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 wide variety of companies and organizations from across the construction spectrum. Not only have we highlighted some of the nation’s leading home builders, but also some of the nation’s leading material suppliers and subcontracting experts. Wrighthaven Homes is an example of a leading custom home builder – in particular, they are leaders in the field of net zero custom building. Based in Ontario, they build in the most desirable locations within Fergus, Elora, and Ayr, and their focus now is building homes that are either certified Net Zero or certified Net Zero Ready. We spoke to company founder and president, Steven Wright, who talked to us about that focus, the growing demand for net zero from clients, and their company’s long history with net zero building. MiLo Group, meanwhile, is an industry leading provider of electrical and mechanical services. They are based in Red Deer, Alberta, and have been proudly serving Western Canada since 2002. Over the years since, they have steadily grown and expanded their range of services. We talked to company owner Darren Wright about that growth and expansion, what’s powered it, and how it has accelerated since he took over. Then there’s Heritage Design – they are a longstanding fence and decking expert that has serviced countless customers across Ontario. They are also a longstanding company, and they have also grown and evolved consistently in terms of both capacity and reputation. Today, they are the region’s leading and most experienced fence and deck contractor, the company that both residential and commercial clients trust most with their backyard projects. Ken Smith, founder and president, talked to us about that reputation, how they earned it, and how they will maintain it moving forward. For more on those stories – and more stories like them, from across the construction spectrum – just keep reading.

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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 Shon Washington Head of Editorial Content Tamara Breen Scott Carter Production Manager Vicki Lee Editor Zach Janes Graphic Design Pranim Thapa

APRIL 2023 WRIGHTHAVEN HOMES Elegance meets energy-independence MILO GROUP Servicing clients, valuing employees HERITAGE DESIGN The HD experience HRI GROUP A century of efficiency RNR STEEL RNR Steel enjoys growth and loyal customers NORTH WOOD HOMES & RENOVATIONS Quality and communication SNOWDON CONSTRUCTION Top quality, top service WILKAR PROPERTY MANAGEMENT The community element IMPERIAL FENCE Imperial fence brings focus on health and safety to the job INDUSTRY INNOVATIONS INCINERATING TOILETS IN THIS ISSUE APRIL 2023 HRI GROUP SNOWDON CONSTRUCTION



THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA Water connection not required Requires little space No odour Easy installation No frost protection needed Secure for children ash to be emptied No waste handling, only and more Bunkies, For Home, Cottages, Shops, 3 - 4 visits per hour High capacity Propane&Electric models ABOUT CINDERELLA ECO GROUP Cinderella Eco Group is a family-owned company located in the north-western coastal community of Midsund in Romsdal, with deep roots in the beautiful Norwegian fjord-landscape. We have more than 20 years’ experience with the Cinderella Incineration Toilet, a water-free, ecological solution for the management of toilet waste. Cinderella, the natural first choice for those who place high demands on quality and functionality. HIGHLIGHTS OF INCINERATION TOILETS:

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Elegance meets energy-independence

Wrighthaven Homes is an Ontario premier custom home builder that builds in the most desirable locations within Fergus, Elora, Ayr, and surrounding areas. Over the years, they have built a reputation for their exceptional craftsmanship, their responsive customer service, and for their functional and energy-efficient home designs. In recent years, especially, their company been recognized many times over for their innovative and sustainable work, and for their industry leadership in the field of net zero building.

