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COVID-19 FAQ: Impacts on Canadian construction and engineering

For the first time since the pandemic struck, it feels as though the good news may finally be outweighing the bad. Canada’s construction sector has remained resilient throughout the pandemic, as governments doubled-down on infrastructure spending to boost the economy. Now, with Canada’s vaccine rollout well underway and continued promises of mass vaccination of Canadians by September it feels as though there may be an end in sight. 

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Are employers in the engineering and construction sectors hiring right now?

Hiring has resumed but many clients are taking a cautious approach due a prevailing sense of uncertainty. With a high number of firms laying off workers across industrial (Oil & Gas), there are quite a few free agents in the market. Most of our clients are preoccupied with procedures to bring their workers back into the office while adapting to stringent new health and safety measures, including social distancing.

Given different provinces and specific projects have different restrictions in place, it’s ideal to research the relevant province and project.

We’re always keen to hear from motivated job seekers so feel free to create a profile and we can arrange a chat around your employment preferences. Our consultative approach is focused on working with motivated candidates to find them the right opportunity in the market. We have strong client relationships which allow us open channels of communication. Timing is everything in recruitment and we can monitor the market on your behalf.

How long will it be before employers start hiring as usual again?

Hard to say. We’re certainly looking at a tighter employment market across all parts of Canada but many of our clients are planning to grow again in 2021. It’s likely we will observe extremely competitive employment markets for the next year or so as the economy contracts. Prior to Covid, the construction market was facing a huge shortage of workers so there has been a dramatic swing bringing us to an employer’s market once again.

As we adapt to a calming of the health crisis, we’re watching for any signs of strain in financial markets. The economic shock will impact all sectors of construction, but we expect commercial, industrial, and residential to be hardest hit. Public projects across institutional buildings and infrastructure will also be impacted, but investment in Canada’s infrastructure sector is long overdue and there is hope that Canada will maintain commitments to public infrastructure. We expect some major infrastructure projects to be postponed or cancelled as the Canadian government will likely try to balance their books after lots of welfare spending to counter higher unemployment levels. All in all, we expect Canada’s economy to perform relatively stronger than other Western economies as Canada doubles down on infrastructure spending as an economic recovery tactic. 

While there will be exceptions, most construction companies have started hiring again as they find their feet in the new normal.

I’m an unemployed jobseeker here in Canada right now, what advice can you offer?

As Canada adapts to a huge economic shock, finding employment will become difficult relative to the pre-Covid era. In construction, most clients are comfortable with their current pipeline but there remains some uncertainty as they look towards the future. Reduced budgets and falling construction costs may lead to clients delaying final decisions. Many companies will resist the temptation to hire in times of prolonged uncertainty. 

If you are a newcomer to Canada, we urge you to ensure that you have adequate emergency medical insurance (via public health plan or private means) to cover Covid-19-related risks.

If you are eligible for Employment Insurance in Canada, we urge you to register.

In terms of being proactive, we urge you to use our free resume templates and comprehensive Outpost blogs to help you return to the employment market as soon as possible. With high levels of unemployment expected in the post Covid-19 era, it’s critical that every candidate can up their game and present their work experience in the best possible manner. Investing time in your CV/resume will be the best time investment you can make as

My employment is uncertain / has been terminated. What action can I take?

We recommend you contact Service Canada and follow the relevant provincial guidelines to understand your employment rights. We highly recommend you research and prepare to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) if or when you receive negative news.

We highly recommend you research and prepare to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) so you can have your next steps planned if you do receive negative news.

I’m due to fly to Canada before June 2021 to activate my status in Canada. What should I do?

If you decide it is necessary to travel to Canada, your ability to enter the country depends on your immigration status. Canada has closed all international borders, including the Canada-U.S. border, to all foreign nationals unless you meet one of a handful of exceptions. For foreign workers, the most common exceptions are as follows: 

Work permit holders: Canada is allowing temporary workers who have already been issued a work permit or approved for a work permit to enter the country. The exception to this rule is IEC participants, who are only able to enter if they have already activated their work permit and had left Canada temporarily, or have already been approved for a work permit and have an offer of employment from a Canadian employer.

Canadian permanent residents: Canadian permanent residents are eligible to enter the country at this time. 

Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR-holders): If you were approved for Canadian permanent resident status prior to March 18, 2020, you are able to travel to Canada to activate your status. If you were approved after this date, you will have to wait for restrictions to be lifted. US residents who hold valid COPRs are also eligible to enter Canada at this time.

Please refer to this page for a list of other exemptions to travel restrictions.

Regardless of your status in Canada, if you travel to the country from any foreign country you will be subject to additional screening measures at the Port of Entry and you will be mandated to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. If you do not have a plan for your 14 day self-isolation, you may be denied entry. You will also be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of your travel to Canada.

If you travel to Canada by air, you will also be required to book a three-night stay at a government-authorized hotel while you await the results of a mandatory COVID-19 test you take upon arrival in Canada.

Please note that immigration regulations are changing rapidly during the coronavirus outbreak in Canada. For up-to-date travel advice and information on how it may be possible to extend the validity period of your travel documents, please visit the COVID-19 and travel to Canada page on our sister website, Moving2Canada.com, and read the relevant instructions for the program you have been approved under. 

My immigration or work permit application is in progress, how long will it take to receive final approval? 

Canada’s immigration authorities have told applicants to expect delays in processing in the coming months. Applications are still being accepted and processed for most programs, but delays are likely. Please refer to this Government of Canada page for the latest information.

I was meant to start a new job in the coming months, will I still be able to start as planned?

You should contact your employer or recruiter directly if they haven’t already contacted you. It would be good to understand how the employer is handling the current circumstances and the likelihood that you will start your new job. Many staff at the companies undertook a period of remote work during the early months of the pandemic, but much of the construction workforce has returned to work on site. 

I recently moved to Canada, should I consider returning home until things can return to normal?

This is an important consideration, but is a decision that only you can make. With vaccinations now circulating, it may be that the worst of the pandemic is now behind us. Provided that you have been able to secure adequate housing, employment, and the other requisite comforts and supports to sustain yourself, Canada may be the place to stay.

How will I know when Outpost Recruitment has new employment opportunities again?

We will be sure to send notifications such as newsletters with job opportunities, once available. Make sure you create a profile with us so we can keep you updated.  We are excited to hopefully bring you good news down the line.

Where can I find more information about how COVID-19 may affect my move to Canada?

Our sister website, Moving2Canada.com, has already helped thousands of people in Canada and around the world get to grips with this evolving situation. Moving2Canada offers:

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Bridge & highway construction projects in Canada’s transportation infrastructure sector

Big spending on transportation infrastructure: that’s the key to Canada’s economic recovery from COVID-19. Within the government’s commitment to increased infrastructure spending are a range of construction projects in the transportation sector. While transportation infrastructure projects, including plenty of highway construction, were on the docket even before COVID-19, necessary to address aging infrastructure and population growth in urban areas across the country, the pandemic has accelerated the spending on transportation.

In this article, we take a comprehensive look at some of Canada’s biggest transportation infrastructure projects, with an emphasis on highway construction, categorized in terms of preconstruction or project delivery phase. Please note that we’ve excluded rail construction projects from this list, as we have published a separate guide exclusive to rail projects in Canada.

Do you want to work on one of these projects? Get in touch with us.

Outpost Recruitment is a leading talent agency that works with both local and international players in the infrastructure sector. Our clients include general contractors, subcontractors and consulting firms (program management and engineering)

Outpost Recruitment specialise in the following areas:

  • Executive leadership
  • Operations 
  • Project Management
  • Commercial Management
  • Design Management
  • Site Supervision

Projects in Preconstruction / Procurement Stage

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Construction Phase

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Preconstruction / Procurement Stage

Highway running through Salmon Arm, British Columbia
A portion of the highway in Salmon Arm, BC, pictured here, will soon be upgraded to include four lanes. | Photo by the Government of British Columbia

Trans-Canada Highway 1 into Salmon Arm (4-laning), Salmon Arm, BC — $184.7m

This project is an upgrading of the highway to a modern, 100 km/h, four-lane standard, which will allow traffic to move more safely and efficiently. Two separate contracts have been awarded:

1. Salmon Arm West — 1st Ave. SW to 10th Ave. SW

This portion of the Highway 1 Kamloops to Alberta program involves widening a 2.2-km section of highway to four lanes from 1st Ave. SW to 10th Ave. SW in Salmon Arm.

2. Salmon Arm West — 10th Ave. SW to 10th St. SW

This portion of the Highway 1 Kamloops to Alberta program involves widening 1.0 kilometres of highway from two to four lanes between 10th Ave SW and 10th Street SW in Salmon Arm.

Status: Works due to start in Fall, 2020.

Highway 1 Expansion: 216th St to 264th St, Langley (Greater Vancouver), BC — $257m

This project involves widening Highway 1 between 216th Street and 264th Street in Langley. Work involves widening a total of ten kilometres between 216th Street and 264th Street by adding a new high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in each direction, reconfiguring the 232nd Street interchange, and adding a new underpass at Glover Road (BC Rail/Roberts Bank Connecting Rail Line) and the CP Rail crossing.

Status: RFQ due in early 2021. Highway construction is expected to start in 2021 and be completed by 2025.

Kennedy Overpass, Pitt Meadows (Greater Vancouver), BC — $140m

The project includes a new four-lane underpass beneath the rail crossing at Harris Road and a new two-lane overpass above the rail crossing at Kennedy Road which will serve CP’s Vancouver Intermodal Facility.

Status: RFQ due in 2021.

Holdem Overpass, Burnaby (Greater Vancouver), BC — $145m

A new four-lane road overpass for Holdem Avenue over the railway through Central Burnaby.

Status: RFQ due in 2021.

Portside / Blundell Road Improvements, Richmond (Greater Vancouver), BC — $100m

The project includes:

    • A new overpass on Portside Road at Blundell Road to cross over the CN rail line
    • Widening Blundell Road from two lanes to four lanes, between the No. 8 Road intersection and just west of York Road
    • A new bridge and extension of Portside Road over the No. 7 Road Canal

Status: RFQ released in Dec 2020.

Replacement of George Massey Tunnel, Vancouver, BC — $2bn+

The initial 10-lane bridge project was cancelled after the procurement process had been completed in 2017. Whether it takes the form of a smaller bridge, a new large tunnel, or an additional tunnel to twin the existing structure, we expect to see some movement on this project in 2021.

Status: RFQ due in 2021.

Anthony Henday Drive South West Widening, Edmonton, AB — $100m

The project will widen the existing 18-kilometre southwest portion of Anthony Henday Drive from Whitemud Drive to 111th Street NW. The current roadway was designed for 40,000 vehicles per day and is used by 80,000 vehicles per day.

Status: RFQ due in 2021.

Highway 3 Twinning (Taber to Burdett), Southern Alberta — $153m

This project will twin Highway 3 from Taber to Burdett. Design on the project will begin immediately and construction will begin in 2021.

Status: RFQ due in 2021.

Highway 11 Twinning, Alberta — $120m

Highway 11 will be twinned from Sylvan Lake to Rocky Mountain House. The total distance of the new twinned highway will be 66 kilometers. 

Status: RFQ due in 2021.

Highway 3, Ontario — <$200m DBF

Widening of Highway 3 from two to four lanes between Essex and Leamington.

Status: RFQ due in 2021.

Highway 17, Ontario — <$500m DBF

The four-lane expansion of Highway 17 between Renfrew and Arnprior.

Status: RFQ due in 2021.

QEW Garden City Skyway, Toronto, ON — $TBD

The existing QEW Garden City Skyway is a 48-span, high-level bridge that is 2.2 km long, 28m wide and carries the QEW over the Welland Canal, connecting the City of St. Catharines and the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The Garden City Skyway Project includes construction of a new QEW Garden City Skyway twin bridge to the north and rehabilitation of the existing QEW Garden City Skyway.

Status: Currently in planning phase. RFQ due in 2021.

GTA West Highway (Highway 413), Greater Toronto Area, ON — $6bn

The GTA-West Highway would run from the Highway 401/Highway 407 interchange near Milton, to Highway 400 near Kleinburg.

Status:  This highway proposal, also known as Highway 413, was cancelled in 2018, but then resurrected by the current government. RFQ expected during 2021

La Crete Bridge, AB — $200m

Proposed bridge in Northern Lights Country

Status: Pre-RFQ

Projects in Construction Phase

Construction on highway in Kicking Horse Canyon, British Columbia
Construction is underway for major highway improvements in Kicking Horse Canyon, pictured here. | Photo by the Government of British Columbia

Kicking Horse Canyon Highway, Golden, BC — $700m

The fourth phase of work on this project is 4.8 kilometres of highway in Golden, BC, and is expected to begin in Fall 2020.

Status: Awarded in September, 2020. Highway construction will begin by December, 2020.

Nordel Interchange, Greater Vancouver Area, BC — DB — $260m

The Highway 91/17 Upgrade Project will improve travel safety and efficiency on Highway 91, Highway 17, and the Highway 91 Connector.

Status: Awarded in September, 2020. Highway construction will begin by December, 2020.

Stoney Trail Bridges, Calgary, AB — $48m

Scope to widen the westbound bridge and build a new, stand-alone pedestrian bridge over the Bow River in southeast Calgary. The project will boost the number of lanes to four in each direction — currently the eastbound crossing has two lanes, while the westbound has three.

Status: Highway construction started in Spring 2020 and will continue until 2023.

Lower Lynn Improvement, North Vancouver, BC — $198m

A new overpass and on-ramps connecting Main Street/Dollarton Highway to the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing.

Status: Completion by mid-2021.

Pattullo Bridge, Vancouver, BC — DB — $1.4bn

The $1.4bn design-build lump sum contract specifies the delivery of a new four-lane suspension ~1.2km cable stay bridge crossing the Fraser River between New Westminster and Surrey.

Status: Project awarded in July 2020. New bridge to open in 2023, demolition of existing bridge due by 2025.

Calgary Airport Trail Expansion (Phase 2), Calgary, AB — $153m

The Airport Trail Phase 2 project will look to provide motorists with an improved connection to Stoney Trail, and create greater efficiency by building intersections at 19 Street NE and Barlow Trail.

Status: In progress since 2018. Completion by 2022.

