As part of the large-scale Scotford Upgrader Expansion, PCL was chosen to handle the Residue Hydro Conversion, Integrated Hydro Treatment Unit (RHC) the largest and most complex unit on the expansion. The RHC was at that time one of the most challenging builds ever tackled by PCL Industrial, requiring more than 20,000 cubic meters of concrete; 5,500 tons of steel; 95,000 meters of piping and 2 million meters of electrical cable. The unit was also extremely vertical, with many structures, including both reactor towers and the catalyst, reaching more than 200 feet in height.

To get the job done, PCL engaged all aspects of our construction services, from preconstruction planning and constructability consultation to modular assembly and pipe fabrication. Our construction leadership team worked in the engineer’s Houston office prior to breaking ground to improve the design through constructability reviews, and our module and fabrication facilities produced 156 Alberta-sized modules for the project in addition to the on-site work.

The Scotford Expansion marked early days for many of the construction systems that PCL has spent the past decade improving upon. We were able to use our 3D modelling software to illustrate concerns about material availability and build a program that integrated with the owner’s 3D model to provide our teams with the data needed to build work packages, in many cases prior to the drawings being issued. Throughout the project, we were on the leading edge of workface planning, and this planning allowed us to adapt to changes in engineering and procurement that were overlapping with the construction.

With a peak labor force of over 2,400 craft workers on site and a bustling construction market coming out of the 2008 recession, PCL was able to utilize both our nationwide labor connections and temporary foreign workers to supply the workforce needed to keep the job on schedule. Throughout the project we were able to find other ways to keep work going, including using two tower cranes to help alleviate crane congestion on the overall site as other contractors worked on other units in the concentrated space.

Through all this, safety was always paramount for us, and our efforts were recognized by thrice being awarded the Quarterly HSE Award from Shell.

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