The Construction Source


All the best, The Editorial Team We will keep adding business units that enhance our offering and separate us from our competition. “ ” Editor From The Dear Reader, Welcome to the latest issue of Construction Source Canada, the magazine that highlights the best in building and building products across the country. In this edition, we’ve taken a look at a diverse array of companies, municipalities, and building projects. Most of them vary greatly in terms of geography, scope of work, and even typology, but a through-line runs through them – they are all dedicated to pushing the industry forward. Each of them has seen the benefits of innovation, and they are committed to innovating even more moving forward. Skyrise Prefab is a prime example – they are a company that was literally created to revolutionize the Canadian construction sector. They were founded in 2015 by some of the country’s most experienced experts in emerging building technologies, including LSF panelized structures and exterior finishing systems. In 2019, they were acquired by STO, a global technology leader in the design of innovative building materials, and the company behind the StoPanel, a high-performance envelope that is lightweight and architecturally-finished. Powered by that acquisition, Skyrise Prefab has “grown tremendously,” according to Royston Rebello, Director of Business Development. We spoke to Royston about that growth, the high-calibre of projects they are contributing to these days, and their ambitious plans for the future. The City of Medicine Hat, meanwhile, is a city in southeast Alberta that has similarly demonstrated a commitment to forward-thinking. In their case, they have particularly embraced environmental sustainability. We caught up with Joe Cartwright, Director of Business Transformation for the city. We talked a lot about the role they are playing in the “green energy revolution,” including their work to reduce emissions from their power generation business through carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS). We also talked about some of their latest infrastructure projects and how they strategically earned and utilized provincial and federal grant money to make them possible. And that’s not all. This edition also includes a profile on one of Calgary’s leading roadbuilding contractors and land developers, Standard General. We talked about their myriad capabilities – in particular their asphalt manufacturing division, which recently contributed greatly to the new Southwest Calgary Ring Road. For those diverse stories, and even more like them, just keep reading.



THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA With over 90,000 senior executive readers, The Construction Source is proud to offer an attractive platform to share you message with the people that matter most - your customers. Whether your objective is to promote a new condo development, attract financial investment in your upcoming projects, or to build brand recognition, we stand ready to help! To find out more about having your company or latest project feature in The Construction Source, please contact our Group Publisher. Jermaine Poulsen e: The Costruction Source Canada 2201 - 250 Yonge St Toronto, Ontario M5B 2L7 E: Group Publisher Jermaine Poulsen General Manager Alexandra Box Operations Manager Michael Hinden Joshua Stewart-Boyd Head of Editorial Content Paul Harrison Production Manager Vicki Lee Editor Zach Janes Graphic Design Pranim Thapa




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A clearer horizon

The City of Medicine Hat, located in southeast Alberta, Canada is a city with a long list of advantages for businesses and investors – including strategic market access, low taxes and utilities, innovative incentives, affordable labour, a supportive economic development agency, and exceptional quality of life. Perhaps their biggest advantage, however, is their focus on the future. Even in times of unprecedented adversity, such as the last few years, they have remained committed to improving their infrastructure, adding to their amenities, and to continuously enhancing processes to make it easier and more attractive for new and expanding businesses.

The city has also demonstrated their commitment to the future through embracing environmental sustainability. They now have a variety of initiatives and incentives to encourage property owners and builders to make energy conscious-upgrades when building and renovating. They are also working hard to futureproof their own infrastructure – for example, as part of their Energy Transition Strategy, they are actively working to reduce emissions from their power generation business by evaluating the potential of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies. “There’s a green energy revolution happening here in Canada, and specifically southeast Alberta is really a hotbed for renewable energy,” says Joe Cartwright, Director of Business Transformation for the City of Medicine Hat. “At the City of Medicine Hat, we want to be part of that.” Froman energy perspective, the City of Medicine Hat has always been a unique municipality. Natural gas was first discovered in the city in the late 1800s, when the Canadian Pacific Railway came through and started drilling for water wells. Their drills accidentally struck gas west of town, heralding the exploration that mapped out one of the largest gas fields in North America. In 1903, the city embarked on a program to supply all residents with gas, which was the beginning of the city-owned utility. Today, the City of Medicine Hat still owns and operates its own gas and electric utilities. They currently generate almost all their own electricity by burning natural gas, a process known as thermal generation. “In an SEPTEMBER 2022