Today, Wrighthaven builds approximately 70 homes each year, largely on exclusive lots within their own communities. They currently have three communities ongoing – Creek Bank Meadows in Palmerstone, Edgehill in Barrie, and Granwood Gate in Elora – with two more upcoming in Inverhaugh and Fergus. In all their communities, they now focus heavily on building energyefficient homes. In particular, they focus on delivering net zero energy homes, which are homes designed, modeled, and constructed to produce as much energy as they consume on an annual basis. “First and foremost, a net zero energy home is an energysaving home constructed so well that the client will experience comfort like no other home they have ever enjoyed,” says Steven Wright, the company’s founder and president. “Net zero homes are really special. Clients notice and feel the difference.” “Clients looking for solutions to home comfort, healthy air, energy efficiency, energy independence, and a home that exudes elegance and luxury in every way should visit us,” he adds. “They won’t be disappointed.” Wrighthaven Homes has been at the forefront of net zero housing since 2014, when they built their first net zero home under an experimental program commissioned by Natural Resources Canada. Wrighthaven was one of only seven builders across the country awarded the opportunity to initiate the early concept. The company’s first net zero home, located on First Lane APRIL 2023


Road in Elora, boasted some very early technology and was created to be the prototype of future systems of the net zero home standard. It featured early battery storage technology and a rain water collection system used for outside watering and flushing of toilets. It was connected to the hydro grid and able to borrow when needed, but mostly it operated independently. According to Steven, it can be considered one of “truest and pure” examples of a net zero home. Also according to Steven, the successful completion of that home remains one of the proudest accomplishments of him and his team: “We have always prided ourselves on quality and comfort,” he says, “and that is why we have always pushed the building envelope. Being one of the first home builders in Canada to complete a net zero home was a great accomplishment for us. As the president of the company, I take great interest in the building science of the home and pushing boundaries in the construction community.” Following the completion of that first net zero home, Steven was asked by the Canadian Homebuilders Association (CHBA) to be one of the original and founding executive committee members of their newly formed Net Zero Committee. That committee, working alongside the CHBA and nine other homebuilder association members from across Canada, conceived and developed the ‘Net Zero Home Labelling Program.’ That program provides the industry and consumers with a clearlydefined and rigorous twotiered technical requirement APRIL 2023

that recognizes net zero and net zero ready homes, and the builders and renovators who provide them. Ever since launching its pilot in 2015, it remains one of the premier home labelling programs for consumers to enjoy and benefit from. Since the inception of the Net Zero Home Labelling Program, the CHBA has labelled over 1,250 homes across Canada. Several of those have been constructed by Wrighthaven Homes. The details of those homes have been evolving along with technology, and Steven and his team have been excited and inspired by that evolution. The company has been so inspired, in fact – and they are so confident in their net zero product – that they have recently committed to building an entire community to the ‘Net Zero Ready’ home label. Net zero ready homes are built to the exact same efficiency requirements as net zero homes. The only difference is that the renewable energy system – the solar panels, for instance – have not yet been installed. However, the home has to be designed and constructed to easily install that system in the future. “The principle being, those consumers can add a solar system package at any time in the future when budgets permit,” Steven explains. In Wrighthaven’s aforementioned Granwood Gate community in Elora, the company has committed to delivering home to the ‘Net Zero Ready’ standard – which will make it the first home community of its kind in Centre THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

Wellington. The response from customers so far has been very positive, Steven says: “Sales have already started to an overwhelming success. Clients have quickly bought into the subdivision and are excited about their ‘Net Zero Ready’ homes being built. With many of those clients have already opted for the ‘Photovoltaic Package,’ and will be achieving the full ‘Net Zero’ label. Photovoltaic packages can be purchased or financed at any time allowing clients to earn energy credits towards their homes electrical operating demands.” “The future of net zero home construction is here and ready for customers to enjoy,” Steven says. And customers are enjoying it, he adds: “Being able to follow up with clients and hear their pride in owning a net zero home is extremely satisfying. Clients tell us all the time that their allergies have subsided, their home is costing them way less to run, and they feel good about their contribution to saving energy as a whole. Clients love the fact that their home is providing clean renewable energy to the grid. They can rely on their purchase to continuously provide for them every day.” APRIL 2023


