Russell Hixson is an award-winning investigative journalist who spent the early parts of his career doing crime and courts reporting in the U.S. before stumbling into covering Canada’s construction sector. He spent eight years writing for the Journal of Commerce where he became well versed on the industry and its issues. He’s covered the federal budget from Ottawa and documented the early impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic while locked down in his bedroom.
Hixson has developed a passion for the construction industry and seeks to convert others by sharing its stories through SiteNews. When he’s not writing stories, the East Vancouver resident enjoys kayaking, skateboarding and avoiding the neighbourhood skunks.
The project includes linking Oregon, Washington State and B.C. with high-speed rail service.
It was one of seven high-speed rail project to receive funding.
Project sponsors will now receive $500,000 to complete the first step of the Corridor ID program, which includes researching the scope, schedule, and cost estimate for preparing a service development plan (SDP) for a corridor.
The Whole Story:
America is investing in high-speed rail connections.
The Biden administration has announced US$6.1 billion in new funding for major passenger rail projects across the country, including Cascadia High-Speed Rail, a proposed high-speed rail corridor linking Oregon, Washington State and Vancouver.
The Cascadia project is one of many getting funding through Corridor ID, a new planning program established by President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Its inaugural round includes upgrades to 15 existing rail routes, additions or extended service on 47 new routes, and advancing 7 new high-speed rail projects.
The proposed corridor would connect Vancouver, B.C. to Portland, Ore. via Seattle, Wash. with a potential future extension south to Eugene, Ore. The proposed corridor would provide new high-speed rail service on a new alignment.
The program defines high-speed rail as services planned to operate at speeds of up to 186 mph or greater, primarily or solely on new, dedicated alignment.
For each selected corridor, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) initially awards the grantee $500,000 for eligible activities related to the initiation of a grantee’s corridor development efforts to include the development of a scope, schedule, and cost estimate for preparing a service development plan (SDP) for a corridor. For Cascadia, the funds will go to the Washington State Department of Transportation.
According to program documents, upon the FRA’s determination that the grantee has successfully completed Step 1, they will award the grantee funds for Step 2 activities. This includes preparing a service development plan, which determines and documents how the corridor will be implemented. This plan must detail all the capital projects necessary to achieve the proposed service. FRA will determine the funding amount for Step 2 based on the cost estimate developed in Step 1.
Step 3 of the program includes the project development work required to make a corridor ready for final design and construction.
Other high-speed rail projects that received funding to go ahead with Step 1 activities include:
Amtrak Texas High-Speed Rail Corridor
The proposed corridor would connect Dallas and Houston in Texas with a new, dedicated and grade-separated high-speed passenger rail service. The proposed corridor would provide new service on a new alignment, with station stops in Dallas, Brazos Valley, and Houston.
Brightline West High-Speed Corridor
This corridor in California would connect Rancho Cucamonga to Las Vegas, Nev., providing new service on a new high-speed rail alignment with intermediate stops at Hesperia and Victorville, Calif.
Charlotte, North Carolina, to Atlanta, Georgia, Corridor
The proposed corridor would provide new service on a new high-speed rail alignment between Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta, Ga., with potential intermediate stops including Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in South Carolina and Augusta and Athens, Ga., then serving a downtown Atlanta station and terminating at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the world’s busiest airport.
Fort Worth to Houston High-Speed Rail Corridor
The proposed corridor would connect Fort Worth, Dallas, and Houston, Texas, with a new high- speed passenger rail service. The proposed corridor would provide new service on a new alignment, with station stops in Fort Worth, Arlington, Dallas, Brazos Valley, and Houston.
High Desert Intercity High-Speed Rail Corridor
This proposed corridor would connect Victor Valley to Palmdale, Calif. The proposed corridor would provide new high-speed rail service on a new alignment, serving to link two other highspeed rail lines under development: Brightline West and California High Speed Rail Phase 1.
Details and technical resources to support the implementation of Bill 35 – Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act, Bill 44 – Housing Statutes (Residential Development) Amendment Act and Bill 47 – Housing Statutes (Transit-Oriented Areas) Amendment Act have been provided to local governments.
In January 2024, $51 million distributed to local governments to help meet new requirements that promote the Province’s housing-density initiatives.
By June 2024, local governments must have designated Transit Oriented Development Areas bylaw and removed minimum residential-parking requirements. They also must update their zoning bylaw to accommodate small-scale, multi-unit housing requirements (except in areas where they have applied for an extension).
Provincial modeling predicts small-scale, multi-unit and transit-oriented development legislation could lead to between 216,000 and 293,000 additional net-new housing units over the next 10 years.
The Whole Story:
Regulations and policy manuals have been issued to support B.C.’s latest home construction reforms.
In the fall legislative session, the government introduced a suite of housing legislation aimed at speeding up home construction. This week, details and technical resources to support the implementation of Bill 35 – Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act, Bill 44 – Housing Statutes (Residential Development) Amendment Act and Bill 47 – Housing Statutes (Transit-Oriented Areas) Amendment Act have been provided to local governments.
“Over the fall session, our government passed comprehensive laws to deliver more homes for people faster in every part of B.C. We are in a housing crisis and we will continue to take strong action to deliver thousands more middle-class homes families can afford.”
Premier David Eby
“We leveraged ideas from some of the most successful action taken on housing from around the world and we made B.C. a leader. said Ravi Kahlon, minister of housing. These regulations will help local governments work with homebuilders to deliver viable housing projects that help more people find homes in existing neighbourhoods and next to transit hubs.”
Bill 35 – Short-Term Rental Accommodations Act:
B.C. is regulating short-term rentals to turn more units into long-term homes. The new rules give local governments stronger enforcement tools, restrict short-term rentals to principal residences and either a secondary suite or an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in many B.C. communities, and establish a new provincial role in regulating short-term rentals.
Regulations define what constitutes a principal residence, list the communities where the principal-residency requirement applies and detail accommodation-service providers that will be exempt from the principal-residence requirement, such as some strata-titled hotels and motels, fishing/hunting lodges and time shares.
The guidelines also provide additional details, including how local governments can annually request by resolution to the Province to “opt out” of the principal-residence requirement if the community has a rental-vacancy rate of 3% or more for two consecutive years, and assist local governments applying the new provincial legislation alongside existing local government short-term rental bylaws.
Bill 44 – Housing Statutes (Residential Development) Amendment Act:
According to the province, historical zoning rules in many B.C. communities have resulted in new housing being mostly in the form of condos or single-family homes that are out of reach for many people, leaving a shortage of options for the types of housing in between.
Officials noted that zoning barriers and layers of regulations have also slowed down the delivery of housing, making people go through long, complicated processes to build much-needed housing in communities.
The regulations detail requirements for local governments to update zoning bylaws to allow either a minimum of one secondary suite or detached accessory dwelling unit, a minimum of three to four dwelling units, or a minimum of six dwelling units in selected areas near bus stops with frequent transit service.
The Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing Provincial Policy Manual with site standards has also been released to help local governments work with homebuilders to move forward with viable housing projects. Municipalities are required by legislation to consider this manual when developing local zoning bylaws and policies.
Bill 47 – Housing Statutes (Transit-Oriented Areas) Amendment Act:
Officials explained that in some cases, higher-density neighbourhoods have been established around transit hubs, but in other cases, restrictive zoning bylaws and parking requirements, along with delayed development approvals, continue to slow down the delivery of homes and services near transit hubs.
Through regulations, transit-oriented development (TOD) areas have now been defined. The regulations will prescribe 104 TOD Areas in 31 municipalities throughout B.C. within the first year of the legislation coming into effect.
