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The 2022 Top Trenchless Engineering Firms in Canada Part 1

Since 1996, Trenchless Technology has presented its list of the Top 50 Trenchless Engineering Firms in North America. Starting in July, Trenchless Technology contributing editor Andrew Farr contacted trenchless engineering firms across the continent to submit surveys to compile this list. This helps tell the tale of the size of the trenchless construction sector in North America.

RELATED: Trenchless Technology’s 2022 Top 50 Engineering Firms Survey Reveals Positive Trend for the Market

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The Top 50 list ranks firms by their overall North American revenue. Since Trenchless Technology Canada is a Canadian-focused publication, we wanted to breakdown that North American list even further and highlight the engineering firms doing work across Canada.

For the second year, as part of the overall Top 50 survey, we asked the firms to also include separate revenue data for Canada, Mexico and the United States. We used this subset of data to create the list you see here of the Top Trenchless Engineering Firms in Canada.

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Also included in our list is where the firms rank among the Top 50 Trenchless Engineering Firms in North America. For reference, we’ve also included a column that indicates a firm’s reported Canadian revenue from last year’s list.

We realize this is not a complete list and that there are many engineering firms working in the trenchless field across Canada. We hope that this is something we can build on in the future as more Canadian trenchless engineering firms complete the survey. Only firms that indicated revenue for Canada are included here.

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Farr coordinates the survey for Trenchless Technology he can be reached at afarr@benjaminmedia.com. If you’re a firm that does trenchless work in Canada and not included on this list, email Mike Kezdi, managing editor, at mkezdi@benjaminmedia.com.

The complete North American Top 50 list can read in the 2022 December issue of Trenchless Technology or online at trenchlesstechnology.com/2022-top-50-trenchless-engineers-survey.

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trenchless project in Canada

Canada’s Top Trenchless Engineering Projects

In year’s past – as a tie-in to our focus on trenchless engineering across Canada – we’ve had a roundtable discussion with engineers working in Canada.
Those stories can be read here:

2021: trenchlesstechnology.com/2021-trenchless-qa-a-look-at-trenchless-engineering-in-canada

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2020: trenchlesstechnology.com/trenchless-qa-a-look-at-engineering-in-canada

This year, we decided we’d go a different route. We asked all the engineering firms that listed Canadian revenue to submit a spotlight project that they were involved with. We asked that the project be on that was part of their reported Canadian Total Trenchless Net Revenue for 2021 Labour Hours (or last fiscal year).

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You’ll find the first half of those spotlight projects below. Only the firms that responded to the request are included in this review.

Top Trenchless projects in Canada


Name of Project: Rangeview Sanitary Trunk

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Where the Project Took Place: Calgary, Alberta

AECOM Rangeview Sanitary Trunk

Your Company’s Role: The City of Calgary was the project owner. AECOM was the prime consultant with a scope of work that included civil and tunnel preliminary design, detailed design, hydraulic modelling using MIKE Urban Model, geotechnical investigation, and gully crossing design. In addition, AECOM provided environmental permitting, hydrology, contract administration and construction surveying and inspection.

Date Project Completed: 2021

Why This Project Is Notable: The 3.5 km long, 1,800-mm diameter sanitary trunk sewer is designed to service a future population of about 246,000 people in the City of Calgary’s southeast quadrant. The sanitary trunk will convey a design sanitary flow of 285 ML/d from the new development areas to the Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment plant. The project involved micro-tunnelling of 2.6-km and open-cut installation of 0.9 km. The tunnel crosses under major structures such as Deerfoot Trail and a major electrical powerline. West of Deerfoot Trail, the trunk crosses a major gully and wetland before connecting to the existing Pine Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant’s siphon chamber. The project was recognized in 2021 by the Tunnelling Association of Canada with the Canadian Project of the Year Award (Up to $100M CAD). Volker Stevin Contracting Ltd. was the general contractor and the tunnelling subcontractor was Innovative Pipeline Crossings Inc. (IPC), a member of the Bothar Group of Companies.

Black & Veatch

Name of Project: Integrated Pumping Station – Construction Contract 2

Where the Project Took Place: Toronto, Ontario

Black and Veatch Integrate Pumping Station

Your Company’s Role in the Project: Preliminary and detailed design services and contract administration services

Date Project Completed: Microtunneling completed in 2021.

Why This Project Is Notable: As part of the overall Integrated Pumping Station (IPS), which will replace two existing pump stations and connect to the new Coxwell Bypass Tunnel system, a soft ground microtunnel was installed beneath a major arterial road and several critical utilities including a 300 mm gas main, high voltage duct bank and large stormwater sewer. The 65-m long, 2.4-m diameter soft-ground slurry microtunnel was installed 9 m below Lake Shore Boulevard. An extensive settlement monitoring program was developed for sensitive crossing to ensure no detrimental settlement or heave occurred on the vital gas main, electrical duct bank or stormwater sewer. The use of trenchless technologies ensured the heavily trafficked arterial road and pedestrian trail remained open to the public during construction. The microtunnel was successfully installed with no adverse impacts to the existing utilities or boulevard.

CCI Inc.

Name of Project: Pembina Smoky Area Pipeline Project – Major HDD Crossings Program

Where the Project Took Place: Northwest Alberta

CCI Inc. Pembina Smoky Area Pipeline Project

Your Company’s Role in the Project: EPCM Contractor for the projects Major HDD Crossings Program

Date Project Completed: All major HDD crossings were completed in August/September 2021.

Why This Project Is Notable: CCI was awarded the EPCM Prime Contractor role to install 4,822 m of NPS 20 pipeline along four crossings using horizontal directional drilling (HDD) methodology. CCI worked alongside two other prime contractors, responsible for the mainline construction as well as the minor HDD program, which each company responsible for their section along the 235 km pipeline. The four major HDD crossings within the program posed a unique challenge; however, as each drill location had geotechnical concerns that posed major risks to the crossing success. One crossing had been previously attempted by another party but was not successful. CCI successfully helped Pembina navigate the challenges and the drilling programs were successful completed.

GHD Ltd.

Name of Project: York Durham Sewage System Forcemain Twinning

Where the Project Took Place: Newmarket, Ontario (York Region)

GHD Ltd. York Durham Sewage System Forcemain Twinning

Your Company’s Role in the Project: GHD’s services included completing the environmental assessment followed by preliminary site investigations (geotechnical and hydrological), route evaluation, selection of construction methodology, constructability reviews, preparation of geotechnical data and baseline reports, hydraulic modeling, tunnelling settlement analysis, noise impact assessment and attenuation, detailed design, environmental management, public engagement, permits and approvals, risk assessment, preparation of contract and specifications, cost estimating, tendering and contract review, shop drawings review, contract administration, construction site inspection, and commissioning and warranty of the forcemain.

Date Project Completed: May 2021

Why This Project Is Notable: A major factor in the project’s success was formal identification and management of risks via a formal risk management process executed throughout project development and implementation. Soliciting additional views on all disciplines from recognised industry players and selecting the most suitable trenchless contractor for the work via a pre-qualification process was another critical factor. The project included successful completion of the two longest curved reaches of microtunnel (portions between shafts) ever attempted in North America, and the longest of these was 1,139 m. The project was safely constructed with minimal impacts to the surrounding community achieved via ongoing careful planning and communication with residents, businesses, and prime stakeholders such as GO transit during design development and construction. The forcemain successfully passed all commissioning tests in mid 2021. This project has been given significant recognition in the industry due to the technical approaches adopted and has achieved six industry awards to date.

Mike Kezdi is the managing editor of Trenchless Technology Canada.

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