Collaboration Fuels City of Mississauga Theater Renovation

Collaboration Fuels City of Mississauga Theater Renovation


project approach


administrative costs savings

40,000 CAD

under budget

Challenge: Pandemic Lockdowns Require Collaborative Planning

In the face of formidable, unprecedented challenges, people roll up their sleeves and work together. They go out of their way to help one another – even if it means breaking from the norm. They unite for the greater good.

Case in point: The 2021 renovations of the Living Arts Centre, a publicly owned and operated cultural hub in the City of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. Containing three theaters, an art gallery, seven studios and several meeting spaces that bring in locals and tourists alike, the Living Arts Centre is vital to the community’s economic health and cultural life. The coronavirus pandemic forced the massive multi-use facility to close its doors. Shows, exhibits and events would have to wait until it was safe for people to gather.

Refusing to be disheartened by the temporary shuttering of a local attraction, city leaders decided to seize the opportunity to make long-awaited facility renovations. That way, the city could offer a new and improved experience when it was safe for the Living Arts Centre to re-open. But this was no ordinary construction project. Optimizing the space amid COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns would require an enhanced level of coordination between contractors and city officials, a degree of cooperation that traditional construction project delivery methods are ill-equipped to deliver.

Looking to make the best of a bad situation and complete extensive renovations of the Living Arts Centre, City of Mississauga leaders opted for a construction project delivery method with a propensity for collaboration baked into the process, one they had used hundreds of times since 2017: Gordian’s Job Order Contracting (JOC).

Job Order Contracting is just one solution Gordian offers to the Canadian public sector. Click here for an overview of all the services we offer.

Solution: City of Mississauga Theater Renovation Fueled by Gordian’s Job Order Contracting

An indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) project delivery method, JOC is renowned for accelerating the speed to construction. In fact, a study found that JOC projects get started 25% faster than Design-Build, Design-Bid-Build and Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR). This speed was particularly useful given the pandemic-related lockdowns that occurred during the course of the project.

Job Order Contracting is also famous for improving owner/contractor relationships. The same research that quantified JOC project speed also uncovered that JOC enhances communication between all parties, resulting in more trust, fewer opportunistic behaviors and better project outcomes. The Living Arts Centre project is proof positive of this finding.

Read all of the insights researchers uncovered about project delivery methods and benefits Job Order Contracting offers to public sector project owners in this report.

The collaborative power of Gordian’s Job Order Contracting was brought to bear at a Joint Scope Meeting, a preliminary site visit where all project stakeholders – city leaders, Gordian representatives and Forest Contractors – walked the Living Arts Centre and discussed the renovations. At the conclusion of this meeting, the project team developed its phased approach to completing the work. This process fostered value engineering on the contractor’s part, as they were able to order drywall and other supplies in bulk from the outset, knowing that they would be used in multiple phases.

Collaboration was key throughout the course of the project. The team regrouped at the end of each phase to adjust project plans using supplemental work orders, a type of change order. However, there is a fundamental difference between a JOC supplemental order and the traditional change order: price certainty. Every task of a JOC project is priced out of a Unit Price Book that all parties can access. At Gordian, we call our Unit Price Book a Construction Task Catalog (CTC) because our engineers develop it using precise local costs. Thus, when an owner needs to issue a supplemental work order, they know exactly how much it is going to cost because it’s already been verified and printed in the CTC. Contrast that experience with that of the traditional change order, which often ends with orders paying a premium for unexpected work.

“With JOC, we have controls in place that ensure if there are supplemental changes it’s at a capped rate already, so we know what it’s going to be. There are no surprises,” says Brian Smith, Manager of Procurement Business Process for the City of Mississauga.

Collaboration Fuels City of Mississauga Theater Renovation 1

Result: Large-Scale Renovations Completed at Significant Cost Savings

Through careful planning, open communication and teamwork, the City of Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre was completely transformed. The extensive project spanned three floors of the facility. The main floor was reconfigured, requiring the demolition and relocation of an office area. All existing mechanical, lighting and safety systems were modified to accommodate this updated layout and the area was painted. The kitchen area was also redesigned, which included the installation of an accessible counter with an undercounter refrigerator and microwave.

The internal walls of the second floor were removed to create an open-concept experience. A new drop ceiling was installed, along with new carpet and glass walls and doors to frame two new focus rooms designed to help employees give their full attention to their work. The more spacious, reimagined second floor necessitated new power requirements and connections.

The third floor was opened up as well. Three offices, a restroom and a large, curved wall were removed and disposed of, and new framing, insulation and drywall were installed to create an open-concept office space. The finishing touches to the third floor came in the form of a new carpet with matching vinyl baseboards, a newly constructed meeting room, and glass doors and sidelights to allow for more natural light.

The implementation of this project made such a positive impact on the City of Mississauga that it won a Harry Mellon Award of Merit for outstanding use of Job Order Contracting. Click here to find out more about the Harry Mellon Awards, including how to submit your project for this distinguished honor.

All of this work and more, plus a few additional supplemental work orders, was completed in a mere three months, despite two lockdowns. Yet speed and collaboration were not the only ways the City of Mississauga benefited from using Gordian’s JOC to complete the project. They enjoyed significant financial savings as well. City leaders estimate a 15% savings in administrative costs, and the project total spend was CAD 40,000 below budget.

The renovated Living Arts Centre re-opened in June of 2021 to rave reviews. The transformed space brings in top-tier acts and scores of visitors. Using Gordian’s Job Order Contracting, city leaders collaborated with a local contractor to make the most of a period of inactivity and deliver an upgraded arts experience to the community.

About Gordian

Gordian is the leader in facility and construction cost data, software and services for all phases of the building lifecycle. A pioneer of Job Order Contracting, Gordian’s solutions also include proprietary RSMeans data construction costs and Facility Intelligence Solutions. From planning to design, to procurement, construction and operations, Gordian’s solutions help clients maximize efficiency, optimize cost savings and increase building quality.