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New Public Works Facility Streamlines Community Service Delivery

The District of Vanderhoof recently constructed a new public works building to better serve its community. The new 7,500 sq. ft. facility includes more vehicle bays, offices and storage space. Find out how the project team overcame challenges and used value engineering to deliver the project.


District of Vanderhoof


Vanderhoof, British Columbia

Project Scale

$5.9 Million

Upgrading an essential operations facility

Having a comprehensive and functional public works building or operations centre is critical to managing community infrastructure – from keeping the streets clean to maintaining water, wastewater and other essential services.

Located near the heart of British Columbia, the District of Vanderhoof was founded in 1926 and has since grown into a diverse community of approximately 4,719 residents. Over the years, its primary public works building has aged and become increasingly costly to maintain.

Originally built in the 1930s, the public works building was insulated with sawdust and designed with only two vehicle bays. As the municipality grew and building technologies advanced, the original facility no longer aligned with the town’s efficiency goals, operations, or storage needs.

To best serve the community, the District of Vanderhoof chose to develop a new public works facility. The facility measures 7,500 sq. ft. and includes a combination of office space, storage space and five vehicle bays. Its building systems are completely modernized and now include two different systems – heat pumps, which control the office environment, and in-floor heating in the vehicle bays to help ensure equipment remains snow and salt-free throughout the winter months.

Using innovation and technology solutions

The municipality selected Colliers Project Leaders to manage the development of its new public works facility from initiation through to its completion.

The team planned to construct the new facility on the same site as the original building, however they faced geotechnical challenges that resulted in the need to excavate up to 10 feet, while slowly adding fill over a four-month period to help soak up excess water from a nearby riverbed. This challenge put both the budget and schedule at risk, amidst ongoing supply chain and labour issues. The project team came together during the value engineering phase to find cost-effective solutions that would enable them to deliver the project within budget. One of the proposed solutions included the use of pre-engineered buildings.

Although pre-engineered buildings take longer to fabricate than traditional still buildings, they can be more cost effective. In this case, the municipality saved upwards of $500,000 in construction costs thanks to pre-engineering. This approach, alongside others, enabled the project team to successfully deliver the new public works building three percent under budget.

The District of Vanderhoof successfully completed its new operations centre in January 2024, giving it a functional, operationally-efficient structure that will enable it to serve the community for years to come.

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