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The first step toward building a municipal recreation facility is to determine your budget and financing. Sometimes, towns will partner with Alberta entrepreneurs to assist in financing, so you will want to consider all options as you create your municipality’s budget for the facility (including operational costs). Once you’ve got a budget in mind, you’ll need to consider how the building will be used. You must know why you’re building the facility: What are the community demands? Who is going to use it? Will it be a sports facility or a multipurpose facility? What kind of programming will it include? Will it host workshops and classes or will it have strictly athletic programs? Will it include a pool, an arena, an indoor soccer field, a children’s play area, multiuse rooms, offices, a fitness centre, a gymnasium, squash or tennis courts, or a banquet hall? What about outdoor use like soccer fields, ball diamonds, and playgrounds? Will the space include a medical or clinical component? What about retail space and food services? Once your town has determined the building’s uses, the municipality will need to write a functional program. A functional program is a written document that details the municipality’s specific uses for the building, including mechanical and electrical requirements (e.g. A/C and door automation) and each room’s features.

As a public entity, the town must release an Invitation to Tender, a Request for Qualifications, or a Request for Proposals (RFP) for design and construction which will include the functional program, your budget, your schedule, the scope of work, design and construction requirements, and the project’s delivery method (General Contractor, Construction Management, or Design-Build). As far as building materials go, you’ll need to decide between conventional or pre-engineered construction. A popular building method in Alberta construction for recreational centres is a pre-engineered metal building. Steel offers a lower cost of construction, durability, flexible design, low insurance premiums, fire resistance, quick construction, high efficiency, and it’s eco-friendly. Many municipal recreation facilities in Alberta employ pre-engineered steel construction, including the Grimshaw Multiplex that we built for the Town of Grimshaw. Conventional construction often utilizes wood framing, which is cheap and readily available and it also offers unlimited possibilities for design. You’ll want to specify the building materials in your RFP so that the proponents can account for it in their proposals.

With a General Contractor or Construction Management delivery method, you first hire an architect and then select the builder separately. Alberta recreation facilities are best constructed using a design-build delivery method in which the architect and the builder work together from the project’s design through to construction. With a design-build RFP, you’ll receive proposals from architects who’ve teamed up with construction management firms. Each team will supply a different vision for your facility including preliminary schematic drawings. The benefits of a design-build project delivery include singular responsibility (the designer and builder are a cohesive team), better attention to quality (builders are able to provide constructability input on the design), cost savings (value engineering is used more frequently in this delivery method), time savings (less rework or redesign, shortened bidding periods, and earlier procurement), enhanced communication, earlier knowledge of actual construction costs, improved risk management, and reduced administrative burden for the municipality.

Contact Cormode & Dickson’s about our experience design-building recreational facilities today!