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EllisDon Forming helps One Richmond Row rise in London, Ont.

Dan O'Reilly
EllisDon Forming helps One Richmond Row rise in London, Ont.
ELLISDON—An EllisDon crew raking and vibrating concrete for a suspended slab pour on the One Richmond Row project.

Judging by what is occurring in London, Ont., more high-rise residential projects like the ones dotting the Toronto skyline are rising in the province’s smaller cities.

After approximately 18 months of work, EllisDon Forming recently completed pouring 10,000 cubic metres of concrete for — what is now — London’s second tallest building and its highest residential one.

Designed by SRM Architects, One Richmond Row is a 32-storey, 175-unit luxury rental tower being built on Richmond Street in the city’s downtown by local property developer Old Oak.

Highlighted by punched windows and perimeter balconies, one of its iconic features is the “twisting” of the balconies on some of the levels.

“We had to reshore several levels to dealing with the loading,” says EllisDon Forming manager Nathan Campbell on the concrete pour challenges posed by that design.

The Peri RCS formwork climbing system and falsework also had to be cantilevered out to the furthest extent of the slab edges, he says.

One Richmond Row and other planned projects in London typified the intensification of downtown cores in cities outside of the Greater Toronto Area such as Hamilton and Kitchener/Waterloo, says Campbell.

“This means we’re seeing more and more infill developments with point towers and other mixed used structures.”

Many of the projects occurring in those smaller centres are utilizing the same systems and methodologies for the concrete pours as those used in Toronto, says Campbell, who uses One Richmond Row as a prime example.

Unlike most other developments in London which tend to be on greenfields, the tower is set on a tight infill site adjacent heritage buildings, other structures, and busy pedestrian and traffic areas, with no laydown space, he says.

Faced with those constraints, EllisDon Forming reviewed another EllisDon project — the King Blue condominium in Toronto where the Peri RCS formwork climbing system and handset slab system were used for public protection as forming tables could not be flown over the busy streets.

“We had the same scenario in London,” says Campbell, noting use of the same system at One Richmond Row provided protection for the workers and prevented debris from falling on pedestrians. An exterior platform was also used to store material which overcame the issue of lack of laydown space.

Comprised of about 20 managers and 80 onsite workers, EllisDon Forming was established as division or subsidiary within the parent firm two years ago after EllisDon assessed the building boom in Southwestern Ontario and “recognized the gap” in the ability of existing formwork contractors to serve that growing market. Its customers include developers and other construction companies.

Creating the division was also way to retain its own workers and avoid layoffs, says Campbell.

As for One Richmond Row, it’s nearing partial completion. Occupancy of the lower floors will begin early in the fall, followed by the higher units later in the season and the 32 floor by next April or May, says Old Oak brand manager Robert Bierbaum.

“There is a market for luxury rental buildings in London,” says Bierbaum, explaining the primary target clientele are city residents downsizing from suburban homes, with some potential renters coming from Kitchener/Waterloo, Cambridge, and Guelph.

In terms of height, the building is only surpassed by One London Place, a commercial tower. But construction of an even higher residential building by Old Oak is now underway.

To be comprised of a first-phase 652- unit 40-storey rental building which will ultimately be connected to 29-storey building via a nine-storey podium, The Centro will be the highest residential tower in London and probably all of Southwestern Ontario, he says.

“We’re just wrapping up excavation (of the first phase),” says Bierbaum, who expects the first tower to be completed by the end of 2022 and the 29-storey tower by 2023/24.

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