The Provincial Policy Guidance Manual: Transit-Oriented Areas is a resource created to support local governments with the implementation of provincial Transit Oriented Area (TOA) requirements. The manual defines transit-oriented areas, prescribes minimum allowable densities and restricts local governments’ ability to mandate residential parking. Municipalities are required by legislation to consider this manual when developing bylaws for TOAs.
Further details of regulations for all three pieces of legislation, including links to policy manuals and regulations, are included in the backgrounder at the end of this release.
In addition, the province has released detailed modelling scenarios for the implementation of Bill 44 and 47. The Ministry of Housing retained a group of economic and planning experts to analyze what impacts the new frameworks for more small-scale, multi-unit homes (SSMUH) and designated transit-oriented development areas could have in B.C.
The analysis used relevant international examples of recent zoning changes, particularly in New Zealand and Washington state, and examples from B.C., such as Kelowna. Officials noted modelling of future scenarios cannot account for unforeseen circumstances, the changing nature of housing, real estate markets and other factors.
The findings from the analysis anticipates small-scale, multi-unit and transit-oriented development legislation could lead to between 216,000 and 293,000 additional net-new housing units over the next 10 years.
$51 million distributed to local governments to help meet new requirements that promote the Province’s housing-density initiatives.
Housing Needs Report guidance provided to local governments.
Feb. 29, 2024:
local governments’ request must be submitted to opt out of the principal-residence requirement.
May 1, 2024:
principal-residence requirement (including definition of exempt areas or accommodations), changes to legal non-conforming use protections; and
short-term rental hosts will be required to display a valid business licence number on their listing, where a business licence is required by a local government.
guidance provided to municipalities to update Official Community Plans and zoning bylaws.
June 30, 2024:
local governments must have designated TOD Areas bylaw and removed minimum residential-parking requirements; and
local governments must have updated their zoning bylaw to accommodate small-scale, multi-unit housing requirements (except in areas where they have applied for an extension).
Jan. 1, 2025:
local governments must have completed their interim Housing Needs Report.
Dec. 31, 2025:
municipalities update of their Official Community Plans and zoning bylaws (based on the interim Housing Needs Report).
Does the dreary winter weather have you feeling down? Here’s a sunny mood booster for you. Canada is becoming a major player in the solar sector, particularly in parts of Western Canada.
Last fall we profiled seven solar businesses doing big things in the country, but with so many that had to be cut from the list, we wanted to revisit the topic and bring you seven more.
Started in 2010, Calgary-based BlueEarth is an independent, power producer that acquires, develops, builds, owns and operates wind, hydro, solar and storage facilities across North America. Its portfolio includes over 1 GWAC (gross) in operation, under construction and contracted pre-construction, and over 7 GW of development projects that are actively being advanced. Recent years have seen BlueEarth’s solar work go wild in Alberta. In 2022 it announced that in less than 12 months it had completed construction and commissioned five solar facilities, totalling over 100 MWAC, in southern Alberta. This includes its Hays and Jenner Solar Facilities. In total, BluEarth has 233 MW of solar projects currently in operation.
Capstone Infrastructure is a Toronto-based developer, owner, and operator of clean and renewable energy projects across North America. Its portfolio includes approximately 824 MW gross installed capacity across 31 facilities, including wind, solar, hydro, biomass, and natural gas power plants. Capstone Infrastructure has four projects in operation in Alberta and Ontario, including one of the country’s largest — Claresholm Solar, a 182 MW project completed in 2021. Earlier this year, Capstone announced the successful commissioning of the Michichi and Kneehill Solar Projects in Alberta, totaling 50 MWac.
With offices in Vancouver, Calgary and California, Krafte is making its mark on North America and is helping build some of Canada’s largest solar projects. They are currently proposing a 450MW project near Brooks, Alta. that is expected to cost $700 million. Other notable projects include Brooks solar farm, Clydesdale solar farm and Vauxhall solar farm.
From its headquarters in Toronto, Northland Power has grown into an international power producer since its founding in 1987. Its involved in developing, building, owning and operating green power infrastructure assets in Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America. Its facilities produce electricity from natural gas, wind and solar. Northland owns or has an economic interest in 3 GW (net 2.6 GW) of operating generating capacity. Their team is currently involved in building Jurassic Solar+, a 220 MWac , 80MW/160MWh advanced stage co-located solar and energy storage project located on approximately 1,170 acres of land in Cypress County, Alberta.
This have really taken off in Canada for German developer ALPIN Sun — literally. They investing $169-million in a solar project at the Edmonton International Airport. At 120 MW, it would be the largest solar project on airport land in the world. After seeing success in Europe, the company says it is currently focused on developments in North America. So far it has over 2.6 GWp developed successfully in the last three years in the U.S. alone.
Elemental says it’s on a mission to transform the vision of a renewable future into a renewable present. Their team develops, owns and operates wind and solar projects throughout North America. Currently they are developing Foothills Solar (150 MW) and High River Solar (19 MW) in Alberta. In Saskatchewan they are developing Bemersyde Solar (100 MW). They recently wrapped up work on $45-million Chappice Lake Solar-Storage (14 MW), the first utility scale solar + storage project in Alberta to use a flow battery. This technology enables solar energy to be stored and delivered to electricity customers after the sun goes down.
Global industrial and energy company Mytilineos is making a major play in Canada. Earlier this year the Greece-based team spent $1.7 billion to acquire five solar energy projects from Westbridge Renewable Energy. Once completed, the projects will add 1.4 GW of solar capacity to Alberta. It is the company’s first transaction in all of North America. Two projects are expected to be shovel-ready by the end of the year while the others could be ready to go ahead in mid-2024.
The Crown Corporation currently has $46 billion in work currently under construction and more than $35 billion in procurement/pre-procurement.
Officials say that have had to adjust their practices and timelines due to feed back from the industry and volatile market conditions.
Since the last update in March, Infrastructure Ontario reached substantial completion on three projects.
The Whole Story:
Infrastructure Ontario’s (IO) latest Market Update shows it has more than $35 billion in pre-procurement and active procurement work currently on the go despite “volatile” conditions.
The Crown Corporation’s update includes a listing of 31 projects in pre-procurement and active procurement totalling more than $35 billion in estimated design and construction costs.
December’s list also includes 20 government-announced projects in the initial stages of planning, for which scope, timing and delivery model are still being determined. Since its last update in March, three projects in IO’s pipeline have advanced to construction, and three projects have been added in the justice, tourism and culture sectors.
Since 2020, IO has brought 30 projects to market, began construction on 24 projects and achieved substantial completion of 30 projects. In just the last four years, it has completed eleven hospitals, six justice facilities, and ten transit and transportation projects.
Officials stated that they saw “excellent competition” in all but one or two of IO’s largest hospital projects during the “tumultuous time”. The total value of contracts currently in construction is approximately $43 billion, not including the three Progressive P3 hospital projects in Mississauga, Ottawa, and Moosonee for which IO has now identified a development partner.
Michael Lindsay, president and CEO of IO, explained that the organization has recently had to make significant changes due to changing conditions and feedback from the industry.
“That dialogue has led directly to a number of substantive changes to our timelines, our contract models, and our approach to capital delivery,” he said. “We continue to be very deliberate and transparent about the staging/timing of our projects – taking note of market feedback about when to bring projects to market in order to secure the most robust competition. We continue to deploy a broad set of contract forms – selecting the model which is most appropriate to the size, complexity, and risks of a given project.”
