We started construction on the day after Labor Day, but then on the day after the day after Labor Day everything stopped as we learned of two issues raised by the City of Beaverton Building Department. First, the rink was designed to be too close to one of the ice house restrooms and did not leave enough space for door and walkway clearance. Second, the ventilation design did not meet code requirements for airflow.
These two items took four weeks to resolve. With the restroom clearance issue the architects redesigned everything to move the rink 18 inches to the west. This seems simple, but everything from the framing to the lighting to the ventilation was affected, and we had to wait nearly two weeks for plans reviewers to take, finish and recover from vacations.
With the ventilation issue it looked as though we would face $20K or more in cost increases just to purchase and install a bigger, more elaborate HVAC system. There was no telling what costs we would incur over time for operation and maintenance of the new system. The ventilation issue threatened to cost us dearly in terms of dollars and time.
So we asked around to other curling clubs to see how they had handled ventilation. The ventilation codes are relatively standard and common from state to state, so it seemed likely that other curling clubs had faced precisely the same issue. Plus, there are three other curling facilities under construction right now in the US midwest. Kim Nawyn at USCA put us in touch with representatives of the other projects, and we eventually connected with curler and HVAC engineer Bert Fredericksen of Milwaukee, WI. Bert is an HVAC expert and a leader of the project to build the new 5-sheet Milwaukee CC facility in Cedarburg, WI.
Bert explained that ventilation code references do not mention ice rinks, much less curling rinks and that building officials and state codes tend to lump ice rinks with “arenas” and therefore require large ventilation systems. He told us that instead he had explained to his local officials that a curling rink should be treated similar to an aerobics club because curling is an aerobic activity and because curling rinks generally do not use Zambonis or other combustion equipment. By using airflow calculations for aerobics clubs and by using the greatly reduced occupancy of a curling rink (only 40 players for Milwaukee’s 5-sheet facility) he was able to convince the local officials that Milwaukee CC required a much smaller ventilation system for curling.
Bert explained all of this to our architect and engineer who then applied the aerobics club calculation to our 3-sheet facility in Beaverton. The result was 75% less airflow than what the Beaverton officials originally asked for and one half of what our engineer had previously estimated. The Beaverton building officials quickly agreed, and we breathed a big sigh of relief.
With these two issues resolved we restarted construction this week. See the photos below. We received delivery of our rink liners, the electricians installed our new 400A electrical panel, we tested our vintage rink clock, the contractors demo’d walls and restrooms, we held a Thursday night party to move and rearrange our rink equipment, the electricians hung drops for one sheet worth of lighting, and the contractors erected framing for the big separation wall between the warm room and ice house.
It’s great to be on track again! Obviously we will not open in October, but for now November seems possible. Fingers crossed.