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How North Construction Uses Helicopter Logistics in Major Projects

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It was just over a decade ago when the 2010 Winter Olympics came to Vancouver. The city was ready to host hundreds of competitions on BC soil, except for one small hiccup: there was not enough snow for any of the outdoor events to take place. While many might remember seeing the news that helicopters were being used to haul hundreds of loads of snow from higher elevations to the various courses, few might know that North Construction was one of the key players behind the planning and execution of the helicopter logistics that brought the Games to life. North Construction continues to be one of the few companies on the west coast with the experience and capability to successfully plan and execute helicopter logistics for such large scale projects.

Ryan Gisby, a longtime Superintendent with the company, is often tasked with managing these complex jobs. “North Construction has more experience than most civil outfits in doing these one off, yet complicated, jobs. We have the right support team and resources behind us to do it right.” Earlier this year he was part of the team responsible for delivering an oversized pane of glass to one of the penthouses of the Vancouver House. While the job was quick to accomplish, the planning was extensive and had to be incredibly precise to avoid accident or injury. The helicopter had to fly from YVR airport to a barge in front of Granville Island, attach to the longline, then fly up to a truck parked on the Granville Bridge where it would attach that longline to a crate holding the pane of glass, and finally continue through a pedestrian-free corridor to its destination at the top of the high-rise.

To properly carry out the task, the North team painstakingly coordinated all the details of the plan with multiple parties: the City of Vancouver, the fire department, the Vancouver Police department, the building contractor, the residents and the nearby businesses, to name a few. The biggest challenge came from blocking off bridge access to pedestrians and vehicles in one of the busiest areas of the city. However, thanks to the communication, attention to detail, and logistical planning from the North Construction team, the project went off without a hitch.

In our last blog, Planning for Foreshore Projects in BC, we also briefly touched on the remediation work our crew is completing on Dorman Point, Bowen Island, an isolated spot that is only accessibly by hiking in or by climbing a long staircase from the shore. Our team used a heavy lift operator to get our equipment to the site – including a disassembled 12,000lb Cat 305.5E2 excavator that was put back together onsite. Once materials were broken down and bundled into units of flyable weight, aerial support was used to fly them to a stationary barge on the shoreline.

North Construction Vancouver - Helicopter logistics

This month, our team will be completing work on Dorman Point and all the remaining materials will be removed from the park so that it is ready for public access in the new year. So if you’re looking up at the skies this month, you might see a familiar face flying next to Ol’ Saint Nick as we wrap up what’s been a busy 2020 for us all.

North Construction Vancouver - Helicopter logistics

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