environment of escalating carbon taxes,” Joe says, “we are seeking to evolve our thinking.” To that end, one of their most exciting and forwardlooking energy initiatives is the evaluation of the potential of carbon capture at their power generation facilities. Moving forward, it is expected that federal carbon taxes will rise from $50 per tonne today to $170 per tonne in 2030. This escalation in carbon taxes will increase the cost of thermal generation of electricity. An opportunity exists to reduce the City’s carbon footprint finding a balance between environmental sustainability, social acceptance and economic prosperity. This is why, Joe says, the City of Medicine Hat “recognizes CCUS as being an integral part of the long-term solution for achieving global climate objectives.” He says they are “committed to be an engaged partner in the transition to a sustainable and prosperous future for our community.” It was announced in July that Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) selected to fund Medicine Hat’s CCUS project with a $2.5 million grant as part of its Carbon Capture Kickstart program. The city’s council also approved early-stage work reallocating up to $11 million from cancelled or no-longerneeded gas well and oilfield work towards completing preengineering and feasibility work on the CCUS project, which they are calling ‘Project Clear Horizon.’ The City of Medicine Hat is also in the running for a further grant from Ottawa. Natural Resources Canada Energy Innovation Programwill provide SEPTEMBER 2022

up to $50 million in support for Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) studies for CCUS projects across the country that have the potential to significantly mitigate emissions. Recently, Project Clear Horizon was also one of 11 projects (out of 96 submissions) selected to advance to a final due diligence phase, which will be followed by agreement negotiation. Again, Joe says, Medicine Hat’s goal is to “really participate in and lead the energy transformation in southeast Alberta.” Their economy has historically been based on natural gas, but with escalating carbon taxes, they recognize the need to make a change, and they are making that change now. “We need to be at the absolute front of the curve in terms of this energy transition initiative,” Joe says. “We need to be looking at ways to mitigate carbon tax. We need to look for ways to insulate the citizens of Medicine Hat from increased utility rates. We need to take advantage of this transition.” The CCUS program is just one example of how they intend to do that. They also see a lot of opportunity in wind and solar – particularly solar, as the city sits squarely in the sun belt of Canada and receives an average of 2544 hours of sunshine every year. “We need to be at the leading edge,” Joe says. “We have a tremendous opportunity because of our environment, and because there’s a lot of federal and provincial grant money out there in support of this transition – and we know that money isn’t going to be there forever. We have the opportunity to act now and show leadership. That’s what we want to do.” THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

Appealing amenities Medicine Hat’s future-focus is one of the city’s most appealing qualities when it comes to business and investment, but that list of qualities goes on. Also significantly appealing, according to Joe, is the city’s balance between “large city amenities and small city benefits.” They have parks, pathways, a nearby provincial park with a ski hill and campsites, and a local college, and a WHL team – among a long list of other amenities – but at the same time, there’s little traffic, affordable real estate, affordable utilities, and a generally high standard of living. “Medicine Hat is just a really great community to raise a family,” Joe says. “It’s a perfect size. It’s easy to get around, you can get anywhere in 10 to 15 minutes. That matters. That adds up. When I worked in downtown Calgary, it took me an hour and a half to get home SEPTEMBER 2022

every night. That’s time I can now spend with my family.” The city also has “great amenities,” Joe adds. In fact, he says Medicine Hat has “fantastic amenities,” especially considering the population base. “It’s pretty much unparalleled for amenities in Western Canada, in my opinion.” As previously mentioned, the city is also constantly looking to add to and improve on their already-exemplary amenities. For example, coming out of COVID, both the provincial and federal governments were offering grant money for municipal stimulation, and the City of Medicine Hat was able to act rapidly to secure some of that money and commence construction projects. “We had a wish list from some of our local community groups, and we were able to establish partnerships with some of those groups to make those wishes come true,” Joe recalls. For instance, they worked with a local BMX club to install a new $500,000 start gate, which will enable the club to host national-level events. The city also secured $2 million for a brand-new multi-court pickle ball facility, which they designed in collaboration with a local pickle ball cub. Again, the hope is that new facility will allow the city to host some provincial and potentially national-level events. There’s also the Gas City Campground, which is located off the Trans-Canada Highway, and managed by the City of Medicine Hat. The city also secured funding to add new THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

“comfort camping units,” which are accessible, and can ideally be used throughout all four seasons. “That opens up use of that amenity to groups that might not have been able to access those types of facilities before,” Joe says. Invest Medicine Hat, the city’s economic development agency, is also actively working on revitalizing the city’s downtown core. They have a property adjacent to city hall that has been vacant since the 70s, and they are drawing on the grant funding to turn it into a hub for community events and activities. From a business development perspective, Medicine Hat is also developing an industrial park in the city’s northwest, which will be located adjacent to existing plants from CF Industries, Methanex, and CancarbLimited.Thelandinthat industrial park will be serviced and priced competitively, especially in comparison to larger municipalities. According to Joe, that park will be particularly well-suited to companies in the agricultural and ag-tech industries. Currently, the city is also directing grant funding towards a variety of asset management renewal projects – including some roof replacements, fire and security alarm upgrades, pedestrianbridgereplacements and rehabilitation, sidewalk repairs, and upgrades to the Echo Dale Regional Park, among other projects. None of these projects, Joe stresses, will result in tax increases – that was a condition of the funding. All of them will be sustained through either increased revenues or operating agreements with community partners. All of the projects were also selected and designed with energyefficiency and environmental SEPTEMBER 2022


