Project | 2024 Buildings
BC Cancer Kelowna Linear Accelerator Replacement

Owner: Provincial Health Services Authority  |  Kelowna, BC


About the Project

A first installation of its kind in Canada, PBX was proud to help design accommodations for the new Varian Ethos Radiotherapy and Identify SGRS System, a state-of-the-art machine for more effective cancer treatment.

The Ethos machine uses artificial intelligence to pinpoint cancer cell size and location and create a plan that is reviewed by clinical staff, all at the time of treatment. With up to the minute data, unnecessary damage to healthy tissue is spared.

The machine’s functional design as well as evolving patient care best practices required additional adaptations of the existing treatment and control rooms than the typical like-for-like replacement. The focus of the expanded treatment room is to keep patients comfortable while they undergo intensive treatment and simultaneously enable clinical staff to access and provide the best care.

Accommodations included a large decorative lighting fixture in the ceiling showing soothing images to fill a patient’s visual field during treatment; lighting is kept warm and low while undergoing procedure but has a high rendition index during assessment allowing clinical staff to readily identify changes in the patient’s condition; multiple cameras in the room enable respiratory gating, a less invasive method to anticipate patient movement from breathing during radiation delivery; a last person out system sets a timer to seal the treatment room outside a patient’s view while ensuring staff safety; patient information display monitors, emergency off buttons, life safety systems, visual notification lighting, and pre-action fire alarm and suppression.

None of these services can function without uninterrupted power flow and continuous communications between the treatment room and control room. The required four-foot-thick lead-lined walls for radiation safety wreak havoc on traditional methods and required highly specialized solutions to overcome.


The machines in use today have been evolving over many years with growing modifications added on as new technologies emerged. The Ethos machine was designed from new, reimagined to adopt artificial intelligence and to consider patient comfort as part of the treatment process.

Converting the highly specialized space from machines we have known for decades to completely new needs required innovative and forward-thinking approaches. Traditional radiotherapy machines require thick anchoring concrete slabs to accommodate the rotating components; without them, torque is not a factor for the Ethos machine, however the system’s communication needs have evolved. Radiation safety standards require four feet of lead-lined concrete walls surrounding the treatment room, blocking the essential communication signals. The existing system’s steel base frame was removed, and the concrete slab adapted, creating a new floor pit below the machine to run power between the treatment & control rooms. Conduits then travel below the slab in a trough, through the concrete walls with radiation hardened wiring designed specially to be unaffected by the radiation. Ceiling space was used to pass the conduits feeding the respiratory gating cameras.

A dedicated power conditioner was installed to correct the power before delivering it to the highly sensitive machine. Phase imbalance, voltage fluctuations, over- or under-voltage, surge suppression & overcurrent protection are all employed to prevent disaster


Healthcare has been incorporating emotional well-being into physical care. Ethos itself achieves this, but with it come opportunities in the accommodations included around it. Comfortable lighting, digital ceiling panels, visual notification systems for efficient communication, visually non-intrusive life and emergency systems, efficient communication between patient scans or movement and the treatment they receive – it’s a holistic approach from many disciplines to enhance medical care.

Service(s) Provided
– Electrical Engineer of Record for the replacement of one Linear Accelerator
– Power distribution design
– Specialized communications conduit design
– Specialized multi-functional lighting design
– Life safety design

Prime Consultant
Thinkspace Architecture, Planning, and Interior Design Ltd.

Project Team (Consultants)
Rocky Point Engineering Ltd. 
Bush, Bohlman & Partners LLP 

Project Team (Contractors)
TKI Construction Ltd. 
Alcon Electric Corporation 


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