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Westco Drilling & Piles Ltd. continues its success in deep foundations

By Kelly Gray

Westco Drilling & Piles Ltd. has been very successful in the drilling and piling industry. The company is committed to delivering quality service with trained, professional personnel that have the skill set to complete any project with their extensive fleet of drilling and piling equipment.

Founded in 2004 and based out of Fort Macleod in southern Alberta, Westco Drilling & Piles Ltd. was started by three principals: Trevor Anderson, Derek O’Connor and Theo Van Ee, who wanted to branch out from Westco Construction, a company that builds pre-fabricated steel buildings, and into offering cast-in-place (CIP) services.

According to Anderson, with the Fort Macleod firm, Westco Drilling & Piles Ltd. started their new venture with a Texoma 270 pressure digger and has since upgraded and accumulated a fleet of various drill rigs, consisting of Highway FD series drill rigs as well as a Watson drill rig. Both truck and track mounts range in depths of 30 to 80 feet and diameters of 16 to 84 inches.

“The most recent additions to Westco Drilling’s fleet are the 2012 SR50 Soilmec and the 2011 Liebherr LB20 pile driver,” said Anderson. “The LB20 has increased the company’s scope of work from CIP and continuous flight auger (CFA) capabilities to introducing driven pile foundations. The addition of the SR50 has brought along an increase in depth of up to 130 feet and diameter of up to 10 feet with CFA capabilities.”

Gaining traction
The new rigs opened several new doors for the company, including allowing access to bigger, more complex projects.

“Since acquiring these rigs, we’ve been given the opportunity to be a part of major projects, the most recent being the Glenmore Improvement Project,” said Anderson.

On that project, the LB20 pile driver and Soilmec drill rig were used to provide driven and drilled piles for the two bridges being installed as part of the interchange. This project consisted of five-foot-wide by 90-foot-long caissons, with sectional casing used in upwards of 18m in length throughout the upper sand lenses.

On the Glenmore Improvement Project, Westco Drilling had to overcome various obstacles to ensure the work was completed on time and on budget, with zero incidents and impact to the environment. Due to the close proximity of the CP/CN Railway tracks, vibratory equipment could not be used, which was why Anderson chose to custom-build his own single-wall sectional casing with leading edge carbide cutter teeth to penetrate bedrock, to seal sloughing soil and to eliminate surface water infiltration. This casing performed exceptionally well.

Prior to the Glenmore Improvement Project, Westco Drilling completed another major project within the utility sector, an integral part of the Red Deer Area Transmission Development Project (RATD).

“The scope of work for the RATD project consisted of CIP monopole foundations ranging in diameter from five to ten feet with a depth ranging from 30 to 50 feet,” said Anderson. “This has been one of many utility projects that Westco Drilling has been a part of with major power companies, including BC Hydro, Altalink, Saskatchewan Power and Manitoba Hydro.”

Besides heavy civil infrastructure and utility projects, Westco Drilling also provides services to commercial, industrial and small farm projects, as well as any other project that requires CIP, CFA and driven pile foundations.

Anderson says that besides his experienced field crew, Westco Drilling employs a full-time HSE manager, quality control and assurance personnel, two estimators as well as administrative staff, who all play key roles in the success of the company.

Staying safe
“Everything starts with safety,” said Anderson, who adds that he’s very pleased with the personnel he employs. The staff buys into the company’s safety culture and follows the Westco Drilling safety program, which allowed Westco Drilling to successfully achieve its Certificate of Recognition (COR).

“Each and every individual [here] looks out for one another, works together and makes safety their number one priority,” said Anderson.

Prior to each project, Westco Drilling does pre-job planning. This includes pre-job hazard assessments, where the hazards for that specific project are discussed, as well as the controls that need to be put in place to eliminate or minimize the hazards and any other safety or environmental issues. Document control and quality assurance are also key focuses throughout all projects. It is important to Westco Drilling that there is a level of security maintained at all sites, which is why sites are set up with appropriate barriers and signage to indicate that anyone coming onto the site must review hazards and controls before entering to ensure safe admittance.

Employee training is also something that Anderson has made a priority for all his employees, especially those on the front line; he takes the time to do competency training for his equipment operators and provides specialized training for all his employees.

“The reason for the success of our company is that we have experienced personnel in key roles with a positive attitude, we provide quality service, we thrive for customer satisfaction all while focusing on completing projects with a high regard to safety and a healthy respect to the environment,” said Anderson.

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Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.