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PCL keen on taking its international experience to local projects in the north

“We are here, and we are local”
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PCL Constructors Canada Inc. daily start up meeting with trades (Supplied photo)

One of the realities of being Canada’s largest general contractor is people tend to focus on the biggest projects.

Just as important, however, is partnering with local community organizations and businesses – a belief held by PCL Construction but a company trait often overlooked when thinking about the over-century old international construction group.  

“People think all we do is major projects like airports, skyscrapers and sports stadiums because that’s what we’re well known for in major cities like Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver,” says Paul Franklin, PCL Area Manager for Northern Ontario. “But in smaller communities, we’re proud to participate in projects of all sizes.”

Not only does PCL  welcome these smaller jobs, but they also value the opportunity to work with local partners and trades. 

Smaller projects with bigger benefits

Because PCL is the largest general contractor in the country, they have the advantage of tapping into their national and international expertise, no matter the size of the project. If staff have a question about a specific aspect of a job, they have the benefit of leveraging rich company-wide resources to get answers. “No matter what the challenge is we have a subject matter expert somewhere within the company,” explains Franklin. Our internal network makes it easy to reach out and get feedback and answers.

As a result, you get the best, most current industry advice from a company that has worked on construction projects of every size and in all different conditions, all over North America.

Northern expertise with international experience

PCL’s local expertise comes in the form of human capital. Franklin himself, Isaac Alkhoury and Paul Kamerads are well-known industry veterans that bring years of talent, experience and know-how to projects. Franklin and Alkhoury were both raised in Sudbury, left for a period and returned; both have now lived in the nickel city for years with their families. 

Kamerads has been with PCL for over 35 years. He has been involved in massive projects both locally and internationally, including the famed Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. “He’s got an amazing resume. He’s been a little bit of a nomad, but for the past 15 years, his family has been in Sudbury and he calls Sudbury home,” says Franklin. “Having someone like him in this office just brings such a wealth of knowledge; he knows how to react in any situation that could arise.”

The Sudbury office officially opened in February 2019. The company has always taken on smaller projects; they’re just not as well known. People are used to seeing PCL do big undertakings in Northern Ontario like the south tower at Health Sciences North, the hydro-electric dam in White River or the North Bay Hospital. “But the jobs that are much smaller in scale are just as important to us,” says Franklin.

“We are here, and we are local. Everybody in this office lives in the north, our families are here. We’re a part of the communities where we operate and do our best to give back.”

This includes hiring local sub-trades. 

Advantages to working with PCL include their ability to bring interesting solutions to the job. They’ll often propose alternate, creative ways of doing things and focus on savvy approaches that save time and money.

A perk of smaller projects is you can often come in and execute them quickly. “We bring in solutions and thinking that isn’t necessarily what the client originally had in mind, and we will always offer the best solution,” says Franklin.

PCL is on the cutting edge of construction solutions, using the latest technology like, UAV scanning, BIM 360, and augmented reality to view and assess building systems. “We bring the best of both worlds: we have the local knowledge and local feel, but we also bring that massive machine with the amazing technology and expertise behind us,” he says.

PCL measures success through lasting relationships

“We’re a company that’s built on repeat business,” explains Franklin. “Eighty per cent of our business is repeat business, so no matter how profitable a job is, that’s not the way we measure success. If a job is hugely profitable but the client says they’ll never work with us again that job is deemed a failure. For over 110 years, its about the long term view.”

Franklin encourages anyone to come to speak with him or email and to get to know the company, even if you don’t have a project in mind right now.  “Even if it’s a project you’re thinking about doing five years from now, come kick around some ideas. We’re open and we’re focused on building relationships. If a client succeeds, we succeed.”

PCL Construction has an office in Sudbury and is ready to serve the communities of Northern Ontario. For more information, call 705-995-2225.