Boilermaker Apprenticeship & Training Centre

Boilermakers Local Lodge 146 was chartered in 1948 by 63 men working at the Sparling Davis Plant in Edmonton, Alberta.  With a current membership of almost 5,000 they have grown to become the largest local lodge in the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.  Their members have played a large part in the development of Alberta’s oil sands and are an in-demand trade at industrial facilities all over the province, particularly in northern Alberta.

In 2011, Williams Engineering Canada (WEC) was engaged to provide mechanical and electrical engineering services for an apprenticeship and training centre located next to the local’s learning centre and administration building.  WEC had previously provided consulting services for the construction of the learning centre and administration building.  WEC’s mechanical and electrical work on the new facility included design, completion of construction documents, and services during construction. The electrical team provided lighting, life safety and data systems design, while the mechanical team provided heating, plumbing, ventilation, and air conditioning systems design.

The facility has two distinct program needs: a commercial side (administration building) and an industrial building (training facility).  Noteworthy to the administration building design was the addition of a tiered lecture theatre (comparable to post-secondary institution lecture halls).  For this portion of the building, design considerations were required for heating, cooling, acoustics and visuals.  Unique to the training facility portion of the new construction is an 18 metre high ceiling to allow for practical work along with rigging instruction. Part of a boilermaker’s job is to work on pressure vessels (containers meant to hold materials at above atmospheric pressure).  Riggers devise, construct, and repair structures around these vessels that can be quite large, building from the bottom up. The training facility’s high ceiling gives apprentices the opportunity to construct actual rigging onsite inside a controlled environment. Electrical and mechanical engineering designs for the training facility involved coordinating with the architect and structural engineer to ensure the high open space wouldn’t be compromised.  WEC’s engineers also needed to be aware of additional elements that would exist in the completed facility such as compressed air systems, oxygen, loose shield, and welding gases. The designs were completed to complement the overall purpose of the building.

This new addition to Edmonton’s already thriving local lodge 146 will continue to strengthen the trades in Alberta. The new building is sure to help meet Alberta’s need to have a world class training facility right in the heart of Canada’s oil country. WEC is proud to have been part of this important next step for the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.