As our population continues to age and the projected number of seniors in Canada is expected to double by 2036, more and more developers are investing in the critical market of retirement homes and long-term care facilities. Due to this aging population, as well as, the fact that life expectancies are on the rise, there will be an upturn in the need for improved care, more complex care, and as a result, an increase in the number of retirement homes and long-term care facilities.
This increase will not only take place in the form of new construction projects, but in the significant upgrading and renovating of existing buildings to meet today’s standards. These conversions will include a move away from the “old school” approach of 3-4 bedroom hospital-like wards with shared facilities and dining areas, towards the “modern school” larger, home-like private or semi-private resident rooms with multiple dining areas, wider hallways, and updated facilities to allow for more privacy and better care. These complex conversions, which will require the modification of existing structural elements such as walls, beams, and columns, in addition to new openings and the possible increasing of floor live load requirements, are generating the need for the development of efficient and creative structural solutions to overcome the challenges of this work. It is in the solving of these issues where the expertise of an experienced Structural Engineering team is invaluable.
For over 25 years Cleland Jardine Engineering Ltd., has been extensively involved with these types of projects, not only from the perspective of renovations and expansions, but also on the greenfield/new construction side. Our Team understands the design constraints associated with these newer buildings – fixed room layouts, common areas that require the transfer of vertical elements like columns and the need to have “thin” structures that suit extremely efficient floor to floor heights. From a renovation perspective, our Team assesses the proposed architectural, mechanical, and electrical solutions for the building layouts and effectively examines the structural options for creating these while mitigating the level of structural interventions on the building. For both the new and existing buildings, the focus is on maintaining project budgets, achieving the building program, and maximizing the efficiency of the proposed construction methodologies.
While there is expected growth in many of our construction sectors, the boom (or should we call that the “baby-boomer-boom”) in the construction of retirement and long-term care homes is one that is clearly on the fast track to lead this growth.