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  • Building Relationships

     

    By Rowan O'Grady, President, Hays Canada

    The construction industry is a tough business. It’s highly competitive with razor thin margins. And while that aspect of this sector isn’t new, the pressure to find talent in a candidate-short market means today’s construction leaders must develop a new skill set to retain staff and motivate employees to maximize profits. They need soft skills – empathy, clear

  • Changing With The Times

    Make a plan for transformational change in your business and kiss that rut you’ve been stuck in goodbye

    By Lisa Gordon

    Construction has gotten lean and mean.

    The “good old days” of raking in substantial profits are largely gone. Margins are shrinking while competition is on the rise. It’s no surprise that the contractors who have successfully changed with the times are the ones who now find themselves leading the pack.

    Although implementing transformational change at your business may be a daunting prospect, it’s no longer sufficient to do things the way they’ve always been done.

    Piling Canada spoke with three business coaches to get some tips for contractors who find themselves stuck in the same old rut. We learned that positive change is within reach of any company, providing the leader is willing to roll up their sleeves and make a plan.

    Map your strategy

    If your business has hit a plateau, change is necessary to take it to the next level.

    Your first step as an owner is to identify what that next level looks like. Do you want to make another million in sales this year? Identify and train your successor? Take more vaca-tion time?

  • Choosing Safer Fluids for Marine Projects

    Help protect both the environment and workers by selecting the safest products on the market

    By Dr. Larry Beaver, RSC Chemical Solutions

    We all want to be safe. Safety regulators want us and our employees to return safely home from a day’s work. Both governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) press for more regulations that mandate less environmental impact as we operate pile driving equipment in marine or estuarine environments.

  • Cleaning Up the Past for the Future

    Bermingham Foundation Solutions helps clean up Randle Reef

    By Deb Smith

    For more than 150 years, Hamilton Harbour, the largest harbour on the western side of Lake Ontario, has played an important role in the course of Canadian history. Heavy industry, including textile factories, meat-packing centres and steel mills, flourished along its shoreline long before the concept of environmental protection.

    As a result, Hamilton Harbour now contains the largest toxic sediment site on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes. Randle Reef, located in the harbour’s southwest corner, carries an estimated 675,000 cubic metres of sediment loaded with over 100 years’ worth of deadly chemicals from industry and local wastewater plants run-off.

  • Cold Front

    Ground freezing technology builds in unshakeable stability

    By Heather Hudson

    Question: What ingenious construction technique has been around since the 1800s but is reserved for only the deepest, darkest jobs? 

    Answer: Ground freezing.

    Primarily used to provide ground support, groundwater control or structural underpinning during construction, the technology is mainly used for mine shafts. But its simple, virtually fail-proof design has made it a more popular option for civil projects in recent years.

    “Ground freezing is still used a lot in mining, but we’re seeing it used for civil work like water tunnels,” said Joe Sopko, director of ground freezing at Moretrench, a nationally renowned geotechnical contractor based in Rockaway, N.J.

  • Cold Front

    Ground freezing technology builds in unshakeable stability

    By Heather Hudson

     

    Question: What ingenious consgruction technique has been around since the 1800s but is reserved for only the deepest, darkest jobs?

    Answer: Ground Freezing

    Primarily used to provide ground support, groundwater control or structural underpinning during construction, the technology is mainly used for mine shafts. But its simple, virtually fail-proof design has made it a more popular option for civil projects in recent years.

    “Ground freezing is still used a lot in mining, but we’re seeing it used for civil work like water tunnels,” said Joe Sopko, director of ground freezing at Moretrench, a nationally renowned geo-technical contractor based in Rockaway, N.J.

  • Connecting to a Global Market

    Courtesy of IronPlanetThe ins and outs of buying and selling used heavy construction equipment online

    By Judy Penz Sheluk

    There was a time, not so long ago, when the only viable options for buying and selling used heavy construction equipment were onsite auctions and print ads. No longer. Today, online resources are gaining in popularity, and in a big way.

    Mascus International BV: Online international marketplace 
    Started in 2000, Mascus International BV is headquartered in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where more than 100 employees represent 29 nationalities. The company has 58 offices worldwide, including Mascus Canada Inc., a license holder located in Toronto, Ont.

