Modular Building Institute

Sumas First Nation Administration Building

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Main Category:
Modular Building Design
Metric Modular
Abbotsford, British Columbia
Building Use:
Administration Office
Gross Size of Project:
4303 Square Feet
Days to complete:

Award Criteria

  1. Architectural Excellence
    The Sumas First Nation Administration Office includes 11 offices, 3 flex work areas, an open-concept collaborative work space, a large boardroom with a vaulted ceiling, storage areas, washrooms, and a specialty archive storage room. The building was designed to accommodate the Sumas Nation’s full-time administrative staff, their chief and council, and to host meetings with community members. The use of natural products was a high-priority for the design team. In order to achieve this, stained cedar siding, exposed wood beams, and natural slate tile were selected for use throughout various feature areas of the project. Custom wood doors and sidelights were installed for the offices, and warm LED bulbs were selected for the interior lighting. The main floor consists of 8 modules with a “cap module” added to the area above the boardroom to provide it with a large vaulted ceiling that allows lots of natural light and draws attention to the tongue and groove cedar ceiling finish.
  2. Technical Innovation & Sustainability
    The building’s eight ground-level modules were initially designed to all run parallel to one another with the main entrance facing south. However, after further consultation with the community, the design team was asked to adjust it so the main entrance face the Thunderbird Caves to the west. Without enough room on site to rotate the entire building, 3 modules were rotated 90 degrees with virtually no changes to the layout of the individual modules. In order to have a large vaulted ceiling in the boardroom, the base module was fitted with a removable temporary roof that the cap module would fit over. The temporary roof was designed to be removed after the cap module was installed, meaning the base module was weather-tight at all times, allowing it to be installed in winter conditions without concern of precipitation entering the building during craning.
  3. Cost Effectiveness
    The site was built-up of non-structural fill prior to the project start. A geotechnical engineer’s review determined that over 1000 cubic yards of material would need to be excavated to support a conventional concrete foundation. By increasing the amount of shear walls in the modules, and providing lateral bracing below the building, a screw-pile foundation assembly was designed that cost approximately 1/4th of the forecasted concrete foundation. Over 95% of the exterior envelope was installed at the modular facility, with only minor interconnections to be completed on site, which reduced the site labor costs significantly. The customer required a fire-protected building with additional protections for the storage of sensitive archives, so we installed a sprinkler system with a separately-zoned pre-action system exclusively for the archive room. Making the archive room the only pre-action area reduced the cost of pre-action equipment as well as cost of fire detection systems.
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