QEW/Credit River Improvement, Greater Toronto Area, ON — DBF $200-500m

Construction of a new twin bridge north of the existing Credit River Bridge and rehabilitation of the existing Credit River Bridge.

Status: Project awarded in November, 2020. Construction is set to start in Q1 2021.

Gordie Howe International Bridge, Windsor, ON — $5.7bn DBOM

2.5-kilometre cable-stayed bridge with six lanes (three Canadian-bound and three U.S.-bound), and two approach bridges. The project also includes a 130-acre Canadian Port of Entry and a 148-acre U.S. Port of Entry. 

Status: Completion in 2024.

Highway 401, Greater Toronto Area, ON — DBOF $640m

The Highway 401 Expansion encompasses approximately 18 km of reconstruction and widening in the western part of the Greater Toronto Area, from the Credit River in Mississauga to Regional Road 25 in Milton. It consists of two 10-lane segments, two 12-lane core collector systems, and median high-occupancy-vehicle lanes. The scope of work also includes bridge reconstruction and replacement, structural culvert replacements, drainage and utilities work, and ecological restoration.

Status: In progress. Completion date scheduled for late 2022.

Highway 427 Expansion , Greater Toronto Area, ON — $616m DBFM

This project encompasses a new 6.6-kilometer extension from Highway 7 to Major Mackenzie Drive. Also includes a 4-kilometer road widening from Finch Avenue to Highway 7.

Status: Due for completion by 2021.

West Calgary Ring Road Project, Calgary, AB — DBFO — $1.42bn

The West Calgary Ring Road project will be completed in three parts — the north project (DB1), south project (DB2), and the West Bow River Bridge (WBRB):

  • North project — 3km of six- and eight-lane divided freeway between Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) and the Old Banff Coach Road. Reconstructing 5km of Highway 1, 18 bridges, two interchanges, one flyover – 1 Avenue SW.
  • South project — 5km of six- and eight-lane divided freeway between Old Banff Coach Road and Highway 8 including seven bridges and four interchanges.
  • Bow River Bridge twinning — Twinning the bridge over the Bow River on the northwest segment of the ring road. Widening about 2km of northwest Stoney Trail from Crowchild Trail to Scenic Areas Link.

Status: Completion date of 2024.

Southwest Calgary Ring Road, Calgary, AB — DBFO — $1.42bn

The South West Project consists of 31 kilometres of six-lane and eight-lane divided highway, 14 interchanges, 47 bridges, one road flyover, one railway crossing (flyover), one culvert set, one tunnel, as well as three river crossings over the Elbow River and Fish Creek.

Status: Completion by 2021

Highway 104 Twinning, Nova Scotia — $718m P3

38-km length of highway that will include a two-lane twinned highway and 10 km of new four-lane twinned highway.

Status: Completion by 2023.

Highway 15 Twinning, Edmonton, AB — $200m

Plans call for the twinning of the Highway 15 bridge near Fort Saskatchewan, along with intersection improvements at Highway 37 and Highway 825. The project is projected to cost up to $200M. 

Status: Construction commenced in Summer, 2019. Project will be completed by end of 2021.

Tlicho All-Season Road, Northwest Territories — $411.8m P3

This three-year construction project will link Whati, traditionally a fly-in community on Lac La Martre, to nearby Highway 3, which loops around Great Slave Lake to the territory’s capital and largest city.

Status: Completion by 2021.

Please get in touch at [email protected] if you notice any errors or omissions in this list of projects.

If you enjoyed this article, you might want to check out some of our related guides:

As both a short-term and long-term economic strategy, Canada is set to welcome many more transportation infrastructure projects in the months and years to come. Expertise in major transportation projects is in demand so get in touch with the Outpost Recruitment team to learn more about opportunities that suit your experience.

If you’re interested in working on any of these projects, get in touch with us by creating your profile with Outpost Recruitment.

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Canada’s major healthcare and hospital construction projects

In order to recover from the economic impacts COVID-19, Canada is committed to heavy infrastructure spending. One of the main sectors set to benefit from this increased infrastructure spending is hospital construction. This article is your definitive guide to Canada’s ongoing and upcoming hospital construction projects. 

Below is a guide of active hospital construction projects in Canada, categorized in terms of preconstruction or project delivery phase.  

Interested in working on one of these projects? Get in touch.

Outpost Recruitment is a leading talent agency that works with both local and international players in the buildings sector. Our clients include general contractors, subcontractors and consulting firms (program management and engineering).

Outpost Recruitment specialises in the recruitment of construction professionals across the following areas:

  • Executive Leadership
  • Operations 
  • Project Management
  • Commercial Management
  • Design Management
  • Site Supervision

Active roles:
Senior Project Manager, Healthcare | General Contractor | Vancouver / Toronto / Halifax
Project Manager – Design Build | General Contractor | Vancouver / Toronto / Halifax
Construction Manager, Healthcare | General Contractor | Vancouver / Toronto / Halifax

Projects in Preconstruction Stage

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Construction Phase

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Preconstruction Stage

Lions Gate Hospital, Vancouver – $190m DB

Phase 3 of the Lions Gate Hospital Redevelopment Project. The scope of the project includes the design and construction of a new six-story acute care facility and minor renovations on Levels 0-2 in the adjacent Paul Myers South Tower and Northern Expansion buildings.

Status: RFP submitted in Q3. Award expected in Q1 2021.

Burnaby Hospital, Vancouver – $205m DBF / $185m CM

The design and construction of a new 6-level Inpatient/Outpatient Tower, a new 5-level expansion to the south side of the existing Support Facilities Building, renovations to levels 2-4 of the Support Facilities Building, and levels 0 and 1 of the Nursing Tower, including select mechanical and electrical elements and demolition of the Cascade and West Wing Buildings.

The construction cost of the Project is estimated to be approximately $390 million. The DBF Scope construction value is anticipated to be approximately $205 million and the CM construction value approximately $185 million.

Status: RFP issued in June 2020. Contract award in May 2021.

Burnaby Hospital Phase II, Vancouver – $750m

Phase II of redevelopment.

Status: RFQ to be issued in late 2021.

Mills Memorial Hospital Redevelopment, Terrace, BC – $500m DBF

Development of a new, approximately 26,440 square-metres (284,500 square-feet) acute care hospital and integrated services facility. The hospital will be a centre for trauma services, orthopedic surgeries, pathology, radiology, clinical support and pharmacy services, as well as a training site for medical students in the Northern Medical Program.

Status: RFP issued in Feb 2020. 

West Lincoln Memorial Hospital Redevelopment, Greater Toronto Area – DBF $500m

Scope involves constructing a new, larger hospital on the property behind the existing facility. 

Status: RFQ is expected to be released in early 2021.

Corner Brook Acute Care Hospital, Newfoundland P3 DBFM $700m

The new 7-storey, 600,000 square-foot hospital will be connected to the 145-bed long-term care facility that Plenary Health is currently building on the site. It will have 164 beds with the same services currently provided at Western Memorial Regional Hospital, as well as an expanded cancer care program, including radiation services.

Status: Started in late 2019. Due for completion in 2023.

Cariboo Memorial Hospital Redevelopment, Williams Lake, BC $147m

Development of new clinical and support spaces that will be constructed in a new expansion and in renovated space on the existing Cariboo Memorial Hospital site. This includes the emergency department, medical/surgical inpatient units, maternal care and women’s health, mental health and substance use inpatient unit, pharmacy services and University of British Columbia faculty of medicine academic space.

Status: RFP to be issued in Q3 2020. Due for completion by 2025

Kingston General Hospital Development Phase II, Kingston, ON – $500 DBF

The redevelopment will see four buildings torn down and replaced with a tower of between 8 to 12 storeys, and within it will be operating rooms, a pharmacy, neonatal ICU, labs, a data centre and the emergency department.

Status: RFQ due in Spring 2021.

Bowmanville Hospital Redevelopment, Clarington, ON – $<200m

Construction of a new hospital wing, which will replace the existing north wing, along with a new emergency department, surgical services, critical care unit, inpatient units and diagnostic imaging.

Status: RFP in Winter 2021.

Richmond Hospital, Acute Care Tower, Greater Vancouver, BC – TBD

The 9-storey project includes a new emergency department and intensive care unit, and a new medical imaging unit. It will add 110 new beds, bringing the total at the hospital to 350.

Status: RFQ expected in 2021.

Nova Scotia Hospital Centre QEII Redevelopment – $2bn P3 DBF

Two components:

Halifax Infirmary Expansion – ~$1.6bn
Status: RFP issued for infirmary expansion in Dec 2020.  Companies to submit their proposal is Fall 2021. The successful bidder is expected to be announced in spring 2022.

Bayers Lake Outpatient Centre – $259m DB
Status: Contract awarded on Aug 21.

Dawson Creek Hospital Redevelopment – $378m

A new 70-bed hospital with a larger emergency room to replace their decades-old facility. The new hospital will be approximately 19,400 square metres (209,000 square feet) and will have 70 beds, an increase of 24, all of which will be in single rooms with ensuite washrooms. It will provide a range of surgical services as well as chemotherapy, ambulatory care, radiology, clinical support and pharmacy services.

Status: RFQ issued in Oct 2021. Construction due to start by end of 2021. Scheduled to open fall 2025.

Grandview Children’s Treatment Centre Redevelopment – $263 P3 DBF

Construction of a new five-storey building in Ajax, Ontario.

Status: RFQ issued in Sept 2020. Three teams shortlisted in Feb 2021. Financial close in Dec 2021.

South Niagara Hospital – >$1bn DBFM

Construction of the 108,000 square metre hospital could begin in late 2022, with possible completion in 2026.

Status: RFQ issues on Feb 9 2021. Shortlist for RFP stages expected in Q3 2021

Cowichan Hospital, BC – $877m

Replacement hospital which is set to triple the capacity of the existing hospital. Project will be delivered under Alliance model

Status: RFP announced April 2021. RFP will close by Q1 2022. Construction will start by Q2 2022.

New Surrey Hospital, Greater Vancouver, BC – $750m

Replacement hospital which is set to triple the capacity of the existing hospital.

Status: RFP set to close in Spring 2021. Construction will start by Summer 2021.

Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Redevelopment, ON – $200m BF

New hospital to be equipped with 18 in-patient beds with space to expand for another five beds, a 24-7 emergency department, diagnostic imaging, a surgical suite, dialysis and ambulatory care.

Status: Pre-RFQ.

Queensway Health Centre, ON – DBFM $500m-$1bn

Status: RFQ due in Fall 2021

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – Phase 1D Redevelopment, ON – DBF $500m-$1bn

A new, highly-specialized Forensics Building is the latest phase of a development at the CAMH.

Status: RFQ due in Fall 2021.

Mississauga Hospital Site, Toronto GTA – DBFM $2bn

Status: RFQ due in Winter 2022.

The Ottawa Hospital – Civic Redevelopment, Ottawa – DBFM $2bn

Status: RFQ due in Fall 2022.

Juravinski Hospital, Hamilton, ON – $1bn TBD

Early stages of development to replace the E, F, and M wings with a modern tower that will include space for growth.

Status: RFQ due in 2023.

Mountainview Health Complex, AB – $  P3 TBD

The town of Beaverlodge, Alberta, and the county of Grande Prairie recently released a request for proposals (RFP) searching for a partner to form a public-private partnership (P3) with the town to own, design, build, manage and maintain a Mountainview Health Complex.

Status: RFP due in Mar 2021

New Edmonton Hospital, AB – $1.5bn P3 

Status: RFQ expected in Q3 2021

Vaudreuil-Soulanges Hospital, AB – $1.7bn

The project, worth 1.7 billion, will add 404 beds to the health network, and will include 41 stretchers in the emergency room and 11 surgical rooms.
Status: RFQ expected in 2022

Projects in Construction Phase

Surgeon standing in the Vancouver General Hospital's Surgical Centre
The Vancouver General Hospital’s Surgical Centre is on track to get a major upgrade in the coming years. Photo credit: Province of British Columbia.

New Marksdale Hospital, Marksdale, ON – DB – $70m

The new hospital will include 68,000 square feet of space and will include inpatient beds, a palliative care room, 24/7 emergency room with four exam and treatment areas, laboratory, diagnostic imaging services, physiotherapy, space for ambulatory care clinics, and two ambulance bays.

Status: Project awarded in Feb 2021. Construction to begin in Q2 2021

St Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver – DB – $2.2bn

The new hospital and health campus to be constructed at a new greenfield site will have capacity for up to 548 beds, which includes 115 net new beds. The site will be the home of several leading provincial programs and referral centres, including for heart and lung care, renal, eating disorders and specialty surgeries and transplants.

Status: Project awarded in Jan 2021. Due to open by 2026.

Stuart Lake Hospital Redevelopment, Fort St. James, Northern BC – $116m DBF

Development of a new Stuart Lake Hospital to serve Fort St. James and the surrounding area. Design and construction of a new hospital with 9 in-patient acute beds, 18 long-term care beds, emergency care, medical imaging, laboratory, and supporting services and Primary Care Clinic. Includes the demolition of the existing hospital, construction of surface parking, landscaping, and redundant emergency access.

Status: RFQ issued in June 2020.

Royal Columbian Hospital Redevelopment Phase 2&3, Greater Vancouver – $1.2bn DBF

Phase two will include a new 350-bed acute care tower on the north side of the hospital with multiple floors for acute and critical care patients, an Emergency Department with a satellite medical imaging unit, an interventional floor with operating rooms, interventional radiology and cardiology suites, recovery suites, an underground parkade, main entrance, and rooftop heliport. Phase two will also incorporate energy centre equipment, information management/information technology infrastructure, and demolition of some existing buildings.

Phase three will include expansion of support areas such as the laboratory, pharmacy, medical imaging, cafeteria, administration offices and ambulatory care. It will also include expansion of pediatric and neonatal intensive care units, and conversion of some four-bed patient rooms into single or semi-private rooms.

Construction on phase two is expected to run 2020 to 2024, and phase three is expected to complete in 2026. The hospital will remain fully operational throughout construction.

Status: Awarded in Jan 2021. Planning and design phase has commenced.

St. Michael’s Hospital Redevelopment, Toronto – $300m DBF

The project will include the construction of a new 17-storey patient care tower at the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets, and the renovation of approximately 150,000 square feet of existing space.

