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Newfoundland hospital complex secures $227M for construction

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Premier Kathy Dunderdale has announced the provincial government will spend $227 million over three years to assist the construction of a new regional hospital in western Newfoundland, reports The Canadian Press.

The next phase of the project will see the finalization of the design for the 260 bed hospital complex. The request for proposal (RFP) for a design will be issued in July.

Construction is expected to begin in 2015.

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Kvaerner wins $1.5B EPC contract for oil project in Newfoundland and Labrador

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Kvaerner announced that its joint venture company Kiewit-Kvaerner Contractors has received an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract from ExxonMobil Canada Properties for the Hebron Project gravity based structure (GBS).

The contract value for Kvaerner’s share of the full EPC contract is about USD 1.5 billion and includes work conducted to date on the Hebron project.

The work will be performed in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, with engineering in St. John’s and construction at the Bull Arm fabrication yard.

The authorization to proceed with the full EPC contract follows the substantial completion of the Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) and site preparation contract awarded November 9, 2010 and the authorization of 25 April 2012 to proceed with detailed engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) related services throughout 2012.

The completed GBS will be installed at the Hebron field on the Grand Banks in the Atlantic Ocean located 350 kilometers offshore from St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. First oil is anticipated by the end of 2017.

Sackville, New Brunswick gets new emergency response services and town hall

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sackville ems

sackville ems$10 million project houses key services in economical, sustainable environment

Canadian Design and Construction Report special feature

The Town of Sackville, New Brunswick has a unique new emergency response services and town hall facility. The $10 million 3,000 sq. m. project houses municipal government, RCMP and fire services.

Architecture 2000 Inc. president Raven Spanier says his company has designed several other town halls in the region. Sackville, with a population of about 5,500, has a strong cultural tradition, receiving recognition in 2008 from Heritage Canada as ‘a cultural capital of Canada.’

“The town has very traditional architecture for the most part but the residents of Sackville, a town which is very rich in cultural arts, were very welcoming of this modern and contemporary work,” says Spanier.

The building is one of the first in the area to achieve LEED Silver status and is an inspiration for others, he says. “The project uses local cladding materials, reclaimed water for washing the vehicles, geothermal, in-floor radiant heat, abundant interior light through skylights; and solar hot water panels.”

Spanier says the building is constructed from local sandstone and is designed with a literal policy of government transparency. Council chambers are at the building’s front upper level, creating a covered entrance and outdoor art gallery below. “There is a multi-purpose council chamber space with a moveable wall, which will be available for public use and an ability to extend the upper sky-lit lobby” he said.

One of the project’s biggest challenges, according to Spanier, has been marrying public use with emergency services. “There was a balancing to be achieved between stringent security requirements and a welcoming public space for their use and access. We chose materials that distinguish each mass while connecting them to create a whole building.”

The building includes office space and special purpose areas including training rooms, exercise facilities, secure storage areas, vehicle bays and holding cells.

Spanier says the glass wall which brings in natural light also introduces a decorative art feature to the building. “The glass wall didn’t have to be fully open to bring in the light we wanted so we took inspiration from local marshes featuring reeds through fashioned reeds of aluminum rods creating a decorative screen,” he said. “The reeds sit in frames to keep them away from the glass and are situated in two vertical planes for a more natural look.”

The glass is self-cleaning and covered with a film to remove residue.

Spanier says the centrally-located facility will be a big part of the community with public spaces and artistic attractions. “There was a public art competition to bring art into all parts of the building so it has a bit of a gallery atmosphere,” he said. “There is a ground floor gallery in the lobby space which will display local artists and people will be drawn by the public art outside. Once complete, the green roof will also become a public use space.”

Spanier says his practice has learned how to do more with less, working within the restrained maritime-province budgets. “We’re starting to see more resources and specialties in our built environment. There is a need to build economically and sustainably, which requires innovation and creativity,” he said.

Atlantic Canada has new construction voice

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Halifax

Atlantic Canada Construction News will provide comprehensive regional coverage for Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick’s construction industry.

“The new online magazine is associated with the Canadian Design and Construction Report (cadcr.com) and will provide comprehensive local and regional coverage for architectural, engineering and construction news in the maritime provinces,” says Mark Buckshon, president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies.  “We’ll be working to enhance the information and resources on this site in the months ahead.”