SEPTEMBER 2022 sustainability in mind. Moving forward, Joe says the city’s goal is to keep up the momentum. When it comes to development, Medicine Hat has been very proactive over the last few years, and they want to continue that proactivity. When it comes to their next slate of projects and upgrades, the city council and the community are still deciding on their priorities, but they know for sure they want to maintain the city’s amenity-advantage. The city also wants to continue fostering relationships with key business partners, including companies like Jim’s Electric – a family-owned electrical contracting business that has been serving Medicine Hat and southern Alberta for over 15 years. Their mission has long been to provide the city and surrounding areas with the best possible service and professionalism, and the highest quality of work. The City of Medicine Hat is always on the lookout for partners with those kinds of values. Lastly, the city also has a vision of attracting and retaining younger people. According to Joe, Medicine Hat has historically had a demographic that was slightly older than the rest of the province, and young people have been known to leave for university and work. Joe is personally an example of that – he grew up in the city but went to Calgary for university, only to move back once he had a family. The city now wants to create more opportunities for young people within their borders. “We want to create an environment that is both sustainable as well as exciting,” he says. “We want to allow for some of our kids growing up in this community to stay here and flourish and have good paying jobs and exciting opportunities.”

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For more on the City of Medicine Hat and everything it has to offer, from parks, recreation and culture to business and development – and for all the latest news – visit To learn about Invest Medicine Hat and the many ways they connect entrepreneurs and investors to opportunities in the city – and to get in touch with their team today – visit

Price, quality, service

Standard General Inc. (SG) is a roadbuilding contractor that has been part of building much of Calgary over the past 80-plus years. Since forming in 1941, they have steadily grown and improved through acquisitions, mergers, reorganizations, and management changes. Since being acquired by Colas Canada in 2002 – and becoming a part of Colas Group, a world-wide leader in the construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure – that continuous improvement has only accelerated.

Over the past 20 years, SG has become known as an industry leader in the civil engineering space, as a company dedicated to providing innovative and collaborative construction solutions for clients. They have also become known for their depth of capability, for being vertically-integrated and capable of providing the full spectrum of project management for any project from beginning to end – from the initial shovel in the ground to the final line painted. Today, SG is made up of various divisions which contribute to the overall success of their projects. They are the only contractor in the city that encompasses all aspects of road construction. Their divisions include: a deep utilities division (underground); a road building division; a concrete division; an asphalt manufacturing division; and SALOC, a division focused on trenchless pipe repair and structure renewal, which offers slip lining and coating systems for aging assets. Curt Slawinsky, Manufacturing Manager, heads up the asphalt manufacturing division. Within that division, SG manufactures and provides various aggregate and asphalt. They have two asphalt plants in Calgary, and they produce products that provide solutions to meet the wide-ranging needs of their clients and the demands of complex projects. They also have an in-house quality control system, which ensures the performance and durability of their mix for each project. Curt joined SG in 2003, not long after the company was purchased by Colas Canada. In his time there, he’s seen the company steadily expand their capabilities. Today, he SEPTEMBER 2022


says their services include a “complete package” of deep utilities, road construction, and concrete work. Project-wise, he says the company’s “bread and butter” is currently residential subdivisions, though they also do a lot of road interchange and highway construction, as well as some pathways, entranceways, parking lots, and airports. According to Curt, all those clients choose SG for the same reasons – “It’s about price, quality, and service,” he says. “Just like most businesses. Those are the three things that set any company apart. SG does all three.” When it comes to ‘price,’ first off, Curt says they SG may not always be the lowest bid, but they always strive to be competitive. To that end, they are “always looking for efficiencies.” That can mean using their corporate buying power as a member of Colas Group to get good prices on equipment and materials, and it can also mean utilizing technology to be more efficient on-site. Within the asphalt division, specifically, one thing they do is look to purchase gas and fuel directly from the original suppliers, as energy costs are one of their most significant expenses. As for ‘quality,’ Curt says the company has invested heavily in quality control procedures in every division. Within the asphalt division, for example, he says they emphasize the importance of doing proper quality control on their crushers before the material goes into their plants. “That’s where it all starts,” he explains. “To have a quality product coming out of the plant, you need to have a SEPTEMBER 2022

