The Firebag project started in October 2003 and has seen highly successful production from its wells. This project has been receiving a significant amount of attention due to the client’s ability to extract bitumen from the oilsands using in-situ technology. With this inventive technology, the client has been able to reduce its environmental footprint in the Firebag river area significantly over traditional strip mining. Stages 1 and 2 began producing oil in 2004 and 2006 respectively, tapping into an estimated 9 billion barrels of recoverable in-situ resources. At Stage 3, the client enlisted the support of Alta-Fab for the project’s large camp needs.


The client required an 812-person camp for its project. This large camp would serve as a short-term residency and as a home base for workers spending four to twelve weeks on the site.

The Challenge

The Firebag project had three main challenges which AltaFab was able to help address with a customized, large-camp solution.

Alta-Fab needed to deliver a high-quality, end-to-end dorm that could withstand the rigour of workers moving in and out on a constant basis for the next 20 years. Alta-Fab’s final modular housing product had to survive the physical toughness of the area and, at the same time, be comforting and inviting for its residents.

Alta-Fab had to produce and install each unit within a short timeline. In total, 182 units were required, with installation starting during the harsh Canadian winter season. Installation started in the middle of blistering -40˚C weather, so Alta-Fab had to consider the reduced worker efficiency and extra equipment protocols, which are typical factors associated with cold-weather conditions.

The team at Alta-Fab proved their ability to understand the “big picture” scope of the project. The coordination of the Firebag project had a fair amount of complexity to it, and as one of three camp suppliers contracted as part of a larger, complex scope, AltaFab recognized that it had to be flexible and accommodating in order to meet the client’s needs. Alta-Fab had to be able to work with other suppliers and several points of contact during the planning and construction phases of the project. While working with these other suppliers, the installation team exhibited expertise, flexibility, and capability in the best interest of their client.

The Result

Alta-Fab built all the units in the scheduled time frame. Alta-Fab’s attention to craftsmanship was perfectly matched to the client’s need for a durable product. In fact, the client decided to use Alta-Fab because it was impressed by Alta-Fab’s high level of craftsmanship and past performance in another camp project known as the Oilsands Lodge.

By coordinating 300,000 square feet of manufacturing capacity over three plants, Alta-Fab orchestrated its resources efficiently and delivered according to the set timeline. The Firebag project is a great example of Alta-Fab’s ability to leverage its capacity, capabilities, and craftsmanship to deliver a solid, quality camp solution.


Date of award: June 2007
Final unit built: January 2008
Final install: April 2009
Units: 184
Style: End-to-end dorm
Beds: 812 (240 executive with private washrooms)

Special Features

State-of-the art fire detection and sprinkler system.

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