Marilyn Munroe, based in Sheet Harbour, NS, is co-ordinating the publication.  She can be reached at 888-432-3555 or by email at mmunroe@cnrgp.com

Jack & Co. Ltd. Insurance brokerage serves Nova Scotia construction industry since 1860

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Keith Moir

Canadian Design and Construction Report special feature

Jack & Co. Ltd. insurance brokerage has been serving Nova Scotia construction businesses since1860 and has been a member of the Construction Association of Nova Scotia since it began in 1862.

Keith MoirGeneral insurance broker Keith Moir says the brokerage provides a wide range of insurance products to the industry and keeps clients up-to-date to stay secure and protect assets. “Changes in technology can mean great things but they can also cause problems,” Moir says. “With the Internet and companies setting up their own websites, not everyone realizes they have to be very careful about what they put out there.”

Moir says social media issues and a general litigiousness can increase business owners’ liabilities if they list skills or experience on their sites they can’t fully back up. “We make sure we keep clients up-to-date on the latest coverage and make sure they are aware of and covered for potential risks as they expand or change the way they do business.”

Moir says the historic construction association relationships provides valuable connections with clients, allowing Jack & Co. Ltd. to provide comprehensive resources and support for clients. The brokerage’s multi-generation history – spanning 150 years – also means that contractors know they will be served with respect and a strong sense of traditional values, even as Jack & Co. Ltd. helps clients prepare and adapt to new conditions.

“The bottom line is servicing your customer,” he says. “We as people who specialize and serve businesses within the construction industry clearly understand their needs.”

For more information visit jack-co.com.

Nova Scotia office can draw on extensive resources to handle large-scale challenges

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powervac imagePower Vac Belfor leads in emergency recovery and environmental remediation

Canadian Design and Construction Report

After more than 25 years of regional leadership in HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and mould remediation, Nova Scotia’s Power Vac has joined Belfor (Canada) Inc, the world’s largest independently-owned restoration company.

The business has a full-service location to handle duct cleaning, heavy metal handling and abatement (asbestos, PCB’s, lead, and other environmental challenges) and emergency recovery services for water damage, wind damage, mould, and odour and structure reconstruction.

Branch manager Ron Rizzo says the partnership enables the company to draw on a much larger labour pool and equipment reserve for major weather events.

“We still lead the market with our robotic inspection system for HVAC in commercial properties – allowing before and after pictures that show the inspection and blockages for documentation,” he said. We follow NADCA (North American Duct Cleaners Association) standards which incorporates documentation and delivery of this service to our customers. Our expanded services also include a full content manipulation centre that redirects 85 per cent of what normally has gone to landfills and restores to a pre-loss condition for the industry.”

While Power Vac Belfor is based in Halifax and Dartmouth, the business often works with other Belfor offices in New Brunswick and Newfoundland to offer full coverage to Atlantic Canada, sharing resources and staff as needed. “When large projects require a large labor pool or equipment to draw upon, all these offices collaborate to service the client in the most efficient and cost effective way possible,” he said.

Rizzo says the restoration work requires mobility and sometimes requires teams to “work out of suitcases” for weeks at a time.

“Even with emergency work there are several phases to the job – the first is to mitigate the emergency part of the job and stop any additional damage happening to the property, cleaning the critical damage and removing the wet material — and then there is the rebuild portion of the job which brings the property back to its pre-loss condition.”

Rizzo says environmental remediation can often be planned and scheduled ahead of time for demolitions and renovations, but when clients become aware of asbestos or lead paint issues this changes the job and the company must respond quickly to handle these situations.

These challenges require Power Vac Belfor to observe strict protocols to protect employees and the sites, including removal of contaminants. “Right now we’re working at Nova Forge, the old Trenton Works facility,” he said. “There was a large fire. The site has asbestos hardboard and lead paint that needs to be removed from this building. We’ll be about six weeks on this job.”

Environmental projects can take several months, including setting up containment barriers and distribution routes, attending safety and job site meetings and finally restoring the facility.

“We’ve done work in hospital settings with our people who are trained in infection control who set up negative pressure areas just to do the work required. Once that’s done the air is tested and this may end up leaving the negative pressure situation in place for the restoration work to ensure dust and airborne debris is controlled.”

