Michels Canada is responsible for pipeline construction on Spread 7A of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project, extending from the Fraser River crossing in Surrey to 232 Street in Langley. We recently connected with the company to learn more about the experience and expertise it brings to the Project.

Tell us a bit about your company’s experience with energy infrastructure construction?

Michels Canada is a trusted contractor for safe, reliable energy infrastructure construction throughout Canada. Michels Canada’s experience includes new installation and rehabilitation of gas, oil and product pipeline projects from 12 to 48 inches in urban areas, remote wilderness and oilsand mines. Recent projects in British Columbia of note include construction of an intermediate-pressure natural gas pipeline through Vancouver, Burnaby and Coquitlam, and construction of a transmission natural gas pipeline through Surrey and Coquitlam.

Can you tell us about your commitments to worker and public safety, and environmental protection?

At Michels Canada, the safety of our people, the public and the environment guides all our decisions and actions. We are proud to be recognized by our customers and industry associations for excellence in health, safety and environmental protection. Last year, we received an excellence award in the category of “Best Health and Safety Culture” by Canada’s Safest Employers, who for 11 years have been recognizing companies (and professionals) for their outstanding performance in HSE achievements, leadership and innovation. We’ve also received safety awards from the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA) Foundation for our demonstrated commitment, achievement and leadership in safety, as well as from the Pipe Line Contractors Association of Canada (PLCAC), establishing Michels Canada as an industry leader in the safe performance of energy infrastructure. Our holistic approach to safety is exemplified by our ability to reach a safety milestone of working four million exposure hours without a single lost-time injury. This approach is driven by key performance indicators such as boots-on-the-ground leadership engagement and craft participation in pro-active initiatives focused on health, safety and environmental performance. Our top-down, down-up approach to safety creates an accountability model that encourages every employee, regardless of title, seniority or whether in the office or field, to take personal responsibility for their safety and the safety of those around them. This culture is the “Magic of Michels,” which forges our commitment to the care and protection of our people, the public and the environment.

What’s your process for hiring the construction crews and related workers for the Project?

Michels Canada is a unionized contractor. Through the PLCAC, we work closely with our union partners (Operating Engineers, Labours International Union of North America, United Association of Journeyman and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters) to provide highly skilled labour to construct the Project with the utmost focus on safety and quality.

We have a profound appreciation and respect for the people who work on our team and projects. Our continued success depends on our most valuable asset – our people. We relentlessly pursue ways to create a safe, positive, satisfying and engaging environment for our entire team. Our efforts are guided by our people-focused Core Values, including safety, integrity, dedication and social responsibility, and supported by the Michels family and our leadership and management teams.

Michels Canada believes it is important for Indigenous Peoples and non-Indigenous to work together in a positive manner. As one of the most progressive pipeline contractors in Canada, we are committed to forging a strong partnership with Indigenous Peoples and to providing opportunities for Indigenous Peoples to have careers in the pipeline construction sectors.

The Michels Canada Human Resources team upholds our Core Values and applies them daily in our recruitment, development and retention strategies. We continuously look at new ways to recruit and retain the best and most innovative people in our industry. Our interviews are focused on finding people who possess the technical and leadership skills as well as traits and values aligned with our Core Values. Michels Canada is made up of driven individuals committed to achieving success thorough teamwork.

Do you have any particular engineering challenges that are unique or will require innovative solutions?

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project in our spread crosses a variety of land-use types including agricultural land, several golf courses, densely populated urban communities and industrial use areas. Throughout the region, our crews will be encountering restricted work room, other underground infrastructure and environmental timing windows, all the while dealing with the logistical challenge of Lower Mainland traffic in our daily activities. While completing the work, we will be operating in a manner to minimize the impact to the public, landowners and businesses along the route.

To meet these challenges, Michels implements innovative solutions and technology across our projects and into the hands of our skilled construction crews to safely construct the pipeline.

On Spread 7A, Michels will complete four major trenchless crossings on the Project. There are also numerous shorter crossings under roads, railway lines, water bodies and other utilities.

Michels is regarded as the North American leader in horizontal directional drilling (HDD). Our record-setting drills are supported by an unrivaled fleet of 84 drilling rigs of all sizes, including the largest fleet of 1.2-million-pound thrust/pull force capacity rigs in the world. Michels has successfully completed HDD crossings in Canada, all 50 states, along the US-Canada and US-Mexico borders, and internationally. Our highly respected HDD staff includes some of the most knowledgeable, talented and experienced leaders in the industry who work together to set industry records, and to develop new methods and design and fabricate equipment to expand the possibilities for using HDD in increasingly challenging situations.

Michels continues its tradition of being an innovative leader in trenchless technologies by expanding our capabilities and experience to utilize the direct pipe method. This has become a proven method for successfully installing steel product pipes with a one-pass system by combining a thruster with a steerable micro-tunnelling machine.

Tell us about your mission statement and core values.

Our mission is to be the foremost provider of innovative construction solutions and value for our clients in their mission to serve the growing utility and infrastructure requirements of their customers around the world.

Our Core Values are:

  • Safety: Safety is the cornerstone of our culture
  • Environment: We are committed to preserving and improving the environments where we live and work.
  • Integrity: Our actions are characterized by integrity, trust and respect.
  • Dedication & Teamwork: Our people are dedicated and share a passion for quality and innovation.
  • Social Responsibility: We are committed to being a responsible community partner and value the diversity of individuals and their contributions.
  • Sustainable Operations: We have sustainable operations driven by our ability to execute swift, strategic decisions.