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Doing It All

Ruskin Construction Ltd. reaches its 25th anniversary with more plans for growth in the coming years
Written by Lisa Kopochinski
March 2015

Ruskin Construction Ltd. reaches its 25th anniversary with more plans for growth in the coming years

Anyone who has worked in construction will tell you it’s a tough industry with many ups and downs – so for a company to reach its 25th anniversary is especially noteworthy. Ruskin Construction Ltd. is one such company that has beaten the odds and showing no signs of slowing down.

Founded in 1989 by Andrew Purdey of Ruskin, B.C., this privately held company (with its head office in Prince George, B.C.) specializes in six primary markets – bridges, foundations, marine, railway, aerial pipeline and heavy civil construction.

“We’re proud of our history as a company and appreciate our loyal clients who have made our passage from a small one-crew company to the professional construction team of 300 qualified personnel we are today,” said Ruskin president, Jim Basha.

Since 1989, Ruskin Construction Ltd. has developed into a professional construction team providing $100 million in annual construction services to a diverse client base located across Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Approximately half of Ruskin’s yearly volume is derived through repeat client investments.

With locations throughout B.C., Alberta and Alaska, Ruskin has a proven track record of managing and delivering projects. It offers a full range of construction services such as bridge, aerial pipeline, marine and subarctic construction, as well as drilling and caisson foundation work and – of course – pile driving.

Pile driving expertise
Basha is proud that Ruskin has developed a large array and inventory of conventional pile driving equipment such as air, diesel and vibro hammers. When mounted on fixed, swinging and traveling lead systems, they ensure production and accuracy when faced with production pile foundations.

“Crane mounted or truck-mounted pile driving units ensure the right equipment is deployed for the scope and logistics of the project,” he said. “The installation of pipe piling from 1,200 mm down to 200 mm diameter, or timber and H-beam piles, can all be achieved with the internal equipment owned and managed by our company.”

Pile driving projects that the company is especially proud of include: 

  • Deh Cho Bridge 
  • Fort Hills temporary water intake structure 
  • Mary River Iron Ore Dock 
  • Red River Bridge 
  • Foundations for the Port Mann Bridge 
  • Helical pile foundations for the Keeyask Main Camp 
  • Temporary offloading trestle for Kitimat LNG
  • Colwood City center piles and caissons
  • Colwood City Center shoring 
  • Foundations for the St. Joseph wind farm 
  • Crew boat dock and temporary jetty piles for Kitimat LNG 
  • Installation of foundations for the CD5 Alpine West Project 
  • Craig flower Bridge Replacement


Ruskin’s equipment and expertise is vast with a wide range of land and marine-based foundation options that comprise the following: 

  • Land and water-based pile driving of steel pipe piles, H-piles, sheet piles, concrete piles and timber piles 
  • Air, diesel and vibro hammers 
  • Crane and/or truck-mounted pile driving units 
  • Down-the-hole hammer drilling technology that allows piles to be installed into solid rock or boulder strata in a fraction of the time required for conventional methods 
  • Sheet pile cofferdam construction; Ruskin has designed and constructed a multitude of mid-river cofferdam cells for foundation and shoring purposes
  • Cast-in-place concrete 
  • Caisson construction

Sheet pile cofferdam construction
Ruskin has also designed and constructed a multitude of mid-river cofferdam cells for foundation and shoring purposes.

With clients ranging from industrial operators to large general contractors, the Ruskin team works closely with each client on their project to ensure that all safety, environmental and scheduling aspects are communicated thoroughly.

“Sheet pile installation requires specialized equipment and well-trained personnel to successfully complete even the smallest of projects,” said Basha. “With the latest vibro and drilling equipment, Ruskin is capable of working through many challenges presented in the shoring and dewatering industry.”

Drilling and caisson foundations
Over the years, the company has also advanced its foundation services to provide state-of-the-art drilling and caisson installation techniques. With the incorporation of down-the-hole percussion hammers (DHH), Ruskin can install caissons from 300 mm to 914 mm diameter in a single pass.

“Production is up and the need to case the hole before drilling is no longer required, regardless of the geological formation to be drilled,” said Basha. “The techniques we have developed with equipment suppliers have ensured success in advancing the pile caissons through boulder-laden overburden, or 200 mpa consolidated rock drilling with remarkable speed and accuracy.”

Ruskin has the manpower and equipment to provide additional drilling services such as air rotary and continuous flight auguring. Many of its projects in the resource sector are located in remote locations and require deep foundation solutions.

Bridge construction
Ruskin also has extensive experience in bridge construction with clients in the forestry, mining, oil and gas exploration sectors. Over the past two decades the company has expanded its profile of services – from log crib temporary structures through to highway structures several hundred meters in length.

“We have constructed a multitude of highway bridges and have experience dealing with challenges such as working in an urban setting on an active highway, strict traffic management requirements, constricted work and staging areas, working adjacent to settlement-sensitive existing structures and environmental and fisheries sensitivity,” said Basha.

The company also maintains a large inventory of bridge construction materials and equipment, and can provide an inventory of more than 300 temporary structures.


Marine construction
Also specializing in marine construction, Ruskin maintains and operates two waterborne construction facilities on the Canadian West Coast. Their operations, stationed in Mill Bay and Delta, B.C., service a host of clients along the South Coast, including the department of National Defense, BC Ferries Inc., Fisheries and Oceans Canada and private developers.

Ruskin provides a range of services that varies from jetty reconstruction to marine salvage and dredging. All pile driving equipment controlled by Ruskin can be attached to its spud barge mounted 150-ton cranes, and easily mobilizes.

“This ensures we can provide the same range of services waterborne that we have available on our land-based operations,” said Basha. “Our steady workforce of supervisors and trained journeymen has the experience and knowledge to deal with fierce West Coast winter storms and aggressive tide changes.”

Safety and the future
Part of Ruskin Construction’s great success and longevity can be attributed to its strong corporate safety policy and commitment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

“We are dedicated to pursuing and achieving full compliance and assuring, so far as possible, safe and healthful working conditions as provided in the Act,” said Basha. “It’s our ultimate goal to achieve an accident and injury-free work record. This will be realized by making safety the primary consideration in all operations.”

To achieve this goal, every Ruskin member plays a role. For instance: 

  • Management accepts the responsibility for leadership of the Health and Safety Program, its effectiveness and improvement, and for providing the safeguards required to ensure safe conditions.
  • Supervisors and foremen are responsible for developing and maintaining proper attitudes towards health and safety, in themselves and those they supervise. They must ensure that all operations are compliant and performed with the utmost regard for the health and safety of all personnel involved.
  • Employees are responsible for committing to all aspects of the Health and Safety Program, including compliance with all rules and regulations and the continuing practice of safety while performing their duties.

“Our philosophy remains focused on delivering a safe, quality project in the most productive and efficient manner possible – with a fully integrated communication and project management system,” said Basha.

As for what the near future holds, he said, “Ruskin is a market-diverse company that has a reputation for operational excellence. With our team approach to every project, and with our extensive experience in multiple construction sectors, we see great potential for exceptional growth in the next five years.”

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Category: Profile

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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.

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