By John Devine
Special to Ontario Construction News
What is it that separates the better from the good, the best from the rest? Often it’s the intangibles, such as an intrinsic quality of character that comes naturally and, especially in the business world, produces trust, respect and reputation.
Great Canadian Construction, a general contractor based in Woodbridge and serving the GTA and Southern Ontario regions, is busy building that reputation with clients, including Air Canada with ongoing projects renovating hangers and office spaces. Great Canadian Construction was awarded its first contract with the carrier in 2019, soon to be rewarded with others.
The team, says president Cody DesRoches, provides the winning touch to the success of such projects.
“All members of our team have something that can’t be taught. Anyone can learn the construction process, but we pride ourselves on having an excellent level of character. We look for interpersonal skills, honesty, and trustworthiness. Our team is an extension of business that’s constantly improving. They are front and centre with the client.”
The concept for Great Canadian Construction was years in the making, says DesRoches, whose previous experience includes eight years as a project superintendent, working on projects totalling close to $400 million. DesRoches also owned and operated a couple of small companies performing painting and landscaping work.
In late 2016, however, DesRoches was diagnosed with a blood clot that had developed in his lungs. This experience was a game-changer. DesRoches decided he would put all his energies into his own business. In the spring of 2017, Great Canadian Construction Ltd was born.
“Almost immediately we hired an associate who was a carpenter, who could operate machines and was equally ambitious. The first project entailed digging basement windows.”
At this time, DesRoches was going to take all the work he could get. He did what he could and pounded the pavement daily. Over the next three years the business grew, with Great Canadian Construction pricing work for larger companies and completing projects for customers such as Centennial College, Shaw Media, and Air Canada.
As noted, the work for Air Canada arrived in 2019, following a tendering process the year before. The first project was an office renovation in hanger 5, and following the successful completion of that, six additional Air Canada projects were awarded: Office and shop renovations in hangers 1 and 2, as well as a floor epoxy contract; office and shop renovations in hangers 9, 10, and 11; an office renovation in hanger 6; door-track replacements in hangers 6/7; and loading dock and parking lot reconfiguration in hanger 5.
Great Canadian Construction takes on a variety of projects, ranging from residential, commercial, and industrial. It’s the personal touch and ability to see the big picture that sets the company apart from competitors, says DesRoches, qualities that bring repeat work from clients.
Communication is key to the success of a project and client satisfaction, he adds.
“Transparency on all sides is first and foremost. Air Canada is a great example of a company that needs to know all the aspects of a construction project due to the critical nature of their business and the stakeholders involved. I think our communication is a big key to the success of our projects.”
Construction has continued throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period, with some services deemed essential. Services and companies that have continued working have followed protocols that include social distancing, cleaning, and other measures designed to protect employees, customers, and the general public.
Great Canadian Construction Ltd. was deemed an essential service provider.
“We were lucky in that we were always essential, thanks to our clients. Following announcements from the government, we developed a COVID-19 policy and rolled it out early on. We have weathered COVID-19 pretty well. We were fortunate that due to the layoffs with most of our clients, we were able to move a little more freely through the space and get things done efficiently,” says DesRoches.
The quality of work already done leads to more projects as the company’s reputation for excellence builds. Building that reputation takes work, time, and resolve. It’s earned, not given, he continues.
“It’s about ownership. You need to own your work, own your projects, own your faults, and own your commitments.”