Status: Change of contractor so the original completion date has been extended.

Cortellucci (MacKenzie) Vaughan Hospital, Toronto – $1.2bn DBFM

The new Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital will include a state-of-the-art emergency department, modern surgical services and operating rooms, specialized ambulatory clinics and intensive care beds.

Status: Substantial completion achieved in Sept 2020.

Michael Garron Hospital – Phase 1 Patient Care Tower, Toronto – $411m DBFM

The project involves the construction of a new 8-storey patient care tower and 3-storey connection, as well as demolition of some existing space and renovations to the existing hospital. The project will add up to approximately 550,000 square feet to the existing hospital. The project also involves renovation works of approximately 100,000 square feet of select areas within the existing hospital.

Status: Completion by 2022.

Hospital for Sick Kids, Toronto – $2.4bn DBFM

There are three phases to the project, which are expected to take a total of 10 years to complete:

A new 22-storey Patient Support Centre (ground was broken on this project in October 2019), the Peter Gilgan Family Patient Care Tower, and renovations to the existing campus.

Status: Patient Support Center due for completion by 2022. Remaining aspects due by 2030.

Calgary Cancer Centre, Calgary – $1.4bn DBFM

The new Calgary Cancer Centre (CCC) will be a world-class health-care facility and academic centre for the provision of cancer services in Southern Alberta. The CCC will be built at the Foothills Medical Centre (FMC) site on the current parking Lot 7. The facility will increase cancer care capacity in Southern Alberta by consolidating and expanding existing services in the Calgary Zone to support integrated and comprehensive cancer care, as well as clinical, academic and research needs. The CCC will support and deliver interdisciplinary and integrated care based on a philosophy that accommodates research, education, and patient- and family-focused care, and improves patient outcomes.

Status: Completion by 2023.

Grande Prairie Hospital, Grand Prairie, AB – $650m DBFM

This new 64,000-square-metre hospital is expected to provide 200 beds, a cancer care centre, and a nursing and medical careers-training facility from the Grande Prairie Regional College.

Status: Completion by 2020.

Quebec City University Hospital, Quebec, QB – $2bn

The first phase of the multi-phase project includes the construction of the Integrated Cancer Centre, along with a new generator building, power plant, and parking. As of September, Phase 1 had reached 60 percent completion. The Integrated Cancer Centre is currently on schedule to welcome its first patient in December 2020.

Status: Completion of all phases by 2025.

Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), Montreal, QB – $3.6bn P3

This next phase consists of outpatient services, clinical and administrative offices, as well as an amphitheatre and parking lots. The new 772-room, 21-storey hospital is intended to consolidate the activities of the CHUM in one location.

Phase 1 delivered by OHL and Laing O’Rourke. Phase 2 performance was taken over by a local contractor.

Status: Ongoing.

Royal Inland Hospital – Patient Care Tower (PCT), Kamloops, BC – $417m

Construction will occur in two phases. The first involves design and construction of the tower, which will house 11 operating rooms, mental health and medical/surgical beds, a surgical suite, a perinatal centre with labour and delivery rooms, obstetrics and postpartum beds and a neonatal intensive-care unit. The second phase involves renovation and expansion of the emergency department, pediatric ward, post-anesthetic recovery ward and the morgue. More parking stalls will also be added to the main hospital structure. The plan is to enlarge the ER to the area where the main hospital elevators are located.

Status: The tower is expected to open in 2022, with the second-phase expansion expected in 2024.

Vancouver General Hospital – Surgical Centre / Upgrades, Vancouver, BC – $102.4m

Expansion of the surgical centre and upgrading a number of other areas in and around the hospital to help serve patients and families better. The project includes 16 new state-of-the-art operating rooms at the Jim Pattison Pavilion, a 40-bed hospital unit for care before and after surgery, new communication systems to manage activities for health professionals across two operating floors, upgraded infrastructure and additional storage and new administrative spaces.

Status: Completion by 2021.

Peach Arch Hospital Expansion – Emergency Department / Upgrades, Surrey, BC – $83.7m

Undergoing an emergency department expansion and upgrades to better serve the growing populations in White Rock and South Surrey. The project will be completed in two phases, featuring an expanded emergency department, five upgraded perioperative suites (operating rooms), and an expansion and renovation of the medical device reprocessing department. The expansion and upgrades are part of Fraser Health’s commitment across the region to modernize the health care network, build capacity and improve timely access to quality, patient-centred care closer to home.

Status: Ongoing.

St. John’s Mental Health and Addictions Facility, St John’s, NF – $330m

Six story, 102-bed hospital with 60-bed hostel to replace the Agnes Cowan Hostel, Parking garage for 1,000 vehicles, Modern features, like an art studio and a therapeutic mall terrace.

Status: Construction starts in Spring 2021 and completion by 2024.

If you’re interested in working on any of these projects, get in touch with us by creating your profile with Outpost Recruitment.

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Rail construction and railway jobs in Canada

Canada is committed to increased infrastructure spending to boost a post-Covid economy in Canada. With aging infrastructure and strong population growth in urban areas across the country, we take a deeper look at rail construction and the proliferation of railway jobs in Canada.

Below is a snapshot of active rail construction projects in Canada, categorized in terms of preconstruction or project delivery phase.  

Interested in working on one of these projects? Get in touch.

Outpost Recruitment is a leading talent agency that works with both local and international players in the infrastructure sector. Our clients include general contractors, subcontractors and consulting firms (program management and engineering).

Outpost Recruitment specialises in the recruitment of construction professionals across the following areas:

  • Executive Leadership
  • Operations 
  • Project Management
  • Commercial Management
  • Design Management
  • Site Supervision

Please get in touch at [email protected] if you notice any errors or omissions in this list of projects.

Projects in Procurement Stage

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Construction Phase

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Procurement Stage

View of Toronto's skyline from a railway yard
Toronto’s popular GO Transit system is set to undergo several major expansions in the coming years with billions of dollars flowing into its infrastructure development.

Ontario Subway Line, Toronto – P3 DBFM – >$10bn

The Ontario Line is a 15.5-kilometre stand-alone rapid transit line that will connect the Ontario Science Centre to Exhibition/Ontario Place. Over half of the route is planned to run underground through new tunnels, with the remainder running along elevated and at-grade rail corridor sections of track. Fifteen stations are proposed, with numerous connections to the broader transit network, including GO Transit rail services, the Toronto Transit Commission’s subway Lines 1 and 2, the future Line 5 (Eglinton Crosstown LRT), as well as numerous bus and streetcar routes.

The Ontario Line is being delivered as three separate public-private partnership (P3) procurement contracts set to deliver many railway jobs in Canada:

  • Ontario Line – Southern Civil, Stations and Tunnel ($4bn) — DBF — RFP issued is Dec 2020. Financial close in Fall 2022
  • Ontario Line – Rolling Stock, Systems, O & M ($2bn) — DBFOM — RFP issued is Dec 2020. Financial close in Fall 2022
  • Ontario Line – North Civil, Stations and Tunnel ($4bn) – RFQ due in Spring 2022

Eglinton West LRT, Toronto GTA – TBD – >$5bn 

The proposed Eglinton Crosstown West Extension will bring even more rapid transit to Etobicoke and Mississauga to make it easier for people to get where they need to be each day.

The proposed extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT will run 9.2 kilometres from the future Mount Dennis LRT station to Renforth Drive and will operate mainly underground, helping to reduce travel times and improve access to jobs, schools and other destinations throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

Status: First Negotiations Proponents for Advanced Tunnelling announced in March 2021.RFQ for main works expected later in 2021.

Scarborough Subway (Line 2 East Extension), Toronto GTA – TBD – >$4bn 

A new three-stop 7.8-kilometre Scarborough Subway Extension.

Status: First Negotiations Proponents for Advanced Tunnelling announced in March 2021. RFQ for main works expected later in 2021.

Scarborough subway extension plans

Yonge Street North (Line 1 Extension) Subway, Toronto GTA – TBD – >$5bn 

The planned Yonge North Subway Extension will extend 7.4 kilometres north from Finch Station to Highway 7. This critical rapid transit link will include up to 6 stations.

Status: RFQ due in Summer / Fall 2021.

GO Rail Expansion – GO Regional Express Rail (RER), Toronto – Various – $12bn+

The GO Rail Expansion will transform the transportation network in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area over the next decade. Metrolinx will transform the GO Transit rail network into a system that will deliver two-way, all-day service every 15 minutes over core segments of the GO Rail network. System-wide infrastructure upgrades will include: adding tracks, expanding stations, electrification of the rail network, new locomotives, and train control systems to enable more frequent service.

The GO Rail Expansion is made up of 3 packages:

  • Package 1 — Enabling works — 14 separate projects underway
  • Package 2 — Stations and off-corridor
  • Package 3 — On-Corridor (tracks, civil works, electrification, rolling stock) RFP ($10bn) issued. Currently delayed. Financial submission due by mid-2021

GO Expansion: On Corridor –  $10bn DBOM

GO Rail Expansion will transform the transportation network in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area over the next decade. Metrolinx will transform the GO Transit rail network into a system that will deliver two-way, all-day service every 15 minutes over core segments of the GO Rail network. System-wide infrastructure upgrades will include: adding tracks, expanding stations, electrification of the rail network, new locomotives and train control systems to enable more frequent service.

Status: Financial close 2022

GO Rail Expansion – Union Station Enhancement – $500m Alliance Model

Construction of new platforms, two new tracks, a new concourse area and storm water management system, and other building systems. The Union Station Upgrade is being procured under the Alliance model.

Status: Contract awarded in Dec 2020.

GO Expansion: Lakeshore East – Central Corridor –  $500m BF

Two grade separations — Scarborough Golf Club Road and Morningside Avenue. Includes track and grading work from Galloway Road to Beechgrove Drive (approximately 3.4 km) and all supporting infrastructure, including retaining walls along the central segment of the Lakeshore East corridor

Status: RFP issued in April 2018. Financial close Summer 2021.

GO Expansion: Milton Corridor Upgrades –  $200m DBF

Includes Milton GO Station upgrades to the station building and Station Operations West Facility.

Status: RFP issued in April 2018. Financial close Spring 2021

GO Expansion: Lakeshore West Corridor –  $1bn DBB

Infrastructure improvements for Exhibition Station, Mimico Station, Long Branch Station, Clarkson Station, Kerr Street, Bronte Station, Burloak Drive, Drury Lane and the Lewis Road Layover Facility-Phase II expansion.

Status: Financial close Spring 2021

Surrey Langley LRT, Vancouver – TBD – $2bn+

This will be a 16-km-long Surrey Langley rail rapid transit project. The SkyTrain will travel on an elevated guideway along Fraser Highway. It will provide a seamless, eastward extension of the existing Expo Line. King George Station will connect to Langley Centre through Fleetwood and Cloverdale/Clayton.

The proposed project includes 8 stations, 3 bus exchanges, park and ride spaces, 55 SkyTrain vehicles, and an operations and maintenance centre. The project is expected to bring many railway jobs to the Vancouver area.

Status: Pre-procurement. RFQ expected in Q2 2021

Green Line LRT, Calgary – DBF – $4.9bn.

The Green Line is a light rail transit (LRT) megaproject planned to run between north-central and southeastern Calgary. When completed, the Green Line will comprise 29 stations spanning 46 kilometres. Stage 1 of construction will feature 15 stations (9 at-grade, 4 underground, 2 elevated) and has been funded and approved by Calgary City Council. Construction of Stage 1 is anticipated to start in 2021 and will complete in 2027. The scope and funding of future extensions to the north and southeast have not yet been determined.

Status: Stage 1 RFP issued on July 24, 2020.

Structuring Public Transit Network, Quebec – Tramway Component – $3.3bn

The 22-kilometre tramway will connect Charlesbourg North to Sainte-Foy West, including 35 stations, three intermodal hubs, two terminus stations, a 2.6-kilometre tunnel, and two maintenance and storage facilities. The project will include a 30-year maintenance period.

Status: RFP issued in Sept 2020.

REM de l’EST, Montreal, QC  – $10bn

Plans for the REM de l’Est project include 23 new stations and 32 kilometres of light rail tracks, both above and below ground

Status: Project in planning phase

Projects in Construction Phase

Namur Metro transit line in Montreal
Montreal’s metro system, pictured here, is undergoing a major $4-billion expansion of its Blue Line. This is one of many major Canadian rail projects already in the construction phase.

GO Expansion: Lakeshore East – West Corridor –  $500m BF

The infrastructure upgrades are required to help accommodate the planned expansion of GO Transit rail service on the Lakeshore East line.

Status: Awarded Mar 2021

Eglinton Crosstown, Toronto – $5.3bn P3

The Eglinton Crosstown is a light rail transit line that will run along Eglinton Avenue between Mount Dennis (Weston Road) and Kennedy station. This 19-kilometre corridor will include a 10-kilometre underground portion, between Keele Street and Laird Drive. The Crosstown will have up to 25 stations and stops. It will link to 54 bus routes, 3 subway stations and various GO Transit lines.

Status: Completion in 2021.

Hurontario LRT, Toronto – $4.6bn

18 kilometres of new dedicated rapid transit between the Port Credit GO Station in Mississauga and the Gateway Terminal at Steeles Avenue in Brampton. Includes 19 stops with connections to GO Transit’s Milton and Lakeshore West rail lines and a maintenance and storage facility for the light rail vehicles located south of Highway 407 and west of Kennedy Road.

Status: Completion by Fall 2024.

FinchWest LRT, Toronto – $2.5bn P3

This DBFM P3 light rail project will bring an additional 11 kilometres and 18 stops of public transit, as well as renew aging infrastructure, such as the Highway 400 overpass at Finch Ave W.
Status: Completion in 2022.

Trillium, Ottawa – $1.6bn P3

As part of the city’s Stage 2 LRT project, the Trillium Line PPP project will deliver 16km of new rail, 8 new stations, 1 major maintenance and storage facility for trains (trains depot) with capacity to up to 11 trains, and 10 new bridges.

Status: Major delays due to Covid. Completion by Aug 2022.

