This story and video is part of our Investor Insights series, a regular feature showcasing how YES! Winnipeg investors innovate in the face of challenges and work together to grow Winnipeg's economy.
For more than 55 years PCL Construction has helped to build some of the most iconic buildings in Winnipeg. During COVID-19 it utilized decades of ingenuity and adaptability, along with its connections to other forward-thinking suppliers in the city, to come up with what could be considered some of its most important structures yet.
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When the pandemic hit the company’s special projects division set out to devise highly mobile, medical-grade isolation pods that could serve to house COVID-19 patients. The result was 20 to 40 ft. shipping containers — dubbed Quaran-Tin Pods — which could host up to five hospital beds and combine easily to make multiple attached spaces to accommodate additional equipment. The temporary pods were also designed to require minimal infrastructure for installation.
“It’s a very quick set up. The container gets dropped off, it's levelled, it’s connected to a power source, and it’s up and running,” explains Monique Buckberger, District Manager for PCL Construction, adding this makes the units ideal for remote locations, which has piqued the interest of the Red Cross.
PCL worked with other Winnipeg subcontractors and suppliers, such as Price Industries which supplied the HVAC system, to ensure the units could also be effectively heated/cooled and sterilized.
This innovation resulted from PCL not only reevaluating internally how COVID-19 affected its business but in looking downstream to how the overall industry is going to be forever impacted.
Sean Barnes, Vice-President of Special Projects for PCL North America states a lot of the company's focus in the future will be helping customers get back to work — whether it’s redesigning offices to allow for proper social distancing or creating appropriate barrier systems.
The company is also looking to continue products and projects that will address further fallout from the pandemic. PCL recently started rolling out prototypes of the Citizen Care Pod, a retrofitted shipping container with integrated technology that can be rapidly deployed to expedite testing, screening, and eventually vaccination on a mass scale. Beyond COVID-19 it can be further augmented to address future public health needs.
Barnes says even though PCL has offices across Canada, its Winnipeg branch is best positioned to help bring these kinds of new projects to the market. He points to the variety that often comes out of the prairies — from skill sets to the range of environments — which underscores if you can make it here, it will work anywhere.
To learn more about PCL, visit pcl.com.
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