Placing boom helps Montreal housing boom

When Montreal Children’s Hospital relocated in 2015, the existing building was demolished, leaving the neighbourhood in need of a refresh. 

With a housing boom in the region, developer Devimco Immobilier jumped at the opportunity to create an entire condominium community on the city block—The Square Children’s development. 

The plan for the community calls for five high rise luxury apartments, a park and commercial retail space. Seeking a dependable concrete pumper that could rise to the challenge, the developer turned to TPG Concrete.

Super projects

The construction of multiple 30-storey high rises in downtown Montreal is no small task. Since 1974, TPG Concrete has worked on its fair share of “super projects,” according to general manager David Mirabella. Some of these projects include Canada’s Olympic Stadium and Casino de Montréal. So, when they were approached to work on the high rises on this property, they were up to the challenge.

Since breaking ground in early 2019, the pumper has been working steadily to complete the buildings. The high-profile project attracted great interest in the prime living space it would make available. The first two towers, ESTWEST, completely sold out of condos within weeks, and demand has remained high as the project moves forward.

Unique speed

Mirabella said the project is unique due to the speed at which the floor slabs are being poured and placed. The pour schedule is moving at an accelerated pace.

The concrete and formwork contractor, Synergy Formwork, worked alongside the pumper and Devimco to coordinate the project. 

Synergy required fast climbs from floor-to-floor and was able to utilize the self-climbing feature on the Putzmeister MX 35/39 placing boom, allowing the crew to place the slabs at an impressive rate.

Jobsite specs:

  • Developer: Devimco Immobilier
  • General contractor: Edyfic, Inc.
  • Concrete placement contractor: Synergy Formwork
  • Concrete pumping contractor: TPG Concrete
  • Ready mix supplier: Synergy Formwork
  • Equipment: Putzmeister 42Z-meter boom pump, BSA 2107 HE electric pump, Putzmeister MX 35/39Z-meter placing boom

According to Synergy equipment specialist Daniel Berard, the concrete was placed in record time. 

“The self-climbing tower system allowed us to complete placing boom lifts with greater speed than ever before,” he said. “We were completing lifts within three hours, all without the use of the tower crane.”

You may also be interested in:

TPG utilized multiple pumps throughout this project, which helped with speed and efficiency. According to Mirabella, one notable accomplishment was a 1,100-cubic-metre pour that two pumps finished in less than six hours.

While the use of placing booms is certainly not uncommon, Mirabella noted that most high-rise projects are unique, and the geometry of the building and foundation ultimately determine the placing configuration. 

Square Children’s required a combination of Putzmeister truck-mounted booms and trailer pumps, as well as the placing boom with the RS 850 tower system. Mobile boom pumps were used for foundation work and the mat pour. The high-pressure trailer pumps serviced the placing booms for the elevated slabs.

Mirabella noted that although jobsites have become more complicated, the advancement of pumping equipment technology has made life easier because the pumps have been so reliable. In fact, reliability has become so commonplace that it often goes unnoticed—yet it is still essential.

“Problems arise when pumps cause choke points in the projects,” Mirabella said.  “And that isn’t an issue we face anymore. The pump goes up in the air when it needs to and does what it’s supposed to do. That’s why we use this equipment — because it’s dependable.”

The Square Children’s project had the added challenge of building in a busy urban area in Downtown Montreal. 

“Located at the intersection of Atwater and René-Lévesque, we had to maintain the flow of traffic and not impede circulating traffic lanes,” Morin said. “We truly appreciated the use of the One-Side Support (OSS) from Putzmeister on the mobile pumps, which allowed us to maximize our reach with greatly reduced outrigger footprints. The pumper was able to set up long-reaching booms in some very restrictive conditions so we could place concrete at the far corners of the project.”

COVID delayed

Since breaking ground, construction has been moving along on schedule, averaging about eight hours a day, five days a week. However, construction on the development came to a complete halt when COVID-19 numbers spiked in Montreal, delaying the project by a total of six weeks.

In the spring of 2020, when 84 per cent of Canada’s coronavirus cases were reported in Ontario and Quebec, the government suspended any operations that might expose employees to the virus; construction projects were one of the first activities to be shut down. However, on May 11, Quebec was able to reopen and construction resumed on Square Children’s.

Mirabella said increased safety precautions have been added to the jobsite. 

“When our workers arrive on the jobsite, there are checkpoints, hand washing and sanitization stations, places to have your temperature taken, and a health questionnaire to fill out,” Mirabella said. “These are steps we take to make sure our workers are safe and healthy.”

As construction is still ongoing, there is no official date for the opening of the Square Children’s development. TPG will continue to work on the third and fourth buildings, while Canadian concrete pumping company Mega will work on the fifth building. 

As well, a sixth building is being considered and would contain units for social housing. Montreal citizens have not been able to apply for the condominiums and apartments in the remaining buildings yet.