Lindsay noted that for some projects included in the update, IO is still working to determine the right procurement approach and models and will communicate those changes as soon as possible in the new year.
“We recognize that there is a greater volatility associated with model selection than has been our historic trend,” he said. “We trust that market partners will recognize that this is driven by the volatility we are collectively observing within our industry.”
IO will also be working closely with ministry partners for projects in earlier stages of planning to identify opportunities for greater standardization of design, which they expect will streamline the planning process and improve project outcomes.
Lindsay cited three recent examples of the public sector and private sector working together in Ontario to deliver critical projects:
In August, IO launched the first competitive process of its kind in Canada to select a qualified Satellite Internet Service Provider (Satellite ISP) to deliver satellite internet service to the province.
Last month, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure Kinga Surma also announced the next wave of IO’s Transit-Oriented Community sites.
IO says it is looking forward to working with two new service providers in 2024 who will manage Ontario’s real estate portfolio (our Real Property Services program) and project manage many high complexity projects with a value of up to $20 million (our Project Management Service Provider, or PMSP).
LIndsay noted that espite extremely tight timelines, the team and IO’s partners successfully moved enough earth to fill Rogers Centre while conducting site preparation work for the Volkswagen EV battery plant in St. Thomas. Crews were able to finish this work ahead of their deadline so VW can begin building in the new year.
The update also saw substantial completion on three major projects:
GO Expansion — Stouffville Corridor
Highway 401 Expansion
West Park Healthcare Centre
IO added that as its new Progressive P3s advance, they are working with development partners on all three hospital projects: (Weeneebayko Area Health Authority Redevelopment, Trillium Health Partners Broader Redevelopment — Peter Gilgan Mississauga Hospital, and the Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus Redevelopment) before proceeding with a fixed-price contract.
The project team plans to build a mixed-use community of up to 1,500 homes, plus over 100,000 square-feet of retail, office space, and other commercial uses.
The developers are Stryke Group and Tien Sher Group.
Penticton has approved zoning amendments for the project and the developers have acquired the 10- acre parcel where it will be built.
The Whole Story:
A massive real estate transaction has been finalized in Penticton, B.C., paving the way for an $800-million mixed-use community project.
“I am very excited to share that we have officially closed on the acquisition of this 10-acre parcel, the largest commercial sale of 2023 in the Okanagan,” said Rocky Sethi, managing director of Stryke Group. “This rare site features an incredible location, adjacent to Penticton Regional Hospital, and provides the opportunity to develop a truly innovative community, in phases with multiple uses which help ensure the success of the project long term, despite the economic headwinds.”
Sethi explained that the team’s vision is to bring forward a master planned, mixed use community of up to 1,500 homes, plus over 100,000 square-feet of retail, office space, and other commercial uses. They are working with Tien Sher Group, another lower mainland developer, on the project. They are being backed by Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union.
“Over the next 10 years, we will invest upwards of $800 million into this project, delivering much needed civic infrastructure upgrades, and over $2M in DCCs. The economic benefit of this project will include the creation of hundreds of local jobs during construction and space for upwards of 300 permanent workers on site at full build out.
In October, council unanimously approved an Official Community Plan (OCP) amendment for this industrial-zoned site to allow the mixed-use development.
The first phase of the project includes building a Class A office building and pedestrian-oriented retail.Future phases will include hotels, seniors housing and more.
The company is planning over $300 million in store renovations this fiscal year.
This work includes creating Walmart Canada’s future flagship store in Ontario.
These investments mark the midpoint in the five-year timeframe of the retailer’s major $3.5 billion investment in store infrastructure and customer experience transformation.
The Whole Story:
Walmart Canada is investing nearly $1 billion this fiscal year as part of a multi-year modernization plan.
This includes unveiling its “Store of the Future” in Mississauga, Ont., including the first Walmart Health hub in Canada, and investing over $300 million in store remodels and renovations.
These investments mark the midpoint in the five-year timeframe of the retailer’s major $3.5 billion investment in store infrastructure and customer experience transformation, first announced in July 2020.
“Walmart Canada has an ambition to be the most trusted retailer for Canadians. This is what we’ve worked towards for the last 30 years and it’s why we continue to invest, including nearly $1 billion this year, to build an even more efficient, consistent and reliable omnichannel experience for Canadians,” said Gonzalo Gebara, president and CEO, Walmart Canada. “We’re excited to welcome our customers into our modernized stores and for them to experience the future of Walmart Canada, no matter how they choose to shop with us.”
Store of the Future
Walmart Canada’s future flagship location, the Square One Walmart Supercentre in Mississauga, Ont. is the retailer’s largest store by square foot and one of its largest capital investments in a single store.
With improvements already underway, this Store of the Future will act as a prototype for omnichannel retail innovation.
This includes creating “immersive retail experiences”. This transformation will begin in electronics where traditional product cases will be replaced by open displays allowing for hands-on interactions. Customers will be able to see product availability in real-time, scan a QR code to place their order and experience immediate on-site delivery by an associate, facilitated by automation.
New Walmart Health Hub will centralize pharmacy, vision centre and medical clinic into one area.
An expanded omnichannel operations area provides dedicated space for associates to pick, pack and stage customer orders- creating more availability for pickup and delivery slots for customers.
Modernizing the in-store experience
Walmart Canada will upgrade and modernize 55 stores across the country this year to improve customer experience, including 20 extensive refurbishments. Stores in Rexdale, Mississauga (Erin Mills, Square One) and Newmarket in Ontario; Kirkland and Montreal Nord in Quebec and Kamloops in British Columbia will experience the most significant transformations.
Significant updates to 20 stores across the country this year will include changes such as:
Clearer navigation, new aisle markers and enhanced customer-facing signage.
A focus on sustainability, including transitioning to CO2, a more environmentally-preferable refrigerant.
Updated Fresh departments, providing customers with a larger produce area and expanded assortment.
Enhanced support for omnichannel experience, including more dedicated space to pack and prepare customer orders and improved technology.
In August, the retailer also opened a brand new, 140,000 square-foot Supercentre in Montreal, Que.’s Marché Central shopping centre.
This year’s investments also support new e-commerce-ready facilities, including the Rocky View County Fulfillment Centre, which opened June 2023 in Alberta. This facility is capable of shipping 20 million items annually direct to customers.
The fourth phase of the $600M project was the most challenging, said officials.
After a winter pause on work, crews will finish the project off with landscaping, wildlife fence installation, limited final paving and painting of permanent line markings.
The work has transformed the narrow, winding two-lane highway into a modern four-lane, 100 km/h standard.
The Whole Story:
People travelling the Trans-Canada Highway through the Kicking Horse Canyon are now using a wider, safer, four-lane divided highway.
The opening of all four lanes this month marks substantial completion of Phase 4 of the Kicking Horse Canyon project. Construction will pause now for the winter. When it resumes in the spring, the final pieces of the project will be completed, including landscaping, wildlife fence installation, limited final paving and painting of permanent line markings.
Officials say construction in spring may require minor lane closures and delays. Details will be posted on the project website in March 2024.
The section of Highway 1 through the Kicking Horse Canyon has a posted speed limit of 80 km/h until completion in spring 2024. Following completion, it will be posted at 100 km/h. Motorists are reminded to be prepared for winter, drive appropriately for the conditions, and be alert to the presence of wildlife.
More than $600 million is being invested in the project, with the Government of Canada contributing $215.19 million and the B.C. government providing the remaining $385.58 million.