Constant improvement As previously mentioned, Wrighthaven Homes is a multiaward-winning company. For example, in 2011 and 2012, the company was the winner of the ‘Tarion Home Builder of the Year Award’ in the ‘Medium Volume Building’ category in Ontario, which is voted on by new home buyers in Ontario. They were also finalists in 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2020. Most recently, Wrighthaven Homes has been industryrecognized for their embrace of environmental sustainabiliy. At the 2021 Energy Star Canada Awards, they won ‘Builder of the Year – Small Size’ in acknowledgement of their work advancing energy efficiency in home building. Moving forward, the company’s goal is to continue that advancement. To do that, they are looking to work with more environmentally conscientious customers, and with more suppliers of energy-efficient products. Ultimately, they would APRIL 2023


love for all their homes to be net zero, but in the meantime they are adopting the net zero ready specification into their standard building practices. As a sustainable building company, Steven emphasizes that it’s important that they don’t leave behind customers who can’t afford a full net zero solution right away. He says their mission is to create affordability in the net zero market, and they are looking at different ways to achieve that. Creating homes that are not zero ready is one example of how they are doing it. Additionally, they are looking at ways to group share power and solar energy, ways to reduce construction waste, and ways to address water preservation – which they believe is “the next big issue.” Wrighthaven’s long-term vision, Steven concludes, is to do everything in their power to push their industry forward: “As a home builder, we need to constantly improve techniques, product installation practices,” he says. “We are determined to continue to push the standard of building practices and be a leader in this industry. Our quality will always remain our top priority and our homeowners can be confident that we are building homes that last and are always giving back to the environment.” APRIL 2023

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For more on Wrighthaven Homes, their communities and past projects, the benefits of net-zero building, and to get in touch with Steven and his team, visit

Servicing clients, valuing employees

MiLo Group is an industry-leading provider of electrical and mechanical services based in Red Deer, Alberta. Since forming in 2002, they have been proudly serving Western Canada with an evolving array of services, including electrical, HVAC, refrigeration, plumbing, gas fitting, boilers and hydronic heating.

Over time, their capabilities have expanded to include a full-service package, from design, through to installation, fabrication and service, and the company’s reputation has expanded in turn. Today, they are well known by customers for their cost-efficiency, their timely approach, and their ability to successfully complete challenging projects of all sizes and scopes. MiLo Group was originally created by husband-andwife team Darren and Trish Kendze in 2002 – the name came from their two children, Mikayla and Logan. Darren was a master electrician, but had a background as a farm kid and he had previously worked for a dairy supply company, so he has a lot of experience in the agricultural industry, which is where MiLo Group did most of their work. Early on, customers recognized Darren’s experience, and they started calling up the company with requests that had nothing to do with electrical. In 2010, in response to that overall interest, MiLo Group expanded into plumbing. Following the success of that division, the company expanded again in 2014, this time adding an HVAC division. “These three trades represent a major component in any build,” says Darren Wright, who owns the company now. “By having all three trades in house we are able to provide exceptional delivery to our customers. And because our customers are not just names on paper – they are the people with dreams and visions that we want to see to fruition – we go to them. We sit and have a coffee and go over their plans. By doing this we can ensure that we APRIL 2023


