Renovation of a library on a tight budget: A case study of Dorval Public Library

Presenter: Kimberly Sikorski

Submitted by Donna Lach

Kimberly Sikorski, architect, presented an overview of the fundamentals and principles guiding any renovation project. She explained that her firm, Sikorski Labelle Architectes, believes in using a holistic approach in order to create "harmonious environments for clients and end-users which must also suit their intended purpose".  In order to achieve this, the client must own a clear ambitious vision and be able to balance time, cost, quality, and risk. 

Kimberly stressed the importance of collaboration in any renovation project - in this particular case, at the Dorval Public Library, between the library staff and the project manager. When working on the Dorval Library renovation, their firm began by conducting a total  site review, visiting four other libraries constructed in the last five years, and meeting with Dorval Library staff to complete a preliminary plan. Through further discussion and collaborative effort, the original plan was then modified. Kimberly stated that "these talks take time but are worth it in order to reach a mutually agreeable end-result".

Kimberly also explained that the role and responsibilities of a client include:

  • Deciding between different procurement methods (pros and cons):
    A traditional fixed price gives little flexibility in scope but is linear in nature. Project management, on the other hand, gives greater flexibility but is nonlinear in nature. As the Dorval Library was on a very tight budget, they opted for a fixed price.

  • Budget and risk:
    Getting a project right is a balancing act. You must prioritize your wants and needs. Dorval Library wanted to preserve the architectural integrity of the building. They also wanted the library to stay open throughout the entire renovation, which was very challenging!

Design considerations:
Furniture, fixtures, millwork equipment, electrical scope, wayfindings, and lighting – with a limited budget, each item on this list was considered for either replacement or modification in order to stay within their budget. The project manager gave perspective throughout the entire process. In the case of the Dorval Public Library, the end result was striking!



Julie-Ann Cardella (L) and Kimberly Sikorski (R)