Ottawa LRT Phase II (Confederation Line West), Ottawa – $4.8bn P3

The second stage of Ottawa’s light rail project has grown from 30 kilometres of track to 44 kilometres, and from 19 stations to 24, extending the public transit system deeper into the suburbs of Orléans and Riverside South.

Status: Completion by 2024.

Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM) LRT, Montreal – $6.3bn P3

67kms of new track with 26 stations. Construction: 2018-2023 (ongoing).

Status: Completion by 2023.

Blue Line Extension – $4bn

5.8-kilometres of track and five new stations to the current 12-station Blue Line, one of four Metro lines that runs through the Greater Montreal Area.

Status: Completion by 2026.

Broadway Subway, Vancouver – $2.83bn

5.7 km extension of the existing Millennium Line, from VCC-Clark Station to Broadway and Arbutus. Continuing from VCC-Clark Station on an elevated guideway for 700 metres, the extension will then travel underground along Broadway for 5km. The project includes 6 new underground stations, including an interim terminus station at Arbutus Street. 

Status: Recently awarded, construction due to start Fall 2020, completion by 2025.

Broadway Subway project outline

ValleyLine LRT Phase 1, Edmonton – $1.8bn

The 13-kilometer southeast leg of a new LRT in Edmonton.

Status: Currently behind schedule. Due for completion in Q3 2021.

ValleyLine West LRT Phase 2, Edmonton – $1.9bn DBF

Design, build and partially finance 14 kilometres of new LRT with 16 stops (14 street level, 2 elevated) over its length between Downtown and Lewis Farms.

Status: Preferred bidder announced in mid-November 2020.

 

Please get in touch at [email protected] if you notice any errors or omissions in this list of projects.

If you enjoyed this content, check out other relevant blogs:

Canada is set to be a hotspot for rail infrastructure projects and railway jobs, with some mega rail projects underway and in the pipeline. Rail expertise is in demand so get in touch with the Outpost Recruitment team to learn more about opportunities.

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Top Construction and Engineering Jobs in Canada

For newcomers to Canada with a background in construction, choosing the right construction job or engineering role is one of the most important aspects of their move. Your experience and talents are key factors, but you also need to know which roles are the most in demand construction and engineering jobs in Canada.

Outpost Recruitment specializes in construction and engineering roles across Canada. With years of combined experience, we have positive relationships with clients from coast to coast. We place candidates in sectors like general contracting, design engineering and project management consulting, property development, and across ICI (Institutional Commercial and Industrial) buildings, infrastructure and industrial sectors. Our experience in mentoring and placing local and international talent in construction jobs across Canada and frequent exchange with major companies in these sectors allows us to identify those roles most frequently in demand.

In recent years, we’ve seen a huge increase in activity in various construction and engineering related industries across Canada, particularly in major cities like Vancouver and Toronto, but also regional areas across British Columbia. This includes mega projects like LNG Canada, but also a range of other municipal and regional projects. Our diligence to our work means we detect trends early on, and recently we have seen the demand for a number of top construction and engineering roles grow and grow thanks to the thriving markets in Canada. You can read more about these positions below:

 

Construction Project Manager

Job Description:

Construction Project Managers are responsible for providing overall management direction for projects, as well as being able to develop business opportunities with existing clients and developing relationships with new clients in terms of geographical and project-type priorities. Other tasks for a Construction Project Manager include the overseeing of project operations, particularly in terms of reaching profitability goals, duty assignment, health and safety implementation, budgets, scheduling and team communication.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

Candidates for a Construction Project Manager job in Canada typically need a post-secondary Degree in engineering or the equivalent of a designated Professional Engineer or a Technical School graduate in a construction-related discipline. A minimum 5 years’ related construction experience are usually required for Project Manager roles. Project Coordinators (Project Coordinator, Assistant Project Manager and Junior Project Manager are used interchangeably in Canada) require a minimum 3+ years of experience. Other required qualifications include experience with construction management and design/build formats and familiarity with computerized project management systems, including scheduling, estimating, planning and cost control.

Candidates for this role are sought across Canada. We’ve identified needs specifically in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton and currently have clients looking for promising candidates for this type of construction job. If you are ready to build your career in Canada with us, then apply here!

Commercial Manager, Infrastructure

Job Description:

Commercial Managers are responsible for all financial aspects of the project or portfolio they manage. In infrastructure construction job environments, Commercial Managers usually perform the following construction management related tasks: project design management, contract administration and negotiation, project planning, administering of sub-contracts, contract resolution, project planning, as well as commercial issues such as procurement, commercial reporting, cost control and risk management.

In addition, Commercial Managers are responsible for the strategic development that ensures business and revenue growth targets are met.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

A Bachelor’s degree in a related field and/or corresponding professional membership is required for most positions. Experienced Commercial Managers are especially sought after, and we see that candidates with a minimum of 6 years commercial management experience on major projects strive in the current Canadian construction jobs market.

A candidate’s background matters strongly for these construction management jobs in Canada. Candidates currently operating at executive level on a major project or as commercial manager in a large construction company, or with experience in managing major subcontracts and design consultancies or with previous major project Joint Venture experience are at an advantage.

Hiring managers are usually looking for a proven track record in delivering commercial outcomes on major projects, and the ability to operate and manage at the executive level of the Project structure in a PPP/PFI environment.

Opportunities for commercial management candidates exist all over Canada. We currently have clients with needs for experienced candidates in Vancouver and Toronto, as well as some fly in fly out (FIFO) opportunities in remote locations. If you are interested in building your career with an attractive commercial management position, then apply here!

Construction Project Manager, Infrastructure

Job Description:

On infrastructure projects the Construction Project Manager is one of the most important construction management jobs. The Construction Project Manager can expect to work closely and report to the Project Director. Project Managers are responsible for ensuring that the entirety of the project is completed safely, on schedule, and in compliance with the contract schedule and project budgets. On top of that, a successful Project Manager should be able to maintain positive relationships with the owner and other relevant stakeholders. The Project Manager also supports the successful acquisition and tendering of various projects, as well as providing overall administrative direction, technical expertise and additional support to project teams. While the general responsibilities of a Construction Project Manager in Canada don’t vary too much between general construction jobs and infrastructure management, the specific project experience can differ widely.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

Infrastructure construction project managers are required to possess education including an engineering degree, technical college diploma or equivalent combination of technical training and/or related experience.

Outpost Recruitment partners are particularly seeking senior Project Managers in infrastructure construction jobs, with a minimum of 7 years of experience. At this level the Project Manager needs to act with independence and lead administrative as well as field staff. The position also requires Design Build or P3 project experience and thorough knowledge of all aspects of construction (technology, equipment, methods), industry practices, estimating/budgeting, scheduling and safety requirements.

Candidates for this role are sought specifically in Vancouver and Toronto. If you are interested in building your career in Canada with a great Construction Project Management job, Outpost Recruitment is currently looking for candidates here!

Construction Estimator, Infrastructure

Job Description:

A Construction Estimator will be primarily responsible for pricing projects as assigned or directed by the Bid Manager. This multifaceted role requires the estimator to meet clients, conduct site reviews, prepare quantities, execute contract negotiations and review all other relevant information. The environment for this construction job in Canada is project driven, fast-paced and can be demanding at times.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

This role requires strong organizational and communication skills. Candidates should possess field experience in related disciplines and understanding of construction processes, the ability to read and interpret construction drawings and be proficient at using Bid2Win or a similar estimating software. Candidates with industry experience in transportation, roads and large infrastructure projects are especially sought after. A Gold Seal Certification or BCIT graduation will usually be considered additional assets.

Construction Estimators for infrastructure projects are particularly in demand in Canada and clients are often hiring on all experience levels. Outpost Recruitment has identified needs specifically in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.

Want to follow your dreams as a Construction Estimator? If so, apply here!

Construction Estimator, Buildings

Job Description:

While responsibilities of Construction Estimators are similar between infrastructure and building construction jobs, the project experience required differs significantly. The estimator’s responsibilities on building projects include the assignment and measurement of quantities, costing and sub-trade analysis, competitive bid management, and the allocation of necessary cash allowances for presentation and final review. The Estimator will be involved in estimating activities which will include preparing hard bid, cost plus and design build estimates for projects.

An Estimator will report directly to the Chief Estimator of the buildings group and will be responsible for performing all facets of an estimate for current and future construction jobs/projects.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

In the buildings sector, experienced Construction Estimators are particularly in demand and a minimum of 7 years’ experience as an estimator in the ICI sector will make for the most interesting profile. At this level the candidate will direct the work activities of other Estimators as required. A strong knowledge of the local construction industry is often necessary, making this position more challenging to attain for newcomers. Nevertheless, candidates with experience working on complex institutional, commercial, light industrial, multi-unit residential, and civil structures up to $50 Million will usually find consideration. A proven track record preparing detailed estimates and submitting lump-sum tenders as well as preparing preliminary construction schedules will also be necessary.

Candidates are required to hold a diploma in Quantity Surveying, Civil Engineering, or a diploma in Building Technology.

Outpost Recruitment is filling positions for this role across Canada, specifically in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. Want to use your skills to excel as an Estimator? If so, you can apply for this construction job here.

Electrical Engineer, Building Services

Job Description:

When it comes to engineering jobs, the Electrical Engineer is a very important position. The Electrical Engineer reports directly to the Project Manager, Senior Designer or Team Leader, depending on the project. Given the multidisciplinary nature of this role, an ideal Electrical Engineering candidate needs to be a team player with minimal supervision, as well as having great communication skills and a can-do attitude. They also need to work closely with Architects, Structural Consultants, Code Consultants, Geotechnical Consultants as the project requires. Finally, proficient operating knowledge of AutoCAD is required.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

A minimum of 3-5 years AutoCAD design experience coupled with 2 years design experience in LV, HV, control and lighting systems will usually be required. The abilities to read Architectural, Structural and Electrical drawings and to apply prescriptive requirements of electrical building services engineering codes are key. Candidates need to possess a university or college degree in a related field, and either be eligible to apply for or already have an E.I.T. classification.

Candidates for this role are sought across Canada, and there are many opportunities specifically in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Winnipeg.

Want to take the next step in one of the most sought-after engineering jobs? If so, you need to apply for an Electrical Engineering position on our jobs board today!

Mechanical Engineer, Building Services

Job Description:

Mechanical Engineering jobs require applicants to maintain strong client relationships and build new businesses across the company’s portfolio. In addition, they will need to mentor team members and lead a design team from the front with innovation and initiative.

Other responsibilities include the implementation of design concepts through the preparation and production of drawings and schematics of mechanical systems for commercial, institutional, residential, public and private facilities. Additionally, the Mechanical Engineer designs mechanical HVACs, and the plumbing and fire protection in large-scale commercial and institutional building applications. The role coordinates with other consulting disciplines to ensure drawing integrity and completeness.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

A Post-secondary education in Mechanical Engineering or another relevant discipline such as Building Systems is required. A minimum of 3+ years of relevant working experience makes for the most sought-after profile. Candidates will be expected to have a background developing construction documents using AutoCAD and/or Revit and be familiar with bid and tendering processes. Extensive knowledge of detailed architectural drawings and construction concepts and the ability to read and apply pertinent codes and standards is a key skill. Newcomers to Canada need to be prepared with excellent knowledge of Canadian/Provincial and other relevant codes and standards (i.e.: ESC, CSA, IES, IEEE, NFPA) in the industry. P. Eng. or CET certifications are an asset in this position.

Candidates for this role are sought specifically in Vancouver. If you want an engineering job that will fulfill you professionally, then this Mechanical Engineering position could be perfect for you.

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Ready to start your career in Canada?

If you’re unsure whether or not one of these roles suit you, or would simply like a second opinion, why not talk to Outpost Recruitment? Since 2011, we have specialized in pairing the best local and international construction and engineering professionals with companies across Canada. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Register with us and make the first step. Or apply to a position through our jobs board.

About Outpost Recruitment

We are a boutique agency with a solid business foundation, we mentor local and international talent. Our aim is to help the qualified and motivated candidates we work with find their desired role, whilst also ensuring that the needs of our clients are met. Outpost Recruitment provides a fresh, personalized approach to doing business, and we make it our mission to understand our candidates and clients’ respective needs. We achieve this by taking a proactive approach to what we do and by staying on top of what is happening in your market. Our ‘no nonsense’ approach means we listen, seek to understand, advise and communicate on progress as required. Bottom line: we can be counted on to deliver. We use our passion for what we do to make sure that we pair the perfect candidate with their dream job.

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How can I be a Construction Project Manager in Canada? Our career profile of Alan Moat.

Curious about a career as a Construction Project Manager in Canada? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Alan Moat.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In the latest of our series, Alan Moat chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada to work as a Construction Project Manager in Canada.

Alan Moat – Construction Project Manager in CanadaAlan Moat: Construction Project Manager Canada

Alan grew up in Birmingham, England. In 1992, he graduated from the University of Exeter with a degree in Civil Engineering.

He has worked in a variety of roles related civil and structural engineering design and construction, predominantly in the railway sector.

Alan was a CEng MICE in the UK and whilst he gained his PEng APEGBC equivalent when he moved to Canada, Alan is now a Construction Project Manager with his PMP designation from the Project Management Institute.

After moving to Canada in 2006, Alan was employed as a Construction Project Manager in Canada with SNC Lavalin for 10 years. In 2015, Alan joined Parsons as an Area Manager in B.C. overseeing the Roads & Structures group.

He is based in Vancouver and has worked on the Canada Line and Evergreen Line rapid transit projects for four years each, with the two years between spent on bidding projects across North America.

He is married and has a six-year old daughter and two-year old son.

When he’s not delivering complex transit projects, Alan enjoys mountain biking and road riding, skiing, snowboarding and passing those skills on to his children.

SNC Lavalin is the largest engineering and construction company in Canada and one of the largest in the world with offices in over 50 countries.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

In 2005, I decided I needed a change of scenery.

I’d been working in the railway sector for around seven years, and as a consultant for the last five years.

My engineering and construction skills were transferrable around the world, and I narrowed down my options to New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

Really, I wanted to move for the lifestyle as much as the work experience, so it had to be somewhere close to the mountains or ocean.