    “We went with the license holder model seven years ago because it offered Mascus the opportunity to grow both locally and globally,” said Tim Scholte, CEO. “You can find Mascus in Europe, Australia, Africa, Asia and North America. This is especially important today, when much of the equipment sold doesn’t remain in the country of the seller.”

    Scholte compared the Mascus website to Craigslist, albeit for used equipment in seven major categories: agriculture, construction and mining, trucks and trailers, material handling, groundscare, forestry and spare parts. Within each category are several sub-categories. For example, under the master heading “Construction and Mining” is a sub-category of “Piling Equipment,” which is in turn broken down into additional categories, including piling rigs, accessories, hydraulic pile hammers, vibratory pile drivers and rotary drilling heads.

  • Constructing Social Media

    If you’re not currently using social media, now is a great time to rethink that decision and start making the most of this highly effective toolset

    By Jess Campbell

    Social media isn’t going anywhere; in fact, it has be-come a vital part of business.  The piling industry hasn’t always been the first in line to utilize social media, but now is as good a time as any to drill down and get started.

    Whether you’re using social media or not, know this – your customers, competitors, suppliers and potential customers are. Social media is quickly overtaking more traditional means as the top method of communication between businesses and consumers.

  • Dealing with Vibration and Noise from Pile Driving

    Addressing and alleviating negative public perceptions of pile driving

    By W. Allen Marr, P.E., GEOCOMP Corporation

    Pile driving produces vibrations and noise that may extend thousands of feet away from the driving activity. People have become increasingly intolerant of these effects. They complain to government agencies and oppose developments that use pile elements. Their opposition is beginning to seriously affect the pile driving industry in the developed countries. Governmental agencies and owners are choosing alternatives to pile driving to avoid the vibrations and noise. This is an unfortunate and uninformed reaction for three reasons:

  • Don't Cry Over Spilled Lubricants

    The Impact of environmentally acceptable lubricants in pile driving applications

    By Matt Houston. RSC Bio Solutions

     

    The pile driving industry is at a crossroads. As regulations become more stringent and performance is increasingly paramount, organizations are feeling the pinch to be both compliant and perform at their peak. Equipment failures, spills and leaks are followed by costly fines, cleanup fees and increased downtime – further emphasizing compliance concerns and public scrutiny over environmental impact.

  • Equipment Corporation of America Celebrates 100 Years in Business

    The evolution of a global foundation equipment distributor

    By Brian M. Fraley, Fraley Construction Marketing

    Equipment Corporation of America (ECA), a prominent distributor of specialty foundation construction equipment, will celebrate 100 years as a third-generation family-owned business in March 2018. During that time, it has morphed from a small purveyor of World War I surplus equipment to a large international dealer for the most advanced foundation equipment in the world.

  • Female Powered Industry

    The construction industry needs to attract more women to the trades - one Canadian partnership is attempting to bridge this gap

    By Heather Hudson

    We don’t need to tell you that it takes a certain kind of grit to work in the piling industry. Operating oversized equipment and being physical in often harsh conditions is a demanding career. Skilled workers who want to get into this line of work need to know their trade inside and out and be prepared to work hard on a crew.

  • Filling the Gap

    As baby boomers retire and the traditional labour pool shrinks, the construction industry is focusing on alternative workforces. Canada’s young, fast-growing Aboriginal population is an attractive proposition for an industry eager to engage the next generation.

    By Lisa Gordon

    For years, analysts have sounded the alarm about the coming retirement of the baby boomers and how their exit from the workforce will impact the Canadian economy.

    According to a special report published in  e Globe and Mail in November 2015, Canadian labour market growth is expected to stagnate in the 2020s as retiring boomers create vacancies that employers will struggle to fill, keeping real economic growth below two per cent annually over the next decade. Add to that the country’s declining birth rate, and it’s clear that something must be done to tap into and develop new labour sources.

    Many in the construction sector have turned their attention to the country’s Aboriginal communities – including First Nations, Metis and Inuit people – who combined represent the fastest growing, youngest segment of the Canadian population. According to an article published by Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. of B.C., it is estimated that more than 600,000 Aboriginal youth will enter the labour market between 2001 and 2026.

  • Hard Roads, Tough Haul

    Canada’s remote northern communities rely on a network of challenging winter and ice roads. Transport firms have stepped up with logistics and experience to get goods to isolated residents.