The Kicking Horse Canyon, located just east of Golden, B.C., is one of the most rugged sections on the Trans-Canada Highway. As a tourist and commercial transportation corridor, the highway carries more than 10,000 vehicles daily during the summer. While the mix varies by season, up to 30% of the traffic consists of commercial vehicles moving millions of dollars in goods to serve interprovincial and international trade.
Oil sands companies have launched an online portal to better connect with more diverse businesses.
ROA Supplier Gateway will allow businesses from across Canada to register and gain access to opportunities with its participating partners.
Regional Oil Sands Operating Alliance (ROA) has announced the launch of its industry focused business portal, ROA Supplier Gateway, that will help connect industry suppliers with leading producers in the Alberta Oil Sands Region.
ROA Supplier Gateway will allow businesses from across Canada to register and gain access to opportunities with its participating partners: Suncor Energy, Cenovus Energy, ConocoPhillips Canada, and Imperial Oil. The ROA Supplier Gateway aims to play a pivotal role in fostering opportunity, valuable collaborations, innovation, and supplier inclusion.
“We are proud to offer a new innovative portal for the business community as a way to connect suppliers to our participating producers and reduce barriers of entry including access to relevant industry information, a list of available opportunities, and direct support through our help centre,” said Mark Morrison, chair Regional Oil Sands Operating Alliance. “ROA Supplier Gateway will focus on collaboration, building capability, and increasing exposure for small and medium businesses.”
ROA Supplier Gateway features include a personalized dashboard for all registered businesses, a resource library, an event listing, a business spotlight section and more. All businesses operating within Canada that are interested in gaining access to new opportunities within the Alberta Oil Sands Region with participating partners are invited to register.
“ROA Supplier Gateway is a key resource that’ll increase the ability of businesses within the Oil Sands industry, like Suncor, to connect with a more diverse set of suppliers,” said Steve Hogan, senior vice president, supply chain & field logistics, Suncor Energy. “I believe the efficiency and transparency inherent to the portal will drive innovation and expansion among our supplier base and will ultimately create a more competitive landscape throughout the Oil Sands.”
SiteNews is proud to announce Construction’s Most Influential People, a new awards program that will honour outstanding individuals who are impacting the construction sector.
The annual program will shine a spotlight on Canadians having a massive positive impact on the built environment and the construction process. They are thought leaders, innovators, wizened veterans, young disruptors, politicians, legal masters, inventors, trades advocates and more.
Why it matters
The SiteNews team noted that they want to cast a wide net to capture exceptional individuals that might be getting missed by other awards.
“Most Influential will be open to all ages, all disciplines and all regions of the country,” said Russell Hixson, SiteNews editor. “We want to leave no stone unturned when it comes to celebrating the men and women who are pushing construction forward.”
The SiteNews team explained that there are so many different roles and responsibilities that go into getting a project built, that there should be a holistic program to recognizing excellence. These roles include tradespeople, supervisors, educators, lawyers, engineers, financial experts, investors, technologists, developers, architects, researchers, politicians and more.
How will winners be chosen
The criteria and process are simple. Winners will be those in any industry, position or discipline whose efforts are generating a positive impact on the construction sector. SiteNews will be soliciting nominations from the industry and winners will be chosen by a panel of SiteNews staff.
This includes SiteNews co-founders Andrew Hansen and Brett Rutledge, and Hixson, who have spent their careers saturated in the construction sector in a wide range of roles. The team noted that they plan to build on the success of SiteNews’ 25 Innovators in Construction awards program, which recognized companies, by zooming in on individuals.
Encouraged by their 25 Innovators in Construction awards event that maxed out capacity in Vancouver earlier this year, the SiteNews team is planning to take its in-person events one step further by hosting a celebration for Most Influential winners. More details will be released on this in the coming months.
To nominate someone you think is deserving, fill out this form. Winners will be announced early next year.
Dow says it chose Alberta for its highly cost-competitive natural gas, cost-advantaged ethane and government subsidies/incentives.
Linde will be the industrial gas partner for the supply of clean hydrogen and nitrogen for the site, and Fluor was selected for front-end engineering and design. Additionally, Dow is partnering with Wolf Midstream, which will provide CO2 transportation along the Alberta trunk line.
Construction is expected to start next year with the first phase coming online in 2027.
The Whole Story:
Dow is moving ahead with an $8.8 billion petrochemical complex in Alberta.
It will create world’s first net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions ethylene and derivatives complex in Fort Saskatchewan
The Fort Saskatchewan Path2Zero project includes building a new ethylene cracker and increasing polyethylene capacity by 2 million MTA as well as retrofitting the site’s existing cracker to net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions. The investment is expected to deliver $1 billion of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) growth per year at full run rates over the economic cycle while decarbonizing 20% of Dow’s global ethylene capacity.
Dow says the new capacity will enable it to capture growing customer demand in high-value markets, such as packaging, infrastructure and hygiene, among others, with potential additional value captured from commercializing low and zero-emissions products.
The project serves as a leading example that industrial decarbonization is both possible and profitable.
Jim Fitterling, Dow chair and CEO
Now that the company’s board has give the project its approval, Dow expects construction to begin in 2024. Capacity additions are expected to come online in phases, with the first phase starting up in 2027, adding approximately 1,285 KTAiv of ethylene and polyethylene capacity, and the second phase starting up in 2029, adding an additional approximately 600 KTA of capacity.
To achieve net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions, the Fort Saskatchewan Path2Zero project will deploy Linde’s air separation and autothermal reformer technology to convert the site’s cracker off-gas to hydrogen, which will be used as a clean fuel to supply the site’s furnaces. In addition, carbon dioxide emissions will be captured and stored, reducing existing emissions by approximately 1 million MTA of CO2e while abating all emissions from the addition of the site’s new capacity.
Dow says it chose Fort Saskatchewan because they believe the region offers highly cost-competitive natural gas relative to other regions, as well as cost-advantaged ethane, a key feedstock for ethylene production. At full run-rates, the site is expected to be one of Dow’s most cost-competitive in the world. The region also features access to existing CO2 transportation and storage infrastructure with available capacity to fully support decarbonization of the project.
Additionally, the governments of Canada, Alberta, and Fort Saskatchewan have made subsidies and incentives available to support the project and to drive innovation in low-emissions manufacturing in Canada. It will be the first project to access Canada’s new investment tax credit (ITC) program for clean technology.
Dow’s investment leverages approximately $2 billion of investment from third-party companies for circular hydrogen, CO2 capture, and other infrastructure assets critical to the project execution. Earlier this year, Dow announced that Linde had been selected as its industrial gas partner for the supply of clean hydrogen and nitrogen for the site, and Fluor was selected for front-end engineering and design. Additionally, Dow is partnering with Wolf Midstream, which will provide CO2 transportation along the Alberta trunk line, and with Ravago which will provide third-party logistics for finished products from the site.
$2.34 billion of highway improvement work is underway from the Fraser Valley to the Sumas Prairie.
It is Phase 3A of the Province’s Fraser Valley Highway 1 Corridor Improvement Program, a multi-phase program to improve goods movement and travel along Highway 1 in the Fraser Valley through the Sumas Prairie to Chilliwack.
Two more tenders are on track for release, including a new interchange at 232nd Street and highway widening for HOV lanes, along with a replacement to the existing CP Rail overhead.
The Whole Story:
The next phase of multi-billion dollar Highway 1 expansion project has begun.
The project will expand Highway 1 through the Fraser Valley to the Sumas Prairie.
Officials say the work will relieve traffic congestion and accommodate more sustainable transportation options in the region.