I’d been on vacation hiking in the Canadian Rockies in 2001, Australia in 2003 and New Zealand south island in 2004 and loved them all, but Australia’s too hot for me, with not enough mountains and there wasn’t much work in New Zealand at the time, so I decided to focus on Western Canada.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

I was earning at lot of money for a 30-year-old single guy when working as a contract engineering manager back in the UK.

I took a considerable pay cut to move to Vancouver and take a regular salaried position, so it was definitely a lifestyle decision.

The first position with SNC Lavalin I took was a design manager role which I found easy and something that I’d been doing five years earlier in the UK.

It wasn’t soon before they saw my capabilities and promoted me to the Project Manager responsible for the construction of the three downtown stations on the Canada Line.

What made you choose Vancouver?

I was weighing up the options in Australia and Canada, and when I discovered there was a lot of work in Vancouver ahead of the 2010 Olympics, I focused my efforts on there.

I never gave much thought to Calgary to be honest. I secured a one-year working visa through the exchange scheme, and started contacting employers, including the companies bidding to build the new Canada Line SkyTrain from the airport to downtown.

I applied for a few positions on Olympic projects but didn’t get anywhere. I came out to Vancouver on vacation in the summer of 2005 to walk the west coast trail and dropped into the SNC Lavalin office, and managed to convince the Canada Line Project manager to interview me.

The visit to Vancouver convinced me that this was the place for me and eventually, after a lot of following up, they offered me a job in September 2005. I arrived on December 31, and started work on January 4, 2006.

My advice to anyone seeking employment here is use your initiative, be persistent and don’t give up.

Did you move alone?

I arrived in Canada on my own, along with my mountain bike and snowboard on December 31, 2005.

I met my wife, Nicole, who is Canadian, 18 months later at the Crankworx mountain bike festival in Whistler and we got married in 2012.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study Engineering?

My dad was a carpenter and I have always been into building stuff.

I found maths, physics and chemistry easy at school as engineering seemed like a good option for me. I did a general engineering course for the first two years, then after being offered summer work by Mott MacDonald, I decided to chose civil for the last two.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan (if any)?

I never really have a long term plan to be honest. I focus on a goal one or two years ahead and revisit that plan regularly as things develop.

If I’m not happy I change direction until I am happy.

The two big changes I made to my career path were to work as a consultant in 2000 which worked out great and earned me a lot of money and secondly moving to Canada.

Working as a consultant enabled me to make the jump from the design consultant side to the construction contractor side, which suits me better to be honest.

The Canada plan came out of the blue to a certain extent.

I was working in Liverpool on the Merseytram Project and wasn’t really enjoying the project or the city. That was the push I needed to move abroad and as they say the rest is history.

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

I worked for Mott MacDonald for six years after university.

This included spells in the Birmingham design office, the London Project Management office and seconded to a contractor for a year.

Most of the work involved designing, inspecting, building bridges.

I got my CEng in 1997 and I was headhunted by Atkins Rail in 1998.

From then on I’ve worked exclusively on heavy and light rail projects.

At the end of 2000 I decided to quit Atkins Rail and work as a consultant, in initially this was for Atkins Rail and then for Carillion as Design Manager or Engineering Manager on a series of West Coast Mainline upgrade and remodeling projects.

My last role was contract with Parsons Brinkerhoff as a section project manager on the ill fated Merseytram project in Liverpool which was cancelled two weeks after I quit late in 2005.

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects as a Construction Project Manager in Canada?

I had a job pre-arranged before setting out. If I hadn’t managed to arrange a job before the last date to start my visa (December 31, 2005) I would have moved here anyway and tried to secure something when I arrived.

Worst case, I’d have been a ski bum or a bike mechanic for a year.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

I was lucky enough to be able to negotiate a contract that included a housing allowance for two months and SNC Lavalin arranged an apartment for me.

The rest was pretty easy to be honest. The extra baggage for a single guy isn’t much. Preparing for the move well in advance is the trick.

Just make sure you are organized and can redirect all your post to someone in the UK you can try to help manage it for you while you are away.

I’m lucky enough to have my mum to do this for me and she still does a great job for me.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

I didn’t have a professional network prior to my move, but there are a lot of expats in Vancouver so you’ll soon make contacts if you out yourself out there.

I had a couple of friends in Vancouver before I moved here which made life easier to settle in and I quickly made some good business contacts at work and some good friends who I’m still friends with ten years later.

Your professional development in Canada

What are the key differences between being a Construction Project Manager in Canada and the UK?

The role was initially similar to work I’d done as a design manager in the UK, however it soon changed to a very different role as a construction Project Manager, which was new to me.

Aside from that engineering and construction is the same the world over and with no language barrier, the transition was easy.

The level of pressure is a bit lower in Canada as the working environment is a lot more collaborative and generally everyone wants to help and push in the same direction.

Initially I had a lot more spare time but after a couple of years I had about the same amount as I had in the UK. However of course I now have so many more fun things to do with my spare time!

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment as a Construction Project Manager in Canada similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

The working environment here is fairly similar to the UK, though maybe a little bit more laid back and there is less pressure to work long hours.

The construction working environment is definitely less confrontational which is good in general, but sometimes gets in the way of getting issues brought to a head and resolved quickly.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers looking to be a Construction Project Manager in Canada?

It can be tough for newcomers if they have no experience here. Priority is given to local graduates.

However, if you have experience, skills and can sell yourself then you should be able to get a job in the industry.

Use your contacts if you have them and use agencies.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

I’ve got kids now, but I remember in my first five years I’d go snowboarding with some mates after work.

In less than an hour of leaving my desk I’d be hitting the powder on the north shore mountains until they closed at 10pm.

Whistler is less than two hours away at weekends too. When I first moved here I did a lot of hiking, climbing and mountaineering and there’s countless mountains to be scaled and backcountry camping to be had only a few hours out of the city.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

Throw yourself in 100pc. Don’t expect Vancouverites to come up to you and make friends.

You have to put yourself out there. It helps if you are a biker/hiker/skier/boarder or have some other interest as there are a lot of like minded people to meet here.

Canadians are the friendliest people in the world, but they are a little difficult to get to know sometimes.

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

Yes, absolutely. The BC licence plates don’t say the ‘Best Place on Earth’ for nothing.

I’ve been here for ten years now and I’ll never leave. Apart from the house prices in Vancouver it’s the perfect place to bring up a family and very safe.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

If you are a Construction Project Manager and expect to get everything done before you leave work at the end of the day, then you’re in the wrong job.

Never expect to get everything done, else you’ll be constantly stressed.

The art of being a Construction Project Manager is to keep 100 balls in the air and don’t drop any. You’ll always have a list of 100 things to do and your job is to prioritize those things. As soon as you do one, two more will be added to the list.

Live with it and make sure the important things are done before you leave.

What advice would you give to people looking for work as a Construction Project Manager in Canada?

Get some good experience back home first.

Get varied experience also. Don’t just do one thing for the first five years of your career else before you know it you are pigeon-holed.

Develop a great resume and you’ll be in big demand as a Construction Project Manager in Canada.

Follow Alan’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Construction Project Manager in Canada like Alan?

Read more about how Outpost Recruitment helps job seekers

Other articles in this series:

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How can I be a Construction Estimator in Canada? Our career profile of Stephan Blank.

Curious about a career as a Construction Estimator in Canada? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Stephan Blank.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In the latest of our series, Stephan Blank chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada to work as a Construction Estimator in Canada.

Stephan Blank, Construction Estimator CanadaStephan Blank – Construction Estimator in Canada

I am a Senior Construction Estimator in Germany but worked in Canada for 10 years after relocating to Vancouver. I was an Estimator in Canada at Bouygues and Kinetic Construction and thoroughly enjoyed my time in Canada before returning home in 2017.

I am a single dad of an amazing daughter and construction professional of 22 years.

I am a former current Chair of the Under 40 Professionals at the Vancouver Construction Association and I am training to finish my first Ironman.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

I have traveled almost entire Europe and 2006 Canada was my first destination outside of Europe.

I spent three weeks around Vancouver / Vancouver Island and simply fell in love with this place. Also Canada had just been awarded the 2010 Winter Olympics and it was “construction paradise” at the time which made the decision even easier.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

Both are equally important and this remains the case.

In Germany, you tend to work hard and don’t really enjoy live as much. What I found here in Vancouver is that you still work hard and you have fantastic opportunities to progress in your career but also you take the time to enjoy live.

What made you choose Vancouver?

The pure beauty of this place, the ocean, the mountains and the nature. Also, you have similar weather conditions to Europe.

Did you move alone?

This was the most difficult part of the decision. I am a single dad, my daughter was nine years old at the time, and I didn’t know how this whole plan would work out.

I left her with my parents for 18 months until I was fully settled in, and then brought her to Vancouver.

It was a hard time, but looking back it was the best decision I made in a long time. Moving to a new country is a bigger deal than people think at first.

I had packed up my bags four times in the first year, and was ready to give up. Today I am very happy that I didn’t, but I’d advise anyone to really think everything entirely through – it really is a very big decision.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study construction?

I was always fascinated by construction of any kind, so my career choice was quite easy.

I wanted to be a Project Manager, but I wanted to learn the job the proper way and start on the tools. I did my apprenticeship in bricklaying and formwork carpentry, and worked my way up through the ranks as lead hand, foreman, superintendent, and finally became a Project Manager before doing my masters.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan?

It didn’t. Somehow, I was very lucky and driven, and everything worked out as planned.

Tell us about your career path prior to moving to Canada.

From 1994 to 2006, I worked for a general contractor which specialized in concrete work up to €30 million.

  • 1994 – 1997: Start apprenticeship as bricklayer / formwork carpenter
  • 1998 – 1999: Lead hand
  • 1999 – 2000: Foreman
  • 2001 – 2003: Superintendent
  • 2003 – 2006: Project manager

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects in Canada?

Honestly, nothing.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was the language. I didn’t speak a word of English, so I booked a course in a three-month language school in Vancouver.

In the last month, I spoke enough English to apply for a job and go to interviews. Once I secured a job, I rented an apartment and went back to Germany to sell everything in my old place, and three weeks later, I started working in Vancouver.

Had you previously worked in a foreign country?

No.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

No.

Your professional development in Canada

How did you find your current role?

The quick answer? Hard work.

My first experience in Canada was anything else than pleasant; a larger formwork contractor here hired me as a project manager.

The week I moved here, I was told they didn’t have a project for me and asked if I could start on the tools for three months.

Once started, I found that the owner had done this with a few more people and that was just the beginning. I got charged a crazy amount of money for my work permit and I was paid less then half what was agreed to in the contract.

I confronted the owner and his response was: “Your work permit is only valid for my company, what do you want to do? Go back to Germany if you don’t like it.”

Exploring my options, I found a great general contractor who was willing to help me.

I signed a job offer with PCL Westcoast in April 2007, but had to wait until October 2007 for the new work permit to arrive.

In this time I was still working on the tools for the first contractor. I worked for four years at PCL as a Construction Estimator and Project Manager and met some great people who helped me grow in this industry.

Moving on, I had good opportunities at Doka Canada and Scott Construction before starting as a Senior Estimator at Bouygues Building Canada.

In this role, I was exposed to Design build and PPP projects valued at over CAD$100 million. Now, I am working as a Senior Estimator for Kinetic Construction, a mid-size general contractor specializing in new construction, tenant fit outs and design build projects.

What are the key differences between your role in Canada and Germany?

Now as an estimator, I am responsible for securing the work instead of executing the work as project manager back in Germany.

Was there anything you could have done prior to your move to prepare?

Learning the language, and especially all the specific construction terms.

Have your career objectives changed since you arrived?

Not really, I am still in construction. The only thing what changed is the actual full time estimating position, which now brings great and exciting new goals that I want to archive.

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment as a Construction Estimator in Canada similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

It depends on the size of the company you choose to work for.

Working for a larger contractor was a far different environment than the family-sized company that I am used to in Germany. That’s probably why I feel very happy working at Kinetic, as it reminds me of the company I worked for back home.

Both the large and the small contractor have advantages and disadvantages. The actual construction environment is quite different in construction methods and quality of work.

What are the three main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role?

There were really just two: the language and the construction methods.

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

I asked a lot of questions. Never assume something and never be afraid to ask a question doesn’t matter how silly the question may sound.

How is the work-life balance as a Construction Estimator in Canada?

It’s as balanced as you choose to make it. I tend to focus more on work than free time but it’s definitely possible to have a good work-life balance.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry?

Great! Canada has not nearly enough professionals for the years to come.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

I love all the fun things I can do here. Swimming, mountain biking, hiking, cycling and skiing.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

Volunteering to meet some people.

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

You never know what the future has in store, but I am sure it will be in Vancouver.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

Listen, learn and ask questions. Surround yourself with people in positions you want to be in and learn from them. Go out and network.

What advice would you give to people looking for work as a Construction Estimator in Canada?

Make a plan and see it through. There will be problems just keep sticking to your plan and don’t give up. Get some help from people like Ruairi.

Follow Stephan’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Construction Estimator in Canada like Stephan?

Read more about how Outpost Recruitment helps job seekers

Other articles in this series:

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How can I be a Project Controls Manager in Calgary? Our career profile of Niamh Ní Chrónín.

Curious about a career as a Project Controls Manager in Calgary? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Niamh Ní Chrónín.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In the latest of our series, Niamh Ní Chróinín chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares her experience in moving to Canada to work as a Senior Estimator and Project Controls Manager in Calgary.

Niamh Ní Chróinín – Senior Estimator / Project Controls Manager in Calgary (Main Contractor)

Niamh Ní Chróinín: Project Controls Manager in CalgaryNiamh Ní Chróinín moved to Canada in February 2014 after working as an Engineer in Ghana, Ireland and London.

She holds a degree in Engineering, an MSc in Construction Law and is a Chartered Engineer with the Institution of Civil Engineers in the UK.

Niamh’s greatest passion in life is playing sports and this was the primary incentive for her to move to Canada. As a child she rode horses, in university she was a Taekwondo Instructor and now she spends most of her free time training with the local swimming club or rock climbing.

Niamh held a dual role of Senior Estimator/ Project Controls Manager in Calgary with Aecon for 3 years before joining Berkley Research Group as a Managing Consultant.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

I had been living in London for 6 years – working on the Olympics and Crossrail whilst also completing my MSc and Chartership – when I began to really start hating the place.