A warm welcome, no matter the weather. Calcana infrared heaters are engineered specifically for commercial buildings, warehouses and the restaurant industry. Our energy-efficient heaters create comfortable waves of warmth by heating surroundings — floors, walls, furniture, even people — instead of heating the air directly, like conventional gas heaters do. Our patented infrared modulating control allows you to easily fine-tune heat levels to beat fluctuating outdoor temperatures and wind. Best of all, our heaters fit your specific design needs and can be discreetly mounted on ceilings or walls, horizontally or angled, using our elegant mounting brackets. 1-800–778–6729 | DESIGNED AND MANUFACTURED IN CANADA Calcana’s infrared heaters are simply the best choice for virtually any sized open space or commercial building. • Even waves of heat • Modulating heat control • Energy efficient • Engineered for commercial use • Low clearance to combustibles • No open flames or glowing parts • Stainless steel construction • Easy to install • Customizations available truly understand what they hope to have at the end of the construction process.” “Since the business started in 2002 we have been proud to be a part of both agricultural and commercial projects,” Wright adds. “Our three areas of expertise bring value to the customer and that has always been what the company is about.” Darren Wright has been with MiLo Group for roughly 15 years, ever since starting his electrical apprenticeship at 17-years-old. When he joined the company, there were only three employees besides him. In the years since, he’s personally grown alongside the company – he completed his apprenticeship there, he’s served in a journeyman role, he’s been a project manager, then the operations manager, and now he’s an owner, as he and three others purchased the company from Darren and Trish Kendze in 2021. Under the new ownership, MiLo Group has continued to grow and evolve and enhance their service offering. Earlier this year, for example, they launched another new division, which is their refrigeration division. At the same time, however, there’s a lot about the company that has also stayed the same under the new ownership, and Wright says it will continue to stay the same. “When we took over, we didn’t want to take the business in any direction besides the direction it was already going,” Wright says. “We want to keep growing, but we also want to keep it family owned and operated. We want to know everybody’s name APRIL 2023

here. We never want to treat anybody as just a number. For the original owners, valuing our people was just as important as valuing our customers. It’s the same for us.” Today, MiLo Group mainly takes on larger-scale commercial projects, though they also have a small service division that can take on small-to-medium renovations. They also still do a lot of agricultural work, as that’s the company’s original specialty, and they still have ongoing relationships with some of their early customers. According to Wright, clients of all types and in all sectors tend to choose MiLo Group for the same reasons, with the main one being the completeness of their offering. There are some projects where they just provide mechanical services, or just provide electrical services, but the majority of the time they are providing the complete service package – which makes things very simple for clients. “We’re a one-stop-shop with one point of contact,” Wright explains. “They call us and we take care of everything – electrical, plumbing, HVAC, refrigeration, we do it all under one roof. That takes away a lot of headaches for our clients.” In addition, because MiLo Group does so much under one banner, they have advantages when it comes to scheduling and coordinating their trades. As a result, the company is also known for working speedily and efficiently, which is another reason their clients tend to choose them. “We work under very tight timelines and strict schedules a lot of the time,” Wright says. “We do a lot of work with one general contractor, and they’re THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

known to be a fast builder and that’s why their clients come to them. So we’ve learned to be fast, too. The timelines that we can pull off as a team are second-to-none. When we tell clients about the schedule we want to achieve on a project, they’re usually blown out of the water. They are astonished with the speed and agility of our organization.” Furthermore, MiLo Group is ready and willing to travel. That’s yet one more point of difference. “We’ll go anywhere from Vancouver Island to the Manitoba border. We’ve done projects in three different provinces. North, south, east, west – you name it. We have employees all over Western Canada and we can get the right people to the right places when they need to be there. That’s one of our strengths.” Of course, MiLo Group is also known for the quality and functionality of their work – the company has been around over 20 years, which wouldn’t be possible if they weren’t meeting and exceeding their clients’ expectations. “Our quality is a credit to our planning and to the quality of our team,” Wright explains. “We have such a strong project management staff, and our guys in the field know what we expect, and they know how to deliver it. We know what we’re doing. We’ve been doing it for over 20 years, and we still have some of the same customers we had 20 years ago. This wouldn’t be possible if those customers were not satisfied with the quality of service we provided.” “And we stand behind our product,” he adds. “We are in business for our customers and strive to keep them happy, we are committed to this.” APRIL 2023


