John Aquino has a formidable task ahead of him. As President of Bondfield Construction Company Limited, he’s the person who’s ultimately responsible for ensuring that Sheridan’s new 220,000 square foot building in Mississauga gets built on budget and on schedule.
Bondfield is a family-owned business, founded by Aquino’s father 43 years ago. In addition to work they’ve done at Sheridan’s Davis Campus on both the C Wing and the Athletic Centre, Bondfield has also built or renovated numerous projects around Ontario including hospitals and long-term care facilities, recreational and convention centres, theatres, libraries, university centres, and buildings for police, fire and ambulatory services.
Ask Aquino what goes into managing projects of this magnitude and you’ll quickly learn that what it comes down to is both an art and a science.
“We’ve been in the business for a long time,” explains Aquino, “enabling Bondfield to develop a strong backing of local subcontractors to draw from to make sure that work gets done well and on time.” Unlike a straight general contractor, Bondfield’s affiliated companies give it the flexibility to “self-perform” meaning that these units can take on various aspects of construction.
“It’s the construction company that handles all the logistics,” he adds. It’s a task that includes everything from preparing and managing budgets, permits and work timetables, to selecting, scheduling and coordinating subcontractor activities, to collaborating with architects, engineers and trades specialists, and ensuring compliance with building and safety codes.
“At the peak of construction, about 200 people will be on site every day,” says Aquino. “The work is coordinated by Bondfield’s Senior Superintendent who stays on site and works with a management team that is responsible for different aspects of the project.”
Another benefit that Bondfield brings to the table is a deep familiarity working with Infrastructure Ontario and its design-build-finance model for the construction of public buildings. “We’re used to the fact that during the pursuit stage, before we are named the low bidder, we can’t speak directly with the client.” Now that the winning bid team has been made official, Bondfield has been working over the past eight months to refine the original drawings to make sure they meet Sheridan’s requirements.
“Under this model, it’s also Bondfield that assumes much of the risk,” adds Aquino. “If we don’t finish the building on time, we are the ones who absorb the cost and get penalized.” Mitigating for this risk requires a careful orchestration and a strict monitoring of all the work that happens on site. To meet the aggressive 18-month construction timeline, an unconventional approach is being taken, with the building being erected in five vertical chunks, rather than one horizontal layer at a time.
Despite Bondfield’s best intentions, there are also some factors that just can’t be controlled. “Harsh winters and wet springs aren’t good for construction,” laughs Aquino. Joking aside, such conditions put extra pressure on Bondfield to adjust processes and schedules to make up for lost time. Building on a parcel of land that was donated by a municipality adds another layer of complexity, especially when it comes to working around services like water or obtaining permits.
While one in three buildings that Bondfield constructs are built to LEED standards, Aquino is quite proud of the fact that the HMC expansion will represent one of the most energy efficient commercial buildings in Canada.
“We need to think about what we can recycle,” given Sheridan’s expectation that 75% of construction waste will be diverted from landfill” – John Aquino
“To achieve these targets, there’s a lot of work that happens during construction. We need to think about what we can recycle,” given Sheridan’s expectation that 75% of construction waste will be diverted from landfill. “The selection of materials and the methods used by subcontractors also matter,” with materials being selected on the basis of being rapidly renewable, reclaimed, salvaged, or durable. Everything from the building cladding to its solar thermal collectors, on-demand heaters, ventilation systems and intelligent lighting controls will contribute to its energy efficiency.
Ultimately though, what makes a building memorable for Aquino is more about user outcomes than it is about size or stature. “I’m proud to contribute to a project that will positively affect the lives of so many students,” he declares. “I know that their years at Sheridan will help contribute to a better Ontario.”
Pictured at top of page: John Aquino from Bondfield Construction Company
Written by: Christine Szustaczek, Director of Communications and External Relations at Sheridan.