Boilermakers Turn 4200 Tons of Steel into 1 Million Barrels of Storage

In the middle of Alberta’s Industrial Heartland, TIW Steel Platework Inc. built two 245-foot diameter by 70-foot tall storage tanks with internal floating roofs in just 6 months using the skills of Lodge 146 Boilermakers. The job took place in Hardisty Alberta, better known by some as "Hard N Dusty" due to the continual high winds.

TIW and Local 146 Boilermakers built two 245-foot diameter tanks in 6 months.

TIW and Local 146 Boilermakers built two 245-foot diameter tanks in 6 months.

An inside view of one of the tanks under construction

An inside view of one of the tanks under construction

The client had another storage tank going online and there was an opportunity for them to add more storage. They approached TIW with the goal of turning over 4200 tons of steel into 1 million barrels of storage. This was completed in just 26 weeks without compromising on safety.

TIW determined that the project required 36 Boilermakers. The work plan was to have 3 crews with 12 Boilermakers on a ten-hour shift (7 days a week), along with a turnaround rotation of 2 weeks on and 1 week off.

Mark Baxter, Field Superintendent/QC Supervisor for TIW and member of Lodge 555, told us “Teamwork was the vision the crew had at the start of the project and the Boilermakers came with the skillsets they had developed during their apprenticeships and careers”. He added “The Boilermaker crew were made up of tankees, shutdown and refinery Boilermakers. There was some training required for the automatic welding machines (like the 3 o’clock and vertical machines) but once the Boilermaker welders got the feeling for the machine, they mastered it along with training on steps in building a tank.”

On March 3, 2020, foundations for the tanks were handed over to TIW to start the project and they had 6 months to get everything done and turned over to the client. From day one every member of the crew (supervisors, schedulers, welders, riggers and fitters) was committed to teamwork. Each work day started off with “toolbox talks” that would engage the crew.

Tank floor awaiting the first course

Tank floor awaiting the first course

Tanks nearing completion

Tanks nearing completion

The crew faced its share of challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic required the whole team to adapt to working in a unique situation while facing the harsh elements brought about by Mother Nature. The crew faced winds of up to 70-85 km that would delay the hanging of a course. Mark Baxter explained “We would be listening to the weather reports trying to determine if we had enough time to hang a whole course as we wanted the course in place and secure before the winds would hit us.” The crew recognized what they had to do and worked on it when windows of low wind or no wind would open up. They would get the course up in under 5 hours. The Boilermakers also had to work with the dampness due to rain and -40 degree weather with blowing snow.

The other tank supervisors on the job were Des Mollison and Dwayne Skoc, both members of Lodge 555. Daniel Legere, a Business Representative of Lodge 146, said “When TIW contacted us regarding the project, we knew the members of Lodge 146 will step up like they do all the time, they get it done.” He further added “The job stewards were a big part of that team and I would like to thank Colin Amyotle and Liam Ferns for their great work representing the Union on site.”

Two of the crews on the tank job

Two of the crews on the tank job

(Click to enlarge)

Two of the crews on the tank job

(Click to enlarge)