Piling Canada

On the Waterfront

As part of the Halifax Shipyard modernization program, Irving Equipment is rebuilding the Pier 6 Wharf, where Canada's next generation of warships and arctic patrol vessels are slated to be built
Written by Mark Halsall
June 2015

As part of the Halifax Shipyard modernization program, Irving Equipment is rebuilding the Pier 6 Wharf, where Canada’s next generation of warships and arctic patrol vessels are slated to be built

Irving Equipment is Atlantic Canada’s largest provider of pile driving, crane rental, heavy lifting, specialized transportation, wind energy and project management services. The company is currently assisting with the Halifax Shipyard modernization program, a large project transforming the Halifax waterfront. Irving Shipbuilding is preparing to build the next generation of ships for Canada’s navy that includes six to eight Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships and up to 15 Canadian Surface Combatant vessels.

Irving Shipbuilding is investing an estimated $300 million over the next two years to modernize its facilities at Halifax Shipyard. Numerous upgrades are required to be completed in time for the 2015 date to cut steel for the first set of navy vessels, the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships. The investment includes reconstruction of the Pier 6 wharf at Halifax Shipyard as well as land reclamation, dredging and construction of new buildings and a ship launching facility.

Work began in May on building a brand new Pier 6, which will be 850 feet long and 65 feet high once completed. Irving Equipment has been contracted to demolish and rebuild the wharf.

According to Andrew Folkins, manager of Irving Equipment’s pile driving division, the lengthy list of pipe, sheet and anchor piling materials to be used during construction includes:

  • 96 forty-two-inch pipe piles, 65 to 75 feet long
  • 96 steel sheet piles, 65 to 75 feet long
  • 82 sixteen-inch anchor piles, approximately 45 feet long
  • 82 three-inch tie-back anchors, approximately 60 feet long
  • 82 eight-inch incline anchors, approximately 110 feet long

In terms of equipment, Folkins says, numerous cranes will be employed on the site – a Manitowoc 2250 300-ton crawler, a Manitowoc 888 230-ton crawler, two Manitowoc 12000 120-ton crawlers and a Link-Belt 65-ton rough terrain crane. A Berminghammer drill will be utilized for several functions, including drill foundation work, while an ICE® 44-30 Vibro-Hammer will be used to install piles.

Folkins says some of the challenges associated with the project include extreme site congestion and the fact that demolition, construction and wharf work are happening simultaneously. Complicating matters further is that the shipyard is still in active operation, and there is also a large amount of wood and steel debris present in the soils in the area.

Custom pile driving solutions to challenging projects 
The Pier 6 reconstruction project is a good example of the company’s specialty – providing tailored pile driving solutions for some of the region’s most challenging industrial and infrastructure projects. Irving Equipment has been in business since 1958.

According to Folkins, the key to Irving Equipment’s success is “matching experience and ability to the project requirements,” along with having “the proper equipment to do the job, in a safe, efficient and effective manner.”

Folkins says the company’s dedicated and experienced staff combines their talents with a team of in-house engineers to solve complex problems and offer cost-saving solutions, which customers value and appreciate.

Irving Equipment specializes in industrial, commercial, infrastructure and residential projects. It is a certified installer of the AB Chance Helical Pier Piling System for Atlantic Canada, and does a wide assortment of helical, driven, marine and sheet piling work. The company is headquartered in Saint John, N.B. and has four other New Brunswick locations – in Fredericton, Moncton, Belledune and Miramichi. There are also branch offices in Halifax, N.S., Charlottetown, P.E.I. and Argentia, Nfld. Irving Equipment also provides crane rental services in the Eastern United States with branches in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, West Virginia and Ohio.

The pile driving division operates out of the company’s headquarters in Saint John, N.B., but its staff and equipment go wherever they are needed.


“We travel anywhere,” said Folkins. Some of Irving Equipment’s notable projects in recent years include the One Mile Viaduct piling and cofferdams and other structural work for the Route 1 Gateway project in New Brunswick. The company also assisted in the construction of one of New Brunswick’s largest wind farm projects in the Kent Hills area south of Moncton.

The company’s diverse pile driving fleet includes cranes with lift capacities ranging from 27 to 440 tons. They can be configured to fixed and hanging lead configurations, with hammers ranging from 2,700 to 120,000 foot-pounds of energy.

Irving Equipment invests in new equipment on a continuous basis. The company maintains its newer- model cranes offer such advantages as greater mobility and lifting capacity, better environmental control systems and increased safety due to improved design and enhanced load monitoring.

Safety first and foremost
Irving Equipment also invests in its staff, and says safety is a core value embedded in every aspect of the organization. Some of the key programs and tools the company uses to promote the health and safety of workers include:

  • CraneCAD lift planning software 
  • Safety training in-house and through provincial construction safety associations 
  • Formal on-the-job training 
  • Job safety analysis 
  • Field-level risk assessments 
  • Daily and weekly safety talks 
  • Formal site inspections 
  • Supervisory safety training 
  • Formal incident/accident reporting, analysis and review 
  • Formal drug and alcohol policy 
  • Modified duties/return to work program 
  • Safety incentive program 
  • Joint occupational health and safety committees

Irving Equipment has received Certificates of Recognition (CORTM) from both the New Brunswick Construction Safety Association and the Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association for its safety management system. The company has also lent its safety expertise to help develop leading industry standards such as the Canadian Standards Association’s Standard Z150-04, Safety Code on Mobile Cranes. Irving Equipment is committed to quality management standards and has certifications in System ISO 9001:2008 as well as System ISO 14001:2004

Irving Equipment is also strongly committed to protecting the environment – the company takes care to operate in full compliance with applicable legislation and constantly strives to improve its environmental performance.

Employees are educated on their environmental responsibilities, and taught how to reduce risks associated with heavy construction projects. Among the key elements of Irving Equipment’s integrated safety and environment management program are formal site and equipment inspections and clean sweep audits to verify environmental performance.

Irving Equipment is proud to be a member of the following associations:

  • New Brunswick Construction Safety Association
  • Nova Scotia Construction Safety Association
  • Maritimes Energy Association 
  • Construction Associations of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland 
  • Specialized Crane and Rigging Association
  • Crane Rental Association of Canada 
  • CANWEA Canadian Wind Energy Association 
  • New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association
  • Deep Foundations Institute

For more information on Irving Equipment, check out their website at irvingequipment.com.

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