Accelerated advance work along the Highway 1 median east of 264th Street has begun, with work delivered by local companies including Kwantlen First Nation. People travelling Highway 1 will see crews in the median undertaking utility relocation, median soil removal, tree clearing and preloading of soil. This work will prepare the area between 264th Street and Mt. Lehman Road for the addition of high occupancy vehicle (HOV)/electric vehicle lanes and other multi-modal upgrades.
“The Fraser Valley is growing fast and we are building infrastructure that people need,” said Rob Fleming, minister of transportation and infrastructure. “People need to be able to get to work and back home without facing gridlock. We’re taking action to relieve congestion for drivers, to make goods movement more efficient and to accommodate more sustainable transportation options.”
The widening of Highway 1 between 264th Street and Mt. Lehman Road has an approved budget of $2.34 billion. This is Phase 3A of the Province’s Fraser Valley Highway 1 Corridor Improvement Program, a multi-phase program to improve goods movement and travel along Highway 1 in the Fraser Valley through the Sumas Prairie to Chilliwack.
The centrepiece of Phase 3A will be a new 264th Street Interchange, reconfigured to better serve road users. Officials say the 264th Street area is highly travelled during morning and afternoon hours, including a high volume of commercial vehicles heading to and from the border crossing. Along with more efficient goods movement, the new interchange will include improvements for active transportation, truck parking and public transit. The new interchange is in procurement, with construction expected to begin in 2024.
The 264th Street Interchange and associated highway widening is one of the three major construction contracts that make up Phase 3A. The other contracts will be upgrades to the Mt. Lehman Interchange and 3.7 kilometres of highway widening, and replacement of the Bradner Road overpass with 3.9 kilometres of highway widening. These contracts will go to tender in 2024. Completion of Phase 3A is expected in 2029.
Work is underway on Phase 2 between 216th and 264th streets, with a new Glover Road overpass currently under construction and completion expected in summer 2024.
Two more tenders are on track for release, including a new interchange at 232nd Street and highway widening for HOV lanes, along with a replacement to the existing CP Rail overhead.
Further east along Highway 1 between Mt. Lehman Road and Highway 11, advanced site-preparation work is planned for early 2024 ahead of construction on that phase of the program.
The scope of the program has expanded and a fourth phase extends through the Sumas Prairie into Chilliwack. Officials explained that this future phase of the Fraser Valley Highway 1 Improvement Program through the Sumas Prairie will address the need for improvements to infrastructure to make it more resilient to changing climate.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has committed $30 million to an integrated planning study, which is happening in parallel with flood-mitigation strategy planning work. This study will identify potential future improvements along the Trans-Canada Highway corridor between the Sumas Prairie and Chilliwack.
Ghella crews lift part of a tunnel boring machine at the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension project.
Asphalt placement has officially begun at 990 Taylor Avenue in Winnipeg, marking a significant milestone in the construction of Shindico‘s flex building at Grant Park Pavilions.
AECOM celebrated the start of passenger service on the $1.8 billion Valley Line Southeast Light Rail Transit line. AECOM served as lead of the owner’s engineer team.
The JEN COL crew is hard at work on the initial phases of the new Fort McMurray 468 First Nation’s Nikinan Community Building, making the most of the sunny weather on the site shores of Greoire Lake in Fort McMurray, Alta.
Crews celebrate the structural completion of Building 1B at RC at CF Richmond Centre. So far, the Axiom team has excavated a total of 300,000m3 of dirt and installed 16,500 metric tonnes of rebar.
Drew Monnier / Graham
Crews work on the Portage la Prairie Bypass project. Traffic driving is now driving in all directions after 18 months of work. Graham said it worked closely with Meseyton Construction Ltd., many other key trade partners, Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure (MTI) and Dillon Consulting Limited.
Eddie Duff, a veteran operator with John Aarts Group in Ontario, loads a concrete plant with Teleo‘s remotely-operated heavy machine technology, a first for the concrete industry.
Emil Anderson Construction
Emil Anderson Construction crews are getting treated to fall colours at the Jaffray Overhead project. The team the midst of installing two new bridges just outside of Jaffray, B.C.
Chandos crews have unearthed hundreds of fossils during excavation work for cables and piping in Edmonton, Alta. They include evidence of dinosaurs, prehistoric plants, extinct horses, bison, and elk. Chandos worked with their archaeology partners, Aeon Paleo, to safely remove the remains so its team could continue work.
Apprentice electrician Dee Durant enjoys a sunset from her jobsite in Oakville, Ont.
A Jacob Bros worker lifts a piece of pipe for the Gilbert Trunk Sewer – Phase 2 South Project in Richmond B.C.
DSM Excavation and Contracting
Bright lights, big trucks and falling rain make a great combo. DSM Excavation and Contracting announced plans to to expand its trucking division with some epic evening vehicle shots.
The shot of the month goes to…
Crews use a 550-tonne crane to install three transmission towers on the intakes at the Site C Dam in B.C. Eleven towers and three new transmission lines will send electricity generated inside the powerhouse to the nearby substation. The three-layered background of white sky, grey water and brown earth is beautiful. The orange-clad workers in the foreground pop against it, suspended in the sky. Truly an epic shot!
Vanessa Werden is a partner at construction law firm Jenkins Marzban Logan LLP. Named one of the Top 40 Under 40 in Canadian Construction in 2020, she is licensed to practice in B.C., Alberta, the Northwest Territories, and Ontario. Earlier this year she was ranked by Lexpert as one of two “Leading Lawyers to Watch” in Construction Law in BC, and one of five “Lawyers to Watch” in Infrastructure Law in Canada.
On November 10, 2023, the Supreme Court of Canada issued its ruling in a case called R. v. Greater Sudbury (City). The case arises from a fatal accident and concerns the proper interpretation of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (the “Ontario Act”).
In September 2015, a pedestrian was struck and killed in Sudbury, Ontario, by an employee of Interpaving Limited who was driving a road grader in reverse, through an intersection. The City of Sudbury had contracted with Interpaving Limited to act as a constructor to repair a downtown water main. Contrary to a provincial regulation, no fence was placed between the construction project workplace and the public intersection and no signaller was assisting the Interpaving worker. In separate proceedings, Interpaving was convicted of breaching its duty as an employer under section 25(1)(c) of the Act to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed in the applicable regulation were carried out on the project site.
The issue before the Supreme Court of Canada was whether the City was liable as an “employer” for breaching the same duty. Section 1(1) of the Ontario Act defines an employer as “a person who employs or contracts for the services of one or more workers”. The City denied that it was an employer because it lacked control of the repair work and had delegated control to Interpaving.
The Supreme Court of Canada held that the City was liable as an employer for breaching its obligations under section 25(1)(c) of the Ontario Act. The Court determined that nothing in the text, context or purpose of the Ontario Act requires the Ministry to establish control over the workers or workplace to prove that the City breached its obligations as an employer. In its reasons, the Court confirmed the following in respect of the application of the Ontario Act:
Where an owner who contracts for the services of a constructor on a construction project is prosecuted for a breach of s. 25(1)(c), a court must first consider whether the Ministry has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the Act applied to the accused because the accused was an employer under s. 1(1) of the Act. An owner is an employer if it employed workers at a workplace where an alleged breach of s. 25(1)(c) occurred, or contracted for the services of a worker at that workplace (including for the services of a constructor). The Ministry is not required to prove that the owner had control over the workplace or the workers there. It is clear from the text of the definition of employer that control is not an element that the Ministry must prove to establish that an accused is subject to the duties of an employer.
