QEII Halifax Infirmary Expansion Project


1796 Summer St., Halifax

Project Type

DBFM (Design, Build, Finance, Maintain)/P3 Project


Healthcare Facility, Renovations

FAQ: Excavation & Blasting at QEII Halifax Infirmary construction site

Build Nova Scotia – Health and Wellness
Updated May 24, 2024

Frequently Asked Questions

When is blasting taking place at the Halifax Infirmary construction site?

The first blast will take place on Tuesday, May 28. Daily blasting will continue Monday to Friday once a day at 3:30 p.m. until October. There will be no blasting on weekends or statutory holidays.

What activities will take place on site during the rock removal phase?

During the rock removal phase, activities include drilling, general excavation, rock breaking, hauling away the broken rocks in trucks, and installing underground utilities.

Where are the dump trucks taking the rock? Are there any environmental impacts for the rock disposal?

All excavated material leaving the site is tested and classified based on composition and environmental regulations. All bedrock has been determined to be Sulphate bearing Pyritic slate and will be deposited at Halifax Port Authority’s approved Facility for Pyritic Slate.

How long does each blast last?

Each blast will last between 3 to 5 seconds. However, the contractor will be drilling multiple holes through the day to setup for the next blast sequence.

How will blasting impact hospital operations?

We expect impacts to operations to be minimal. Prior to each blast, communication with the Hospital will confirm a ready to proceed for the contractor to initiate the blast activities onsite.

What safety measures are in place ahead of blasting?

A comprehensive communication plan has been established between the contractor (PCL) and the client (Build Nova Scotia). An engineered blast plan has been developed and reviewed. Examples of safety measures include flaggers to stop pedestrians during blast times, and blasting mats to prevent flying debris.

What measures are being put in place to minimize the impact to the environment?

Erosion & Sediment Control Plans have been implemented on site. In addition, fencing scrim and water trucks for dust mitigation are also in place. Licensing has been obtained from the Port Authority for rock disposal and neutralization.

I live/work near the Halifax Infirmary construction site. How will I know that blasting is about to happen?

Most people will not notice blasting activities except for the “blast horn” that is familiar to other construction sites throughout the city. Immediately before each blast there will be three short air horn bursts to signal to site personnel the blast is ready. Following the blast, one long air horn burst will signal all clear.

What was involved in the survey conducted by PCL?

Noise and vibration consultants have installed monitors throughout and around the Halifax Infirmary facility. Boreholes were conducted around the site footprint to gauge depth and type of rock. In accordance with HRM By-law B-600, a pre-blast survey was conducted within 150 metres of the blasting site. The survey captured the existing condition of a structure to provide a record that can be called upon in the event of suspected damage to a building due to blasting activities.

What do I do/who do I contact if there is any damage to my property caused by the blasting (e.g., crack in foundation)?

Any blasting-related concerns can be directed to K&M Inspection Consultants Ltd. (phone: 902 457-3144; email: info@kmins.ca). K&M Inspection Consultants hand-delivered a blasting notification on May 23, 2024 to residents and businesses in the vicinity of the construction site, providing their contact information for questions or concerns.