quality product going in.” SG also has a stringent quality control and testing program every other step of the way. They test all the mix that comes out of the plants before it goes to a job site, and on-site they also test the quality of the compaction and lay-down. They also have the capability of doing IRI (International Roughness Index), a measurement of smoothness on the finished product SG’s partners are similarly devoted to quality. McLeod Earthworks is one example. They specialize in landscaping and earthworks and have extensive experience in asphalt and concrete installation and maintenance. Utilizing their extensive portfolio of services and expertise, they are able to help clients like SG cut down on the cost of projects and reduce the time needed to complete them, without compromising on the high quality of their finished product. In addition, SG places a premium on communication, with both their partners and their own team internally. Curt says a lot of the quality control comes down to that. “Communication is a huge part of quality,” Curt says. “In general, communication is huge in construction. You can see when it lacks. So we work on communication. It’s something we’re always trying to get better at.” Communication is also a big part of ‘service,’ which Curt says is the third pillar that sets SG apart in the eyes of their clients. He says a lot of things go into providing good service, but he believes the most important thing is being responsive. THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

“You have to answer the phone. You have to return emails. You have tomake sure the customer feels like they’re your number one priority.” Personally,Curtbelievesthat the value of a direct conversation can’t be overstated: “I’m an old-school guy. If the client has an issue or a question, I advocate for picking up the phone and giving them a call. I believe that’s how you start and maintain a relationship.” As a result of that service – in combination with their quality of work and their competitive pricing – SG has been able to build some strong and lasting relationships with a number of clients, particularly their residential developer clients. According to Curt, some of those relationships go back to when SG started. Through building those relationships, SG has had the opportunity to be involved in a long list of high-profile projects across the Calgary region. When it comes to the asphalt manufacturingdivision, a recent example of them contributing to such a project would be the Southwest Calgary Ring Road – an important project that designed to enhance the safe and efficient movement of goods and people in and around Calgary. On that job, Standard General Calgary did the bulk of the manufacturing and the laying down of asphalt. Alberta Transportation was estimated to have invested $1.42 billion in the Southwest Calgary Ring Road. It entailed 31 kilometres of six-to-eight lane road, 14 interchanges, 47 bridges, and one tunnel. SG was responsible for producing and laying down about 1,000,000 tons of hot mix and about 10,000 cubic meters of concrete. “That project took about five years,” Curt says. “We did the bulk of it in 2020. It was completed last October. We actually erected two extra asphalt plants on the project to make that mix.” Curt credits their success on that project to “teamwork,” which “started right from the initial negotiations.” “We had great estimators at the beginning, we had great crews, we had a great project manager,” he says. “We had really good guys who communicated really well. We went through some growing pains on that project, but at the end of the day we stepped up and successfully completed the project.” SEPTEMBER 2022


The next generation Moving forward, SG’s goal is to grow – but not by leaps and bounds, and not all at once. “You’re always looking for a little bit of growth,” Curt explains. “Calgary is a growing city, and we want to grow with it, but we want to grow responsibly. If we’re growing, we want to grow the bottom line as well.” Project-wise, he says residential subdivisions will remain their main focus, but they also want their name to be in the mix for the big high-profile public jobs when they come along. For example, they recently worked hard to be rewarded the rehabilitationof thewest runway at the Calgary International Airport. That project will likely begin in March, 2023. “That contract is a sign of our teamwork and of the backing of our shareholders at Colas,” Curt says. “That’s going to be a huge job. We’re excited to get started. In the future, Curt also says that the company will continue to “embrace technology.” That’s an emphasis of their parent company, Colas Group. With SEPTEMBER 2022


their backing, they will continue to utilize advancements in things like GPS and drone technology. “Whatever it takes elite construction company,” Curt says. “That’s our goal.” Lastly, SG will also continue to focus on training and developing their staff. That’s especially vital these days, as SG has become much younger in recent years. When Curt first joined the company, they had a lot of employees that had been there for 30 or even 40 years. Those senior team members have largely retired since, and been replaced with a new generation of younger staff. Nowadays, with roughly 30 years’ experience in the business, and 20 years with SG, he is in a smaller group of longer serving employees. Curt says that “it’s exciting to have a lot of young horses in the race now,” but what comes with that is a “lot of learning.” Fortunately, that’s also something that Colas emphasizes and promotes – “they like to provide a lot of training,” Curt says. “They like to develop their staff,” he explains. “They provide a lot of supervisory training. They give employees the opportunity to grow and develop professionally. They give people the opportunity to rise through the ranks. That’s always been important to them. As we bring up the next generation of employees, that’s going to keep being important.” SEPTEMBER 2022

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For more on Standard General Calgary, their vast range of capabilities, products, and services, and more examples of past projects (like the Southwest Calgary Ring Road), visit

The sky’s the limit Skyrise Prefab Building Solutions was created to revolutionize the Canadian construction sector. Founded in 2015 by seasoned experts in building construction, they strategically aligned themselves with a world-class manufacturer of construction materials at the start to stay at the leading edge of off-site practices. In 2019, STO SE & Co., based in Stuehlingen, Germany, acquired Skyrise – making them the leading Canadian panel manufacturer of the StoPanel system, a high-performance envelope system that is lightweight, continuously insulated, and architecturally finished.



