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Oakville Condominium: A Striking Example of Cold-Formed Steel Construction at its Best

Mint Condos was to be an attractive, amenity-rich, yet affordable residential property that suited it’s existing neighbourhood. With the incorporation of iSPAN Systems’ TotalFraming system, the result exceeded all expectations.

The preliminary design for the 400-unit Mint Condos project at 2480 Old Bronte Road in Oakville called for a concrete-poured structure, inside and out, but when the general contractor worked out the pricing, and considered the time required to complete the build, they made a switch.

Burlington-based New Horizon Development Group was the general contractor on the project, and had frequently used iSPAN’s suite of cold-formed-steel framing products in the past, stretching as far back as when iSPAN only had its light-steel TotalJoist system. Today, iSPAN boasts a range of cold-formed-steel products, and the one chosen for the Mint Condos development was its complete building system – TotalFraming.

“We ended up using TotalFraming for most of the structural exterior and interior – walls, floors and joists,” said New Horizon’s project manager Steve Trach. “We keep seeing steel’s benefits for our mid-rise projects, and it frequently makes sense to use it over other products.”

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The Design of the Times

iSPAN is more than just a supplier, and it showed for the Mint Condos development, right from the beginning of the project. Throughout the design stage iSPAN’s team worked with New Horizon on every element – window and door openings, sheathing, fire protection, joist placement and other structural components.

Looking back on the Mint Condos project, Trach said that working on these details prior to the start of construction saved a significant amount of their time, not just at that stage, but throughout the construction schedule. He said, “A good project starts with good drawings and good details. iSPAN spends a lot of time on that.”

Crews’ Control

When construction commenced, installation crews were able to raise the Mint Condos buildings noticeably faster than if using wood or all-concrete.

Tyler Bouwman was a framer on the Mint Condos project, and is now a Technical Sales Representative for iSPAN Systems. He had worked summers in the construction industry while attending school, and was sold on iSPAN from his experience working on this project.

“Sure, there’s a learning curve at the start,” said Bouwman. “But we felt like we were experts by the end of it. We would get a truck of material delivered, and we would lift the panels to the floor we were working on. Within 20 minutes we would already have walls standing. It was easy to follow the instructions.”

The speed continued throughout the construction schedule – using framers to erect the two buildings required fewer trades, and lowered costs because there was only one erection crew needed on site.

“We’ve used the same framing company for many years,” added Trach. “And they have a great relationship with iSPAN as well. The same is true with other businesses – they use it once and they see the value in it.”

Since there was no fabrication on site, there was a certain amount of ease during the erection process as well. Prefabrication took the guesswork out of installation, and since there was no shoring required for the flooring, there was little installation downtime. The adjustable joists helped too.

“Things go super smoothly because everything was precut and prefabricated,” said Bouwman. “When you’re the one working on the site you see the capabilities in steel. This is going to be the next big thing. Wood can only go so far.”

As the Mint Condos crew completed one floor, the plumbing, mechanical and electrical trades would begin installation, continuing all the way to the eighth storey. Even difficult weather conditions couldn’t halt construction, since iSPAN can be installed year-round.

Willingness to Improve & Communicate

New Horizon views its relationship with iSPAN less as a supplier, but as a partner in their mutual success. Just like every great partnership, iSPAN constantly seeks advice as to how to improve its products and processes, and keeps their doors open for changes to plans.

When the Mint Condos needed a revision to the location of its exterior grills, iSPAN was able to make it happen.

“It helps that they’re local,” concluded Trach. “We didn’t have to wait for supplies to come from the states, and going to their plant to review details was easy. By being close, they’re always available for site meetings, design meetings.”

More Than Just a Supplier

Mint Condos was a textbook example of how iSPAN’s TotalFraming system works best, from the design stage right through to construction. Its templated process resulted in a faster construction schedule and faster return on investment.

When it comes to cost, New Horizon saw savings. Trach wouldn’t state exactly how much, but said, “The cost was less than conventional concrete. Each project is different. But for large multi-res projects, iSPAN is a no-brainer.”

Among those who worked on the project, Mint Condos will forever remain a crowning example of quality cold-formed steel construction using iSPAN’s proprietary TotalFraming system.

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