Canadian general contractors on what it’s like to build in Alberta


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Geographical and societal circumstances create different construction challenges in every country, region, and city. For example, in San Francisco, there’s an expectation to keep up with technology. In Canada, the size of the country is 3.86 million square miles — or roughly the same size as the United States. But when it comes to the population, Canada only has about 37 million citizens compared to 327 million in the United States. Add in the extreme temperatures in Alberta and this creates a unique set of construction challenges.

We asked some of the top Canadian general contractors what it’s like to build in Alberta and some of the biggest challenges facing construction in Canada.

Expanding across a spread out country

Blaine CANA

“Canada is a big place. It’s spread out, and there’s not a lot of population density. I think one of the biggest challenges in Canada is that we exist in pockets, so it makes expansion across a big country difficult. It’s mainly a communication problem. It seems like every province and city does things a little bit differently. We’re also a little fish in a big pond, so events around the world can harshly impact little ol’ us.”

— Blaine Kalk, Senior Estimator at CANA Construction

Extreme weather conditions and oil prices

“The biggest challenge of doing construction in Canada is the weather. In the winter, we get down to negative 39 degrees Celsius. In the summer, we could get up to 30 degrees here in Edmonton. So being able to do construction in those extreme temperatures can be challenging at times because construction can’t stop just because it’s really cold outside. We still have to carry on somehow.

“In Alberta, it’s challenging with oil prices. We have our ups, we have our downs, we have our busts, and we have our booms. Trying to negotiate that and grow is difficult at times, but it can be very rewarding.”

— Randy Dupree, Director of Estimating Solutions at Chandos Construction

Bigger projects and more opportunities

Mitchell Stuart Olson

“I originally grew up in Calgary, so I’m probably one of the few who was born here. Construction in Calgary has changed a lot since I first started. Before, Calgary was a standard, smaller sized city. Now, it’s a larger city. You’re starting to see a lot bigger projects than in the past, and it’s creating more opportunity for people who want to grow their career. Now they can come into a region like Calgary and have that opportunity.”

— Mitchell Dean, Vice President of Preconstruction at Stuart Olson


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