Scanning software documents construction and enhances as-builts

Before and after photos of UHN RAC

HH Angus was an early adopter of Matterport scanning software – a tool that helps our Digital Services team create detailed 3D models of building infrastructure, from a single room to full buildings models. 

We regularly assist clients across a range of industries with virtualizing physical assets and construction summary videos. To see this in action, click on the links below for real-life examples. These videos were created for the University Health Network in Toronto to demonstrate to internal stakeholders the value of the Matterport platform and the capabilities of the technology - the Matterport scanner (used to document project milestones), and the Theta V 360 camera (used to capture site progress). These videos summarized site progress by collecting visual data during almost two years of construction.

Phase 1

Phase 2

The utility of 3D scans for building owners, facility managers and consultants, both during and after construction, cannot be overstated, as it allows for highly accurate virtualization of physical spaces to improve and facilitate collaboration and problem solving. Key benefits are the ability to share construction progress with stakeholders, documentation of as-built conditions, and ease of accessibility - Matterport scans and site progress scans are all accessible with a web link and internet connection.

To find out more about 3D scanning, digital twins, and how HH Angus can help you improve construction records and facility management, contact

Headshot of Akira Jones

Akira Jones, B.Sc., P.Eng., LEED AP
Director, Digital Services

Caitlin Campbell at work

Engineers of Tomorrow is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to inspiring the next generation of problem solvers and game changers. According to their website, “We believe in the power of great engineering outreach to shape the future.” Their program pairs professional engineers with students working on an engineering problem. When Caitlin Campbell saw their call for industry volunteers, she accepted the challenge.

The opportunity appealed to Caitlin, because it was exactly the type of project that she would have enjoyed at that same age.

“The project is the Engineers of Tomorrow Future City Experience and this year’s theme is ‘Living on the Moon’. The students have to think about how humans could live on the moon and what they would need in terms of food, power, and infrastructure. They use this information to build a physical model of their city. I wanted to get involved to help the students work through any problems they encounter while also promoting engineering as a possible career. Many young people don’t know what engineers do and therefore don’t consider it as a possible career choice.”

As a mentor to a Grade 7 class, Caitlin first met with the students to talk to them about her work and life, and why she went into engineering. She was also able to offer advice on project management; the teacher identified the current challenge as possibly the biggest project the students had yet undertaken and felt they needed help planning their time. Caitlin will meet with the students a few more times before virtually attending the final presentations next month.

Caitlin sees her mentorship as a win-win proposition: “The students get to work on an engineering problem, dive into technical research to find out what’s needed to live on the moon and meet real-life engineers to learn about engineering. It’s impressive to hear what they have learned about the moon in such a short period of time. And I get to promote engineering as a career while also giving back to the community!”

If you would like to learn more about Engineers of Tomorrow, click here.

Caitlin Campbell

Caitlin Campbell, P.Eng., LEED® AP, LC

Caitlin is a Senior Electrical Manager in the Commercial Division of HH Angus. She has been involved in a wide variety of cultural, institutional and commercial projects involving all stages of design, construction and commissioning.

Blurry mechanical drawing

On March 31, 2022, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and the Ministry of the Solicitor General announced the selection of EllisDon Infrastructure Justice as the preferred proponent to design, build, finance, and maintain the Thunder Bay Correctional Complex project.  The EllisDon Infrastructure Justice team includes:

  • Developer: EllisDon Capital Inc.
  • Design-Builder: EllisDon Corporation
  • Design Team: Zeidler Architecture Inc. and DLR Group Inc.
  • Facilities Management: EllisDon Facilities Services Inc.
  • Financial Advisor: EllisDon Capital Inc.

HH Angus is pleased to be acting as Mechanical Engineering Consultant to the project. The Correctional Complex is the latest addition to our portfolio of institutional infrastructure projects in Canada. These include current active projects such as Grandview Children’s Hospital, Kingston General Hospital Redevelopment (PDC), Royal Inland Hospital Patient Care Tower, Bayer’s Lake QEII Health Sciences Centre, Michael Garron Hospital (PDC) in Toronto, and previous projects in the Thunder Bay area, including the Thunder Bay Courthouse and Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. The latter also comprised facilities for mental health services and a cancer care centre, as well as a later project providing an outdoor cogeneration installation.

The project is expected to reach financial close in the coming weeks, with final design and construction to begin thereafter. Construction start and completion dates are still to be announced. 

To learn more about the Thunder Bay Correctional Complex project, click here.

Photo of doctor and child

On March 1st, 2022, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) announced the selection of the Children First Consortium as the preferred proponent to design, build and finance the Grandview Children’s Centre Redevelopment in Ajax, Ontario.

The Children First Consortium team includes: Applicant Lead - Amico Design Build Inc., Sacyr Construction S.A | Design Team: Parkin Architects, H.H. Angus and Associated Limited | Construction Team: Amico Design Build Inc., Sacyr Construction S.A | Financial Advisor: Stonebridge Financial Corporation.

The project is expected to reach financial close in the coming weeks, and construction is scheduled to begin shortly thereafter.

The redevelopment of the Grandview Children’s Centre will reduce wait times, make services easier to access, and improve the range of rehabilitation services for children and youth with special needs in the Durham region and its catchment areas. It will also be an open, welcoming and inclusive community-based paediatric facility supporting an integrated mix of rehabilitation, medical and clinical services, as well as education and research activities.

Specifically, the new Grandview Kids headquarters will include:

  • Centre-Wide Therapy Services: occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech-language pathology, therapeutic recreation, audiology, infant hearing, blind low vision, social work;
  • Autism Services;
  • Preschool Outreach Program;
  • School-Based Rehabilitation Services;
  • SmartStart Hub services for families with a concern about their child’s development;
  • Developmental Paediatric Medical Services including specialized medical clinics;
  • Family/caregiver resources and support; and
  • Campbell Children's School.

