This year’s BC Construction Industry Survey, released by the British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA), reports that nearly 220,000 people in the province are employed in construction. Good news, then, that the province is a leader in construction spending growth. Thanks to private development and continuing mega-projects, the industry presents nearly 9% of BC’s GDP, with the value of current construction projects valued at $120 billion and the value of proposed projects at $221 billion.
Current projects represent a broad spectrum of development and infrastructure, from hospital renewals to a slew of road projects and energy works. The following are some of the biggest projects currently underway in the province.
1. The Broadway Subway Project
Building on this public transportation project began in the fall of 2020. Once complete, it will hopefully alleviate some congestion on one of Vancouver’s busiest corridors. The main part of construction on the 5.7 km extension of the Millennium Line started in May 2021 by design-build contractor Broadway Subway Project Corporation, an Acciona-Ghella joint venture, while the scheduled completion date is in 2025. Six underground stations will tie 700m of elevated line and 5km of underground line together. The cost for the build is $2.83 billion. The provincial government will foot the bill, with contributions from the Government of Canada and the City of Vancouver.
2. Four-Laning Highway 1 between Kamloops to Alberta
It’s time to modernize Highway 1, a major thoroughfare for locals, to make it safer and quicker. Once complete, the roadway will be upgraded to a four-lane, 100km/h standard roadway in a phased project program. The program includes:
- Replacing the RW Bruhn Bridge – to be tendered in late 2021.
- Replacing the Quartz Creek Bridge – awarded to Pennecon.
- Widening through Chase – Chase West to Chase Creek Bridge awarded to CIF Construction Ltd.
- Widening through Salmon Arm – 1st Avenue SW to 10th Avenue SW awarded to Springline Construction Services Ltd.
- Widening through Illecillewaet – awarded to Emil Anderson Construction.
- Kicking Horse Canyon’s Phase 4 widening – awarded to Kicking Horse Canyon Constructors.
- The province committed $837 million to this project over the next three years under Budget 2021.
3. LNG Canada Terminal
Canada’s new liquified natural gas (LNG) terminal in Kitimat has been called “the largest single private sector investment in Canadian history,” thanks to its $40 billion price tag.
The LNG Canada project is a joint venture between Shell, PETRONAS, PetroChina, Mitsubishi, and KOGAS, while JGC and Fluor has been chosen as its engineering, procurement, and construction contractor. Features of the completed project are to include LNG processing units, storage tanks, LNG loading lines, a marine terminal, a rail yard, and a water treatment facility.
JGC Flour announced in May that it planted the last of its 6,843 piles into the ground, the milestone marking the end of phase one of the plant piling program. The piles will serve as the foundation for the LNG processing modules and other infrastructure.
LNG expects to deliver its first cargo in 2025.
4. Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion
The current Trans Mountain Pipeline carries about 300,000 barrels of oil between Alberta and Burnaby, BC, every day. Approved in June 2019, the extension will twin the current system and bring the daily capacity to 890,000 barrels per day over 980km of new pipeline. The project also includes the construction of 12 new pump stations, the addition of three new berths at Burnaby’s Westridge Marine Terminal, and 19 new storage terminals across three locations.
Contractors on the project include Macro Pipelines, Surerus Murphy Joint Venture, TBC, Midwest Pipelines Inc., Ledcor Sicim Limited, Macro Pipelines, SA Energy Group, and a partnership between Kiewit Ledcor and TMEP. The project is expected to cost $12.6 billion and be in service by the end of 2022.
5. Site C Clean Energy Project
The third dam and hydroelectric station on the Peace River, the Site C Clean Energy Project, is expected to provide enough energy to power 450,000 homes in British Columbia. Construction of the project began in 2015 and is expected to be complete in 2024.
BC Hydro has focused on supporting local workers throughout this project, claiming the construction will provide over 13,000 worker years of employment.
The projected $16 billion project got the go-ahead from B.C.’s provincial government in 2014, though it faced court challenges from some landowners and First Nations. The project was originally priced at $10.7 billion, but COVID-19 and some geotechnical risk issues that required foundation enhancements have delayed the schedule and caused the price increase.
6. Burnaby Hospital Redevelopment Phase I
Image from Fraser Health
There’s no shortage of new projects on the way in BC, either. Fraser Health is busy choosing a team to lead the first phase of the redevelopment at Burnaby Hospital. RFPs have been issued to EllisDon and Ledcor for the project, and a decision is expected this summer.
Phase one includes the new Keith and Betty Beedie Pavillion. This six-storey, 78-patient room building will house a mental health and substance use inpatient unit and a maternity and labour and delivery unit. Upgrades to existing buildings, including to the emergency department, operating rooms, and pre and post-operative spaces, are also all part of the first phase of the hospital’s renewal. The project is expected to break ground in 2021 and be complete by 2025 and comes with a $577-million price tag.
An Industry That Helps Buoy the Province’s Economy
In its annual construction review, international consulting group BTY projected BC will keep pace with Ontario and Quebec with project escalation in 2021, and lead the other western provinces in construction spending growth. The numbers don’t lie: Though many ongoing mega projects bolster the province’s numbers, new developments and investments are showing how resilient BC’s construction industry can be.