The Western Journal 2013 - (Page 46)
South façade of International Vaccine Centre,
Saskatoon, SK., Canada’s newest Level 3 biocontainment facility
A Living Breathing Building:
By Jeffrey Reed
he mechanical contracting element of any modern
structure leaves no room for error. When you’re designing a modern $140-million research station including
virology, immunology, bacteriology and biochemistry labs,
zero tolerance for security leeks takes even greater precedence.
The University of Saskatchewan’s International Vaccine
Centre (InterVac) – home of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease
Organization (VIDO) – is a world-class research institution
sprawling over 160 acres, and operating with an annual budget
of $12 million. VIDO-InterVac’s Vision Statement – “Protecting
the world from infectious diseases” – speaks volumes about
its demand for a flawless mechanical contracting inclusion.
Its mandate of developing vaccines and technologies against
infectious diseases has few equals.
Created in 1975 to develop vaccines against economicallydevastating diseases of livestock, and to ensure the technology reached livestock producers, VICD-InterVac is now one
of the largest Containment Level 3 (CL3) vaccine research and
development facilities in North America. Boasting more than
150 staff (including researchers from more than 20 countries)
working in 100,000 square feet of laboratory and administrative space, the centre helps protect animals and humans from
emerging and existing infectious diseases by developing new
vaccines and improving existing ones; creating new and better
methods of administering vaccines in both humans and animals; enabling researchers to respond quickly to new diseases
yet to emerge, and potentially contribute to diagnostic efforts;
and improving the safety of food and water.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper attended the September
2011 grand opening of this world-leading research facility –
one-of-a-kind in its purpose, and also unique in its design.
In November 2011, AODBT Architecture + Interior Design
captured a Saskatchewan Premier’s Award of Excellence for
Architecture for its part in designing the VIDO-InterVac centre. With a focus on vaccines against emerging and existing
diseases and pathogens, including avian influenza H5N1,
West Nile virus, tuberculosis, BSE, CWD, zoonotic diseases
including E. coli and Johne’s disease, as well as food-borne
illnesses, the centre holds more than 80 awarded U.S. patents.
“This facility was conceived and saw construction start before
SARS, before avian influenza, before the  movie, Contagion,
and before Level 3 and Level 4 diseases started to hit the news
aggressively,” explains Dr. Paul Hodgson, VIDO-InterVac associate director of business development. Canada’s only Level 4
centre is a federal government centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
“With any facility like [VIDO-InterVac], the primary concern
is safety – safety of the community, and safety of the scientists
and workers in the facility,” explains Hodgson. “That is the
only reason for this building – to ensure the safety of people
around it and in it, while we are making progress on those
A non-profit research centre, owned by the University of
Saskatchewan, VIDO-InterVac operates with support from the
governments of Saskatchewan and Alberta, the Government of
Canada, foundations and industry competitive grants. Income
is also generated from service contracts and licensing revenue.
Even from its inception, VIDO-InterVac was “not a simple
building,” says Cam Ewart, the centre’s associate director operations and maintenance. “We hosted numerous lunch-andlearn sessions with potential contractors to help make them
knowledgeable about what they were getting into at the bid
process, to make sure they knew this was a long-term, multiyear commitment. It took us five years to build this facility and
get it commissioned. And there were certain assemblies that
[contractors] wouldn’t come across during typical construction.”
Eventually enlisting Black & McDonald as mechanical contractor with this intricate, demanding project, VIDO-InterVac
held classroom sessions to instruct contractors on expectations
of “level of performance, level of inspection, and what to expect
during the review process of final assemblies,” explains Ewart.
Mechanical Contractors Associations of Alberta, B.C., Manitoba & Saskatchewan 2013
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Western Journal 2013
Inspiring Innovation with Current and Future Students
Balancing Industry Growth with Environmental Concerns
An Even Greener British Columbia
Saskatchewan Immigration and the Mechanical Contracting Industry
MSCC : Discover Your Service-Specific Association
Helping To Shape the Talent of Tomorrow
A Living Breathing Building: VIDOInterVac
Index to Advertisers
The Western Journal 2013