Most would agree Phase 1 of CIBC SQUARE is perhaps the most distinctive commercial office tower built in downtown Toronto in many decades. Not because of its height nor its commanding position in Southcore – but because of its glass. The triangulated pattern of arresting glass captures sunsets and sunrises near the waterfront, captivating by day and again at night.

CIBC SQUARE at sunset, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor BJT

“First words out of our mouths were, ‘Wow, this is crazy! It will be a challenge to install,” said Natasha Callender-Wilson, Vice President of glass installer Bass Installation about the first time they saw the proposed design. “We were excited about the unique design element it would bring to Toronto’s skyline.”

Bass Installation was brought to this project through its relationship with SotaWall, who was the curtain wall manufacturer and who also has a relationship with general contractor EllisDon and the project developer, Hines. The distinctive pattern of glass covering every inch of the 237 metre, 49-storey tower presented new challenges for Bass to install the approximately 8,100 frames, each weighing 1,300 pounds, in a process that took approximately two-and-a-half years during the pandemic.

Large glass panels applied to CIBC SQUARE, image courtesy of Procore

“The biggest challenge was that every mullion needed a separate layout point, whereas with typical ‘square’ curtain wall buildings, every sixth mullion would require a point,” said Callender-Wilson. “Further, the size of the curtain wall units were challenging to handle and needed specialized machinery for installation due to their size and the shape.” 

What made this high-profile assignment easier and more efficient for Bass was its use of Procore construction management software, which connects the entire project team, from the office to the field, and across companies, providing one place to work altogether. The Procore platform provides access from any device to a single source of accurate and timely data such as drawings, images, invoicing, time sheets, and scheduling, thereby reducing miscommunication, errors, and costly reworks. Users know if projects are on time, on budget, and can course correct quickly. It also provides users with access to analytics making sense of their data, while gaining a deep understanding of their business, and improving decision making. 

Construction at CIBC SQUARE, image courtesy of Procore

The Procore software platform was designed with construction in mind, because construction was the source of the software’s origin, according to its founder, president and CEO Tooey Courtemanche.

“I started building my own home in 2002 and I was shocked to discover that, despite the sweeping impact of technology across most sectors, the construction industry still largely relied on manual processes,” said Courtemanche. “Across the industry, inefficient practices and costly rework led to suppressed profitability and immense physical waste. So I started Procore, based on my steadfast belief in the power of bringing humans and technology together to transform industries and improve lives.”

Window installation in progress at CIBC SQUARE, image courtesy of Procore

“We have been using Procore for two years prior to starting this project,” said Callender-Wilson. “We use it in the field to enter information on the go, which helps us create more timely, accurate records. The greatest value is the time saving in documentation, from daily logs, drawings, timesheets, change events, emails and site instructions, everything is under one roof and easy to collaborate with other members of the team from anywhere. Sometimes we have tens of thousands of photos we need to keep track of. Having all of our project information easily accessible to clients helps to retain them.”

Callender-Wilson said that before Procore, most of Bass' internal documentation was tracked using Excel spreadsheets, which was very complex and time-consuming. “Procore has eliminated the redundancies which ultimately saves us time and money. Management saves about 10 hours per week of manual data entry,” she said.

CIBC SQUARE by day, image by UT Forum contributor JohnnyAu

“Construction is really complex,” said Procore’s Vice President, Canada, Jas Saraw. “It brings a lot of different companies and people together to deliver a project on time and on budget. There’s a good chance that they’re working together for the first time – they’ve got different interests, they don’t know each other, but they’re all dependent on each other and share project risks. Procore has one focus – the construction industry, built and supported for the past 20 years with construction expertise. We offer unlimited support, unlimited users and unlimited storage. In short, Procore is the only true collaborative platform designed with the needs of the industry in mind.”

On construction sites, some common problems include having the most updated drawings available to project teams. If they are not made available and not managed in real-time across all the users there is the potential for work being performed that is either unapproved or incorrect, leading to costly and time-chewing reworks. Making drawings instantly available in the cloud is transformative, and often the thing that makes contractors realize just how much more efficient construction can be. This shows in the feedback Procore is receiving.

Glass installed at CIBC SQUARE, image courtesy of Procore

“We’ve received interesting feedback from our customers through our 2022 Customer Return on Invest (ROI) Report,” said Saraw. “Canadian respondents told us Procore enables them to manage 50% more construction volume per person, and 73% agreed that the construction management software platform has helped them reduce rework. They also told us they’re saving an average of 17 days on the schedule of a typical project. We’re fortunate to be in partnership with some of Canada’s best construction companies who tell us that Procore has helped them deliver projects faster, under budget and offer more value to their clients in terms of providing immediate high-level views into what’s happening on projects.”

As with so much of our lives, technology has increased efficiencies, and for companies like Bass Installation, who will also be installing the glass on Phase 2 of CIBC Square, the Procore construction management software platform has been a game changer in the transformation to a digital world.   

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