Prince Rupert, a port city in the province of BC, is located on Kaien Island. With a population of about 12,000 people, Prince Rupert is the land, air, and water transportation hub of BC’s North Coast. The airport, located on Digby Island, is only accessible from the city of Prince Rupert by a ferry that operates approximately four times each day. The airport, which includes the air terminal building, maintenance building, firehall, and runway were built between the 1960s and early 1970s.
Houle’s scope consisted of a full renovation to all electrical systems and low tension electrical systems on the existing 20,000 sq ft air terminal building. The project, completed in stages, consisted of completely gutting the terminal building, leaving only the framework and rebuilt accordingly for each project phase. To ensure safe and reliable electrical systems, the team at Houle demolished and removed existing electrical equipment and infrastructure and replaced it with new advanced integrated systems. The new systems included the supply and installation of interior and exterior light fixtures and lamps; public address system including new head-end equipment and new speakers; lighting controls; fire alarm system; video surveillance system including all cameras, cabling, wiring, and conduits; Canada Border Services Agency equipment infrastructure; and NAV CANADA systems infrastructure. Houle also provided assistance with the relocation of existing NAV CANADA equipment.
The heavy rainfall contributed to workers experiencing fatigue. Logistics proved to be a challenge while working in the small community where there were no local electrical wholesalers or access to general material. Prince Rupert’s isolation presented another challenge to the project team. The next available airport is over an hour and a half away through one of BC’s most treacherous mountainous highways. Therefore, operation of the existing airport building had to be maintained throughout construction for the safety of the community.
Despite the challenges associated with weather, logistics, and a complete renovation of an active but isolated airport terminal building with extremely limited resources, the team at Houle was able to complete the project on time while providing minimal disruptions to the airport’s daily operations.
Houle’s in-house prefabrication capabilities were utilized for this project. Through prefabrication, Houle was able to keep on top of production without the risk of over purchasing. Prefabrication also ensured quality and consistency of installation.