Maintenance, Firefighters Get New Building

Halifax’s state-of-the-art emergency services centre opened in May 2010. It will certainly achieve LEED certification and perhaps even a silver rating. (HIAA)

Carroll McCormick explains how the Halifax International Airport’s Combined Services Complex was built for future growth and environmental performance.

Halifax’s state-of-the-art emergency services centre opened in May 2010. It will certainly achieve LEED certification and perhaps even a silver rating. (HIAA)

Late last spring the Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA) started moving its air services group (maintenance) and Emergency Response Services (ERS) into its newly-completed Combined Services Complex (CSC).  It will certainly achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and may earn a LEED silver rating.
Maintenance crews completed their move into the 60,000 sq ft (5,573m2) CSC on May 26 and the ERS finished moving into its 25,000 sq ft (2,322m2) share of the new building on June 2.  The CSC is located on the east side of Runway 05/23, adjacent to taxiway Delta.
The CSC represents HIAA’s first opportunity to take a new building to a new environmental standard.  It was built to LEED standards and to Building Owners and Managers Association standards.  The CSC will be LEED-certified and it may qualify for a silver rating; the LEED rating will be announced once the LEED process is competed.
A major LEED feature is an optimised energy performance, according to Michael Healy, Vice President, Infrastructure and Technology, HIAA.  “The complex is quite an efficient energy design and uses natural gas as a fuel source.  It also uses a significant amount of natural light.” For example, the spacious lounge and eating area in the fire hall part of the CSC has very large windows and there is a skylight in another part of the building.
Charles Clow, the CSC project manager, adds: “The outside of the building is designed with a minimum of lights to achieve the light pollution factor credit.”  On the energy efficiency front, Clow explains: “One of the biggest challenges is that if we were able to achieve a similar operating cost to that of the old buildings, that would be grand, because the old maintenance garage was unheated.  The comfort level will improve immensely, and the new building is 25-30% larger. Improving the working environment will improve worker efficiency.”
HIAA did not miss the opportunity to earn LEED points for recycling and recycled content, which contribute to earning a LEED rating.  “We diverted 50% of the waste from the construction into reuse or recycling.  We used rubber floors with significant recycled content,” Clow says.  Also, Healey notes: “We will get points for a durable facility.  The walls are built of well-insulated, pre-cast concrete panels.
“Another thing of concern to us was indoor air quality,” says Clow.  “We chose low volatile organic compounds materials and did a full building flush after the building was completed.  Indoor air quality is part of the LEED [process].”

The fire service’s Rosenbauer Panther has proved to be very popular with its crews. (HIAA)

The move into the CSC was a long-awaited one by the maintenance crew, which had been working out of an unheated, 1960s vintage structure located on the ground side.  “The primary advantage is that the CSC is on the airside.  The old maintenance facility was located on the ground side, about one kilometre [0.6 miles] away from the prime security line (the secure fence around the airfield),” Healy says.
The CSC has heat zones that allow different areas of the building to be heated only as necessary.  The maintenance area includes amenities such as in-floor jacks; for example, one has a rated capacity of 10,000 pounds (4,536 kg) drive-through doors and an inside wash bay, so crew can wash de-icing fluid off vehicles before working on them.  Another convenience is an in-ground re-fuelling station alongside the CSC.  Before, whenever maintenance crews had to refuel their vehicles, they had to take them to the ground side for fuelling and then return through security.
The old fire hall was built in 1982.  To appreciate the move up the ladder that the firefighters have made, consider that the entire old fire hall would fit into the area in the CSC dedicated to the five-vehicle bays alone, according to Tim Bull, one of the four ERS captains.  “In the old hall we had very little room to walk around the vehicles.”  Touring the new fire hall, one is impressed by the size of the rooms and the comfort provided for the firefighters such as spacious drying racks for their turnout gear, a storage room for self-contained breathing apparatus, well-equipped exercise and training rooms and inviting couches in the lounge.
The jewel of the ERS’s fire fighting vehicle collection is a Rosenbauer Panther 4×4 aircraft rescue and fire fighting vehicle.  It was a tight squeeze in the old fire hall, but in the CSC there is plenty of room to walk around it.  Also, backing it into the CSC is not the exercise in slipping through the eye of a needle that it was in the old fire hall.
HIAA purchased the Panther two years ago to replace a 1997 Waltek 5500.  The Panther includes several new features, including air conditioning and a hydrochem bumper turret supplied by a 496 pounds (225 kg) dry chemical storage tank.  “We experimented with a hydrochem hand line a few years ago.  Being on a boom, we can lower it and see an incident better,” Bull says.
The Panther has structural capabilities and firefighters can set up a number of attack (hose) line combinations; eg, one 1¾ inch pre-connect attack line plus four 1½ inch lines or the pre-connect attack line and two 2½ inch attack lines.  The third passenger seat was removed and an equipment cabinet installed.
Other modern features include an infrared camera and an EagleEye Driver Enhanced Vision System (DEVS) from Eagle Integrated Solutions.  Firefighters can bring up an infrared view in low visibility, and can use it to see hot spots in aircraft.  The viewing screen is 15-inch (38cm); the Waltek had a 6-inch (15.2 cm) screen.  Firefighters can call up aircraft specs on the screen.  “We used to have to keep crash charts.  More material can easily be loaded into the DEVS, such as updated charts and guides.  This is a lot easier than taking pages out of a manual,” Bull says.
The Panther is painted an eye-catching lime green.  “The first time I saw this colour was in the Rosenbauer plant in Wyoming, Minnesota, on a truck Rosenbauer was building for Miami Dade County.  Air traffic controllers say that the older trucks, which are yellow, disappear into the background at a distance,” Bull explains.
Bull likes the vehicle’s speed: “One of the things that people do not think about is speed.  We specified that it should be able to go from stop to start, and then 0 km/h to 80 km/h in 25 seconds.  It will do it in 17 seconds.
“Even though we know the vehicle very well now, the novelty has not worn off.  It is a very user friendly truck.  The first time I was in it, I was comfortable driving it in minutes.  It felt like a van, not like a big truck.  The turning radius is pretty tight for a truck its size, too.  Put the Panther with the new building and living quarters, and the firefighters are happier. I couldn’t wait to move into this building.”