closing, despite what the building management control system said, causing costly simultaneous heating and cooling.  There was also simultaneous heating and cooling at the zone level where zones were not wired correctly: a call for heating was met with chilled beam cooling….and thus zones had great difficulty meeting setpoint.  Finally, thermography detected multiple air locks in the heating and cooling lines allowing no flow to chilled beams.  While many of these issues may have been found eventually, solving them during construction (while the contractors were on-site) saved much time and much headache.  The costly simultaneous heating/cooling issues may have never been found!
 

Saskatchewan Blue Cross Expansion
2014-11-19
Office Building
Commissioning

Saskatchewan Blue Cross underwent a large expansion of its head office in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to accommodate its growing service alongside the growing province.  It added 3 storeys of office space along with a parkade.
    
Service completion: Winter 2015
Scope of services: Commissioning for system verification and testing
Size: 40,000 sq.ft.
Building systems: Chilled beams and radiant heating ceiling panels, fed by a condensing boiler and an air-cooled chiller.

Thurston Engineering Services was hired for system verification and testing, with the owner recognizing the immense benefit of this third party system tuning before occupancy.  In this project, Thurston Engineering Services found issues that, if not rectified, would have caused huge failures and expensive fixes in future.

It was found that the programmed calculation of dewpoint was calculating higher than actual, such that chilled water valves were closing (unnecessarily) in alarm to prevent a condensation situation that did not exist.  This was a tricky find: it is likely that this section of the building would have never cooled to an acceptable level.  Staff would have constantly complained to management that the space was too warm.  If these cooling valves never opened, the possibility existed that they would seize and require eventual replacement (costly if not found during commissioning or the warranty period).  

As in other projects, the manufacturer’s controllers for boiler, chiller and air handling unit were not talking to building management system.  If the building management system could not talk to this equipment, who knows how this expensive equipment would have reacted to its perceived system needs and how long it would have taken the manufacturers to come up from the USA to fix the problem.  

Finally, in the heating system, it was found that the variable frequency drive on a pump was fried; thus, lead/lag was down to 1 pump and, if that pump failed, the entire heating system would be susceptible to failure and damage.
 

Emerald Ridge Elementary School
2014-11-19
School
Commissioning

Emerald Ridge Elementary School is a new school in White City, Saskatchewan, that is touted to be “at the forefront of 21st century education design” [Principal of school].  To engineers, occupant comfort, efficient and low maintenance operations are paramount to 21st century design, and this facility reflects both. 
Service completion: Fall 2014
Scope of services: Enhanced and Fundamental Commissioning (EAp1, EAc3) for CaGBC LEED: New Construction 2009
Size: $22,000,000 construction budget, 63,000 sq.ft.
Building systems: VAV system with radiant in-floor heating, fed by condensing boiler and cooling by direct expansion coils on air handling units.

Few facilities are as important in a small community as a school.  In the growing suburb of Regina, White City/Emerald Park is no exception and Thurston Engineering Services recognized this.  Commissioning activities resulted in construction change order cost savings and in quickest resolution of issues for the school division so that they could open happily and on time in the new school year, all while demonstrating a green example for its community with its seeking LEED Silver designation.

In Enhanced Commissioning, change orders were avoided with detailed editing of the legally-binding design documents (drawings and specification): discrepancies between mechanical and electrical schedules as mechanical design changes were not reflected in electrical design; incomplete sequences, reset schedules, flow schedules, and missing defrost cycle on heat recovery unit; incorrect Section referencing and missing Sections in specification.  

In Fundamental Commissioning, there were installation issues such as ductwork with greater than 90deg bend restricting flow to VAVs.  With thermography, too low flow was found in some in-floor heating zones, resulting in no heating capacity.

With the flooding being an increasing issue in the area, sump pumps are essential: commissioning found that only 1/5 of sump pumps in crawlspace had an operating high level alarm working such that in a heavy rain, no alarms would delay detection of a problem until it was too late.  Finally, it was found that the programmed controls were not in accordance with the mechanical designer’s sequences; rather than issue a long report of deficiencies for the controls contractor to fix, Thurston Engineering Services facilitated a collaboration of the mechanical team and controls team to discuss which variances were acceptable such that the action items were reduced from 6 pages to only a dozen items.  The facility opened to an excited community of students, staff and parents in Fall 2014.