I considered moving to Australia but friends who had moved there earlier had told me the market was slowing down. I also considered the Middle East, but I wasn’t sure the lifestyle would suit me. Then, there was Canada. So, I suppose my choice came from choosing the best out of an otherwise bad lot!

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

I felt that I had already progressed my career hugely in the past few years but at the expense of what I love most – sports. Canada is renowned for having a great work-life balance and that definitely sold me on the idea of moving there.

What made you choose Calgary?

I didn’t! I wanted to move to Canada and the interview I had was for Calgary. I suppose you could say Calgary chose me!

Did you move alone?

Yes – just me and four suitcases.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study civil engineering?

I actually started studying science (math and physics) in NUI Galway, but quickly realized that I was not suited for a life indoors or teaching (which seemed to be where the job opportunities were at the time).

After two years, I dropped out of science to re-apply for civil engineering. To be honest, I was destined to be a civil engineer – I still have several train and Meccano sets at home that I used to get each Christmas.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan?

I always had a great love of civil engineering math but when I started working on the Olympics I gained a huge appreciation for the contractual aspect of construction.

In 2010, I went back to obtain an M.Sc. in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution at King’s College London – this is when my path diverged slightly away from Project Management and towards Project Controls.

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

  • B.Eng. NUI Galway: 2006
  • Site engineer (Ghana): 2006
  • Site Engineer (Sisk): 2006-2008
  • Junior Design Engineer (Oran Precast): 2007
  • Site Engineer, Olympics (Bam Nuttall): 2007-2009
  • Section Engineer, Olympics (BAM Nuttall): 2009-2010
  • Sub Agent/ Bid Manager (BAM Nuttall): 2010-2012
  • Project Manager (Dragados Sisk, Crossrail): 2012-2014
  • C.Eng. (MICE): 2013
  • M.Sc. Construction Law and Dispute Resolution: 2013
  • Moved to Canada: 2014

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects in Canada before you became a Project Controls Manager in Calgary?

Very little. To be completely honest I was motivated to move to Canada purely because it meant I was getting out of London. I had spent years working long hours, giving up weekends and social events for work. I didn’t even consider career progression – I was very happy just to sit at whatever rank I was at – I just wanted to get my life back.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

I was very lucky. My company organized everything for me: my flights, the apartment I was to stay in for the first few weeks, my visa and moving any furniture I wanted to bring.

The biggest challenge for me was moving back to Ireland from London and then further on again. I have to say my company was great and really understood the reality of being so far away from home. My phone was already charged the day I arrived so I could call home and they had already loaded Skype on my work computer so I could call during work hours. It has definitely made the move easier.

Had you previously worked in a foreign country?

I have worked in Ghana, West Africa and London as a Civil Engineer.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

No, I didn’t have a professional network prior to my move (in terms of people I actually knew); however, I am chartered with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in London and they have an outpost here in Calgary called the Canadian Prairies Group of Chartered Engineers (CPGCE).

So, once I arrived I was introduced to the liaison officer and started meeting with the group once a month. Additionally, I am in constant contact with my institution in London and my mentors there so to be honest I don’t feel like I am isolated from my professional network or institution. Construction is a very small world.

Your professional development in Canada

How did you find your current role?

I found this role through a recruitment agency in Ireland.

Initially, they had not offered me this role because I don’t think many people understand what project controls entails. I began to get ‘assertive’ with this agency as I really wanted to move to Canada and asked them to start listing roles in companies they were hiring for. Project Controls Manager in Calgary came up and I knew this was something I wanted to move into more formally.

What are the key differences between your role in Canada and in London?

Here in Canada I am managing and supporting a larger area and there is a much bigger appreciation for project controls.

In London, I found that project controls was a good idea and every major project had a department but there was a disconnect between it and the operations side.

Was there anything you could have done prior to your move to prepare?

I had worked in project controls before but if I could do it again I would spend some more time reviewing the terminology.

It wasn’t a big deal but I did spend the first few weeks trying to align how things in Canada worked versus Ireland or the UK.

Have your career objectives changed since you arrived?

Well there are definitely more opportunities for career progression here in Canada and the companies are a lot bigger than those I am used to. To be honest I don’t really have an objective as such – I’m still learning every day and I like being a Project Controls Manager in Calgary because it is so versatile.

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment in Canada similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

I think the working environment here is different. It’s not as adversarial as at home and to be honest, I kind of liked it at home because you could be completely honest if you had reservations about something.

Here, it’s very defined and you have to stick to the chain of command and sometimes I find that difficult.

What are the three main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role as a Project Controls Manager in Calgary?

  1. Legislation: I was more than familiar with the UK and Ireland in terms of H&S legislation and contractual mechanisms. I was a bit deflated having to re-learn such systems and I am still learning them.
  2. The roles and responsibilities of teams members: Definition of a site engineer isn’t really the same as at home, nor is foreman so I was getting confused putting tenders together as sometimes I didn’t have the required workforce.
  3. The lingo: Schedule = programme; letter of credit = unconditional bond; rock truck = moxi; ride = lift. I have a list on my desk at work so I don’t unintentionally insult someone during a conversation!

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

Honestly I really didn’t have to do anything. My colleagues made me feel at home from the first day. There were lunches and drinks organized with the various teams so I could meet everyone and I was sent to our head office in Toronto 2 weeks later to meet my counterparts there.

How is the work-life balance as a Project Controls Manager in Calgary?

Very good but as with any other job you are in charge of it. If you want to work 24/7 companies will welcome it. Here, I feel it is not expected as much as it was in the UK or Ireland.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry?

The sky’s the limit in terms of career prospects for both my role as a Project Controls Manager in Calgary, and the industry.

One thing I do find that’s different here is that age doesn’t seem to be a problem so you won’t be held back just because you might be a bit younger. If you show talent and enthusiasm there will be nothing in your way from progressing.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

For the most part, I am home at 5:30pm and the whole evening is my own. Actually, for the first few weeks here it was nearly lonely because I was home so early.

But now I have joined several clubs and I am doing some kind of activity every evening. Also, I love the mountains. Calgary is a city but nothing like London so I feel a lot more comfortable here having come from the countryside (County Clare) than I did in London.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

I went out, joined clubs, made friends and bought a massive winter jacket!

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

I am afraid to answer this! I love Ireland and I will always want to move home regardless of where I am. So to answer positively I will say:

  • I am applying for my Permanent Residency.
  • I have made loads of friends and I find the majority of Canadians are very similar to the Irish.
  • I am enjoying travelling around Canada and the U.S.
  • I am definitely enjoying playing loads of sports again.
  • The weather does not bother me – as a matter of fact I love winter.
  • Could I settle here? Yes.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

I have received this advice several times and even recently when I was dealing with a sensitive matter.

The advice is: be decisive. Weigh up the issues, use your judgment and make a decision. 80% of the time or more, you will be right.

As for the other 20%, at least you will have made a decision when others wasted time. The 80% will carry you through.

One colleague even told me to read about when Alex Ferguson dropped Jim Leighton as Manchester United goalkeeper, and I have zero interest in soccer but I did read it. It highlighted the importance of decision making. You will not expand your career unless you can rise above the rest, make decisions and accept whatever consequences there may be.

What advice would you give to people looking for work in your field?

Every day is a school day, be humble and continue learning.

Project controls is a growing field with several niche areas, you need to have a good grasp of everything from finance, tendering, contractual matters, project management, working with and managing people and scheduling to name a few.

More often than not, for this role we pick those based on enthusiasm and train them to suit the role. Not everyone can juggle all these tasks. Be open to new challenges and show an interest in all of the aforementioned topics.

Follow Niamh’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Project Controls Manager in Calgary like Niamh?

Read more about how Outpost Recruitment helps job seekers

Other articles in this series:

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How can I be a Commissioning Consultant in Canada? Our career profile of Dave Green.

Curious about a career as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Dave Green.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

Next up, Dave Green chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada to work as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada.

Dave Green: Commissioning Consultant CanadaDave Green – Commissioning Consultant in Canada, Buildings

David is originally from London, England and he has 30 years of experience in the construction industry. David is a UK Chartered Engineer Member of CIBSE and a member of ASHRAE.

He is also one of only a few holders in Canada of the ASHRAE Commissioning Process Management Professional designation. David relocated his wife Linda and his three sons Jake, Finn and Cade from Toronto to Edmonton in December 2012, to commence CDML on a new journey in Alberta.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

I am lucky in that I’ve been to Canada before – I first visited way back in the late 80s and early 90s, when I learned about the quality of life, standard of living and the opportunities that Canada holds if you work hard for it. Canada is a country that rewards hard work and that was a big factor in my decision to come back here.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

Career progression – being given the opportunity to start a department for an established organization was a huge factor in my decision. The lifestyle was also important as I have small children who deserve to grow up in a safe environment.

What made you choose Toronto?

The job opportunity was in Toronto, with travel nationwide.

Did you move alone?

I moved my whole family – my wife and my two children (at the time – we have subsequently had another child) all came with me.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study Building Services?

Many years ago, my father took me to the library and told me that I needed to study a trade and that was the end of the conversation! At that point, any thoughts I had of being a footballer or a rock star were ended. Do I regret that advice? Not at all – I love what I do and always have; I am lucky that no matter where we have lived, I can drive around with the kids and they can see some of ‘Daddy’s’ buildings, which makes me feel very proud of my contribution to the country.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan (if any)?

I always thought that I would be a technical engineer/project manager solving other peoples’ problems. I never imagined that today, I would be the part owner of 20-person strong commissioning and digital manuals company. Never thought that I would enjoy meeting clients and creating opportunities much more than I ever liked technical engineering…. it’s funny how coming to Canada really got me out of, what I guess you could say, was a bit of a rut.

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

After being an apprentice Engineer for five years for Mathew Hall in London UK, I progressed from being a drafter to a designer, to an engineer to Project Manager and now, Company Director.

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada?

I always knew the career prospects were good, especially given that I came here in early 2009 when things were looking pretty bleak around the world. It was all down to me to make the most of the opportunity that was handed to me, and I like to think that I have done just that.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

To prepare for the move, I rented our house in the UK, packed up what we wanted to bring and sold the rest. The biggest challenge in moving to Canada is that you are coming here as an immigrant (not as an expat). So you’re basically starting a new life on a fresh page…things like credit rating and car insurance are zero when you arrive and you need to be aware of this and factor it in when you move.

Had you previously worked in a foreign country?

I have lived and worked in Canada before.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

No, I didn’t have a professional network prior to my move – I have created it over the past five years. However, it’s a pretty easy place to work and people are receptive to what I have to say. Having a ‘funny’ accent is also a bonus as it makes you memorable.

Your professional development in Canada

How did you find your current role?

I found my original position through answering an advertisement in the CIBSE Journal; within a few months I was not only responsibility for the department but also had a separate company. Today I am part owner of that company – it has been some roller coaster ride over the past five years.

What are the key differences between your role in Canada and the UK?

The UK has a very mature construction industry compared to Canada. Canada has a lot of growing up to do when it comes to constructing buildings, especially iconic ones. However, this just means opportunity for someone with my knowledge and experience – this is the way I have always looked at it.

Was there anything you could have done prior to your move to prepare for life as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada?

Personally I don’t think there was anything I could have done prior to my move to prepare, but for someone else I would totally recommend understanding the provincial engineering regulations and what your qualifications may mean to the provincial bodies. Forewarned is forearmed – you may avoid disappointment and heartache if you do your research and understand the system.

Have your career objectives changed since you arrived?

Completely – when I first arrived, I was starting a department. Now, I am running a company and my objective now is to have a CDML Consulting Ltd. office in every province.

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment in Canada similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

We have tried to create a very European-like, open environment within the CDML offices, which is completely different from the usual North American culture of cubicles. The traditional working environment in Canada is completely different to the UK and this is probably the biggest challenge immigrants will face. We have deliberately tried to make CDML a great environment to work and grow your career in without too many rules. The best description I can give you is that it’s an entrepreneurial environment.

What are the three main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role?

Cultural differences, travelling distances and lack of understanding of building services engineering and commissioning.

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

Personal and professional development courses.

How is the work-life balance as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada?

My work life balance is pretty good, although I work hard as it is my company. The commute to my office is 15 minutes each way or 20 minutes by public transport; this really helps with my work life balance.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry?

The career prospects here are excellent; there is a serious lack of skilled people here which makes it the land of opportunity, if you are prepared to work hard for it.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

Standard of living is very high and the pace of life is slow compared to London.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

Stop converting from to dollars to pounds – it is counter productive as you are paying taxes at a much lower rate here.

Try to assimilate as much as you can into understanding the Canadian culture and way of doing things – it is pretty unique… a bit like the UK used to be in the early 80s. There’s a naivety and I really like it. Also, my advice is to work at it everyday.

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

I do see Canada as a long-term home. I have bought a house in Edmonton and my kids are settled in school here. It’s a safe place for them to grow up with lots of opportunities.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

Be the best you can be, learn from your mistakes and never let the past dictate your future.

What advice would you give to people looking for work as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada?

Soft skills are just as important, if not more, than technical knowledge. The power of communication should never be underestimated, especially when it comes to defusing a potentially difficult technical situation.

Follow Dave’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada like Dave?

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How can I be a Client-Side Project Manager in Calgary? Our career profile of Fergal Duff.

Curious about a career as a Client-Side Project Manager in Calgary? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Fergal Duff.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

Next up in the series, Fergal Duff chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada to work as Project Manager in Calgary (Owner Representative).

Fergal Duff – Project Manager in Calgary (Owner Representative)

Project Manager in Calgary

Fergal grew up on a farm in County Laois, Ireland. In 2000, he graduated from University College Dublin with a degree in Architecture. He has worked in a variety of roles related to real estate development in many countries across the world.

While still a chartered Architect, Fergal is now a full-time professional Project Manager in Calgary and since moving to Canada in 2012, he was employed as a Director with Pivotal Projects before setting up his own consulting practice, Vision Development Management.

