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Companies are worried that a coming boom will bring cost problems and worker shortages so they are preparing for a massive expansion of the camps used to house workers

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Construction tradesmen build portable housing for oil sands workers at the Atco Structures facility in Calgary. The manufacturing plant sprawls out across 250,000 square feet of concrete covered with stacks of drywall, boxes of spiced ash mouldings and bags of insulation batting.

Jeff McIntosh/jeff mcintosh The Globe and Mail

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The Atco Structures facility in Calgary. A major concern for the companies building the next generation of housing for workers in Canada’s oil sands is whether they can make the units fast enough.

Jeff McIntosh

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General foreman Dave Cook directs construction tradesmen as they build portable housing for oil sands workers at the Atco Structures facility in Calgary.

Jeff McIntosh

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If camp-builder forecasts are right, the next few years will see the oil sands bed count in northeastern Alberta climb over 75,000 - equal to the current population of Fort McMurray.

Jeff McIntosh/jeff mcintosh The Globe and Mail

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The companies that build the oil sands camps, such as this Atco facility, are staring at orders for nearly 25,000 new units over the next three to five years.

Jeff McIntosh

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Construction tradesmen seen through the window of a finished dorm for oil sands workers at the Atco Structures facility. There is enough concern about worker demand that one oil sands company alone has started a tender process for 15,000 new beds over the next decade.

Jeff McIntosh

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Last year, the regional municipality of Wood Buffalo, which issues development permits for camps, received 74 applications for new project accommodations.

Jeff McIntosh

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The building of work camps is favoured by local municipalities, which would prefer to see workers move to the oil sands rather than fly in and fly out.

Jeff McIntosh/jeff mcintosh The Globe and Mail

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