Design work on the project will begin in April 2022. Children First Consortium will then mobilize on site in May 2022 and construction will begin in September 2022. Construction is expected to be complete in spring 2024.

To read more:

Rendering of the Grandview Kids Hospital
Image credit Infrastructure Ontario
Apartment building thermal imaging

Marketable vs. sustainable – why not both?

The building envelope defines the building’s aesthetic while establishing the basis for the building’s overall energy and carbon performance. Despite its importance, teams often design based on what is “marketable” at the expense of thermal performance and then rely heavily on the mechanical and electrical systems to compensate for the performance gap. This practice is especially true with Multi-Unit Residential Buildings (MURBs) and some commercial building where high window-to-wall ratios are perceived as more desirable. is possible to design buildings with high-performance envelopes that can be perceived as both desirable and sustainable.”

A lower performing envelope typically translates into higher MEP capital costs and increased operational costs over the life of the building (e.g., higher natural gas and electricity bills). The building envelope thermal performance is a critical consideration for reducing space heating loads, as space heating is a primary source of GHG emissions for commercial, institutional, and residential buildings . Consequently, high-performing building envelopes play an important role in reducing the carbon footprint of buildings.

With collaboration between the design team disciplines, it is possible to design buildings with high-performance envelopes that can be perceived as both desirable and sustainable. As the industry moves towards low-carbon designs, these buildings could arguably become even more “marketable” given their sustainability achievements.

“Effective” thermal performance and HVAC systems

One aspect of building envelopes that has historically been underestimated is the effect of thermal bridging on the effective thermal performance of different constructions, which directly impacts the HVAC sizing process. Overestimating the envelope thermal performance can lead to under-sizing of equipment and to uncomfortable indoor conditions. Conversely, underestimating the envelope thermal performance could result in an unnecessary capital cost increase due to oversizing of HVAC equipment.

For instance, assume a steel-framed type wall with a continuous insulation layer of R-12 on the exterior, and batt insulation between the steel studs of R-13. At first glance, this assembly would seemingly have a “nominal” R-25 performance (e.g., R13 batt + R12 c.i.).

Fig. 1 – Sample steel-framed wall
*Fig. 1 – Sample steel-framed wall

However, when the effects of thermal bridging through the steel studs are factored in, the overall R-value is reduced to approximately R-20 (this is known as the clear field assembly). Additionally, if the thermal bridging effect due to interface details, such as window transitions, parapets, and balcony slabs, are considered, the overall effective R-value could be reduced down to R-8 , even if efficient interface details are used. Consequently, the initially “nominal” R-25 steel-framed wall should be modelled with an effective R-8 (U-0.125) to avoid undersizing of HVAC equipment, which represents a 69% reduction in effective thermal performance relative to the “nominal” insulation due to all thermal bridging effects.

Fig. 2 – Sample steel-framed wall with effective thermal performance including interface details.
*Fig. 2 – Sample steel-framed wall with effective thermal performance including interface details.

For this reason, MEP engineers are encouraged to work closely with architects and building envelope consultants in the design team, to get a clear understanding of whether the R-values being communicated through documentation are considered nominal, clear field assembly, or if they include all interface details.

How to estimate the overall effective envelope thermal performance

If the values provided are “nominal”, the architect/building envelope consultant should provide a clear layer-by-layer description for all assemblies, and resources, such as ASHRAE 90.1 Appendix A, could be used to estimate the clear field assembly performance for certain types of assemblies.

Once the clear field assembly values have been estimated, or ideally provided directly by the architect/building envelope consultant, the effects of interface details should be included. If the architect/building envelope consultant does not have a defined methodology for including the effects of interface details, the methodology described in the Building Envelope Thermal Bridging Guide, developed by a 3rd party for BC Housing, BC Hydro, and other sponsors, is recommended.

The use of the Building Envelope Thermal Bridging Guide requires: the clear field assembly performance for exterior wall, exterior wall area takeoffs, length takeoffs for all linear interface details, counts for point interface details, and estimated performance for both linear and point interface details. This exercise should be led by the architect/building envelope consultant, but should also be a team effort, as multiple iterations might be needed, and the evaluation of the impact on HVAC sizing is the responsibility of the lead mechanical engineer.

Minimize HVAC capital cost while achieving comfortable indoor conditions

At HH Angus, we are experienced with this entire process, and have developed comprehensive resources for our designers and engineers to assist and guide this team effort. We work closely with architects and building envelope consultants to ensure that the appropriate envelope thermal performance levels are known and use state-of-the-art software to compute heating and cooling load calculations. This deep understanding of the process helps us to arrive at right-sized equipment selections and to mitigate potential issues with oversized and/or undersized equipment. This benefits end-user clients by avoiding unnecessary capital cost increases while achieving optimal indoor conditions.

In addition to the above recommendations, there are a number of passive strategies which owners and design teams could explore, such as the building orientation, the building massing/form, or use of external shading devices, that could help reduce capital costs for HVAC and other building systems. In a future article on early energy modeling, we will touch on the impact of passive strategies, how to evaluate them and how these could mitigate the need for more active strategies that typically rely on technology or building infrastructure.

*Fig.1 and Fig.2 credits: ASHRAE 90.1-2010 User’s Manual

Headshot of Francisco Contreras

Francisco Contreras, M.A.Sc, P.Eng. LEED AP BD+C, BEMP
Francisco is a manager and energy analyst in HH Angus’ Knowledge Management team. He is very experienced in high performance green building design, building simulations, and energy assessment.