The commentary by construction lawyers in Ontario has been in the nature of concern, calls for legislative reform, and even panic. Much of the concern about the Court’s reasoning is a lack of clarity on what will or will not constitute a sustainable due diligence defence on the part of an owner. The Court stated that in the construction context, it may be open to a judge to find that the owner took every reasonable precaution because the owner decided to delegate control of the project and responsibility for workplace safety to a more experienced constructor. Relevant considerations might include whether the owner pre-screened the constructor before hiring the constructor to ascertain, for example, whether the constructor has superior expertise, a track record free of prior convictions, and the capacity to ensure compliance. An owner may argue that its relative inexperience with workplace safety was why it chose to delegate control over a project to a more sophisticated constructor.
In British Columbia, occupational health and safety is regulated by the Workers Compensation Act (the “BC Act”) and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. In the BC Act, employer is defined to include, “every person having in their service under a contract of hiring or apprenticeship, whether the contract is written or oral, express or implied, a person engaged in work in or about an industry.”
In BC, the concept that a project owner could be deemed by WorkSafeBC to be an employer is not new. However, owners who have been found liable under the BC Act are not necessarily forced to pay, as WorkSafeBC has discretion to relieve an employer from liability if satisfied that the default was excusable. Similar to the due diligence defences suggested by the Supreme Court, there are defences available to project owners in BC who have taken reasonable and appropriate steps to delegate authority for health and safety to a contractor.
Where an owner has engaged a contractor to do work at its property, they should always seek a clearance letter from WorkSafeBC to avoid potential exposure to premium payments. Even when owners have retained an independent contractor, it is important that they do their due diligence to ensure that the contractor is in good standing with WorkSafeBC. Owners who fail to do so can become jointly liable with the contractor for unpaid WorkSafeBC insurance premiums. Owners can confirm a contractor’s status by getting a clearance letter from WorkSafeBC.
Finally, consider that most forms of CCDC contract provide that the contractor is responsible for construction safety. For example, General Condition 9.4.1 of the CCDC 2 provides:
9.4.1 The Contractor shall be responsible for establishing, initiating, maintaining, and supervising all health and safety precautions and programs in connection with the performance of the Work in accordance with the applicable health and safety legislation.
This General Condition establishes that the contractor is solely responsible for construction safety at the project. That responsibility, however, may differ where the owner engages other contractors under separate contracts or employs own forces to perform work. The owner and its consultants also must abide by safety regulations at the site. There is nuance to workplace safety, and when in doubt, and particularly when deviating from the traditional general contracting delivery method, seek legal advice to ensure compliance and make sure you understand your obligations and exposure to risk and liability in the context of the selected contracting and project delivery model.
SiteNews’ newsletter is expanding with another weekly email, Talent Thursdays.
It will feature popular topics around the ‘people’ part of construction, including professional updates, job postings, in-person events, labour data and more.
The SiteNews team believes Talent Thursdays will streamline its existing newsletter and provide valuable insight for subscribers.
The Whole Story:
One year after launch, SiteNews is expanding to better fulfill its mission to equip, educate and elevate the Canadian construction sector.
To serve its thousands of newsletter subscribers and respond to industry trends, the digital publication’s team is launching a second newsletter blast, Talent Thursdays. The weekly email will spotlight everything to do with labour and professional development in construction.
It will feature weekly People Moves, which gives updates on hiring, promotions, retirements and awards. Subscribers will get data, studies and updates on the efforts to recruit, train and retain workers. It will also include Hot Jobs, a regular round-up of high-level construction job postings.
SiteNews stated that their own analytics show there is high demand for stories and content centered around people and their work. This includes job postings, personal achievements, in-person events and information on how to address the industry’s workforce challenges.
With so much news and information coming out about Canadian construction, the team also wanted to make sure content is streamlined, focused and useful for subscribers.
“We’re really inspired by the sense of community we’ve encountered over the last year. The industry genuinely loves celebrating the people who bring these projects to life,” said Brett Rutledge, SiteNews co-founder. “Construction isn’t just about buildings; it’s about the individuals and the relationships they form. This newsletter is a tribute to that human element.”
According to BuildForce Canada, overall hiring requirements in the industry are expected to exceed 299,000 by 2032 due to the retirement of approximately 245,000 workers (20% of the 2022 labour force) and growth in worker demand of more than 54,000. They are predicting a possible retirement-recruitment gap of more than 61,000 workers.
SiteNews editor Russell Hixson explained that getting enough skilled workers to meet construction demand has easily emerged as one of the industry’s biggest challenges.
“It’s a complete misconception that anybody can walk onto a jobsite and do construction work. The complexity, size and performance requirements for the built environment are skyrocketing,” he said. “This requires sophisticated, skilled workers. These people take years and years to create and many workers with these skills are reaching retirement age.”
Hixson noted that as technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing, prefabrication and more become adopted, jobsites will require workers with even broader technical skills.
To subscribe to Talent Thursdays and SiteNews’ weekly flagship newsletter for free, visit here.
It was the largest, most comprehensive mass timber fire testing in Canadian history.
The study suggests, even in the most severe instances, taller mass timber structures can provide a level of fire performance that is on par with similar concrete and steel-constructed buildings.
The testing was observed by more than 150 experts from across Canada.
The Whole Story:
Canadian researchers have been investigating mass timber fire performance in the nation’s largest and most comprehensive testing to date.
Their report shows engineered wood products, such as cross-laminated timber, offer good fire performance comparable to non-combustible materials.
Dubbed The Mass Timber Demonstration Fire Test Program, the national study looked at five scenarios using a two-storey, 334 square-metre mass timber structure.
Researchers say this makes it the nation’s largest and most comprehensive mass timber fire research ever. The study suggests, even in the most severe instances, taller mass timber structures can provide a level of fire performance that is on par with similar concrete and steel-constructed buildings.
“This new series of fire testing shows that taller wood buildings, including those with exposed timber, do achieve fire safety standards and provide good fire performance comparable to other building materials. They provide strong evidence to evolve the National Building Code,” said Marc Alam, senior manager, codes and Standards for Canadian Wood Council.
The testing was observed by more than 150 experts from across Canada. Fire officials, building regulators, insurance industry representatives, engineers, and architects, as well as wood industry professionals and National Research Council of Canada (NRC) fire research experts, witnessed the fire testing firsthand.
“These tests are giving municipalities, code officials, fire services and insurers a lot of good information — and it was really helpful that many of these folks were able to see the tests as they were conducted,” said Steven Craft a fire engineering expert and founding principal at CHM Fire Consultants Ltd., one of the firms contributing to the fire test design and analysis. “It is becoming clearer through this research that mass timber buildings can perform well and it isn’t going to be any more difficult to put out a fire in these buildings than in a steel or a concrete building, when built to best practice standards.”
Testing scenarios included a fully furnished residential suite as a baseline, exposed mass timber in an occupied residence, fire at a construction site, a more severe construction site fire and fire in an occupied office made of mass timber.
Officials say that in all five tests, the test mass timber structure allowed for full burn out of the fire, whether the scenario was during construction or for a finished structure, in the rare event of no fire sprinkler activation or fire service intervention, and the stairwell was not adversely affected in any test. The tests concluded in the summer of 2022 and the report written by NRC was recently released.
“Through all the [mass timber] fire research that we’ve done to date, and over the last 15 years, I believe the experts have a very good appreciation for how we can design mass timber buildings to be safe and fire resistant. And these tests are showing how to go taller and expose more wood in these buildings while staying fire-safe,” said Craft.
