The College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT) Main Administration Building
Client: National Insurance Property Development Company Ltd. (NIPDEC)
NH Design-Build Team: Fojo Design & Develop Ltd.- Architect;
Aleron Ltd.- Structural Engineer; Mechanical and Electrical Engineers Ltd.- MEP Engineer; CEP Ltd.- Civil Engineer
NH Team: Omardath Jugmohan- Contracts Manager; Michael Phillips- Project Manager; Don Devindra- Senior Quantity Surveyor; Imraaz Aziz- Design Coordinator
Project details: Design-Build- Equip of Tertiary Education Administrative building of 64,000sq.ft on three levels, on five (5) acres of land, including all civil and services infrastructure
Completed: April 2016
Twenty-five acres of land previously used for cane cultivation was dedicated to the construction of the main campus of Trinidad and Tobago’s first community college in 2012.
After successfully bidding for the contract for the construction of the main campus building, NH started works in August 2014.
Imagined as the lynchpin of the future COSTAATT campus, the building also functions as the main entrance to the campus, with a well landscaped grand boulevard leading up to its doors, invoking the feeling of open arms, reaching out to the public of Trinidad and Tobago. Inviting them into education, knowledge and a more enlightened society. The symmetry of the building also assists in giving a sense of harmony and structure. All characteristics very desirable for the main building of a major university.
NH coordinated the design team comprising of Fojo Design and Develop, Aleron Ltd, MEEL and CEP to ensure the best possible solutions were realised for the client and end-users.
Dr. Gillian Paul, President of the College told NH Voice: “I sat on the evaluation committee for the tender and it was really the most stunning design. Quite artistic aesthetically, an inspiring interpretation of the functionality intended for the campus. A signature building. The team at NH was very attentive to the intended use of the space and extremely important for us, the issue of sustainability, so a lot of attention to open corridors, spaces for students to gather, natural light. I very much love the fact that there is nothing but green space around it and an uninterrupted view of the northern range, it will be an inspiring space for any COSTAATT student. It’s wonderful that it comes in our 15th anniversary year and at a time when we are looking at the next level in terms of our development as an institution.”
Innovation saw the team apply technologies to meet the challenges involved with preparing the primarily clay-based soil, applying post tensioned foundations instead of the typically applied pile foundations.
Post-tension foundations employ the use of cables and nominal reinforcement eliminating the need for piling. The geotechnical and structural engineers have to work very closely.
The superstructure was constructed of reinforced concrete and NH planned and executed a one (1) day cycle time on each of the two (2) Forsa forms in use. This activity commenced in December 2014 and the structure was completed in March 2015, just four (4) months.
The team also saved time and money, designing, fabricating and installing the external envelope of the building, that is, the external cladding and glazing. All the various components were sourced by the team and shipped to Trinidad. An on site fabrication shop was set up for the aluminum composite panels (ACP), where it was unitised into panels and then transported close to the tower crane for erection on the building. The glazing system was also fabricated on site including the large skylight in the atrium area allowing natural light to enter this grand space.
Our services contractors also played a major role in making sure all the mechanical and electrical equipment was procured in a timely manner. Of particular mention is the use of ALP air conditioning duct system as opposed to the traditional sheet metal and insulation. This also involved setting up a fabrication shop on site and Omar Jugmohan, Contracts Manager explained: “The core of the ALP innovation is a high density, closed-cell in expanded polyurethane panel, its structure (with thicknesses of 21 and 30 mm) is light and advanced, since it obtains key performances such as the pre-insulation, with a weight clearly lower than the weight of an insulated galvanized iron sheet. The aluminum facing is more than a simple ‘covering’: it has a solid and resistant surface for a longer life for the duct, bacteriostatic efficacy and easy cleaning for a better quality of air.
“The ductwork fabricated with ALP System panels can be fabricated in any dimension; is light – easy to transport, handle on site, to install and maintain; also, it is pre-insulated. It has low thermal conductivity and extraordinary mechanical resistance. Thus, allows low energy consumptions to distribute air at an adequate temperature.”
Besides the challenges involved in the above, it’s worthwhile to mention a few others:
1. NH had mobilised on the site but could not start any construction work until the CEC was issued by the EMA. This caused the foundation work to be pushed into the highpoint of the rainy season.
2. A temporary roof was erected over the main atrium area (12m x 12m) in order to allow works to proceed inside the building without being affected by the weather while the skylight was being manufactured overseas. The skylight was built under this temporary roof and sealed, then the temporary roof was removed.
3. NH was ready to order all the furniture for the project when the preferred supplier’s factory was completely decimated by fire. The procurement process had to be restarted with approvals etc., but we managed to get all the furniture in the building within the time.
“The designer, the architect did a beautiful job, the contractors did a phenomenal job of delivering that facility, which is a world-class facility within that time frame, with very, very few problems,” Dr Paul ended. “For the students, it means their worth is recognised by the government. The investment of taxpayers money for that type of building, for what would be considered not a university, says something to the COSTAATT student that nobody has said to them before so it is extremely important for them symbolically.”