    By Kelly Gray

    Canada has some very unforgiving northern territory when it comes to moving freight. The weather is brutal and the infrastructure is a constant challenge with thawing permafrost, heaving roadbeds and winter ice roads open fewer weeks than ever. Indeed, just getting cartons of milk to remote First Nations communities can be a daunting task. Consider the challenges of getting multi-ton construction piles, turbine blades or heavy equipment to sites that are accessible only during winter months along a network of ice and winter roads that add to the complexity of construction projects.

  • Helping Build Bridges to Prosperity

    Footbridges over otherwise impassable rivers give isolated communities access to health care, education and markets

    By Barb Feldman

    In 2001, Ken Frantz happened to see a photo in National Geographic of men dangling precariously from ropes that they were using to pull each other across a wide, high gap in a bridge across the Blue Nile River in Ethiopia. Frantz, who owned a construction company, knew how to build and believed he could help. He persuaded family, friends and his Rotary club to donate time, money and materials, and within three months the two sides of the centuries-old stone span, which had been deliberately destroyed in World War II to stop the advance of Italian troops, had been reconnected.

    The success of this first project inspired Frantz to found Bridges to Prosperity (B2P), a non-profit dedicated to building footbridges over otherwise impassable rivers to give isolated communities safer access to health care, education and markets. Both B2P’s basic cable-suspended bridge design and its community-participation and teaching model were inspired by and adapted from programs begun by the Swiss development agency Helvetas (now HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation), which began its own community footbridge-building programs in the 1980s. Since 2008, B2P has also been developing its own safe, replicable and locally viable suspension bridge design alternatives.

  • In Canada for 15 Years

    Courtesy of Soilmec NAA light year’s worth of advancements

    By Vincent Jue and Stephen Wilson

    Soilmec brought the first European-style drilling rig to the Canadian underground construction market 15 years ago, in 1998. Today, there are around 325 Soilmec rigs in use across Canada. Some people might call us “pioneers,” but we simply consider ourselves to be the deliverers of the best available technology to our customers.

    We’ve introduced several new construction technologies to the Canadian market, such as continuous flight auger (CFA) for drilled shafts, cased secant piles (CSP) for diaphragm walls and other full-cased methods of drilling. When Soilmec entered the Canadian market in 1998, most drilling companies were still using old-style telescoping casing to hold open their holes. Today, using these innovative technologies, our customers have improved productivity and gained a competitive edge in bidding and building.

  • Into the Arctic

    Battling Arctic temperatures, 24-hour darkness and shipping delays, the Ruskin team constructed an iron ore loading dock with great precision

    By Lisa Kopochinski

    Ruskin Construction is currently completing work on an iron ore dock at Canada’s northernmost producing mine – the Mary River site on the northern end of Baffin Island – for Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation.

    This is quite a feat since this remote location is 500 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle in Nunavut, and has an average winter temperature of -30 degrees Celsius with several months of 24-hour darkness.

  • Joining Forces for a Stronger Future

    The evolution of Northstar Sharp's Foundation Specialists

    By Deb Smith

    Two of Alberta’s most respected names in deep foundations have amalgamated to form one comprehensive solution to Western Canada’s foundation construction industry: Northstar Sharp’s Foundation Specialists.

    For more than 30 years, Sharp’s Construction Services Ltd. operated as a specialized sub-contractor out of Leduc, Alta. They provided foundation solutions across Canada specializing in large-diameter drilling and concrete piles. Meanwhile, established in 2005 in Clairmont, Alta., Northstar EnergyServices Inc. focused on driven and helical piling,

  • Leaner, Meaner, Greener

    Overcoming environmental challenges

    By Sarah B. Hood

     

    Compared to many sectors, pile driving has a relatively light impact on the environment. 

    “For most land-based piling applications, we’re installing untreated steel, concrete or timber, so the environmental challenges are limited,” said Colin Kaufmann, project manager with West Shore Constructors Ltd. of North Vancouver. “But when we’re working with treated or coated materials, or near watercourses, we have a greater potential to impact the environment. While some of our responses to these challenges are prescribed by the regulatory agencies, at other times we must provide our own solutions to those challenges.”

  • Lessons Learned

    Learning from mistakes is one thing. But mitigating mistakes by managing expectations using an ironclad contract is another thing entirely, and can be the difference between a great job and a great loss.

    By Jess Campbell

     

    We all face challenges in our businesses from time to time. Arguably, how you handle those challenges is less about what you may lose

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About Us

Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.