Ainsworth Sarnia Branch works on the HVAC, design build & install and industrial siding for the dynamic Nova AST2 project

In December of 2017, Nova Chemicals announced their plan to build a new Polyethylene Facility in Sarnia, Ontario. Initially, Ainsworth’s Sarnia Branch bid on supplying HVAC equipment and duct fabrication for the majority of the site. This contract, direct with Nova, contained a design build element and a requirement to work closely with the plant project engineers (Tecnicas Reunidas) to ensure compliance with the Ontario Building Code and SMACNA requirements. It’s hard to believe that was over four years ago!

Following the success of securing the HVAC supply contract with Nova in designated areas 100, 200, 300 and 500, Ainsworth was then contacted to tender on the installation of the HVAC duct and equipment for the same areas and won these contracts.

The new facility also required the construction of an administration and multi-purpose building, and Bird Construction was awarded the Project Management contract. Ainsworth won the tender with Bird for the mechanical work on this project which included our direct hire sheet metal, plumbing and refrigeration trades.

Another project at the AST2 site was the design build of two warehouses, a chemical injection building and a fire water pump house. Ainsworth worked with local engineers to design and install H&V systems including natural gas and steam lines. The other aspect of this project was the erection of a pre-engineered metal building in which Ainsworth directly hired sheet metal workers to install the cladding on the four buildings.

The Sarnia Ainsworth team has been installing industrial metal siding for over 35 years and has completed many projects in Sarnia-Lambton. During this time, no challenge has been more extreme than what the requirements were to install siding on the extruder building, which is the centerpiece of the facility including a 265-foot tower which required siding at extremely high elevation.

In the fall of 2019, before any contracts had been awarded, Nova Chemicals contacted Ainsworth regarding potential issues that could have arisen which would challenge the installation of the originally designed wall cladding. The original wall cladding was designed to be prefabricated 6” thick and 42” wide but the structure had been erected with ancillary elements such as brackets for pipes and electrical cable trays, canopy steel, platforms supported by angle braces and the most extreme pipe racks which connected to the building almost halfway around the perimeter.

Ainsworth reported to Nova that it was not practical to install prefabricated wall panels and that conventional siding would be the best solution. Ainsworth then worked closely with Vic West to redesign the cladding system and provide the client with engineered drawings. Vic West supplied the cladding and Ainsworth is currently installing the cladding on a time material basis. Even with a solution in hand, this project has been a challenge with numerous unexpected obstacles, but Ainsworth’s excellent field staff have risen to the challenge to provide a quality installation. The boiler chemical injection building is a project that is also nearing completion which is combination of H&V plus wall panel installation.

An adjacent building to the extruder building was the rail car barn which loads the manufactured product. The rail car building also had some siding issues, so Nova once again decided to use the conventional method of cladding; this time with Ainsworth supplying and installing it.

A recently awarded time and material contract for the install of cladding to the extruder interior walls ran into some design flaw issues, and once again Ainsworth helped the client find solutions despite the original design flaws by bringing in a local engineer with considerable experience and Ontario building code knowledge to redesign the subject walls.

Ainsworth is proud to have contributed so much to the Nova AST2 project over these last four years – the challenges the Sarnia branch faced and solutions they created demonstrated just how much the team is capable of. Looking forward to the next one!

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