Top Projects 2010: Industrial/Winner

Aurora East Pillar Relocation

The Aurora East Pillar Relocation, a reconfiguration of a crusher and associated facilities for Syncrude Canada Ltd. in the oilsands region near Fort McMurray, Alta., had to be done quickly. Construction manager Graham Industrial Services Ltd. was given just 40 days to move the 1,350-tonne crusher, 1,000-foot conveyor and 400-tonne drive station three kilometres.

"We had to build a new crusher slot; turn the whole system off; disconnect the whole thing electrically, mechanically and structurally; assemble some new support structures; take it apart piece by piece and move the conveyor sections to a what's known as a ‘laydown area' until the crusher and drive station were relocated," explains Blair Ouellette, construction manager for Graham Industrial Services in Fort McMurray, describing just part of the project.

There were three major phases to the move. First, the infrastructure for the move was built, then the move took place. Lastly, the crusher had to be fine-tuned by electricians and millwrights before it could be put back into operation.

To expedite the schedule, the structure was moved in large sections. One truss installation weighed 73 tonnes. The crusher facility itself was jacked up off its foundation and moved using self-propelled modular transporters - trailers with row after row of tires, steered by remote control. The crusher took just six hours to relocate.

Graham and Syncrude worked around the clock to get the job done. "It took three different groups planning diligently and working as a team," says Brandon Pratt, a project manager with Graham.

Planning meetings took place twice each day and each task was tracked to the hour.

Graham also adopted Syncrude's Systems for Management. Shifts began with the team discussing what would be done that day. At the end of each shift, they'd review what was accomplished and determine why tasks were pushed back and how to improve performance.

Graham will use the system on all projects for Syncrude, with which it has a five-year construction management contract. The relocation was the first job under that contract.

The move went so well that Syncrude was able to reactivate the crusher four days ahead of schedule.

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