He is based in Calgary but works on projects for clients across Canada. He is married and has a one-year old daughter. When he’s not delivering complex development projects, Fergal enjoys being a parent, driving, mountain-biking and snowboarding.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

Canada became a destination very suddenly and unexpectedly. In 2012, my wife and I had been living in Doha, Qatar for several years and had no immediate plans to leave. In March of that year, we got married in Houston, Texas, where my wife is from. We had invited my old boss, who had relocated to Canada. On the morning of our wedding he emailed me to say he couldn’t make it but asked if I’d be interested in joining his new team, saying: “Something to think about when you’re walking down the aisle.” Throughout that day, our guests asked us what our future plans were and we replied that we would probably stay in the Middle East, at least until my US Green Card was approved and then we would see. However, within a few months of going back to Doha, we decided the opportunity in Canada could not be declined. We arrived in Calgary in late October 2012, so it all happened quite quickly.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

The work experience I gained in Doha over a relatively short time cannot be surpassed. When I left Doha I was the Project Manager on a $2.6 billion mega project – an opportunity that rarely comes along. So, the decision to move to Canada was definitely made due to lifestyle and culture. Speaking as a European, even though it is quite a progressive country there is very limited freedom in Qatar. As a non-Arabic speaking, foreign worker, it is also a frustrating environment to live and work. Canada seemed like a good compromise between my cultural expectations and my wife’s American, yet socially liberal, sensibilities.

What made you choose Calgary?

In all the research we did about the Canadian economy while making our decision, Alberta seemed like the safest bet from an economic perspective. I was still bruised from the experience of the Global Financial Crisis and an economy closely linked to the energy industry was familiar, in terms of our experience in Qatar and our links to Houston. Initially, when we started seriously talking with Pivotal about a possible move to Canada, the likely destination was Edmonton. In the end, Calgary was chosen for us because of the projects that were in the pipeline here. It turned out to be a very good cultural fit. My wife’s parents recently moved to Colorado, so now we are in the same time zone, which helps communication.

Did you move alone?

I arrived in Canada with my wife in October 2012 and our daughter was born just under a year later. I have family in Toronto, but that was not a factor in our decision to move to Canada. 

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study Architecture?

I have always been very creative and I felt that I needed a more artistic outlet than what engineering could offer me. In fact, I remember doing a career guidance test which recommended either Art or Engineering as a career choice, so Architecture seemed like a logical compromise in university. My older sister is also a very talented architect and established her own firm shortly after registration. She was definitely an influence on my initial career choice.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan (if any)?

I was a good student and always did well in college, but I was never fully committed to the design aspect of the practice of Architecture. I was more interested in the implementation and delivery side and I always got along well with clients, who responded well to my no-nonsense approach. This eventually resulted in my being hired by an Australian client as a Development Manager and Design Director. I was always surprised by the number of consultants engaged on Australian projects and architects generally did a fairly ordinary job of coordinating and managing them all. It was in this role – as a Owner Representative – that I was first introduced to the concept of Project Management as a separate profession; it made sense to me.

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

I worked for a successful design firm in Dublin for a few years before a mini-recession in late 2001 prompted a move to Australia in 2002. I briefly worked in Singapore as an architect on a sub-way extension and then settled in Sydney until late 2007. In that time, I moved around different architectural firms fairly frequently before joining a small boutique development company. I moved back to Ireland and gave architecture another go, joining one of the largest firms in the country in 2008. A second, somewhat more serious recession provoked my move to Doha, Qatar in 2009 where I reinvented myself as a Project Manager. In Doha, I made a significant investment in training to get my PM credentials up to speed with my experience. Later, I enrolled in an executive MBA with the Manchester Business School (Dubai), which has been an enormous benefit to my career.

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects in Canada?

I had a job pre-arranged before setting out. I would not have done it any other way.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

I negotiated a contract that included a generous allowance to cover our moving expenses and accommodation for the first month after our arrival. Even still, we had about nine suitcases, which were a challenge on the flight transfers! Pivotal’s HR department was very supportive in helping us get set-up, otherwise.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

I didn’t quite have a professional network prior to my move, but a few contacts – including, most significantly my boss, who had made the same trip about 12 months before me, so that was a great help. I inherited an extensive professional network when I joined Pivotal at work on my second day in Canada.

Your professional development in Canada

What are the key differences between your role in Canada and Qatar?

The role is similar although given the difference in scale of projects, the work is done by a smaller project management team so everyone has to be a generalist. In Doha, I managed a team of up to 48 specialized professionals on a single project. In Canada, I have five others on my team and we manage multiple projects concurrently. The level of pressure is much lower in Canada as the working environment as a Project Manager in Calgary is a lot more collaborative and not as politicized. I have about the same amount of spare time, but infinitely more choices of what to do with it.

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment as a Project Manager in Calgary similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

Culturally, the working environment here in Canada is a huge improvement over the working environment in the Middle East. I definitely don’t feel like an outsider or an expat here. The optimism reminds me of Australia in the mid-2000s. However, I believe Calgary is unique in that it is very business friendly and feels like a small town, particularly in the real estate and development industry. A lot of deals are built off relationships and networking activity.

What are the three main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role as a Project Manager in Calgary?

Climate has been generally challenging but not to my role per se…

  1. I was very suspicious of people when I first arrived from the Middle East. It is difficult to explain the effect of spending over four years feeling like you could get fired and deported any day. It took me a while to realize that Canadians are as trustworthy and honest as they are friendly.
  2. The proclivity of developers to engage contractors on construction management contracts was surprising. There is great deal of trust between clients and contractors that I haven’t experienced before. There is always a place for CM contracts, but it would not be my default recommendation.
  3. It has been challenging to deal with some of the financial aspects of moving to Canada, particularly the access to finance as a temporary resident, despite a healthy salary.

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

I listened a lot. I have a lot of international experience but I felt it was a good idea to learn as much as I could from the people around me. I attended as many networking events and got introduced to a lot of people the industry. This has been very valuable, especially in the context as a Project Manager in Calgary.

How is the work-life balance as a Project Manager in Calgary?

It’s fairly good. Obviously it all depends on the workload in any given week but in general I feel like I have enough spare time and lots of interesting options for spending the time.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry?

At the moment I would encourage anyone with good prospects to consider moving to Alberta. I’d rate the prospects to be reasonable. I know that we struggle to find experienced candidates when we have an open position. Unfortunately we compete with the energy industry for good PM’s. Oil and Gas companies  seem to have deeper pockets but they tend to be more volatile and have less interesting projects, so we differentiate on the basis of culture, creativity and stability.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

The people and the landscape are what make Canada a wonderful place to live. It is one of the safest places I’ve lived and I can’t think of a better environment for my children.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

It didn’t take much in fairness, but we made a decision at the outset that we wanted to live close to the city if possible. We felt that settling in suburbia would have limited our ability to have a good social life and to integrate successfully into Canadian life.

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

We have no reason to think otherwise. I don’t see us moving back to Ireland, but if an amazing opportunity came up in the States or somewhere in mainland Europe, I think we would give it serious consideration in a few years.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

“It is better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven’t done.”

What advice would you give to people looking for work in your field?

Do your research. Trust professionals to give you important advice, not Facebook pages. Present yourself honestly and in the best possible light you can. Make a memorable first impression. If you have the qualifications and experience, it is only a matter of time and flexibility.

Follow Fergal’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Project Manager in Calgary like Fergal?

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How can I be a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton? Our career profile of Colin Rigney.

Curious about a career as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Colin Rigney.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In this article, Colin Rigney chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada to work as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton with a Main Contractor.

Colin Rigney – Construction Project Manager in Edmonton, Buildings (Main Contractor)

Colin Rigney - Construction Project Manager EdmontonHaving relocated to Canada in 2011, Colin was a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton with Clark Builders for 4.5 years before joining Chandos in 2016.

Colin previously worked as a Contracts Manager with John Paul Construction in Dublin. Colin has three small children (one true Canadian) ranging in age from 1 to 5 years old. Before life with children he was an avid scuba diver and loved to travel.

He enjoys all types of sports and since moving to Canada, he has taken up curling and plays in a rookie league in the local curling club during the winter months. During the summer he enjoys a lot of long weekends away camping with friends.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

When I was trying to decide where to move (during April through June of 2011), I considered several places such as:

  1. London: My view was that this market would take a nosedive after the 2012 Olympics. In addition, I didn’t fancy the long commutes in London.
  2. Middle East: I was not interested in moving my family to a country where women were treated as second-class citizens and was not interested in leaving my family in Ireland and seeing them every couple of months. Further, the Libyan and Syrian civil war had commenced and riots had just started in Bahrain.
  3. Australia: At the time, we were hearing that future growth in Australia was in jeopardy. Also, from a distance perspective Australia seemed too far for parents/siblings/friends to be able to travel to see us on a regular basis.
  4. Canada: My wife and I visited Edmonton for a week in June 2011 and it was then that we decided that we were going to move to Canada primarily due to:
    • Clark Builders and the overwhelming welcome that we received;
    • Friendliness of the people in general;
    • It was a place that we really could see ourselves living in and where we could raise our children;
    • Endless opportunities here for the entire family;
    • Perceived similar culture to Ireland; and
    • Closer distance to Ireland than Australia.

Finally we moved to Canada in September of 2011.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

Both formed an important part in the decision-making process but quality of life was definitely more important to us.

What made you choose Edmonton?

We had never heard of Edmonton until we started talking with Clark Builders. Clark Builders’ head office is based in the city, and this is where my job offer from Clark as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton came from, so the choice was made for us!

Did you move to Canada alone?

No – my wife, my two young children and I moved to Canada together. My wife and I had always agreed that we would stay together as a family unit wherever we decided to go. We were not interested in the family staying at home and me travelling abroad to work.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study construction?

I had always been interested in construction from a young age. My primary qualification is a degree in Civil Engineering from UCD.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan (if any)?

Not really much apart from the fact that I am now living and working in a different country – this was not part of the original plan!

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

  • BE UCD (1997)
  • Site Engineer John Paul Construction (1997)
  • Site Engineer Noonan Construction (1998)
  • Senior Engineer John Paul Construction; completed a part time Diploma in Trinity College in Project Management at the same time (1998)
  • Construction Project Manager, John Paul Construction (2000)
  • Contracts Manager, John Paul Construction (2008)
  • Moved to Canada (2011)

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton?

I had secured a job with Clark Builders before we moved over; however, coming to a new country I knew that I would have to take step backward in order to move forward.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

Lots of research on the Internet and as well, Clark Builders were also a huge help. We came over to meet with Clark Builders before they made us an offer and before we decided to move. Clark Builders organised a number of appointments for us during this week including a meeting with a mortgage broker and a realtor who showed us a number of properties.

Had you previously worked in a foreign country?

I had worked in  New Jersey, USA for 4 months on J1 Student VISA.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

None, apart from the contacts we had in Clark Builders.

Your professional development as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton

How did you find your current role?

I was approached by a recruiter in Ireland who was recruiting on behalf of Clark Builders.

What are the key differences between your role in Canada and Ireland?

  • The majority of prime contracts here in Canada are either Construction Management or Lump Sum contracts, whereas most contracts in Ireland are based on BOQs (Bill of Quantities) and are typically re-measurable. I have personally not come across BOQs here in Edmonton.
  • Relationships, roles, responsibilities and reporting requirements are quite different on Construction Management contracts.
  • The project management (PM) role here is a lot more financially orientated and financially hands-on with primary responsibility for compilation and issuance of budgets and forecasts etc. to clients/owners and internal company reporting. Most of this role is fulfilled by a quantity surveyor (QS) in Ireland whilst the PM will manage the overall process; the PM will review the budgets and forecasts but not actually produce them.
  • The majority of subcontracts are lump sum and most PM’s will typically tender and award each subcontract package themselves.
  • Winter construction and seasonal work in Alberta means you take on a big learning curve and is something that we don’t deal with in Ireland. We typically don’t pour concrete in Ireland below +5 degree Celsius; we pour concrete in Alberta into the high minus teens!

Was there anything you could have done prior to your move to prepare?

Learn Canadian! We had done a lot of preparation and research and suppose the only thing to do next, was actually move and grab the bull by the horns and go for it!

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

It is similar to Ireland in the boom years – good positive and dynamic environment to work in.

What are the main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role?

  1. Adjust to a new company’s management style and expectations.
  2. Big learning curve on the financial reporting and forecasting side of things
  3. Winter Construction
  4. Subtrade scope delineation is somewhat different.

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

Asking my colleagues plenty of questions!

How is the work-life balance in your profession?

I would guess that work-life balance in the construction industry in general is not good but it is also my view that this is really dependent on two key drivers:

  1. Company Ethos
  2. Personal Preference and Time Management

Clark Builders promote a good work-life balance and I personally have always maintained a good work-life balance – work to live rather than live to work!

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry?

The construction industry is booming here in Alberta so there is a lot of potential to gain some great experience for future career growth. Also, there will always be construction in some part of the world!

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

The genuineness of the people, the Rockies, camping (hard-core tenting style), Alexander Keith’s (Canadian beer) and curling!

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

Get out there, get acquainted and make friends and get a good babysitter!

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

That is the Million Dollar Question… who knows what the future holds?

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

If you are going to do something, do it with a smile or it will take all the good out of it.

What advice would you give to people looking for work in your field?

I will answer this in terms of Construction Project Managers looking to relocate to Canada;

  • Come with an open mind and be prepared to take a step back for a year or so until you adapt to the PM role here in Canada. This will also probably be reflected in your initial offer in terms of starting salary.
  • There is a good contingent of Irish people and other nationalities now living and working in Canada. Reach out and connect – you will generally know someone who knows somebody who can give good advice about a company you are dealing with or an area that you are looking to relocate to. LinkedIn is a good resource for this.
  • Be prepared to make some lifestyle changes as it may take up to 18 to 24 months or so to become financially stable; this is very much dependent on personal circumstances. There are a lot of initial out-lay costs which is inherently associated with any major relocation.

Follow Colin’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton like Colin?

Read more about how Outpost Recruitment helps job seekers

Other articles in this series:

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How can I be a Mechanical Engineer in Canada? Our career profile of Eoghan Hayes.

Curious about a career as a Mechanical Engineer in Canada? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Eoghan Hayes.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In the latest of our series, Eoghan Hayes chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to work as a Mechanical Engineer in Canada.