Today, powered by the strength of STO and the passion of their expert team, Skyrise provides off-site building solutions that improve quality, save money, compress construction schedules and promotes sustainability in building process. The company encourages architectural flexibility by providing finishes that are aesthetically superior sustainable, durable, and easy to maintain. Skyrise’s parent company, STO, is a global technology leader in the design and production of innovative building materials tailored to human needs. STO’s wall systems, coatings, and finishes have been the choice of leading architects, engineers and contractors for decade. STO has been dedicated to consistently setting new worldwide industry benchmarks around the needs of each and every customer. STO is comprised of numerous subsidiaries, branch offices, distributorships, plants, warehouses and countless successful projects around the globe. This far-reaching network facilitates progress in technology, provides accessibility for customers worldwide and creates a solid foundation for future growth. We are the only manufacturing company in the building industry that is ISO certified in the United States, Germany and China. “With the alignment of our two businesses, we have grown tremendously over the last few years, and we have diversified our services across new market segments and geographies,” says Royston Rebello, Director of Business Development. Skyrise now includes technologies such as BIM (Building Information Modeling), and LEAN principles in their operations, along with other developments that create long-term value for all their stakeholders. The company recently demonstrated the depth of their capabilities on SEPTEMBER 2022


a recent project consisting of three 12-storey multiresidential buildings in Toronto, Ontario – one of the largest panelized projects of its kind in Canada. Skyrise typically operates within the multi-residential sector, on projects ranging from four to 36 storeys. All main stakeholders in a project, i.e., the owner, architect and the contractor, choose Skyrise for the same reasons: the company’s reputation for quality workmanship, and the expertise of their team, who understands and meets the client’s needs. In addition, Skyrise provides clients with a turnkey service solution – “from design and engineering, to manufacturing and production, to installation and warranty,” Royston says. Skyrise’s turnkey building solution is efficient, productive, and it saves clients time and money. Their process – which involves design and engineering through manufacturing precision lightweight prefabricated panels in an off-site climate-controlled facility – reduces weather delays, reduces crew sizes on site, and eliminates jobsite scaffolding. Over the last few years, clients have recognized the benefits of off-site construction – the quality of finish, the consistent labour, and the increased productivity – and have rewarded Skyrise with repeat work. According to Royston, “many of our projects we have in the books right now are for repeat clients.” “Once they realize the benefits of panelization and the StoPanel system, it tends to be their SEPTEMBER 2022



first choice of method where typically a traditional system would have been considered,” he says. Again, however, Royston doesn’t just credit the efficiency of their process; he also credits the quality of their work. That quality, he says, is largely a credit to the company’s processes and procedures. “STO’s tagline is ‘Building with Conscience.’ That means ensuring that all building products are not only safe, effective and easy to install, but also environmentally responsible and sustainable. They have a very rigorous quality control program that starts at the factory and continues through the various stages of production right to the very end of installation. At every step of the process, our main focus in on the quality of every panel until they are installed onto the building.” “And what’s exciting about panelization and offsite construction is that we’re fabricating these panels in a factory setting, in an enclosed space, in a temperaturecontrolled environment,” he says. “Our offsite construction method allows us to achieve consistency and quality of the product across the entire building façade.” Furthermore, Skyrise’s quality is assured by their choice of subcontractors and suppliers. For example, they are longtime partners with Fritz-Alder Precast – a company that has been manufacturing concrete since 1972, and is an industryleading specialist in providing complete precast solutions. THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

We are recognized as an industry leader offering non-combustible building solutions for both commercial and residential structures. Our Proprietary Products are manufactured in Canada. Fully engineered & tested with over 1000 installed projects completed. DeltaStud MegaJoist UltraBond Composite Floor System Composite DeltaStud All of our products meet or exceed the Canadian Sheet Steel Building Products requirements. IMPERIAL BUILDING PRODUCTS British Columbia – Alberta – Ontario – Quebec – Atlantic Canada Bigger and better Over the last few years, Skyrise Prefab has completed several highly complex projects. According to Royston, those complex projects are the ones Skyrise is most proud of – “they’re the ones where people can’t believewereprefabricated. In Toronto, there are many examples of recent projects that fit that bill. The B-Line Condos and Nordic Condos, both luxury residential buildings, are great ones. The Carvalo on College Street—which has been featured multiple times in Urban Toronto for its unique StoCast Brick design feature. Moving forward, Skyrise’s goal is to continue taking on more challenging projects, such as high-rises with heights up to 50 storeys. In general, Royston says the company’s vision is to become a leader in innovative off-site solutions. “We’re truly looking forward to expanding into new market SEPTEMBER 2022


segments, bringing innovative solutions and solidifying our position as offsite leaders for building envelopes.” “To get there, we are implementing the best technological and digital solutions in our processes while continuing to provide the same high level of service for our clients,” he adds. “The construction industry is traditionally slow to embrace new methods of construction, but we’re always looking at ways to develop and utilize new tools to optimize the delivery process for our customers. “ Prefabrication is the future of construction in Canada, and as a current leader Skyrise believes there is still plenty of room for innovation and improvements. The company was founded to revolutionize conventional construction, after all, and Royston says that drive still powers them today. SEPTEMBER 2022

