University of Calgary – Schulich School of Engineering Expansion










  • A new Laboratory air handling unit was designed to fit through the existing penthouse louvers and installed to supply the laboratories while minimizing disruptions to the building which remained operational.

Project Details

The University of Calgary’s Mechanical Engineering Building (MEB) is an existing 6-storey, 60,000 sq.ft. building located on the main campus. Built in the 1960s, up to 50% of the building was originally dedicated to wet/dry labs which, over the years, were transitioned to classroom and office spaces. More recently, evolving program requirements mean the University is reverting many of the classrooms back to laboratory space.

AME was engaged by the University to provide mechanical engineering services as part of the overall design team for the Schulich School of Engineering Expansion.

Phase 1 mechanical scope included replacing two original air handling units (AHUs) with new dedicated AHUs sized to meet supply and outdoor air requirements for the proposed renovation, i.e. wet and dry lab spaces, classrooms and offices. The decommissioning and replacement of the AHUs was carefully phased and completed with minimal disruption since the building remained operational throughout. Phase 1 completed June 2016, on time and on budget.

Phase 2 includes the addition of eight wet laboratory spaces (located on various floors from levels 1-5) each designed to meet specific requirements of each user group. Renovations include twelve dry labs to meet user group requirements ranging from oil storage, specialty drainage, compressed air and local exhaust. Classroom, refresh stations and offices spaces were reconfigured within the existing building.

Central equipment controls and AHUs, upgraded to meet the University’s control standards both phases to include all control valves, VAV controls, thermostats and sensors. All wet labs were provided with phoenix controlled variable air volume supply, fume exhaust, and general exhaust. Dedicated snorkel exhaust was provided based on user requirements.

Multiple in-line axial exhaust fans that served the previous lab spaces were replaced with two sets of high plume exhaust fans located at roof level. The exhaust distribution through common stacked exhaust shafts were re-used to minimize additional project costs. Detailed design coordination with the Architect ensures the NFPA 91 fire separation requirements are achieved during the renovation. Site verification of all existing services was crucial during design since ceiling heights, shaft space and mechanical space was limited.