Researchers noted that test results also show how open plan workplaces with exposed mass timber —an increasingly popular trend in office design—can be fire safe.
“In the open office floor plan test, the fire quickly died down on its own, showing that once the fuel load is consumed by the fire—basically the furnishings—the fire decays,” said Craft. “As follow-ups to past tests with smaller compartments, this new research shows we get as good or better performance in an open office scenario.”
The project team noted that the testing could benefit B.C.’s efforts to be a global leader in mass timber.
“I anticipate the province, and the broader industry in B.C., will benefit from this comprehensive fire testing as the information obtained continues to streamline the building code, helping us tackle climate change and boost the construction of more sustainable, affordable housing”, said Keyes.
The research initiative was supported by the NRC, Canadian Wood Council, and federal and provincial governments.
The Canadian Wood Council will be giving a presentation that highlights the fire tests and results on November 16 in Vancouver as part of the inaugural WoodWorks Summit. To register or learn more go to woodworkssummit.ca.
Ledcor will twin 46 km of Highway 3 between the town of Taber and the hamlet of Burdett.
It is the first of eight phases to twin the route.
Construction will begin in spring 2024, with completion anticipated in 2025.
The Whole Story:
Ledcor has been awarded the first contract to begin twinning Highway 3.
Highway 3 is a vital economic corridor and east-west link, and the first section of the highway being twinned sees approximately 3,900 vehicles per day. Through $179.7 million in provincial funding, this first phase will twin Highway 3 between the town of Taber and the hamlet of Burdett. The contract for the 46-kilometre project was awarded to Ledcor Highways Ltd.
“Highway 3 is a key economic corridor in southern Alberta between Saskatchewan and British Columbia, south of the Trans-Canada Highway. It is critical infrastructure for Alberta’s growing agri-business industry and will enhance tourism and improve safety in the region as well,” said Devin Dreeshen, minister of transportation and economic corridors
Pre-construction work, including acquiring the right of way and relocating utilities, is underway and is scheduled for completion this year. Construction will begin in spring 2024, with completion anticipated in 2025. The project is expected to support 755 jobs.
“I am excited to see this important project get underway. Twinning this stretch of Highway 3 is critical to supporting jobs, growth and the agri-food processing corridor in the region,” said Grant Hunter, MLA for Taber-Warner. “This project has been a priority of mine and I want to thank Minister Dreeshen for his commitment to twinning this vital east-west link.”
Twinning Highway 3 from border to border will be completed in eight phases to limit costs and minimize disruption to people and businesses along the route. The other seven sections of the project are in various phases, including consultation, planning and design, land acquisition, environmental assessment, engineering or contract tendering.
“This is great news for our association members and municipalities all along the agri-food corridor, in addition to all southern Albertans who will be ecstatic when dirt begins to move next spring,” said Bill Chapman, president, Highway 3 Twinning Development Association. “Our association extends our thanks to Premier Danielle Smith and Devin Dreeshen, minister of Transportation and Economic Corridors, for your commitment to this vital project.”
The eight phases of the project include:
Phase 1, 46 kilometres – twin Highway 3 between Taber and Burdett
Phase 3, 15 kilometres – east of Seven Persons to Medicine Hat
Phase 4, 47 kilometres – Blairmore to east of Highway 6 at Pincher Creek
Phase 5, 28 kilometres – east of Bow Island to east of Seven Persons
Phase 6, 23 kilometres – east of Burdett to east of Bow Island
Phase 7, 38 kilometres – Pincher Creek to west of Fort Macleod
Phase 8, eight kilometres – Alberta/B.C. border to Highway 3X
The rise of artificial intelligence technology has been astounding. Experts are calling it a transformative paradigm shift that has every industry pondering how it can be used and what its implications will be.
Canada could be a major player as these technologies develop. According to a recent report by Deloitte, Canada ranked first in the five-year average year-over-year growth rate in AI talent concentration compared to G7 nations.
The number of AI patents filed nationally across Canada rose by 27% in 2021-2022 with 158 patents, and 57% in 2022-2023 with 248 patents. This rate of increase puts Canada second among G7 nations in 2022-2023.
“Canada has become the springboard to advance AI-fueled enterprises around the globe. Our openness to newcomers, our highly skilled workforce, our banking stability with access to global markets, and our commitment to a standard of living that is second to none has allowed us to translate our ideas and curiosity into tangible solutions that address real-world challenges and opportunities,” said Anthony Viel, CEO of Deloitte Cannada. “Our future success depends on embracing an entrepreneurial, inclusive, and responsible culture that generates—and delivers on—these ideas for good.”
The economic impact could be huge. It’s predicted that AI could contribute as much as $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030.
Here are a handful of AI companies in Canada that have turned their attention to the construction sector.
What if you could predict the right project for the right market? The OpenHouse.ai Builder Intelligence Platform provides insight into a potential home buyer’s preferences and demands for home builders. The AI-powered solution bolts onto a home builder’s existing website to understand what a buyer is looking for in a home. The company says this data provides accurate insight into a builder’s local market, so they can optimize community planning and design, maintain an optimal mix of floor plans, and de-risk their inventory programs. The company recently partnered with Calgary homebuilder Trico Homes to leverage AI in their development process.
The Qii.AI team originally set out to create a drone inspection company, but soon found the mountains of data they collected needed to be managed and organized so it could be useful to clients. In 2020, they rebranded as Qii.AI and launched an enterprise platform that combines drone inspection software with a cutting-edge computer vision labeling tool and machine learning. Qii.AI says their deep knowledge of drone operation and the industrial sector give them unique insight for clients. The Qii platform was recently chosen by the Royal Canadian Navy for use in its ship inspection program.
One of Augmenta‘s early design partners put it this way: “It’s like you’re providing each member of my VDC team with their own VDC team.” The Augmenta team is on a mission to automate building design for contractors and engineers. The company says its tools can create highly cost, labor, time and energy efficient designs that are fully code compliant, error-free and constructible One of the Toronto startup’s current offerings designs electrical raceways 70% faster than the traditional way of humans doing it manually on computers.
With clients like Chandos, DIRTT and Fillmore Construction, Calgary-based Mercator is making a name for itself in the Canadian market. Founded in 2020, Mercator AI says it can address a critical challenge for business development in construction – delayed project discovery. The company’s solution mines and analyzes millions of industry activities, transforming them into actionable opportunities. This helps clients identifies emerging projects, exposes competitive landscapes, and drives strategic business development with real-time data.
UBC’s Smart Structures Lab
Academia is also taking notice of AI’s potential in construction. Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have spent years developing AI-controlled robots that can analyze jobsites and perform construction activities. The school’s Faculty of Applied Science researchers recently demonstrated at a real site how their technology can transform construction vehicles — cranes, forklifts and excavators — into smart construction robots. The team said that they plan to continue testing their technology with builders in a variety of jobsite conditions.
Montreal-based AI development company Zetane Systems is working with Pomerleau to apply AI algorithms and neural networks to help accelerate, de-risk and improve estimating processes. Zetane was chosen for the project after Pomerleau issued a call for small tech companies to help them improve estimating with AI. In 2022, Pomerleau announced it would be extending its work with Zetane to apply AI to pre-construction planning.
