What do Houseboats and Workforce Accommodation Have in Common?

TA Structures
Written by Grace McDermott

Located in Sicamous, BC, TA Structures has been a market leader and an industry innovator since 1977. The business started out as a family owned and operated houseboat marina and manufacturer but has since grown substantially. Although the company has held on to its roots, TA Structures’ services now stretch across land, sea and everything in between.
From humble beginnings, TA Structures has evolved to become a leader in not only houseboat manufacturing and design, but also in the worksite and relocatable accommodation industry.

Prior to 2006, Twin Anchors Marine operated solely in the houseboat industry, manufacturing boats for a large in-house rental fleet, as well as numerous North American charter companies and international private clients.

A chance conversation with a close friend who mentioned the exceptional standard of houseboat facilities compared to that of worksite accommodation ignited a “light bulb moment” and transformed the firm’s trajectory forever.

From 2006 onwards, the company made a move to diversify, realizing the translatability of its in-house manufacturing technologies and expertise. Building on these existing capabilities, TA Structures was formed, and relocatable workforce solutions quickly became the company’s stronghold.

Manufacturing Manager Nigel Watson explains, “Our ability to diversify and change allows us to enter and create new markets. We are always conscious of developing new products to improve on current technologies.”

Today, TA Structures and Twin Anchors Marine work comprehensively, leading both the workforce housing and houseboat industries in unparalleled quality design and manufacturing. The two industries, though seemingly different, are surprisingly interlinked, and the firms’ successes prove that unlikely business decisions are sometimes the best ones.

TA Structures turns businesses’ ideas into reality. Having grown with its clients, the firm has seen organic expansion. This innovation and flexibility are at the core of its custom approach to service. “[We] are anything but cookie cutter. We offer custom solutions geared towards the unique requirements and desires of our clients. Our floor plans are not absolute, but a guide to help our clients envision their own custom solution,” says Watson.

Led by a strong management team and a cohort of expert tradesmen, TA Structures and Twin Anchors Marine perform and manage all the manufacturing demands of clients at the 50,000 square-foot, COR-certified and ISO-approved manufacturing facility.

In addition to houseboats and workforce accommodation, TA Structures’ manufacturing processes are often called upon for custom projects which include the manufacturing of metal enclosures, pipe tubs, light towers, tanks, rig matting, stairs and railings and floating platforms.

TA Structures holds its ISO 9001:2008 certification accredited through the Quality Systems Assessment Register (QUASAR) and the Standards Council of Canada. As a result of these complete, accredited, in-house manufacturing capabilities, TA structures can provide clients with the increased benefits of cost control, schedule adherence and a reduction in material waste. The firm can tailor solutions to the financial and functional requirements of each project.

Although custom approaches and close client relationships guarantee that clients receive the most “bang for their buck”, the follow-up and maintenance provided by TA Structures is what ultimately provides the long-term benefits of this custom approach. “Along with manufacturing products and providing a service, we build relationships,” shares Watson. “TA believes in establishing long-lasting relationships with our clients and offering support that goes beyond project completion.”

For over a decade, TA Structures has served more than one hundred clients across the mining, oil and resource industries. Developing practical and comfortable workforce accommodation that withstands an array of extreme environmental conditions is no easy feat, but a task that comes naturally to the seasoned manufacturers.

“We have complete in-house capabilities from concept and design to production, delivery and setup with departments in design, materials, welding, exterior and interior construction, electrical, plumbing and HVAC, millwork and rigging,” says Watson.

TA Structures relocatable workforce accommodations are known throughout the resource industry as some of the highest-quality offerings on the market. Anyone who has encountered relocatable workforce solutions knows that the living circumstances can sometimes be less than appealing. For years, however, TA Structures has worked to change this unfortunate trend. As Watson says, “Our products are proving that quality and workmanship are key to a successful business. With safety and quality our driving force, we will endeavor to continue supporting the oil, gas and mining sectors of industry.”

The company’s local development has sparked a global reach, and today, TA Structures’ portfolio holds some of the biggest names in the resource industry. The company’s most recent projects include the creation of support buildings and complexes to accommodate crews working for the major liquefied natural gas projects in northwestern BC, as well as multiple accommodation camps for Trinidad Drilling’s oil and gas operations in Mexico.

The importance of workforce housing is most obviously the comfort and safety of staff on such projects, but comfortable and sustainable accommodation has even greater benefits for stakeholders. Workforce accommodation has been a subject of complaint for crews on major projects. With better living facilities, many companies are finding higher retention rates and increases in overall workforce efficiency.

Unlike many others, TA Structures centrally develops and manufactures every facet of worksite accommodation including: well site trailers, camp support structures, workforce camps, recreation, kitchen and dining facilities, medical and safety buildings. It also offers extensive warranties and an in-house quality assurance department. The company’s customers can avail themselves of complete customer support from concept and design to production, delivery, transportation and setup, without having to deal with multiple subcontractors.

Twin Anchors Marine, TA Structures’ parent company, proves that quality has not only staying power, but growing power. Heavily affected by national economic fluctuations or shifting water levels, the demand for houseboats is sensitive to a number of outside influences.

To date, Twin Anchors Marine has built over five hundred houseboats for the North American rental industry as well as creating numerous privately-owned vessels. From houseboat accommodation and major multinational resource companies to the thousands of vacationers who rent out one of the firm’s houseboats on the Shuswap Lake in British Columbia, Twin Anchors has become an integral part of the houseboat sector.

Twin Anchor Marine has had a long relationship with the houseboat industry, and as the economy continues to climb, so does the demand for houseboats. Nigel Lamb, Sales Leader for Twin Anchors Marine, explains that, “We are currently looking at innovative designs for larger houseboats to deliver to new markets.”

Although local development and services within Canada remains an important segment of Twin Anchor Marine’s work, the company is consistently called upon for international projects, shipping as far away as Russia. This year has seen record numbers of houseboaters and improved water levels, reigniting a high-demand for houseboat manufacturing and design. With upcoming houseboat builds for Happy Days Houseboats and several other high-end private clients, the firm’s forecast for 2015 is looking sunnier than ever.

Both Twin Anchors Marine and TA Structures were founded on the principle that clients are more than numbers, and this idea has guided the growth of the businesses through some of the toughest economic times North America has ever seen.

Watson explains that, “Understanding change is inevitable, TA Structures is committed to working with our environment, rather than against it. We dedicate ourselves to innovation and growth for the betterment of our clients, employees and communities.”

The company’s unlikely move from houseboat building into worksite accommodation proves that quality and expertise are fundamental skill sets that cannot be replaced but can be adapted. In the end, it is this flexibility, grounded in quality, which guarantees the firm’s development for years to come.



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