Halifax Shipyard Modernization Program

Award-winning project for one of the world's largest shipbuilding contracts

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. | Canada | 2012-2015

CAD$350 million
capital cost

storeys tall

square feet

Canadian Consulting Engineering Awards 2017
Award of Excellence(Transportation)


  • The procurement and construction phases were highly accelerated to meet our client’s contractual shipbuilding milestones. 
  • Brownfield challenges, including unexploded ordnance, were encountered relating the old naval yard site being redeveloped. 
  • The existing shipyard facilities had to be demolished in phases while shipbuilding continued. 
  • Special foundations were required to accommodate extremely large loads from the dead weight of the superstructure and proposed shipbuilding activities. 


  • The previous fabrication facilities were removed in stages to allow the final coastguard vessel to be completed successfully without disrupting its construction schedule. 
  • Dynamic compaction was implemented as a means of ground improvement. 
  • An efficient long-spanned structural building frame was designed to accommodate large-spanned heavy lift cranes and withstand high-wind loading. 
  • Using the latest tools in BIM, we worked efficiently to reduce cost and risk and produce more valuable information in a shorter timeframe. 
  • During construction, live BIM models were updated as construction occurred; as-built and asset information was produced in near real-time, and tablets were used to access documents and models live from the site. 


  • Once custom-designed to accommodate the modular construction of combat vessels, this shipbuilding facility now has the largest single building for constructing ships in North America. 
  • Recognized by Engineers Nova Scotia with the 2016 Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Engineering. 
  • Project was completed within budget and on time. 

Project numbers

CAD$350 million construction cost
At 46 metres in height, the Assembly and Ultra Hall would just clear under the Halifax harbour bridges
100% LED lighting was employed to use 75% less energy than traditional lighting
425,000 square feet
36 months to completion
9,000 tonnes of structural steel
22,000 metres3 of concrete
6,000 metres of industrial piping
Two 130-tonne plus two 200-tonne bridge cranes spanned the entire width of the building
At 408 metres in length, the Assembly and Ultra Hall is the equivalent of nearly seven NHL ice surfaces
The welding machine can complete the equivalent of 24 hours of manual welding in 20 minutes with 99% accuracy

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