For some DCC and Department of National Defence (DND) personnel, summer 2024 will be another brief window to overcome distance and weather to assess hundreds of facilities throughout Canada’s North.

Their task is to assess each building’s architectural, structural, mechanical, and electrical condition. Photographs and data will update a database that the Client-Partner will use to make informed decisions around repairing or renewing each asset.

Two three-year Facility Condition Assessment contracts cover more than 200 assets on about 30 sites in Nunavut, and roughly 170 assets in the rest of the North. Buildings of various sizes are involved—some are 5,000 square metres and others may be only 20 square metres. They range from aircraft hangars to accommodations to small, unoccupied structures.

Most of the more remote sites are part of the North Warning System that monitors Canada’s northern approaches. Scheduling visits to these more remote sites is challenging, given the North’s vast distances and extreme weather. Most can be reached only after several hours’ flight in a helicopter, which can limit the team to one site visit a day—and rescheduled if the weather prevents flying. Even a team that has arrived can be surprised on the ground. In Alert last May, the enduring snow prevented travel to some buildings beyond the main station, postponing assessments. Fortunately, these assessments were not critical to the overall success of the required data.

“Flexibility and collaboration are key,” says Justine Loader, a Technical Specialist with DCC’s Real Property Management team in Ottawa, who helps to coordinate logistics and scheduling for each visit.

“You plan thoroughly, then plan for the unknown.”

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