2022 Award of Excellence

Barnard Substation Upgrade

Owner: BC Hydro  |  Burnaby, BC


About the Project

The Barnard substation needed investment to meet future energy demands, improve safety of workers and the public. The project involved replacing outdoor transformer circuit breakers, Voltage Transformers, and the construction of a new building with the associated indoor Gas Insulated Switchgear (GIS), Reactors, and Medium Voltage Cables to replace the existing outdoor feeder section. This was installed over 60 years ago and has reached the end of its useful life. Project was more complex than normal. Given the age of the facility the existing site drawings and utility surveys did not reveal an accurate picture of the underground conditions, therefore the construction team had to adapt to several major hazards such underground power cables. As a result our team was able to build in new solutions that improved the overall safety of the substation. We also had to incorporate design to accommodate the new GIS building in the limited space inside the live substation fence. The terrain was steep, which is uncommon in BC substations. The reactor bays were also constructed to follow the natural slope of the site requiring excellent coordination between designer and construction managers.

One of the significant achievements of this project was that the project team developed their design in a way to accommodate the new GIS building in the limited space inside a live substation fence. The Project Management team on this project played a significant role to ensure that proper coordination between multiple contractors and the project team members were facilitated. The project management team ensured that timely responses and proper coordination. The project is progressing well after having successfully achieved its first major milestone of the energization of the GIS building in Oct 2021, and will be completed within the budget of ~$46 M. The second target ISD (In-Service Date) for the project is targeted to be achieved by the end of April 2022 and is on track.


As per the requirements of the Client, the design followed standard Client practices. But the below points list the challenges and the exceptional efforts put forth by the project team for the successful implementation of the project. One of the major achievements of this project was the team’s ability to develop and implement a complex Construction Staging sequence. The Automation and SCADA devices were programmed and configured in the SCADA lab developed by SNC-Lavalin. This helped save substantial time of testing and commissioning at the site. A detailed and complex Outage Staging Program was developed for the project. Also, adjustments had to be made to accommodate operational system constraints such as seasonal loading reliability requirements.The project team comprised of professionals, many of whom are recognized as industry experts in their field and who have a background of working experience. The experience offered the Client a wealth of expertise to help manage and deliver a successful project.

In addition, the project team has access to a wide range of subject matters experts that can be consulted quickly when a very specific problem arises.The upgrades done as part of the substation’s equipment will add the necessary infrastructure to support the growing electricity demand in the area for the next 20 years.


The upgrades done as part of the substation’s equipment will add the necessary infrastructure to support the growing electricity demand for the next 20 years.
The major benefits from this project are bulleted below:

  • All the end-of-life equipment are removed.
  • All Asbestos and PCB contained material are removed.
  • Oil-filled Circuit Breakers (CBs) that could catastrophically fail and cause injury to workers are replaced.

The project team provided sustainable products, services, materials

Service(s) Provided
Station electrical
Protection Control
Project, Procurement and Construction Management

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