Eoghan Hayes – Mechanical Engineer in Canada.

Mechanical Engineer in Canada: Eoghan HayesEoghan moved to Vancouver from Ireland in 2007.

In 2005, he graduated from Dublin Institute of Technology, Bolton Street, with a degree in Building Services Engineering and a Diploma in Electrical Services Engineering.

Since moving to Canada, Eoghan has gained extensive consulting experience in mechanical HVAC and plumbing design and building computer energy simulation, before setting up his own consulting company in 2014.

Eoghan believes the industry today is designing backwards and his business addresses the needless divide between mechanical HVAC design and energy modelling simulation.

His consulting firm, Ions Engineering, integrates these functions and combined as part of his approach to the integrated design process ensuring the building energy systems perform in reality as they have been modeled and designed.

Eoghan has demonstrated significant cost and energy saving results using energy modeling as a design tool throughout his career.

When Eoghan is not pushing the boundaries to come up with new innovative ways of saving energy he enjoys running, reading and socializing and spending time with his girlfriend.

Your move to Canada

I moved to Canada on December 13, 2006 with two college friends.

My friends and I had previously traveled on J1 visas to Boston. We decided to go to Vancouver as everyone seemed to be going to Australia and we wanted to go somewhere different. We wanted to go somewhere that had a summer (so that we could lie on the beach) and a winter where there was snow.

Our plan was to come to Canada for a year and then go to Australia for year and then move home to Ireland. Eight years later and phase two of the plan has yet to be implemented!

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

I completed an honours degree in Building Services Engineering in DIT Bolton Street in 2005 and a diploma in Electrical Services engineering in DIT Kevin Street two years prior.

Prior to traveling to Canada I wanted to get some work experience in engineering at home as I knew it would be easier to secure employment abroad with experience, versus just coming over right out of college. I worked at home for 18 months prior to moving to Canada.

Working in construction in Ireland from 2005 to 2006 was great as I was able to gain valuable experience in the workplace that you just don’t get in an educational environment.

This included working with some great architects and engineers and getting to know how the construction business in Ireland operated; in addition, I got to use both of the educational qualifications which I was not able to do once I moved to become a Mechanical Engineer in Canada.

In Vancouver, engineering consultancies do not have combined teams of electrical and mechanical engineers; teams either focus solely on mechanical or electrical design.

This seemed counter-intuitive to the integrated design process many consultancies advertise as part of their service offerings to clients. In the end, as part of my first interview here I chose to be Mechanical Engineer in Canada as it was a steeper learning curve and typically has a greater impact, energy-wise, on the amount of energy a building consumes.

I still miss electrical engineering to this day, but thankfully in my new role I’m starting to use my electrical knowledge more and more.

Preparing for the move

Prior to moving, I knew with the Winter Olympics being hosted in Vancouver in early 2010 that the construction industry would be busy in Vancouver. Having said that, it still took nearly seven weeks to secure employment in Vancouver; this was mainly due to the time of the year.

Also, the industry can be quite close-knit, so if you don’t have a contact in a company or in the industry it can be hard to get a start. Networking is critical for finding employment as a Mechanical Engineer in Canada.

I brought some college notes over I knew I would use as the engineering programs studied in DIT are very industry specific and you actually do end up referring to college notes to execute day-to-day tasks and calculations. I also emailed some companies here prior to coming to Canada and updated my resume (CV).

I had worked in Boston on three J1 visas from 2002 to 2004 in a restaurant and a bike shop so I had a bit of knowledge on North American culture.

This was great experience as I had a really great mentor in the bike shop who taught me valuable customer service lessons that are key to effectively communicating in North America. His bike shop is located on a street with two competing bike shops located either side of his bike shop, to this day he still runs a very successful business and has remained open for over 83 years.

Your professional development in Canada

At first my current role was very hard to settle into. I thought Canada was on the metric system prior to moving here – it is, but because of its close proximity to the US, the industry uses both metric and imperial units and it can be hard to translate between the two in your head.

There was steep learning curve initially, but after about six to eight months I got the hang of it and adapted to the industry here.

Thankfully, I got to work on some very interesting projects in Vancouver: a 25-storey high-rise office that is LEED platinum rated; and VanDusen Botanical Gardens, a visitor’s center building that is targeting net zero energy and water on site. I also got to work with some great engineers from Canada, Serbia and England who have over 80 years of experience combined.

After four years of working for a consultancy, I decided to move into retrofitting of existing buildings with geo-exchange energy. During this time I got to project manage a large geo-exchange project and design the first mechanical geo-exchange retrofit of an existing high-rise building in Canada.

With eight years of working in Canada and knowledge of new and existing building system mechanical design I decided to set up my own computer-based building energy modeling simulation company to bridge the gap between computer building energy simulation and how buildings actually perform in reality.

At first I intended to work for one company and move up the corporate ladder, however after four years at both companies I concluded I can make a greater impact to building owners (clients) and design teams if I was part of an independent energy simulation company, with no vested interest in any particular renewable technology, system type or outcome.

Working environment as an Mechanical Engineer in Canada

The main challenge I had to overcome in my role was accepting how hard design engineers are expected to work here.

The construction industry is ruthless and project deadlines must be met. Sometimes engineers (who have no training or experience in this arena) get promoted to project management positions.

As a result, proper mentoring and project planning tend to be compromised. They have to endure long hours of overtime and lots of stress is put on them and the engineers on the team they are managing (or should I say, mismanaging).

Right now, the industry is so busy that it is hard to get a proper work-life balance unless you demand it and schedule your time properly. You need to learn to manage up in this industry and make you sure you allocate timeframes in your calendar for all tasks.

I found it was easier to open up my calendar and ask project managers which tasks you want to divert to a later date, rather than to just say I’m busy working on ‘X’. This way you throw the ball in their court and encourage them to project manage more effectively.

Working in engineering consultancy can be very challenging, especially when you first move to Canada and need to get up to speed on local codes and standards.

I spent many hours doing overtime to ensure I was getting up to speed on these areas so I was less stressed out and was more of a benefit to my employer (who at the time, was sponsoring my permanent residency application).

You also need to do some work on getting up to speed here. Learning is your responsibility, nobody else’s. It’s up to you to get the information you need to execute your job; a good mentor will point you to where to find it but they won’t learn it for you.

I say this as I have seen many young engineers blame senior engineers on not being mentored properly or being taught properly. If you don’t know something, find the answer yourself – this is something you learned or should have come across in university and the industry is no different.

Career prospects are excellent for anyone wishing to be an Electrical or Mechanical Engineer in Canada at the moment. The city is very green-conscious and wants to be the greenest city in North America by 2020. This is a big challenge, especially with the current rate of property development in the Lower Mainland.

Your lifestyle in Canada

The lifestyle is what I like about Canada the most, and how close everything is in Vancouver. I used to spend nearly three hours commuting to and from work in Dublin; in Vancouver my travel time is, on average, 30 minutes each day.

The scenery and the amenities in the city are great; in addition I feel very safe here, there is little to no crime except bicycle theft and handbag snatching from cars.

It’s a very easy city with lots to do and lots of events on all the time. The city does not really feel like a city, it’s very small and condensed compared to other North American cities.

More of my friends from college moved over here in 2008 and 2009 and are still here. This definitely helped as it is always better to have friends with you from home and you can help one another out and can relate to one another better.

At present I do call Canada home, but I would not rule out of the possibility of returning home to Ireland (especially if I have a family one day). For the moment, though, I can’t think of a better place to be at this stage of my life.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?
Work hard and smart, if you don’t know something go and find the answer and take on what you want achieve, don’t blame others for anything.

If you don’t like something change it, don’t complain about it.

What advice would you give to people looking for work as a Mechanical Engineer in Canada?

Make sure your resume is specific not just to not just the industry but also the job you are going for. Network, network and network.

There is a great Irish community here that can help make your journey of gaining successful employment easier.

One of the great aspects of Irish culture is our desire to help our neighbours – don’t forget this when you leave Ireland. There is a reason there is an Irish pub in every country and major city in the world.

Follow Eoghan’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career like Eoghan’s and be a Mechanical Engineer in Canada?

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How can I be a Commercial Business Manager in Canada? Our career profile of Richard Shipway.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In the latest of our series, Richard Shipway chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada and his wide-ranging career.

Commercial Business Manager in CanadaRichard Shipway – Commercial Business Manager in Canada – Axiom Builders

Richard was born in the UK, and emigrated to Vancouver in 1997. Richard and his wife have settled in North Vancouver.

Richard is strongly involved in the Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA).

Over his twenty years in the Vancouver construction market, Richard has worked with Altus Group, Ledcor and Axiom Builders.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

My great uncle had immigrated to Red Deer, Alberta, 80 years ago so I was always curious about Canada.

I came to Canada for the first time on vacation 21 years ago with my wife, and did a road trip around British Columbia and Alberta taking in the Rockies. It was absolutely spectacular and reinforced our wish to live in such a beautiful, clean, vibrant city.

We decided we both needed a new challenge, and we focused on living in Vancouver.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

Definitely lifestyle. When I lived in the UK, I spent up to four hours commuting each day and worked a 12-hour day. I had lots of money but no lifestyle.

What made you choose Vancouver?

We fell in love with Vancouver when we visited. The weather in Vancouver seemed to be very similar to what we were used to in the UK, given it doesn’t get too harsh winters like other parts of Canada. We also knew that Vancouver was a very progressive city so there would be lots of opportunity. And of course, the people: friendly, welcoming, and diverse.

Did you move alone?

I moved with my new wife, just five days after our wedding in December 1997. Canada was going to be a long-term honeymoon for us.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study Quantity Surveying?

I spent my summers as a teenager working in construction.

When I left school, I worked with a general contractor, gaining lots of experience in various roles in the company. After doing some estimating, I thought being a QS was the best fit for me.

I changed companies and was employed as a QS with a day at University. After two years, I had gained a diploma. Afterwards, I went to university full-time for two years to gain my degree in Quantity Surveying, and RICS designation.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan (if any)?

Having started as a labourer for a summer job with a contractor, my career evolved as each new opportunity was found or presented itself.

It’s always important to be flexible and willing to try new things. You never know where you will end up.

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

1991 – 1995 > QS consultancy
1996 – 1997 > Senior QS with Takenaka (UK)
1998 – 2003 > Cost Consultant with Altus Group in Vancouver
2003 – 2009 > Senior PM with Ledcor Group
2009 – 2017 > Project Director with Ledcor Group
2017 – Present > Commercial Business Manager in Canada with Axiom Builders

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects in Canada?

Very little. I was 30 years old and keen for adventure so promised myself to give a two-year minimum trial. Doing some research at home, I sent out half a dozen prospective resumes and made some initial contact to various potential employers.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

Speaking with other British expats was very useful in terms of understanding how things differ between the UK and Canada. Being open to working quite differently and embracing it was crucial to my success in Canada from a work perspective. Always being humble and respectful.

Had you previously worked in a foreign country?

No, and hadn’t really ever considered it either.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

No. I had chatted with one individual prior to my move, but had no solid contacts in Canada. When we arrived, we knew nobody at all.

Your professional development in Canada

How did you find your current role?

I was contacted by an industry recruiter I had known for many years about an opportunity to lead a new division in an existing leading general contractor. After several months of discussion, I started in my new role – re-energized, and excited to start something new.

Was there anything you could have done prior to your move to prepare?

Selling my house in the UK prior to my move would have made things much easier. I would strongly encourage anyone moving to wrap up your business at home first. It’s a big move changing countries and there’s lots to learn and enjoy – so to concentrate on that is enough for anyone.

Have your career objectives changed since you arrived?

Totally. I’m now involved in various construction associations and represent my company at many levels, so my role is much more political and industry-shaping. Promoting the construction industry with children is something I really enjoy and I’m also involved in more volunteering and a diversified field of mentoring.

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment in Canada similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked? ?

There was little quality of life for me working in the UK 20 years ago, but I hope things may have changed. Canada has a great work-life balance, and there is a strong emphasis on networking, especially in Vancouver. It’s considered OK to leave the office at 6pm and leaving before your boss!

Canada is a large country, so different experiences are available in different areas. The principles of collaboration, hard work, humility, respect, and fun remain.

What are the three main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role?

  • Re-inventing myself as a Project Manager as my background was as a QS.
  • Networking, and lots of it – it’s all about who you know in Vancouver.
  • Different approach to business, processes, and procedures, much more relaxed and people-centric.

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

  • Research in the form of informational interviews,
  • Networking – meeting as many people as possible,
  • Getting involved in as many events and organizations as I could,
  • Being open to learn, especially in a different way. Asking questions more often.

How is the work-life balance in your profession?

Great. The focus here is on getting the job done instead of clock watching. Titles are much more irrelevant, as are qualifications on business cards, and we generally work as a team to succeed.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry??

Very strong. The workload continues to be strong in Canada, leading the world in P3’s, for example. It’s a very stable and secure country with strong growth, and plenty of room for opportunities and innovation.

The industry actively recognizes more qualified people are required in all roles, and is much more sophisticated in its growth and training opportunities.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

  • Safe, clean, happy country.
  • Lots of opportunity here with a strong stable economy.
  • It’s a young country which means there is lots of innovation, heavily backed by the federal government.
  • Lots of exciting construction projects taking place, innovative and world-leading.
  • The business environment is very much people-focused with a strong emphasis on networking.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

Focusing on my kids really helped me integrate, by taking part in schools and activities.

Getting involved and enjoying the place I live in. Being a tourist is okay even when you live here.

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

I’ve been here for 19 years now, so yes! I have had offers from other parts of the world but it’s difficult to leave Vancouver. It’s a beautiful, secure place, full of opportunity and a real life balance. My two sons were born here, and even though we have travelled extensively, this is still home.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

Be humble, respectful, and treat people well. Respect, listen and seek advice from others.

What advice would you give to people looking for work in your field?

  • Your word and integrity are extremely important in Canada. Building strong relationships and networking to build your contacts will help you succeed
  • Don’t reinvent your career before you come here. Get established here before you make any career changes.
  • Be patient and have a 5-year plan
  • Move for lifestyle and not $$

Follow Richard’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career like Richard Shipway’s?

Read more about how Outpost Recruitment helps job seekers.

Other articles in this series:

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