There is no question that the Canadian industrial market is one of the hottest and most sought after business segments in North America today. However, with the onslaught of new contractors rushing in, KBR Canada is one of the few contractors with the experience and know-how to effectively deliver projects in a cost-effective manner for its clients.
“One of the differentiators of KBR is we’ve been here a long time, so we have a strong database of crafts and relationships with unions,” says Karl Roberts, president of KBR Canada. “We can build off that. Likewise with our construction teams, we basically build and utilize that database and our strong bench to execute that work we’ve secured in the last year.”
KBR has plenty of reason to ramp up its operations in Canada these days. In the first quarter of 2013 alone, KBR Services’ business group revenue was up 40 percent. To support this growth, KBR Canada tripled the size of its workforce in Canada in the past year alone.
Also in the last year, approximately 80 percent of the $1 billion in total awards in Canada in 2012 were oil sands-related. These projects involve the construction of a new shale gas processing facility, gas-processing projects to increase capacity of existing facilities, turnarounds, and module fabrication and construction projects in the oil sands region. The growth of the business has also left KBR to expand its presence in Canada through the establishment of offices for its KBR Industrial and KBR Wabi subsidiaries in Edmonton and an operations center in Fort McMurray.
“We’re market-facing and customer-focused, so we are building around the markets where our customers are going,” Roberts adds. “We remain very focused for the clients we’ve served here and around the world. So, we will continue to grow based on what their needs for their businesses are.”
For more than 60 years, KBR Canada has played a major role in the construction of some of the largest projects in Canada, including the Syncrude and Suncor plants in Fort McMurray, Alberta; petrochemical plants in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta; and a refinery and styrene plant in Scotford, Alberta.
Among the leading module fabricators in Western Canada, the company constructs and assembles process plant modules in a yard at its Edmonton facilities. KBR Canada boasts a portfolio of more than 3,500 modules in the past 30 years.
With six decades of experience, however, KBR Canada has delivered projects throughout the nation. Along with delivering some of the largest projects in Canadian history through its module process, the company provides process piping fabrication services through its five-bay, 8,000-tons-per-year fabrication shop in Edmonton.
The Safest of Starts
As one of its core values, KBR Canada works to keep its employees safe on job sites throughout the country. Roberts admits such an undertaking starts at the top of the organizational chart, so he initiated a program called Project Safe Start.
Through this program, Roberts himself lays out safety expectations and goals for a given project before the first shovel hits the ground. Although many similar programs from other companies work directly with construction managers only, Roberts shares his “vision of safety” with all levels of personnel, ranging from apprentices to journeymen on up to welders, riggers, steelworkers and ironworkers.
Not only does KBR Canada lay out its safety program, but it requests feedback from its contractors to determine how to make jobs even safer. For instance, this past winter, KBR Canada changed the brand of safety glasses it requires on its job sites after laborers reported issues with lenses fogging up during the cold months.
KBR Canada also made a change to its glove requirement for certain tasks on a job site. The goal is to eliminate as many hand injuries as possible, and in the past 12 months, the company has offered behavioral training for this type of injury specifically.
Future of Growth
“We are very proud of our 60 years of experience in Canada, our capability and our depth of resources,” Roberts explains. “KBR Canada can and will continue to grow based on its commitment to the Canadian market and we will continue to invest to strengthen our position and build upon our track record of proven success.
“We have leading programs for safety and services that we provide, and we continue to grow into the market ,” Roberts adds.
“As we continue to grow in Canada, oil sands, gas and mining in Saskatchewan, we’re becoming one of the leading construction, module fabricators and industrial service providers in Canada.” EMI