I find Dan Norris in his office, a bright green container whose door is always open. The space is neat and orderly. Bulletin boards display blueprints, and the WorkSafeBC scales he uses to chart the heat index on those scorching hot Kamloops days. There are multiple first aid stations and seemingly endless rolls of plans on his desk. He hands me a hard hat and reflective vest from a hook. I am already wearing steel-toe boots; Dan is strict about safety.
He takes me on a tour of the Thompson Landing on Royal development site. More concrete was poured yesterday. We are standing in what will be the parking garage, where 1/3 of the spots will be dedicated EV charging stations. He identifies the bike room, the machine rooms, and three cisterns. Dan explains that having three cisterns is a modern solution for that once-in-500-year storm, ensuring that the building is prepared to discharge excess water should the City's infrastructure become overwhelmed.
Beside us, an excavator scoops dirt, which a worker nearby compacts. Everyone is busy. Dan shows up before the site opens to strategize the day before joining his crew in the trenches. After decades as a site supervisor, his eyes are keen. "Walking through the site, I look up, down, left, right. I can tell if something is on a square without pulling a tape measure."
Dan was 14 when he started working on construction sites in the summers. After graduating, he went straight into the trades and has been a site superintendent for 22 years. "I am attracted to the constant change and fast pace. It's a great industry to be in."
"I'm a project manager, site superintendent, chief cook and bottle washer. The whole project rests on my shoulders, so if anything goes wrong, that's on me. I am in charge of safety, responsible for getting all the trades in and out, and the day-to-day operations. I show up an hour before anyone is on-site; that's my quiet Zen time. Then I spend about an hour and a half in the morning planning. This morning, I was working on my three-week look ahead, which I will send out to the trades to keep the project on schedule and give me a perspective on the project's direction. Hopefully, in one month, you will see a slab up here, and about two weeks after that, once the slab cures, we'll be framing this building. We'll start the framing on the west end, get about two floors up, and then start framing on the east side. I like keeping one or two floors between trades so they aren't tripping over each other."
Dan shares that he had a positive feeling about the project from the start. "It's got good bones, and the workers are skilled. ARPA Investments likes to use the same trades, which is great because I know what to expect. The finishes will be stunning, and I like the building's design. There is just something about it. It's not just a box, it has character."
"This project's challenge was to get out of the ground, and we got the majority of the support structure in place now, so it's just a few more steps, and we're there."