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For much more on Skyrise Prefab – including more on their products and their advantages, their process, their depth of capabilities, and their past projects – visit

Complete communities

DiGreen Homes is a third-generation family builder that has played a significant role in the development of thousands of homes and numerous commercial properties across Southern Ontario. Throughout their history, they have continuously grown, evolved, and improved in each and every aspect of their business. A lot about their business has changed over the years, but what has remained constant is their vision. From the start, the company has strived to be “a force for good in the industry” – as reflected in the respect they demonstrate for their homebuyers, their employees, and their environment.

The company was officially founded by brothers Abubakar and Mohsin Masood in 2014, but prior to that date the family had a long history in the region as developers. As developers, they had previously worked with the majority of the builders that operated in the region. They had a lot of experience with the industry, and so, according to Abubakar, it was “a natural transition to get into the construction side as well.” “That’s where DiGreen Homes came in,” he said. “We wanted to vertically integrate. We wanted to be able to take a project all the way from raw agricultural land to a finished product and a happy homeowner.” Today, DiGreen Homes has an active roster of homes in communities across the GTA, in municipalities including Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Oakville, Brampton and Caledon. All of their projects have different points of difference depending on their locations and unit mixes, but what they all have in common is the care that DiGreen puts into them. “For us, there’s a difference between a home and a house,” Abubakar explains. “To build a house, all you need to do is build a structure and move on. That’s not us. We like to build homes. And to build a home, you need to build a complete community.” “We’re coming in with a developer mindset,” he elaborates. “We think bigger than just building a house. We’re thinking about how we can establish full communities that have parks, ponds, trails, bus stops, schools – whatever is needed to make it a home and not just a house. We started off SEPTEMBER 2022


as developers, so that’s how we think, and that’s what we strive to do. We strive to create full, functional communities. I believe that’s what makes us different.” “Whenever we’re doing a community, we’re basically taking a blank slate, and then designing everything around it,” he says. “That allows us to establish homes and not just houses.” Another point of difference, Abubakar adds, is their commitment to building energy-efficient homes that can reduce monthly costs for homeowners while lowering environmental impact on the earth. In accordance with that commitment, they use only engineered lumber and energy-efficient windows in the building process. They also search out and adopt energyefficient materials and building techniques as much as they can. “We’re called DiGreen Homes, and being green matters to us,” Abubakar says. “We care about our environment. We care about efficiency. Right now, we’re pursuing ENERGY STAR certifications. In the future, when we get into the midrise high-rise side of things, we’re going to pursue LEED certifications.” As another example of their commitment to the environment, Abubakar cites a recent project where they wanted to plant as many trees as possible: “We literally ran out of space on site,” he says. “The municipality had to put a pause on how many trees we were putting up. That’s when we decided to actually partner up with that SEPTEMBER 2022

municipality and go ahead with planting some trees on their side of the property.” DiGreen Homes is also committed to delivering high quality construction, perhaps even the highest quality available for their price points. According to Abubakar, that’s another point of difference all their projects share. “To start with, we’re not cookiecutter builders,” he explains. “We build entry-level luxury homes. That’s been our motto since the day the company was established. Our vision has always been that we don’t want to be at the bottom of the pile. At the same time, we don’t want to be at the top, either.” “We’re not custom builders,” he says. “We don’t do custom homes. We do production homes. But when it comes to production homes, we believe we build a superior product compared to any of our competitors.” “We also take pride in our architecture,” he adds. “We like to differentiate ourselves with our architecture. We want to design a better quality product than our competitors.” To achieve that superior level of quality, in terms of both design andfinish,DiGreenHomesrelies on their team – which includes their direct employees, their subcontractors, and also their material suppliers. According to Abubakar, the company “doesn’t mind spending a little bit extra” on those various stakeholders, “so long as we’re getting our money’s worth in terms of quality.” In pursuit of higher quality, Abubakar also says that DiGreen Homes is not afraid to THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

make mistakes, so long as they rectify them and learn from them in the future. “We’re big on experimentation,” he says, “and part of experimenting is sometimes you make mistakes. That’s normal. If you expect not to ever make mistakes, you’re going to be disappointed. We know mistakes happen and we try to learn from every one of them.” As an example of such a mistake, Abubakar cites an issue they had with the width of their baseboards after they made the decision to increase the ceiling heights in their houses. They found that higher ceilings opened up their homes a lot more, that buyers felt the spaces were more liveable and less claustrophobic. “But what we learned is that once you increase the height of the ceiling, the room becomes a lot bigger, so the baseboards have to increase in size just to become proportionate,” Abubakar explains. “That’s somethingwe had to learn. Now we know that, as a standard, we have to give bigger baseboards because we want to go with the higher ceilings. Those are the kinds of lessons we’re constantly learning.” SEPTEMBER 2022


