Canadian Consulting Engineer

Nova Scotia engineering firms see future in shipbuilding

David Lea, P.Eng., president of Consulting Engineers of Nova Scotia, says that firms in the province are "very excited" about the opportunities that will arise from the recent announcement of a massive shipbuilding contract awarded to Halifax...

January 23, 2012   Canadian Consulting Engineer

David Lea, P.Eng., president of Consulting Engineers of Nova Scotia, says that firms in the province are “very excited” about the opportunities that will arise from the recent announcement of a massive shipbuilding contract awarded to Halifax Shipyard.

The so-called National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS) is a $33-billion endeavour representing “the largest procurement sourcing arrangement in Canadian history” according to the federal government.

Earlier this month the government announced that it had signed an agreement in principle with Irving Shipbuilding in Nova Scotia and Vancouver Shipyards Co. to build new vessels for the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard fleets.

The NSPS program will provide thousands of jobs over the next 20 to 30 years, not only building the large combat and non-combat vessels, but also all the infrastructure that is required. Vancouver Shipyards will build non-combat vessels, and Halifax Shipyards will build  combat vessels, for a total of $33 billion. In addition, $2 billion is to be spent developing other shipyards for smaller vessels.

For consulting engineers, the shipbuilding contracts will mean work designing new roads, facilities and other infrastructure. David Lea (with CBCL) says, “CENS members have been providing high quality engineering services to Halifax Shipyard for decades and we fully expect the excellent relationships developed by our members with the shipyard will lead to increased opportunities once the contract gets under way.”

Lea says the association will be proactively promoting its members’ capabilities for the work, and will ensure that there is an open and transparent procurement process to ensure that its members share in the “wonderful opportunities” that will arise from the shipbuilding contract.

He says, “Of immediate need in the short term will be major renovations and expansions of the existing shipyard infrastructure to accommodate the increased volume and pace of construction at the yard once the contract work gets started. CENS expects work for mechanical, electrical, civil, and structural engineers out of this initial work requirement with special emphasis on marine specialties.”

“Later on,” he continues, “more potential work is expected for our members in support of the many subcontracts for specialized components installed on the new ships.”

The first ships to be built in Halifax are expected to be new Arctic offshore patrol ships for the Royal Canadian Navy.


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