Top Projects 2007: Industrial/Winner


One of the industrial projects that has people talking in Alberta's oil patch is Shell Canada's Albian Village.

Everyone knows how difficult it is finding good workers in this red-hot economy. So Shell Canada created Albian Village for workers helping to construct its Albian Sands Expansion 1 project at the Jackpine Mine near Fort McMurray. Albian Village is not your typical camp. "It's more like a hotel," boasts Paul Hagel, a Shell Canada spokesman.

Albian Village features a 115,000 sq. ft core building. The camp also has a gymnasium, running track, workout facility, lounge, indoor hockey rink, lecture hall, and dining area. Oh, and a softball field. And a full-service Tim Hortons restaurant. And a retail store called On the Go, where items such as Albian Village hooded sweatshirts will be sold.

The core building is connected by a series of elevated walkways to housing modules. The modules were assembled by ATCO Structures, the general contractor. Both Shell Canada and ATCO Structures also credit Clark Builders with playing a key role in the camp's design and construction.

The camp has 2,460 rooms, each equipped with a full-size bed, Internet service, satellite television, phone, and a flat-screen LCD TV. The bulk of the rooms-1,980-share washrooms. The other 480 have individual washrooms, a couch, and a desk.

The first workers moved in during late August.

Shell Canada won't say what the camp costs to build, but judging from its size and all that's included, it easily meets Alberta Construction Magazine's $4-million or over criteria to be considered as a Top Project.

In announcing the award of work to ATCO Structures last year, Terry Letherby, upstream expansion project manager for Shell Canada's Athabasca Oil Sands Project, said: "We are looking to attract skilled people from across Canada to work on our project, so offering top-notch accommodation is essential."

Talk about a home away from home.


Transwest Mining System Inc.'s new $16 million facility west of Edmonton is an 118,000 sq. ft building set on 10 acres in a park-like setting.

Designed by Temofychuk Gerbitz Architects Ltd., the building can be expanded on three sides to handle future growth. That's critical to Transwest, which provides the off-highway trucks, hydraulic shovels, rotary blasthole drills, and parts and service to open pit mines in western Canada.

Seko Construction Ltd. constructed the building, located in the Acheson industrial area, using a design build project delivery method. The building integrates pre-engineered and conventional steel structures to provide open span crane capability for shop facilities while also providing quiet high-end office space. The shop has 10 double-girder overhead cranes for working on the equipment.


The Albian Aerodrome is a private airport at Albian Sands Energy Inc.'s Expansion 1 project in the oilsands about 80 km north of Fort McMurray.

Designed and built by Noramac Ventures-a joint-venture between North American Construction Group and Fort McKay First Nations-the project includes a 45m by 2,300-m runway. The runway is designed to handle an Airbus A319, which can carry over 120 passengers. Also included were construction of a terminal building with a capacity to handle 150 people, and a ground support equipment shelter to house maintenance equipment.

Work began in January. The project moved into full swing after spring break-up. Crews worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week for most of the summer.

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