BGIS Innovators are amazing individuals that work at BGIS around the world. With the best, most innovative people in the business, BGIS knows how to implement innovative and highly technical projects that drive value and efficiencies for our clients and their respective businesses.
Andrew Waldron is the manager of BGIS’s Heritage Conservation Program, which maintains and protects federal heritage buildings on behalf of the Government of Canada. The program includes protecting and maintaining these building’s heritage values, their cultural properties and movable heritage assets, while striving to save money in the process.
The Federal Heritage Building Review Office encourages and fosters heritage conservation in the federal government and identifies where heritage value lies for buildings that are 40 years of age and older. There are roughly 150 designated federal heritage buildings across Canada maintained by BGIS. Andrew’s tasks are multifaceted, and his daily duties include anything from small-scale jobs, such as paint repairs, to advising on large-scale projects.
Conservation as an Innovation
“Conservation requires innovation,” says Andrew, who must constantly innovate in his role. “Most people think that heritage conservation is simply restoring old buildings, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In the 21st century, conservation is taking older buildings, retaining them and making them contemporary while respecting their historic values. Heritage conservation is thinking outside the renovation box, which often results in poor decisions, and looks at the different aspects of how a building plays on its environment. Instead of demolishing buildings, we must find new ways to adaptively reuse buildings to meet today’s standards. In general, this process actually saves money.”
Andrew believes that in order to foster innovation, it’s imperative to work alongside Team Members with full transparency and cooperation. He explains that the “bossing around, hierarchy stuff” doesn’t work efficiently in his line of work.
Heritage Buildings becoming Carbon Neutral
Andrew and his colleagues handle many unique projects, one of them being the rehabilitation of a key government 40-plus year old building located in Ottawa. Today, the team’s goal is to transform the building to be carbon neutral and maintain its heritage character! He works with a very impressive team at Major Crown Projects who are collaborating with PSPC and exceptional consultants – again, innovation through cooperation.
Carbon neutrality in these buildings can be very difficult to achieve as it’s a challenge updating old technology while finding the right materials and resources to restore a 40-plus year old building. An example being: how to add green technology to the building while maintaining its heritage character? There are solutions to assure that we save the building’s embodied energy and meet climate goals.
Another example is retaining stone.
“Many heritage buildings have an immense amount of stone material that hold so much embodied energy,” says Andrew. “With the closure of many of Canada’s stone quarries, it’s often very difficult to find the right Canadian stone that’s needed to restore it. What is important is to recycle material and at all cost avoid material ending up as waste.”
Andrew is passionate in his role and enjoys uncovering the hidden story each building has to tell. “I work on historic buildings and look at ways to innovatively bring them up to a contemporary standard. Most people visit famous buildings around the world, but our buildings also have their own special stories,” he says. “It’s cool that I work on places that are right in our backyard that people know little about or maybe care about. My job is to help change that. They aren’t all famous buildings, but they are all interesting and have a fascinating story.”
Great work, Andrew, and thank you for ‘Enabling Innovation’ each and every day!