Piling Canada

Pacific Pile & Marine Civil Constructors

PPM's new subsidiary services Western Canada
Written by Lisa Kopochinski
October 2017

PPM’s new subsidiary services Western Canada

Pacific Pile & Marine (PPM) may not be a household name, but if you’re in the marine or heavy civil industry, it’s a name you should get to know. PPM was formed in 2008 as a continuation of Hurlen Construction, which dates back nearly 50 years to provide best-in-class services to the Western United States and Canada.

Between 2010 and 2011, PPM partnered on a remote design-build run-of-river project northeast of Sechelt, B.C. involving two new greenfield hydro facilities. Following that project, PPM determined the market would be better serviced by establishing a larger presence in the area and in early 2017, made good on that decision by establishing a B.C.-based subsidiary, PPM Civil Constructors.

PPM and PPM Civil Constructors excel in complex construction – especially in remote locations. Both share resources, including equipment and personnel, drawing on a knowledge base spanning over three decades. The only true distinguishing factor following the formation is the geographic split. PPM provides services across the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Montana and California, while PPM Civil Constructors focuses on Western Canada, specifically in B.C.

“The growing infrastructure needs of Western Canada are very similar to those of the Pacific Northwest and areas of Alaska,” said Kustaa Mansfield, business development with PPM. “The B.C. market is a great fit for what we do. While we’re able to effectively service our projects from our waterfront office in Seattle, we realized there were distinct advantages to a more local presence.”

PPM’s portfolio spans a wide range of foundation and marine structures such as coastal ports, terminals, floating and fixed dock systems, cofferdams, breakwaters and other core specialty services, such as large diameter pile driving, drilled shafts, rock sockets and anchors, environmental dredging, heavy lifting and much more.

The employee base is generally between 80 to 100 craft personnel company-wide, supported by an experienced group of construction professionals and a specialized fleet of equipment including barges, cranes, shallow and deep-water dredge rigs and a variety of pile driving and drilling gear. Already bolstered by an impressive capacity in their fleet of equipment, later this year PPM will be able to offer its clients and their projects one of the largest derrick barges on the West Coast.

“ The B.C. market is a great fit for what we do. While we’re able to effectively service our projects from our waterfront office in Seattle, we realized there were distinct advantages to a more local presence.”
– Kustaa Mansfield

“Our team is experienced in alternate delivery and is sufficiently resourced to deliver a wide range of construction services along the coastline of the Western United States and Canada,” said Mansfield. “Despite our expanding capacities, our greatest asset continues to be our people.”

What sets PPM apart

When asked what the secret is to PPM’s success, Mansfield says it is their people, their discipline and their culture.

“Our team goes the extra mile to ensure successful delivery well before the project begins. At the earliest level, we try to identify work that aligns with our equipment and expertise, so we can offer significant benefits to the project and the client,” he said. “The work we do is often highly specialized, requiring the right equipment – but in the end, the engine is always the people. Many of our key influencers have been impacting the industry for over 30 years. We have a strong culture of getting to ‘yes’ without compromising the safety of our workers. We’re actively looking for ways to accomplish work more efficiently and cost effectively, and more safely.”

PPM is regarded as an industry leader when it comes to safety and reliability. The company attributes this to a keen focus on three key principles: safety, quality and innovation.

“We take care of the little things often and early so they don’t become stumbling blocks later in the project,” said Mansfield. “To that end, we’re constantly exploring ideas to lower cost and increase productivity without affecting safety or quality. We empower our crews to think creatively. A common phrase around here is, ‘The impossible just takes a little longer.’”

From preconstruction to final development, PPM’s team works in a collaborative manner to understand the unique needs of each project. This partnering process ensures a clear vision from the earliest stages of the project.

What also sets PPM apart from its competitors is its extensive experience in land, marine and specialty projects.

With respect to land projects, PPM’s list is seemingly endless. The company is capable of nearly every conceivable combination of driven and drilled pile from large to small diameter concrete, wood, steel, spin-fin, open, conical tip and fiber-reinforced plastic pile.

“Our team has installed foundation pile in just about every environment or condition you can think of – from Arctic conditions during winter installations to crossing wetlands, military installations, around active power lines or traffic zones, near seismically sensitive historical or commercial locations,” said Mansfield.

Project to watch

While there have been numerous projects that PPM has been involved in, Mansfield notes one in particular – its current project for the SR 519 Seattle Multimodal Terminal at Colman Dock, the ferry’s flagship hub along the Seattle waterfront.

Washington State Ferries (WSF) is replacing the aging and seismically vulnerable parts of Colman Dock in Seattle in order to maintain its critical role as a regional multimodal transportation hub. Colman Dock is WSF’s largest and busiest ferry terminal, supporting transportation across Puget Sound between downtown Seattle and communities in Kitsap County and the Olympic Peninsula. It serves general and commercial purpose traffic, high-occupancy vehicles, transit, bicyclists and pedestrians. In 2016, it served a ridership of more than 9 million people, including more than 5 million foot passengers.

PPM’s scope includes replacing the timber trestle with a new concrete and steel trestle, reconfiguring the dock layout to provide safer and more efficient operations, replacing the vehicle transfer span and the overhead loading structures of the northernmost Slip 3, replacing the King County water taxi facility on the south edge of the dock, constructing a new entry building, elevated plaza and view platform and maintaining a connection to First Avenue via the Marion Street Bridge.

Construction will be performed in stages, as it is an occupied facility that must continue to operate during construction and satisfy mitigation for an additional 5,200 square feet of overwater coverage. Implementation of the project involves complex scheduling, phasing and coordination with a large number of project stakeholders including the end users, which creates unique and complex working conditions. There is also a meaningful environmental element. An estimated 7,400 tons of creosote-treated timber piles will be removed from Elliott Bay and open up an area of shoreline and near-shore habitat. Other environmental considerations include stormwater treatment for new and replaced areas of the trestle and remediation of contaminated sediments.

Construction activities began this spring with construction expected to be complete in early 2023. Major in-water work is limited to half the year due to environmental regulations to protect marine species. A successful test pile program was carried out by PPM to evaluate pile size and type and amass underwater acoustical data to assist regulatory agencies in determining the appropriate monitoring zones for protected species, both major considerations for the implementation of the project.

“Beyond the regional importance of this project, it also marks an important departure from conventional design-bid-build traditionally employed in favour of alternative delivery methods, in this case GC/CM,” said Mansfield. “By doing so, it allows us to bring to bear our considerable experience with over-water demolition and construction and understanding of pile installation, and capture that as added value for the project. We’re very proud to be a part of this program and look forward to our continued partnership with the state to steward this project to great success.”

As for what the future holds for PPM and its involvement in Canada, PPM Civil Constructors is excited about the direction the market is heading and the great teaming opportunities with companies providing complementary services in the environmental, heavy civil, and deep foundation markets. Keep an eye out for more PPM-lead projects ahead.  🍁

Category: Profile

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.

Sign Up

Submit your email to receive our e-newsletter.