York Chapter

Mircom Headquarters: The Making of an Intelligent Building

By:  Mircom Group of Companies. (2016 PEO York Engineering Project of the Year Award Winner - Medium Sized Company Category)


Congrualtions to Mircom Group of Companies for their award winning engineering project submission to York Chapter's Engineering Project of the Year Award!  Below are further details about their project submission to provide more information into their award winning project!


Located in Vaughan, Ontario, Mircom’s head office is a very dynamic environment. Under one roof, you’ll find Engineering and R&D, production, applications engineering, sales, marketing, and customer care teams. Co-location enables our teams to seamlessly collaborate on solutions and work with customers and suppliers.

Mircom’s engineering and R&D department has more than tripled in size in the last five years, and it is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, along with other teams in the company. In order to accommodate the rapidly growing Mircom family, an extension was added to the existing building. The space is a multi-tenant environment shared between a sales and service branch office on the first floor (8,000 square feet) and the Toronto Engineering and R&D team on the 2nd floor (10,000 square feet). Ultimately, the building extension project brought the entire Mircom facility to a total size of approximately 100,000 sq. ft. The engineering extension is a state-of-the-art working facility designed especially for collaboration and innovation. It also serves as a real-life working demo of intelligent building solutions. At Mircom, we frequently invite guests to come to our facility for a tour. With the engineering expansion, the facility now provides a unique, state-of-the-art "living laboratory" where customers can experience the company's products first hand.  Touching and feeling the solution live before buying establishes a unique comfort and confidence for the company's solutions.  Mircom's approach is unique for York Region, and the new headquarters provides one of the only live intelligent building tour experiences for the growing City of Vaughan. 

As an important economic anchor to the new City of Vaughan Metropolitan Center, Mircom's intelligent building should draw international visitors from many of the 100 countries around the world to which Mircom exports so they can view first-hand the capabilities of Canadian innovation.

There were a number of challenges to completing this project including:

1) Accommodating the needs of the various stakeholders within engineering and the other departments at Mircom

2) Managing to fit the current and future needs of the department in a rather limited office space

3) Delivering the final product while minimizing disruption of the ongoing activities of the business, especially leveraging staff's time on a volunteer basis for consultation on the layout and facility requirements. This also included picking all finishing materials and movement of equipment from the former engineering lab space.

4) Designing the intelligent building backbone network to accommodate future growth and future technologies for the building of the future

5) Ensuring interoperability and co-ordination of the sensors and controllers from multiple different vendors for a cohesive end-product that drives value for the business.  For example, since multiple vendor technologies used Zigbee/IEEE 802.15.4 for device to device communications, channel selection and management was an issue that popped up during commissioning, which the team was able to resolve before go-live. 

Another challenge of this project was the partitioning of the network into appropriate VLANs to ensure security of the network while allowing for robust functionality, such as guest Wi-Fi access.

Finally, a further challenge of the project was the interconnections to the existing facility. For example, it was necessary to extend the LAN via fibre interface, and to upgrade the formerly standalone fire control panel via ArcNet networking into a campus oriented solution with real-time graphical monitoring.

Impact to York Region

As a leader in the Intelligent Building Solutions space, it is important for Mircom to ensure a comfortable working environment for staff that is also environmentally sustainable. Since its completion in early 2016, the engineering expansion has allowed us to add about 20 new staff members to our Toronto location. We are excited to have a sustainable and inspiring space in which our staff can thrive and grow.

Utilizing building automation systems in the building extension has proven to be a very powerful tool in reducing energy and maintaining a comfortable working environment. By linking fire safety, security, lighting and other systems together, the building is able to operate even more efficiently and effectively. On average, premier safety institute reports (http://www.premiersafetyinstitute.org/safety-topics-az/energy/hvac/) an intelligent HVAC control system can decrease energy costs by 40 to 60%.  Mircom is tracking our energy costs and will have an idea of the impact on our own building after about 12-18 months in our new space.

Specific solutions deployed for the project, such as power metering, encourage lower consumption and eco-friendly choices for staff (i.e. dimming lights or unplugging unnecessary equipment). Power metering also provides facility managers a means to double check the bills coming in from the local electric utility.

Building automation systems also increase property value. By lowering utility costs through automated maintenance of building systems, Mircom is able to increase our net operating income, therefore adding value per square foot. Since completion of the building extension, the property value has increased by 20%.  This increase in value is due to both the increase in usable office space but also aided by the improvements in operations costs for the property.  

The successful completion of this project, amidst the hustle and bustle of day-to-day business operations, is a unique achievement for Mircom. This concerted effort to retrofit the existing building and create a modern Intelligent Building extension not only satisfied our employees, but also resulted in a safer, smarter, more livable environment that’s the new standard for mixed-use buildings like our own. As York Region continues to develop, especially with the addition of the new TTC Subway Station just north of our headquarters, Mircom is proud to have a new building extension that mirrors the advancement of and adds value to our community.

Click the link below to watch a promotional video and learn more about Mircom!