Black Diamond Group has received more than 100 requests over the past two weeks to set up field hospitals and other temporary structures needed for the COVID-19 pandemic, in an April 5, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Black Diamond Group has received more than 100 requests over the past two weeks to set up field hospitals and other temporary structures needed for the COVID-19 pandemic, in an April 5, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Work camp operator filling need for COVID-19 field hospitals, testing centres

CALGARY — A Calgary company says it has received more than 100 requests over the past two weeks to set up field hospitals, quarantine accommodations, testing centres and other temporary structures needed for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve been getting requests from all jurisdictions in Canada as well as the U.S.,” said Black Diamond Group CEO Trevor Haynes.

One of Black Diamond’s main lines of business is workforce housing in remote locations for natural gas, pipeline, forestry, mining and other industries. It also provides modular trailers that can be used in a variety of ways, such as temporary classrooms or offices.

The offerings have been well-suited for the current crisis and have kept it busy at a time when other businesses, particularly oil and gas, have slowed.

Of the roughly 100 requests it’s received, Black Diamond has been able to move on almost half so far.

It already has all of the trailers and equipment on hand, which it rents out on a monthly basis.

One typical single-wide trailer unit costs a few hundred dollars a month, not including add-ons like handwashing stations or furniture. Multiple trailers are often attached together to create bigger buildings that can sometimes be two or three storeys high.

Haynes said it can take just a couple of days to transport and set up basic trailers outside a hospital or health care centre for COVID-19 testing or screening, helping to avoid crowding inside.

“It’s just a matter of relocating them to that site and then getting them connected together and powered up.”

Black Diamond has in the past put together temporary medical facilities on U.S. military bases while existing hospitals were being refurbished.

Now, it’s able to set up such a medical building surrounded by temporary living quarters for doctors and nurses as well as quarantine accommodations for patients.

“You can essentially create a field hospital based on the various components that we have in our fleet of assets,” said Haynes.

A set-up like that would take about seven to 10 days to put together and accommodate 500 to 1,000 people.

Most requests for COVID-19-specific uses are from public health authorities, but Black Diamond has also been talking to U.S. prisons and military installations.

Private companies that provide essential services, such as power, are also asking for temporary buildings to allow for more physical distancing in break rooms, Haynes added.

Black Diamond has experience providing temporary structures to relief workers after natural disasters, such as a 1,600-person camp in a northern California community that was ravaged by wildfire in 2018.

“It’s a different reason why the facilities are needed, but the exercise and the use of the asset is very similar,” Haynes said.

“The challenges are continuing to have our crews go out in the field and conduct work. We’ve got to make sure we keep them safe.”

The company has the means to provide temporary homeless shelters, but Haynes said existing buildings like empty hotels and convention centres would likely work better.

Black Diamond’s core workforce has remained steady during the COVID-19 crisis, and it can staff up with contractors as needed.

“It’s exciting to have a way that we can help,” said Haynes. “I think our team is really engaged and working hard to be of assistance wherever they can.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on April 5, 2020.

CalgaryCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press file photo)
Police seeks suspects in Bowden armed robbery

Man was beaten and robbed of his wallet

Red Deer RCMP say Alexander King was last seen about a month ago. (Contributed)
Red Deer teen reported missing

RCMP ask for public’s assistance

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Payette shouldn’t get same benefits as other ex-governors general: O’Toole

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says it’s not appropriate for former… Continue reading

More back-alley murals, such as this one behind Can-West Travel, will be painted this summer before the City of Red Deer holds it Meet the Street arts and culture festival in September. (Advocate file photo).
City of Red Deer seeks more mural artists

Creating 10 more back-alley murals is the goal

Teachers with Centre-Nord School Division are holding a strike vote on Jan. 25 and 26. (Photo from Facebook)
Central Alberta teachers hold strike vote

Francophone teachers to cast votes

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
RCMP officer in Alberta charged with off-duty sexual assault in Edmonton

EDMONTON — Alberta’s police watchdog says an RCMP officer has been charged… Continue reading

Canada’s 29th Governor General Julie Payette looks on alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Senate chamber during her installation ceremony, in Ottawa on Monday, October 2, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says GG vetting process needs improvement after Payette resigns

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s admission Friday that he might have… Continue reading

NDP member of Parliament Lindsay Mathyssen speaks during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP warns of long delays in equal pay for women in federal pay equity rules

OTTAWA — The federal New Democrats say new rules to close a… Continue reading

President Joe Biden waves as he departs after attending Mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021, in the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington. Less than a week after the economic gut punch of cancelling Keystone XL, Canada is bracing for more bad news today from the White House. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Patrick Semansky
U.S. president to sign executive orders enacting stringent new Buy American regimen

WASHINGTON — Less than a week after the economic gut punch of… Continue reading

Black Press file photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate fatal pedestrian collision

A 37-year-old man from Maskwacis has died in hospital as a result of his injuries.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is administered to a personal support worker at the Ottawa Hospital Tuesday December 15, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canadian provinces push back vaccination plans as Pfizer deliveries grind to a halt

Some Canadian health-care workers are being told they’ll have to wait longer… Continue reading

A Shell logo is seen at a petrol station in London on January 20, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Kirsty Wigglesworth
Shell buys European electric car charging firm ubitricity

Experts say easier access to charging facilities key to successful rollout of electric vehicles

FILE— In this Feb. 23, 2019, file photo, Vashti Cunningham poses for photographers after winning the women’s high jump final at the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships in New York. Cunningham is one of the athletes who will be competing in the American Track League, which opens a four-week-long series on Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021 in an indoor setting at the University of Arkansas. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez. File)
Back on track: Competing, not cash, lures big names to meet

American Track League begins a four-week indoor series at the University of Arkansas

Most Read