Employees need diverse skills to handle the variety of site and environmental challenges. “There is a well planned and identified need to have flexible employees who have been cross- trained and who can be kept working in this diverse environment.,” he said. “Business grows fast when there is a weather pattern with a focus on insurance work and with good weather focus usually allows for the planned projects.”

Part of that flexibility comes from having a core group of well-trained staff who can mobilize rapidly to handle any emergency and then return to everyday responsibilities once the situation has been resolved.

“We do a lot of in-house training to ensure we are up-to-date on the best ways to handle a variety of materials and situations,” Rizzo said. “We have the latest technology to ensure new and improved ways to handle projects. You see people who come out of school with training and education but no experience. We believe the ideal is to marry both education and experience and ensure every member of our team has both.”

The company makes sure employees are valued and busy and that helps keeps them around. “We offer benefits and health plans that aren’t standard for the field, work to ensure our employees feel valued and the fact that we have some with us over 20 years or more tells me we’re doing something right.”

Rizzo says that consistency in staff, the exchange of knowledge between senior and new employees, instills a high level of confidence in clients who see the experience in the work being done. “Belfor has teams available that specialize in certain fields which allow us to draw upon a vast number of resources for any type of project should we have the need,” he said.

For more information visit www.powervacns.com.

Nova Scotia’s construction industry

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Nova Scotia 1

Nova Scotia 1Innovation, natural resources and improving industry practices create attractive construction trades opportunities

Canadian Design and Construction Report staff writer

With a lot of activity happening right now in Nova Scotia and more on the horizon, the future is looking bright for the construction trades in Atlantic Canada, despite historic trends towards smaller and less broad-scale projects.

“We are heading into a time of more activity and the opportunity to do things we haven’t done before,” says Trent Soholt, executive director of the Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council. “This is an exciting time and with a co-ordinated effort, our tradition of being able to get things done innovatively and economically, there is great potential for the construction industry in the province.”

Soholt says Atlantic Canada has often been challenged by the pull of workers to large projects in other parts of the country. “A lot of the work in Nova Scotia is around the maintenance of existing companies; there are not a lot of new companies who come east, flourish and expand,” he said. “While we see growth in some areas, we don’t see the massive mega projects occurring in other parts of the country.”

Those mega projects, says Soholt, attract workers further inland where they know project after project will mean consistent work. “There is always talk of labor shortages in Nova Scotia but with a high unemployment rate. We see the resources (people) are there but they may not have the proper training to be able to find work. And then, when they have proper training, there still remains the challenge of steady projects to hold them.”

Working largely with contractors and labor organizations, Soholt says the push in recent years for infrastructure work has created a several projects in roadway and overpass maintenance but not in the areas of industrial, commercial or institutional projects. “The climate in Nova Scotia has a huge impact on roads so the work is needed but it would be nice to see more work being undertaken in other areas as well.”

Nevertheless, Soholt says things are beginning to turn in the right direction and if all of the currently planned projects on the drawing board come to fruition, will bring some stability and growth back to the province.

“We have very diverse resources here and a lot being done in the areas of wind, solar, geothermal and biomass energy,” says Soholt. “There are many opportunities to look at different energy sources and unique building processes, there are more LEED projects happening and all of this inspires innovation and creativity.”

Though there will always be some hesitation from the public around new technologies, innovation and creativity are key to gaining the public’s acceptance and trust. Also key is educating people to the industry’s potential, he said.

“A few years ago we conducted a study that said only 59 per cent of those in the industry would encourage their kids to enter trades,” says Soholt. “Who will promote the industry if not us?”

Soholt says there has been effort to increase educational opportunities and awareness about available jobs and multiple training options include new programs within the Nova Scotia community college aimed at unique trade-specific occupations such as green technologies.

Education is also required to keep people up-to-date on changing industry practices that are creating a more secure working environment.

Soholt is adamant in his belief that things have turned for the better in Nova Scotia.

“Our approach to seasons has changed and continues to change with advances in technology and milder weather,” Soholt says. “We haven’t had the heavy snows and extreme temperatures the past several winters so things aren’t slowing down as they once might have during those months. Even more important is the planning that goes into scheduling now so contractors and unions use these slower times deliberately for training to keep people engaged and up to date with the latest technologies.”