About the industry

Alberta's engineering and construction sector is made up of 26,400 businesses that together generate annual revenues of $78 billion. Significant industrial benefits result from the sector because of the equipment, materials and subcontract services its firms design, specify and procure. The industry continues to grow because of its participation in Alberta's strong infrastructure and resource development activity.  

Industry fast facts - 2012

  • Annual revenues: $87 billion 
  • Contribution to Alberta's GDP: 10%
  • Value of annual exports: $480 million (2011)
  • Number of companies: 26,400
  • Direct employees: 300,000
  • 300,000 Albertans employed in this sector have succeeded in developing strong, diverse, world-class skills. About another 400,000 Alberta workers are dependent on this sector. Exports are valued at $480 million, over 80% attributed to consulting engineering.
  • There are over 72,000 engineers and geoscience professionals and over 18,000 applied science and engineering technicians and technologists registered in the province.
  • There are more engineers and geoscience professionals in Alberta per capita than any other province in Canada.

Alberta projects

The Inventory of Major Alberta Projects is produced by Alberta Enterprise and Advanced Education to assist firms in identifying potential supply opportunities.

Areas of expertise

Alberta's EC sector has numerous areas of specialization and expertise, including:

Coal extraction and processing
To help increase electricity generation at western Canada's largest coal-fired power plant, Alberta engineers set up an Automated Blending and Coal Analysis System (ABACAS).™ This award winning system, from an Alberta based company, allows for the optimal blend of coal in response to current plant conditions.
Construction management
The construction management expertise found in Alberta's EC sector has been employed in a variety of outstanding developments. From the Calgary Tower to the largest ethylene and polyethylene facilities in the world at Joffre, Alberta's award winning construction management skills can assist all firms with a wide range of projects.
Environmental architecture, engineering and construction
Alberta companies are recognized worldwide for environmental design and have won numerous environmental awards. Cardel Place, a recreation and library facility located in Calgary, Alberta, was among the first structures in Canada to be awarded a prestigious Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)™ Certification rating. Since then, numerous Alberta structures have been built to LEED requirements.
Infrastructure and transportation
Albertans were instrumental in the creation of the Confederation Bridge, a 12.9 kilometre section of the Trans Canada Highway stretching over the Atlantic Ocean's Northumberland Strait connecting the provinces of Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. The Bridge was constructed as a faster and more economical alternative to the traditional ferry system.
Mining
Alberta is home to Canada's largest surface strip coal mine, Highvale. Highvale supplies two power plants - one of which is the largest coal-fired electrical generating facility in western Canada. With more than 12 million tonnes of coal mined each year at Highvale, concern about the environmental impact is great. An ongoing reclamation program has been in place since the mine opened. Local farmers lease the reclaimed land for crops.
Oil and gas exploration, development and processing
Alberta researchers continue to explore new technologies and processes for the development of our natural resources. One result is the revolutionary Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage [SAGD] process. This technique uses two parallel horizontal wells to retrieve super-heavy oil or bitumen. The development of SAGD potentially doubles the economic viability of oil sands reserves.
Oil sands development
The Syncrude Canada Ltd. Upgrader Expansion Project (UE-1) was one of the longest projects in the world at the time, running from 2002 to 2006. More than 6,500 workers were involved at the peak of the 7.8 billion dollar expansion project in 2004. To learn about the latest oil sands projects in Alberta, view the Alberta Oil Sands Quarterly Update.
Pipeline design and construction
Alberta has an extensive network of oil and gas pipelines that, if laid end-to-end, would circle the equator more than eight times. The experience gained from such a vast network has given Alberta EC firms a solid reputation around the world. Our expertise has helped develop pipeline projects from Siberia to South America. In fact, Albertans were involved in the design and monitoring of the world's highest gas pipeline in the Andes mountain range of Argentina.
Project management
An Alberta-based company won the electric power industry's most prestigious honour, the international Edison Award. This was the first time in the award's 77-year history that it was granted to a Canadian enterprise. The award-winning project was a 350-kilometre transmission line from Dover to Whitefish. The transmission line allows for steam-generated electricity to be carried from northern Alberta oil sands to southern markets. This extensive project was completed on budget and in record time and was celebrated for its attention to ecological and Aboriginal concerns.
Telecommunications
Alberta's SuperNet provides high-speed, broadband Internet access for over 420 communities throughout the province, including remote communities such as Fort Chipewyan, which is only accessible by air or winter road.
Winter construction technology and techniques
With Alberta's winter climate it is only natural that the EC sector is a leader in cold weather construction. Alberta EC sector knowledge in this area has been utilized around the globe.

For more information on the EC industry within specific sectors, see: