Home office: Getting to know our Project Foreman Steve Barrett

Steve Barrett, Irving Oil Home Office

Steve Barrett, Irving Oil Home Office

The new home office is beginning to look more and more like our new home, thanks to the help of countless tradespeople from across Atlantic Canada. One of those people is Steve Barrett, a Project Supervisor with Markland Associates Ltd. from Halifax.

"This may be the most unique building I've ever worked on," Steve says. With his crew of five, Steve and his team are responsible for the nearly 500 doors in our new building, along with the glass components of the feature staircase in the atrium. The 11-floor staircase is an intricate project that requires specialized carpentry expertise.

A Red Seal journeyman carpenter for more than 30 years, Steve has what it takes to do the job, and finds great joy in his work. "I get to see the progress of the work that I've done every single day," he says.

The stair framing gives the impression that the staircase is floating in the atrium. The structure is clad with white oak panelling to form a guard rail around its exterior edge. The cladding panels are fabricated in Lunenburg, NS, from wood sourced in North America. A continuous glass guard rail winds its way up the interior side of the stairs.

Having worked on numerous projects across the Maritimes, Steve is always one to bring local workers to the job. Four of his team members are from Saint John and are "top of the barrel," as he likes to describe his skilled workers.

For Steve, another special highlight of being involved in the construction of our new home office is working with his son. Nathan Barrett is a Project Coordinator responsible for the exterior of the building. "This is a great opportunity for him," Steve says with pride.

Steve and his team are looking forward to continuing their work on the new home office, and excitedly awaiting – like many of us – to see our finished home. To stay up to date on our new home office, follow us on Twitter at @homeofficesj.

Building milestones continue throughout summer

Drone photo - July

Drone photo - July

As we progress through summer, hard work has been underway at our new home office on both the interior and exterior of the building.

Progress is taking shape with the perimeter wall continuing to come together with concrete, brick and granite. In addition to the wall, sewer lines and manholes are also being installed. Inside, the second floor is nearly complete with workstations being installed and prepped for our people. On the other lower floors, cabinets and lighting are being installed as framing and drywalling continue to take place on the upper floors. And, on our fifth floor, metal studs mark the shower and locker rooms, wellness area and prep kitchen for our new café.

See our latest updates on our home office project by following us on Twitter @homeofficesj

Onsite at our new home office: Getting to know Melissa MacMullin, Junior Project Manager


From mock trials and case studies to blueprints and drywall, Melissa MacMullin’s career path has been diverse to say the least.  Currently working on the new Irving Oil home office as a Junior Project Manager with Fundy Pros Specialty Construction, this wasn’t where she had always envisioned herself.

For Melissa, working in the trades wasn’t something she considered out of high school. It was only once she was in law school that she decided to make the switch.“I wanted to do something different, completely out of my comfort zone,” she explains. Now,Melissa enjoys working in a dynamic field, unlike any she has worked in before.

While her team of nearly 70 is responsible for the framing, drywall and ceiling in the new home office, Melissa’s duties are harder to describe.“I do whatever’s needed,” she explains. “My job is to make sure we stay on-track, on-budget, and on-time.”

Although, this doesn’t mean that Melissa doesn’t do her fair share of the heavy lifting.“I would say that if you want to make money while you exercise, construction is a great avenue for that,” she adds with a laugh. 

The challenge of strategically planning where to best focus their efforts to achieve project goals is something that she greatly enjoys.“It’s a mind-stretcher when you’re building such high rises,” Melissa adds. 

From Melissa’s time in the industry over the last four years, she has also seen an increase in the number of women on job sites, with the home office project being the site that has the most women from her experience. However, she notes, “I would love to see more women in the trades.”Although fear of the unknown is a barrier that Melissa recognizes, she feels the hardest part is taking the first step.“Once that was done, everything else just fell into place,” she affirmed.

For more information on the home office project stay up to date by following us on twitter: @homeofficesj

Excitement is building as new home office construction continues

Drone photo from May 2018

Drone photo from May 2018

With the exterior façade of the building progressing, employees and contractors are focusing on the interior as we work through construction phases and hit exciting milestones.

Over the month of May, workers onsite have been busy installing washrooms in the lower levels of the building. Framing and drywalling is continuing on all of the floors, along with T-bar ceiling hangers which will allow for ceiling tile installation to begin.

Rock-breaking and excavation work are also underway for the parkade, located behind the former Saint John Courthouse as well as preparing the area for landscaping over the summer months.

When the building is completed, it will have 9,850 cubic metres of concrete – that’s enough concrete for a continuous sidewalk from uptown Saint John to Sussex, NB!

Check back for more updates on the project, and in the meantime don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @homeofficesj.

Onsite at our home office: Getting to know Lori Long, Construction Electricitan


Lori Long, a longtime resident of the region, recently joined the onsite team of Irving Oil's new home office – playing an important part in the creation of the building in her position as a Construction Electrician.

Originally from the Bloomfield area of New Brunswick, Lori has worked in the construction industry for many years, gaining her education and training in electrical work at New Brunswick Community College in Saint John. She began her career working at the Saint John refinery, and is now with Gardner Electric working specifically on the home office project. 

As a Construction Electrician, Lori is responsible for managing all of the equipment that arrives onsite, ranging from electrical wiring to receptacles and connectors. Upon arrival, she sorts each item, ensuring they get to where they need to go for installation. 

Being a part of the project and seeing it through to fruition is a great perk of this job, explains Lori. 

"It's great working on this project because this is something the construction team will always remember being a part of," says Lori. "As a permanent fixture in the community, it's exciting to work on a project that will live on for many generations to come, in a community that I call home." 

With the home office project slated to be completed later this year, Lori is eager to continue working onsite, with excitement building around what the completed office will look like once all of the final touches (including electrical work) have been installed. 

For any questions or feedback, please email PeopleMatters@irvingoil.com

Springing into Development Milestones

Home office building in February 2018

Home office building in February 2018

With less than a year until Irving Oil employees move into our new home office, construction is in full swing. Over the past several months we’ve seen some key development milestones, including the removal of the tower crane in December.

Permanent power is on in the main power room, eventually supplying power throughout the entire building, allowing ongoing interior work installing studs and drywall, along with wiring and pipework. As the project continues to progress we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop.

As you know, the new home office will house more than 1,000 Irving Oil employees – with a building of this magnitude it will include: 5.5 million pounds of steel, 11 office floors, and over 500 windows within 300,000+ square feet.

Circle back for more updates on the project, and in the meantime, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter at @homeofficesj!

Employees make their mark

It was a momentous occasion on Thursday as employees celebrated another major milestone in the construction of our home office, signing their names to the last piece of steel to be placed in the building.

“It’s a piece of history for our company and we all get to be a part of it,” said Linda Burns, Transportation Billing Analyst in Saint John, as she penned her signature to the eight-foot steel beam placed outside the Golden Ball for all employees to sign.  

The final steel beam will be placed in the top level of the 11-storey structure later this summer. Signatures will be visible for years to come.

Along with the final steel placement, construction continues with roof and window installation, along with placement of the stone façade, throughout the summer. Planning for the interior spaces is also well underway.

If you have any questions about our new home office, please contact us at homeofficesj@irvingoil.com.

Reaching new heights

A month into 2017 and we’re reaching new heights on our home office project.

The most visible progress on our site has been the stairway and elevator cores for the building, which are now standing five storeys tall. The project team has also been busy pouring the concrete foundation, placing the steel building columns and developing the floor structure.

It's been nearly a year since we gathered the community to unveil the plans for our new office – and we have enjoyed keeping our neighbours informed of our progress ever since. Just before the end of the year, we held our third information session at the Admiral Beatty and we look forward to continuing to engage with the community in the coming months.

Looking further ahead in 2017, the full height of the steel will be completed by late spring / early summer and the installation of the stone facade on the exterior will soon follow.

Take a look at our gallery of recent photos.

Building a strong foundation

December marks our seventh month of construction on our home office project and we are proud to see its structure start to take shape.

We have hit several major development milestones, like erecting the tower crane and welcoming the first pieces of steel on site. The project team has also been busy pouring foundation, placing the steel building columns and developing the floor structure. This work will continue into 2017. The team is also continuing to construct the stairway and elevator cores for the building.

Just in time for the Saint John Santa Claus parade, we were proud to help light up the city centre with some glowing white lights on our tower crane for the holidays. 

Construction activities began on site on June 6 and the site has been in a constant state of evolution since. Completion date is set for mid-2018. If you have any questions about our new home office, please contact us at homeofficesj@irvingoil.com.

Home office project keeps tradespeople here at home

 Darryl Cummings of Maguire Excavating Ltd.

 Darryl Cummings of Maguire Excavating Ltd.

For Darryl Cummings, our new home office project represents a great opportunity for long-term, meaningful employment here at home – and it’s a feeling that’s shared throughout the trades community.

Darryl, of Saint John-based Maguire Excavating Ltd., says our home office is the biggest project in the company’s history – after the Chateau Saint John hotel, which opened in 2009.

“It means a lot,” he says. “There are a lot of people out of work right now and this has allowed us to keep our team going. There is other work out there but this is definitely our main project, as it will be for a lot of the tradespeople that come on site.”

When our home office project was announced, Darryl says it acted as a source of hope for tradespeople throughout the region in need of steady employment.

“Some of these tradespeople like iron workers, electricians … it gives them some light on the horizon. They may not be on site now but they can walk by and see the activity and know that within a short period of time there is going to be work,” says Darryl.

The bulk excavation is now complete on site, but Maguire Excavating will continue to work on the project as smaller excavation needs arise, he says.

“It’s encouraging to see this project in Saint John because it also means there could be a ripple effect where we see more construction – and more work – opportunities in the city,” says Darryl.

Progress from the ground up

Work on elevator and stairway systems is underway at our home office building site.

Work on elevator and stairway systems is underway at our home office building site.

When complete, it will only take a matter of seconds to move between floors in our new home office building, but the work involved with creating a seamless elevator and stairway system is a much lengthier, more detailed process.

Construction is underway on the first stairwell and elevator for our home office building with foundation now laid for each. The work is contained in two structures currently on site adjacent to our large tower crane.

As construction on the building frame begins, it will take shape around the reinforced concrete elevator and stair cores, which will form the backbone of the entire structure. They will also serve as the central support for the steel floor structures.

In projects like our home office building, the cores and exterior foundation walls are always constructed first. When the cores advance vertically above level seven and the exterior foundation walls are complete, the structural steel building columns and floor structures will begin.  

Construction activities began on site on June 6 and the site has been in a constant state of evolution since. The project is scheduled to take 18 to 24 months to complete.

If you have any questions about our new home office please contact us at homeofficesj@irvingoil.com.

Tower crane a welcome sight in Saint John

Saint John’s skyline grew this week as we marked an important milestone at our home office site – the erection of the large tower crane that will be integral to the construction project moving forward.

The crane, which sits about 250 feet above ground level, not only represents growth at our construction site, but is also symbolic of investment that uptown Saint John has not seen in many years.

The first components of the tower crane arrived on site in June and have sparked dozens of social media conversations since – especially as it began taking shape on King Square South this week. The crane has a boom radius of approximately 164 feet and its lifting capacity is 44,000 pounds. 

The tower crane will play an essential role in the construction of our 11-storey home office building off of King’s Square. Construction activities began on site on June 6; the project is scheduled to take 18 to 24 months to complete.

If you have any questions about our new home office please email us at homeofficesj@irvingoil.com.

Preparation for tower crane underway

Our home office project site on July 26, 2016.

Our home office project site on July 26, 2016.

At two months in, we have now reached the peak of excavation activity at our home office project site.

We currently have four excavators on site preparing for our tower crane that will go up later this year.

The construction team is now focused on line drilling – when crews drill a series of holes to make rocks easier to break – on the property. The drilling process ensures that impact to neighbouring properties is minimized during rock breaking, which has also started on site.

We're still in our infancy when it comes to the long-term construction of our home office, but we're pleased with the progress we've made in these last eight weeks. 

Transformation continues at our home office project site

What was once a parking lot is now an active construction site as we enter our sixth week of work on our home office building project.

The site has transformed considerably as we continue work on Phase 1 of the site excavation, which is expected to run until the middle of this month. Phase 2 – involving rock breaking – will follow.

We've made a lot of progress so far, and we're looking forward to continuing to bring the plans to life. As always, if you have any questions about our project, please email the project team at homeofficesj@irvingoil.com.

Artifacts found during dig tell stories of Saint John’s past

A variety of items have been uncovered during our home office site excavation.

The plot of land that will one day house our home office building is now being carefully excavated – and more than just dirt and rock has been uncovered in the process.

Nineteenth-century glass bottles, a perfectly intact soda can from the 1970s and seven underground gas tanks have all been discovered so far during the dig. The storage tanks were safely removed in June.

A Torpedo bottle believed to be from the 1880s.

One of the items found by our project team is known as a Torpedo bottle – a round-bottomed bottle that was produced in the 1880s and 1890s by Irish soda company Cantrell and Cochrane.

The engravings on the side of the bottle read “Cantrell and Cochrane, Belfast & Dublin, Medicated Aerated Waters.” Ginger ale is said to be a popular type of soda once carried in Torpedo Bottles, along with soda water and mineral water.

A medicinal bottle believed to be from the 1800s.

The second bottle is perhaps even older. This smaller, medicinal bottle reads, “R.D. McArthur, Medical Hall, OPP King SQR, St John, NB.” We found a reference to McArthur in the Saint John and Fredericton Business Directory of 1862, and it appears he was a druggist with an office on King’s Square.

Finding such items beneath the soil is fairly typical in a project like ours – and we’re not finished digging yet.

The hole itself will be 20- to 30-feet deep when fully excavated, with Phase 1 scheduled to run until mid-July and Phase 2 – involving rock breaking – to follow.

Our project team estimates that by the end of Phase 2, 22,500 cubic metres of rock and granular material will have been removed from the site.

The excavation work is the largest job of its kind currently taking place in uptown Saint John, and is the main focus of our home office project team on site. If you have any questions about our project, or any information to share about the items we’ve uncovered, please email us at homeofficesj@irvingoil.com.

Our home office project site.

Our home office project site.

Home office project site full of activity

The transformation continues on King Square South as our home office project plans come to life.

In a matter of weeks, the site has changed considerably and it will continue to evolve as the project team pushes ahead. Construction activities began on June 6, and the site has seen a flurry of activity in the weeks since. We’ve made a lot of progress, and we’re looking forward to doing much more in the coming months.

If you have any questions about our new home office or would like to learn more about the project, please contact us at homeofficesj@irvingoil.com.


Cranes have landed in uptown Saint John

Our home office building site was a hub of activity today as the first components of the project’s large tower crane arrived at the corner of Charlotte and Princess Street – a symbol of investment that uptown Saint John has not seen in many years.

The pieces will be assembled in the coming weeks to create the vast tower crane, which, when completed, will sit about 250 feet above ground level and have a boom radius of approximately 164 feet. Its lifting capacity will be 44,000 pounds. 

About half of the 13 crane components arrived today, and were offloaded onto the site throughout the morning and afternoon. A smaller, 50-tonne crane carefully lifted each piece off of large flatbed trucks as community members gathered on sidewalks and street corners to watch the activities unfold.

Once erected, the tower crane will play an essential role in the construction of our 11-storey home office building off of King’s Square. Construction activities began on site on June 6 and will continue for another 18 to 24 months.

Our home office project is the first of its kind in uptown Saint John in more than 25 years, and we are committed to engaging our neighbours as the development continues to take shape. If you have any questions about our new home office, please contact our project team at homeofficesj@irvingoil.com.

Thank You Saint John

Our new home office is officially under construction! As we celebrate this important milestone, we want to extend our sincere thank you to the Greater Saint John community for your overwhelming support. We appreciate the efforts by so many people to make this project a reality. Activities are now underway at the site on King’s Square South and will continue as we work hard to bring this development to life. We are ready to dig in and make it happen for our team, our partners, and our community. Thank you for your support!


About the New Home Office Building

Approximately 1,000 employees will come under one roof in our new home office building.

Construction will begin this spring and is expected to be completed in 18-24 months.

Our new home office will be a modern and efficient workspace, consisting of 11 stories and approximately 300,000 square feet of space.

The design of the building will be strongly classical, blending all the benefits of modern building design, with the goal of honouring and enhancing the heritage character of uptown Saint John. For example, the cornices, or ledges, of the building will match the height of two neighbouring buildings: the Imperial Theatre and the Admiral Beatty.

The building will foster collaboration and teamwork, through innovative workspaces, including an outdoor terrace on the fifth floor.

The building will employ the latest building design technologies and systems, ensuring a high level of environmental performance. In addition, the building will be registered with the Canada Green Building Council, targeting certification under their LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green building rating system.

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