PCL was awarded the contract to lay the foundation for the blending and bulk receiving buildings, the baghouse and the associated system, as part of Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations (Sudbury INO) Process Gas Project. The entire project cost $288 million to implement the improvements and upgrades. PCL’s work packages ran simultaneously and included new site drainage, storm sewer, stormwater retaining ponds, excavation backfill as well as form and place concrete foundations. The pre-engineered building foundations were completed ahead of schedule, which helped Sudbury INO keep up with its overall timeline. By completing both jobs simultaneously, PCL was able to find significant cost savings and take on a change order that would allow us to showcase our expertise in constructing the concrete foundations for a new substation.

Both the baghouse system as well as the blending and bulk-receiving buildings are instrumental in reducing the nickel, cadmium and particulate emissions that are dispersed into the air before the materials enter the smelter. In other words, raw materials are delivered in bulk, stored and then reloaded into rock trucks to be transported to the smelter. This process creates a large amount of dust particles that are then pulled into the baghouse through large fans and collected in dust hoppers – similar to a central vacuum system. These hoppers are then emptied and put back into the smelting process. Not only does this limit the amount of waste used in the production cycle, but it keeps potentially harmful particulates from entering the environment.

Although the two projects are separate, they were executed concurrently. This process required the management of concrete placement from two different suppliers. By implementing rigorous quality control measures, we ensured that the installation of more than 300 anchor rods was within tolerance. This attention to detail resulted in the successful completion of the next phase without the need to return and fix deficiencies at a later date, which is often the case with this type of work.

Since workers had to cross a busy roadway to access one of the work sites, PCL ensured team members could get to the site safely – this included installing a temporary crosswalk and stop sign. In addition, extra poured slag was discovered, requiring additional time for demolition using a hoe ram. To address this, PCL successfully coordinated multiple crews on various work fronts.

The area of the blending and bulk receiving buildings was about 260 feet by 250 feet and required 10-foot-high concrete push walls that would support a pre-engineered building. The baghouse, which had large fans, also required PCL to build a similar-sized foundation beside it. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, meeting deadlines was a challenge. The pre-engineered building arrived earlier than expected so the team had to work around a critical plant maintenance shutdown and follow the safety guidelines in place during the peak of the pandemic.

“We were under no obligation to accelerate our work to meet these new timelines,” said Paul Kamerads, superintendent of major projects for the Northern Ontario office. “But PCL approaches every job with a solutions provider mentality. Accelerating the work didn’t cost us but it would cost them.”

Similar to the previous foundation work that PCL did for another package related to Glencore’s Process Gas project, the work was completed and handed over smoothly with the anchor bolts and piers in excellent condition.

Kamerads recalls meeting the site superintendent who installed the pre-engineered building.

“He said to me, ‘I want to shake your hand. I’ve never had a building foundation turned out that didn’t have some issues with baseplates. This was the first time it never happened.’ All I can say is we had a great team and we were glad to deliver with no issues.”

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