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NNSL Photo/Graphic

The steel columns sticking up from the new federal building site will have concrete poured around them. They will support the four-storey structure. - Daniel T'seleie/NNSL photo

Strong like steel

Daniel T'seleie
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (June 11/04) - Foundation work has begun on the federal government building.

The building will be mostly concrete, but steel will act like a skeleton for the structure.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Hindrik Klunder from Brandon, Man. will be in Yellowknife working on the building until August. - Daniel T'seleie/NNSL photo

"All that rebar you see sticking up there, those are columns," said Allan Shortt, PCL site superintendent. "That's the reinforcing steel."

The steel is referred to as rebar and is used to reinforce concrete.

"Anywhere there's concrete there's rebar," Shortt said. "It stops the concrete from breaking up."

The site had already received several semi-truck loads of rebar on Tuesday and more is expected. In accordance with the environmentally friendly attitude for the building, 97.5 per cent of the steel is recycled.

"A lot of that rebar is made out of old cars," Shortt said.

The columns not only support the building but will also anchor it into the earth.

"This whole building is piled and grouted into the bedrock," Shortt said.

Steel pilings are sunk three metres deep into the bedrock. The rebar columns are then attached to the pilings and are ready for the concrete.

In some areas the bedrock is exposed and drilling can proceed without complication. In other areas the crew has to deal with sand.

"They've got to drill through about 25 feet of sand (before hitting bedrock)," said Shortt. Specialized rock drills with diamond bits are used for the drilling.

Short expects they will be pouring the concrete for the first floor of the building in about a week.