Shipyard expansion to begin next year10/30/2012
The engineering firm overseeing the Halifax Shipyard expansion plans to break ground in the first quarter of next year.
Hatch Mott MacDonald Ltd. has been awarded the site engineering contract and will design new buildings and marine infrastructure.
The modernization will accommodate Irving Shipbuilding Inc.’s multibillion-dollar, 30-year program to build the navy’s next fleet of combat vessels.
Kevin Skebo, Hatch Mott MacDonald’s project manager, said the aim is to have the facility ready to cut steel in early 2015.
“There has to be enough done to cut steel, so a significant proportion has to be completed by then,” Skebo said Monday in an interview.
At peak, he said, Hatch Mott MacDonald will require 45 workers to oversee the design and engineering.
The firm already has about 45 workers, predominantly engineers and specialists, in its Halifax and Sydney offices.
An additional 20 workers will be brought to the province to focus on the shipyard contract, Skebo said.
Hatch Mott MacDonald, a subsidiary of Hatch of Mississauga, Ont., and Mott MacDonald of London, England, has a history of marine industry construction in the Maritimes.
Hatch Mott MacDonald designed the buildings and infrastructure for Irving Shipbuilding’s Saint John Shipyard.
The firm also oversaw the management and design of marine projects for the Fairview Cove Container Terminal, Autoport Ltd. in Eastern Passage and the Defence Department in Halifax and Esquimalt, B.C.
Irving Shipbuilding plans to spend $300-million upgrading the facility leading up to the shipbuilding work.
The company estimates that the engineering and construction work combined will generate 2.3-million person-hours of work, which roughly translates into $73 million in wages in the province.
Plans for the yard include building a new steel fabrication hall, unit assembly hall, updating and constructing a pier at the north end of the yard, and investing in a new launch dock.
“We look forward to sharing more detailed plans in early 2013 once more of the engineering work has been completed, and will share preliminary estimates on jobs to be created and time frames at that time,” Irving said in a newsletter earlier this month.
An Irving Shipbuilding spokeswoman said Monday that Hatch will be working with Irving to finalize plans, complete engineering work and get ready to issue tenders for the construction and building work by the spring of next year.
The provincial government announced earlier this year $304 million in loans, including a $260-million forgivable loan that would be put toward the upgrades.
“We have not yet drawn down on those funds, and we will only do so when we are ready to move forward with our plans,” Irving Shipbuilding president Steve Durrell told media earlier this month.
Those plans and drawings could be made public early in the new year, with associated construction contracts to be placed in the spring and work beginning shortly thereafter.
Since the shipbuilding program was announced last October, Durrell said the company has received 20,000 applications.
He expects Irving to add as many as 1,500 people in the next decade, doubling its existing workforce.
The “vast majority” of those positions will be filled by Canadians, with a few select positions drawing from combat shipbuilding expertise found at international shipbuilding centres, he said.
(The Chronicle Herald)