IMAX – Bigger Is Just the Beginning – For Newly Designed Canadian Headquarters

IMAX, an innovator in entertainment technology, combines proprietary software, architecture and equipment to create experiences that take audiences beyond the edge of their seats to worlds never imagined. Top filmmakers and studios use IMAX theatres to connect with audiences in extraordinary ways. With over 1,200 theatres across 75 countries, IMAX’s network is among the most important and successful theatrical distribution platforms for major event films around the globe.

As the company has continued to grow, so has its Canadian headquarters in Mississauga, ON. The office had originally been built in the early 1990s and much of the existing office space was original and needed to accommodate expansion requirements.

Commercial Flooring Toronto - IMAX

IMAX flooring installation by Darwin Fisher

Phase One – IMAX Redevelopment and Expansion

A large redevelopment project was initiated in 2015. Phase One required changes to meeting rooms, boardrooms, main reception, two theatres, more than a half dozen washrooms and break out rooms. Each of these areas had different flooring needs.

“The entire flooring area for Phase One covered about 40,000 feet and of that about 3,000 yards of carpet,” said Brent Fader, Managing Director and Vice-President of Business Development for Darwin Fisher Commercial Flooring. “The rest was comprised of a variety of flooring materials.”

Darwin Fisher worked with Noran Industries, a construction management and commercial contracting firm, who was the general contractor for the project. Darwin Fisher supplied and installed carpet tile, ceramic tile, natural stone tile and resilient flooring through out the renovated facility and newly developed areas, including the atrium and main reception.

Installation included a new theatre which required broadloom. Located in front of the IMAX building, the area offers seating for 200 people. It is also used for research and development. A second theatre, designed to demonstrate the IMAX home system also required broadloom.

Phase One was spearheaded by Quadrangle Architects, who was the prime consultant and lead for the project. The flooring installation took place over a 12-week period. Darwin Fisher worked with a variety of flooring vendors including Milliken Carpet, Tandus Centiva, LSI Floors, Johnsonite Commercial Flooring, Stone Tile International and Mosa.

Commercial Flooring Examples Toronto

IMAX flooring installation by Darwin Fisher

Materials and Scheduling

“This project was unusual from Darwin Fisher’s perspective as we were able to work with the full range of flooring products on one project. For example natural stone, ceramic tile from Europe, carpet tile, LVT and broadloom. We worked with an acoustical consultant as the broadloom had to be a special grade in the test theatre. We also provided the acoustical wall coverings,” explained Fader. “Even the type of tile installed in the information technology room used was designed to protect the equipment from static electricity.”

The main project challenges came from coordinating with all of the differing trades and dealing with ever changing schedules. As the project was complex, it was critical that Darwin Fisher was ready to install when required.

Darwin Fisher decided to pre-order materials. “By pre-ordering and storing everything at our warehouse we not only ensured proper die lots, colours and patterns in required materials, but that we were ready for our portion of the project when the schedule was repeatedly changing,” said Fader.

Commercial Flooring Examples Toronto

IMAX flooring installation by Darwin Fisher

“As phasing in is critical, not having to worry about manufacturer’s lead time allowed for flexibility. For example, Mosa tiles from Holland require a 12-week lead time. We did similar things with all of the materials. We could be ready on demand. Once one trade falls behind it can be like a domino effect, so it’s really important to stay on schedule.”

To mitigate any on site problems, Darwin Fisher sent the same crew for each job. “When you have a fairly complicated facility like IMAX it helps to familiarize crews with the location and have them understand health and safety rules plus security requirements. This way, you aren’t retraining or educating an employee each time a different installer is required.”

IMAX Flooring – The End Result

Lorna Howieson, Senior Director, Global Facilities and Administration, IMAX Corporation agrees with this approach. “It would affect me in a negative way if all of that didn’t happen,” she said. “This was valuable because we run our own building and if we have contractors that know what they are doing no alarms get set off and staff don’t have to come in and do overtime to fix associated problems that can potentially arise.”

Darwin Fisher completed their scope of work for the project on time and budget and that is why they were invited back for Phase Two of this project. “Darwin Fisher was unique in the way we developed a relationship directly with Brent. That doesn’t always happen with sub trades,” said Howieson.

“The schedule was easy and service was easy. We are happy and we get tremendous feedback on our reception area,” said Howieson.

Commercial Flooring Toronto - IMAX

IMAX flooring installation by Darwin Fisher

“Another huge thing we’ve benefited from working with Darwin Fisher is that we are close in terms of proximity. Whenever I call Brent he says, ‘I’ll be right over.’ It’s incredible I just talk to him and he’s there. He would just show up. I really like that service.”

Phase Two – New Players and Development

For the flooring portion of the project, Phase Two is expected to roll out over the next seven months. Darwin Fisher will be working with the same flooring suppliers from Phase One, however there is a new general contractor, Vesticon. Gensler, a large design firm, is the new prime consultant.

Darwin Fisher will be focusing on flooring for the reconfiguration of the balance of the existing offices, which includes meeting rooms, boardrooms, washrooms and additional breakout areas.

Stay tuned to our News Section for Phase Two results!

For more information about commercial flooring installation solutions please contact info@darwinfisher.com

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