Designing a home doesn’t require hours of work or in-depth knowledge of complex computer programs. Maket is an end to end solution that uses ground-breaking research in generative AI, natural language processing and deep learning to automate the creation of floorplans based on programming needs and environmental constraints. The company says this can optimize creativity and efficiency. Maket caught the eye of Techstars, a mentorship-driven business accelerator, in 2021
Mary Van Buren is leaving her role as president of the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) after six years in the position. Van Buren made history as the group’s first female president. She will be leaving the association in the spring. A search process is underway with a goal of a smooth transition and continuing the positive momentum gained under Van Buren’s leadership.
The construction industry is essential to Canada’s economic success and quality of life, yet it doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. I am so proud to have brought more attention to an industry that has such a profound impact on our country and affects positive change in our communities every day.
Mary Van Buren, CCA president
Al Norgaard, president and general manager of Norgaard Ready-Mix, announced he will be closing his the family business after after 60 years. The sand, gravel, specialty aggregates, precast product and ready-mix concrete provider was part of major B.C. projects, including the Railyard Mall, Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, the original Coquihalla Highway and the recent Coquihalla Highway rebuild.
It is definitely with mixed emotions that we close the business, but it feels like the right time to move onto the next chapter and spend more time with my partner, kids and grandkids. It’s a hard choice for me to close the business, but we’re wrapping up work on the Coquihalla rebuild and it feels like the right time.
Al Norgaard, president and general manager, Norgaard Ready-Mix
David Howard been promoted to senior project superintendent after more than eight years at Bird Construction. The Metro Vancouver resident has more than 18 years of experience in site supervision.
Rick Welch has joined the Fort Modular team and Greg Tymchyna has been promoted. Welch has been hired as vice president of the permanent modular division. Tymchyna has been promoted to vice president of the rentals and fleets division.
Nick Marini is stepping into a new consultative role as director of property management at Macdonald Property Management Group and Zora Chen is taking on overall management responsibilities at the company’s signature property management group. In his 23 years with the organization, Marini has worked to build a comprehensive third party property management and strata services business representing clients both locally and globally from around the world. Chen has been with Macdonald for nearly a decade and has become an accomplished property and strata management professional.
Sean’s leadership style — characterized by respect, constructiveness, and enthusiasm, and guided by our corporate objectives — is instrumental in nurturing and building valuable relationships with the Nation and our external partners.
Nch’ḵay̓ Development Corporation
Cheryl Schindler is MBC Group‘s new director of business development of engineering in B.C. Schindler brings with her 27 years of experience. Her past projects include work in institutional, commercial, residential, transportation, water/wastewater treatment, and industrial industries and she has been involved in major projects with budgets exceeding $5 billion in Canada and internationally.
Whether forging connections between FNMPC members and the private sector, championing Indigenous economic inclusion in the Canadian economy, or instrumentalizing the 5% procurement precedent with the federal government, JP’s tireless efforts have indelibly shaped and uplifted Indigenous nations, leaving an enduring legacy that resonates throughout Canadian society.
First Nations Major Projects Coalition
Darcy Waters has begun a new position as marketing coordinator for Anthem Properties. Waters previously worked as a digital marketing coordinator for Alberta homebuilder Mattamy Homes.
On behalf of the OSSGA Board, we are pleased to have Michael as our new ED at this pivotal moment in our sector’s history. Ontario Stone Sand and Gravel Association finds itself at a crucial moment in time as all three levels of government are committed to the largest infrastructure investment and spend that our Province has ever seen.
OSSGA Board of Directors Chair Rob Pierce
Scott Henson and Chris Davis have joined CarbonCure Technologies as chief operating officer and vice president of carbon products and public policy, respectively. The company says the pair bring big tech expertise to scaling CarbonCure’s climate tech. Both new additions offer a wealth of experience, including tenures with tech giants Amazon and Microsoft.
Their impressive backgrounds demonstrate their ability to drive innovation, execute strategy and deliver results with a focus on innovation and sustainability. Together with our talented team, they will play a pivotal role in our work to transform concrete into a climate solution.
Alexander Annikov will take over as Dream Industrial‘s new president and CEO in the new year. Sannikov has been with Dream for 15 years, since joining in 2008. He joined the Dream Industrial management team in 2019 and is currently serving as the president and chief operating officer.
Xavier Lissoir has joined Stack Modular as its new pre-construction manager and Santiago Lazala-Silvahas joined as its new marketing specialist. Lissoir is a certified project management professional with a Masters in Civil Engineering and 14 years of experience overseeing building, marine, and civil works. Lazala-Silva is a communications professional with more than five years of experience specializing in graphic design, web design, marketing and corporate identity development.
Joël León Danis has been appointed executive director of the Toronto Society of Architects (TSA). The group stated that Danis has served the TAS as programming director for the last three years, and as a volunteer since 2016.
Joël’s advancement to Executive Director recognizes his extraordinary efforts in supporting the TSA’s mission including ongoing membership and audience growth, the continued variety, excellence and relevance of the organization’s programming offerings, and the positive impact of its educational and advocacy efforts on discourse on the built environment within our City and region.
Toronto Society of Architects
Elise Mailloux has been named Craftsperson of the Year by the General Presidents’ Maintenance Committee for Canada and the National Maintenance Council for Canada. The announcement was made at the annual Canadian Safety Achievement Awards. The award goes to a Canada Building Trades Union member who shows outstanding craftsmanship, professionalism and safety leadership through their performance or contribution on a maintenance job. Mailloux made history in 1998 when she became the first fully certified female ironworker in the nation.
Gordon Stifanyk has joined Burns & McDonnell as the leader for the firm’s transmission & distribution group in Canada. During his 20-year career, Stifanyk has supported clients and gained experience in high voltage interconnection, with utilities and renewables clients across North America and Australia.
Gord brings a unique blend of experiences that will be extremely valuable as he steps into his role as a leader within Burns & McDonnell,” says Darcy Wagner, managing director for the firm’s offices in Canada. “Gord has worked with Burns & McDonnell in various facets throughout his career — he knows how we operate. I’m confident that his experience and leadership will be a catalyst for our continued growth and success.
Darcy Wagner, managing director of Burns & McDonnell offices in Canada
Paul Crane, founder of Crane Steel Structures, is celebrating 50 years as a Certified Engineering Technologist. Before founding his Brandon-based company in 1981, Paul worked with a consulting engineering firm for ten years.
Charlie Webb, president and CEO of Anderson Webb Limited, has been elected president and chair of the MCAC Board of Directors for 2023-2024. He is preceded by Derek Ermen of Moncton, N.B.
I am very excited to be stepping into the role of MCAC President during this busy and transformative time for the mechanical contracting sector in Canada. Across the country our industry is dealing with unique challenges alongside exciting opportunities. Our sector has an essential part to play for a healthy Canadian economy, and our association is well-positioned to maximize that role on behalf of our members.
Charlie Webb, president and CEO, Anderson Webb Limited
I truly never expected to be in this position and it’s an absolute honour to be recognized, as this award validates all that I have done and all that I have achieved,” explains Laronde. “I love what I do, and I love the construction industry, but I cannot deny my belief that as a whole it needs to do more to promote women in leadership roles.
Lisa Laronde, RSG International president
Chris Gower has been promoted to deputy chief executive officer at PCL after 28 years with the company. Gower previously led the organization’s buildings division in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. He is a CCA Gold Seal certified estimator and project manager and was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 leaders.
Todd Craigen has been appointed COO and president, corporate services at PCL. Craigen has been with PCL for 27 years and most recently served as president for Eastern Canada. In this new role, Craigen will continue to oversee the Toronto and Solar districts and take on responsibility for corporate services departments including business technology, human resources, professional development, integrated construction services, and marketing and communications.