Exciting opportunities Over their eight-plus years in business, DiGreen Homes has gained a wide range of experience spanning the full range of real estate construction and development, from new home communities of detached, semi-detached, townhomes and urban towns, to retail and commercial projects. Historically, their focus has mostly been on low-rise residential, but moving forward, the company is actively looking to diversify and experiment with different project typologies. A current example of that experimentation is ‘DiGreen Square’ in Markham – an upcoming project made up of about 50,000 square feet of office and retail space within a brand new building at the corner of Woodbine Ave. and John St. For businesses, DiGreen Square represents “an exciting opportunity,” according to Abubakar. It offers “increased exposure, impressive premises and numerous nearby amenities.” such as a large Tim SEPTEMBER 2022

Horton’s, RBC and more. There are also shopping centres and plazas in the area, as well as restaurants and cafes, making the intersection “the perfect setting for a growing company.” “There’s a lot of businesses over there, there’s a lot of things to do over there,” Abubakar says. “The area has quite a lot of economic activity going on.” Also, it’s in Markham, a city that has a lot of appeal – to DiGreen Homes especially. “We like Markham,” Abubakar says. “We started off in Markham. We always have something in Markham. Over the last 20 years, I don’t think there’s been a year when we didn’t have anything going in Markham. It’s a great city with a lot of opportunities.” “So this project is dear to me personally,” he adds. “It’s taking up a lot of my personal time. It’s a different asset class than we’re used to, and I want to make sure we get it right.” It’s also important to get it right, he says, because the building will be DiGreen Homes’ future home. In fact, one of the inspirations for the project was that they wanted to create a new headquarters. When they got to thinking about what they wanted from their own space, they naturally started thinking about what other companies would want – and the idea for DiGreen Square was conceived. “We called it DiGreen Square because we wanted to put our money where our mouth is,” Abubakar explains. “We’re not going to put our name on something that we’re not proud of. We’re going to be tenants there. It’s going to be our headquarters. We have to make it special.” Moving forward, pending the THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

success of that project, DiGreen Homes hopes to do more office and retail work. Residential work will remain their “bread and butter,” Abubakar says, but they also hope to do some diversifying there as well. In the near future, their goal is tomove into the mid-rise and high-rise sectors. Abubakar calls that “natural transition for us,” as the company has been working in the low-rise sector for a very long time already, and they have developed a team capable of working at larger scales. In addition, DiGreen Homes has also started exploring the industrial sector. That sector may not be as natural a transition as larger-scale residential, but the company strongly believes they have the capability and expertise to be successful in that space. Lastly, Abubakar says that the company aims to grow and get bigger. They believe the opportunity is there, that “the market is big enough,” and they want to take advantage. “Because we’re vertically integrated, we’re both a developer and a builder, we have a lot of opportunities,” he says. “We’re going to pursue those opportunities. We’re going to diversify and get into different asset classes. We’re going to expand our geographic reach. We’re going to be aggressive.” “We have a fairly young team,” he concludes. “We’re not afraid of experimenting and taking risks. That’s what allows us to be different.” SEPTEMBER 2022

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For more on DiGreen Homes, their mission, their values, and their passion for energy-efficiency – and for more on their past, present, and future communities, including DiGreen Square – visit

Innovative solutions to challenging environmental problems

With a history spanning more than 40 years, QM LP (“QM” or “QM Environmental”) has earned a reputation as one of the most capable environmental and industrial services providers in Canada. From offices located across the country – managed through their corporate headquarters located in Mississauga, Ontario – over 400 industry experts leverage an extensive, tested network of highly qualified subcontractors, vendors and equipment suppliers to help their clients minimize waste, manage costs, and reduce their impact on the environment.



