Norweld Mechanical Installations Inc.

Supporting a Big Resource Boom in Western Canada
Written by: 
Molly Shaw
Produced by: 
Victor Martins

Norweld Mechanical Installations Inc. (Norweld) has offered diverse mining construction services throughout western Canada since 2006. With a main office and two fabrication facilities in Prince George, British Columbia, Norweld specializes in the fabrication and installation of pressure piping, structural steel and the erection of tanks, vessels, conveyors and crushing systems. For almost a decade, the general contractor has served some of Canada’s largest industries, including mining, forestry and oil and gas.

Jeff Houghton, president of Norweld, founded the company in 2006 after 16 years in forestry. “I started out as a project manager doing construction in the saw mills,” recalls Jeff. “Aside from wood products, I’ve also been involved in mining and commercial and heavy industrial oil and gas construction.”

Jeff has applied his industry background to his leadership role at Norweld where he guides the corporate governance of the company and directly oversees business development functions. He’s also responsible for the overall strategic direction and operation of the company starting at the planning and project setup phase through completion. Jeff ensures the requirements of the front line manpower remains paramount, making certain that the product delivered by Norweld’s 280 crew members is done safely, productively and at the highest possible level of quality.

Immense In-house Capabilities

In addition to offering immense in-house capabilities, Norweld also owns Canadian Iron Structural Corp. (Canadian Iron). “Canadian Iron takes on the project management of our largest jobs,” explains Jeff. “Some of the many services Canadian Iron offers include civil concrete construction, modular steel prefabrication, pipe spool fabrication, structural steel fabrication and installation, mechanical machinery installation and maintenance shutdown work.”

Jeff is proud of how far the company has come. “We’re the largest pipe fabrication shop in northern British Columbia,” continues Jeff. “Most of our pipe is shipped to Edmonton from our two British Columbia production facilities.”

The company operates a 68,000-square-foot pipe and pressure shop in Prince George on 6.8 acres and a structural fabrication facility in Prince George. Norweld’s structural shop is capable of processing 25 metric tons of fabricated steel per week while managing several install crews and consistently serving local mines and mills.

The site’s 16,500 square feet of production floor space are certified to CWB Division II standards. An on-premise insulated blasting and coating shop allows Norweld to completely finish fabricated products for installation without adding costly subcontractors and unnecessary handling. The company’s structural production facility is situated just 1.3 kilometres from the pipe and pressure shop. The close proximity allows the two divisions to support each other and execute projects in tandem.

“Our specialty is mining construction and we self-perform everything in-house with the exception of electrical services,” shares Jeff. “We support this niche with our facilities and skilled crews of knowledgeable employees. We keep a small core group of good people and we don’t try to take on too much or spread ourselves too thin with projects.”

The company is currently working with the Cenovus Energy Plant (Cenovus), performing pipe fabrication services. Cenovus utilizes steam-assisted gravity drainage, which is a low-pressure, constant-steam technology that melts the oil so it can be brought to the surface. This unique process and steam pressure doesn’t exceed the natural pressure that already exists in the ground.

Jeff admits, although controversial, the oil sand business is a big industry in Canada and a huge opportunity for the company. “We won this job through relationships and an established reputation,” adds Jeff. “We’re also doing on site fabrication for the Red Chris copper and gold mine in Dease Lake, part of the traditional territory of the Tahltan First Nation in northwest British Columbia.”

Although the economic downturn has hit the U.S. in full force over the past five years, Jeff says Norweld has remained strong and steady relying on the natural resource boom in Canada. “We haven’t really felt the effects of the downturn, because there is so much work up here,” he adds. “We’ve grown every year since our founding. However, we’ve become more efficient and more organized in the last couple of years.”

With a significant resource boom in its own backyard, Norweld’s future is bright. For almost a decade the company has supported a variety of industries, and Norweld Mechanical Installations Inc. continues serve as one of western Canada’s largest pipe fabricators.

For more information about Norweld Mechanical Installations Inc., please visit: www.norweld.ca.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
HSJ Heather-Sadler-Jenkins LLP