These days, they are a company known for delivering the nation’s largest and most complicated environmental contracting programs – from permeable reactive barrier (passive treatment wall) installation in Vancouver, to remote uranium mining complex decommissioning in Saskatchewan, to the construction of an entirely new river mouth through highly contaminated industrial infill in Toronto. Over the years, QM and its constituent companies have successfully and safely completed literally thousands of projects across every Canadian province and territory, to a total value of well over $1 billion (CAD). Their unparalleled track record is due to their dedication to quality, attention to detail, integrity, and vigorous adherence to health and safety protocols. Today, QM gives clients access to an extensive range of relevant core competencies, including: • Environmental Remediation and Specialty Construction • Waste Management and Facilities • Water Treatment • Demolition and Decommissioning • Hazardous Materials Abatement • Emergency Management and Environmental Response Services; and • Training SEPTEMBER 2022

Growing strong QM Environmental has a history of more than 40 years in the Canadian market. In that time, they have undergone various transformations and acquisitions that have allowed the company to develop from a small environmental firm into a full-service environmental and industrial company with over 400 employees and offices throughout Canada. The most recent and significant evolution of the company occurred in 2016. That’s when QM(at the time, called ‘Quantum Murray’) became part of Wes Hall’s KSS group of companies. Wes, now one of the “Dragons” (the “Fixer”) on “Dragon’s Den” and the founder of the BlackNorth Initiative, immigrated from Jamaica at the age of 16 and literally worked his way up from a Bay Street mailroom to become one of the most influential businessmen in Canada. (Hall’s remarkable journey, from a tin shack to THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

the halls of power, has been chronicled in his 2022 book “No Bootstraps When You’re Barefoot: My Rise from a Jamaican Plantation Shack to the Boardrooms of Bay Street” and in the 2016 Samuel Lehner documentary film “Wes”.) While QM had always been at the forefront of Canada’s environmental industry, Wes’s team has worked to balance out the cyclic nature of big projects such as $100-plus million remediation of the Pottersburg Creek PCB storage area (2009 to 2011) in London, Ontario, or the the Rock Bay Remediation Project, Stages 1, 2 & 3, in Victoria, British Columbia, (2004 to 2016, $60 million overall). Under Wes’s leadership, iconic major projects such as the $140M-plus contaminated sites work QM is executing in the Toronto Port Lands has been better balanced with responsive, continuous, coastto-coast engagement with all of their many clients (79 per cent of which are repeat clients). Wes has also helped the company deeply internalise Canadian values of diversity, fairness and inclusion – ensuring, for example, that management at all levels reflects all of Canada’s strengths, and devoting significant resources to reconciliation and indigenous inclusion. Not surprisingly, QM was also one of the earliest signatories of the BlackNorth Initiative CEO pledge to eliminate anti-black racism in corporate Canada. Showing the fruits of Wes’s vision, the last two years have been exceptionally successful, with very strong growth, solid financial performance, good backlog and aggressive growth plans. SEPTEMBER 2022

Mutual success According to Pete Craig, Special Projects, clients choose QM the first time for their “low cost, demonstrated expertise and unrivaled experience.” They continue to use QM because of their culture – “a culture that solves our client’s problems and shields them from harm with safe, well-planned, high-quality work.” “Our problem-solving, creative culture – when combined with the full range of expertise from our various divisions – has no current parallel in our industry,” Pete says. “Literally no other firm has the same track record of success on the same breadth of work – from radioactive waste in Ontario to PFAS in BC.” As testament to their track record, he cites a recent internal analysis that showed that over 85 per cent of the company’s remediation-related revenue was from repeat clients. An example of a repeat client is THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

Keystone Environmental. Most recently, in May 2022, they completed the Royal Oak and Broadway Building abatement demolition. Akaash Khokharis the Regional Manager of QM’s HazMat West team, who worked on that project. He says they were able to provide the stakeholders there “a turnkey solution” for their abatement and demolition needs: “The work was completed safely with no incidents, on-budget, and on-time – despite working through provincial flooding and pandemic related delays,” Akaash says. “Communication remained high throughout the project and was a key factor for our mutual success.” Overall, Pete believes the relationship between Keystone and QM has been successful due to “the naturally high demand of quality.” “Keystone retains clients that hold high expectations for their projects,” heexplains. “Keystone is thorough in their contract management thus allowing more open communication between their team and QM’s. Through this open dialogue, QM can continuously deliver the high-quality service that has become expected of us.” In the case of the Royal Oak and Broadway Building, specifically, Pete adds that he’s proud of their work there for the same reasons as Akaash: “It revealed the versatility of the three professional cultures: the owner, consultant and contractor,” he says. “We were openly communicating over a good distance to provide exactly what was agreed upon for the right price and staying on schedule.” QM’s emphasis on culture has also led to strong relationships with their other stakeholders, including their suppliers and vendors. An example is James Dick Construction Limited, one of Ontario’s leading suppliers of aggregate, sand, stone, and gravel. Their partnership is a natural one, as James Dick is an environmentally conscious enterprise that takes great pride in their corporate philosophy of environmental protection and wise land stewardship. For instance, they have created hundreds of acres of productive fish and wildlife habitat through the progressive rehabilitation of their aggregate operatons. SEPTEMBER 2022