A team mentality These days, MiLo Group employs roughly 96 people between their office and the field. In the office, Wright says most employees have been with the company at least five years, and he says they have “a very tight-knit team.” “Everybody here is a team player,” he says. “We all get along. We try to set up an event once a quarter where we all get together and have a good time and not think about work.” In the field, Wright admits that it can be harder to retain people – that’s an industry-wide challenge – but he believes MiLo Group is more successful than most. He is proud to have a number of team members who have been with the company for a long time, many of them for more than five years. Wright credits that longevity to the “team mentality” that he aims to foster company-wide. Also, at MiLo Group, he says there is room to grow, to advance, and to develop professionally. E.H Price Calgary is a proud partner of The MiLo Group. Serving Western Canada’s Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC, Refridgeration and Fabrication needs since 2002. First in Quality, First in Service Energy Crane - Stony Plain, AB The MiLo Group HVAC products supplied by E.H. Price Calgary APRIL 2023

“As we’re growing as a company, there are always new spots that we need to fill. There’s growth that can happen within this company. We’ve hired a lot of guys who were just like me –17 or 18 years old, right out of high school – and now they’re journeymen or foreman out in the field, now they’re running whole projects by themselves. There’s definitely room to grow here.” Over the years, MiLo Group has also been very loyal to their subcontractors and suppliers, many of whom have also grown alongside the company. “We’re definitely not the type of company that goes out to different suppliers every day looking for the best pricing,” Wright says. “We’ve built relationships with suppliers that go back many years. We trust them and they trust us. We consider them part of our team.” “They are a big part of how we can work so fast,” he adds. “They make sure that we get the products that we’re looking for, and they make sure that we get them on time and where we need them. We couldn’t do what we do without them.” In recent years, in collaboration with their suppliers and team members, MiLo Group has completed a variety of large and high-profile projects. Last year, for example, they finished an Amazon distribution facility in Victoria. Currently, they are working with a number of other significant brands, including Telus on new offices in Surrey and Burnaby, Finning on a new Cat dealership in Kamloops, Energy Crane Service on a new facility in Edmonton, and Copper Tip Energy Services on a facility in Nisku. In the near future, MiLo Group THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

has work lined up with even more big brands, and they will also be working on multiple jobs with Hutterite colonies – Wright says their clients place a high value on the company’s design-build approach and one-stop-shop offering. Powered by that kind of customer interest, Wright adds that MiLo Group will continue down their path of growth – but he reiterates that they will never grow so big as to lose sight of their founding values. In the next five, he says years “we may open a new branch, and potentially double the size of the company, but only if we can maintain the team mentality, and our connection with our team members.” “We want to grow while sticking to our roots,” he says. “We believe we can do both. We believe we can maintain our family-owned feel while also growing as a company and enriching the lives of our employees.” Lastly, looking at the bigger picture, the team at MiLo Group is also heavily focused on doing their part to usher in “the next generation of tradesmen.” “Over the next 10 to 15 years there’s going to be a huge shortage of trade workers,” Wright explains. “We talk about this all the time with our project managers. If we don’t train young people coming up then we’re going to have a dying industry – which is not going to be acceptable, because buildings are going to need plumbing and electricity and HVAC.” “We need to look to the future and consider who our future tradespeople are going to be,” he concludes. “We need to ask ourselves, how are we going to get more people into the trades? We need to do everything we can to make people aware of all the different trades they can get into. We need to be part of the community and get our name out there. We need to get people thinking about all the cool things they can build and the different careers they can have.” APRIL 2023

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For more on MiLo Group, their story, their range of services, and their past projects – and to get in touch with their expert team today – visit

The HD experience

Heritage Design is a longstanding fence and decking expert that has serviced countless customers in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Wilmot, and beyond. Over their 35-plus years in business, they have grown and evolved consistently in terms of both capacity and reputation. Today, they are the region’s leading and most experienced fence and deck contractor, the company that both residential and commercial clients trust most with their backyard projects. They are known for their open and honest communication, for the speediness and responsiveness of their service, and for the enduring quality of their work.

“Our team has well over 40 years’ experience in the industry, building decks, fences and sheds,” says Ken Smith, founder and president of the company. “We are equipped to handle every situation quickly and competently. As well, we pride ourselves on our outstanding presentation and knowledge. We use quality equipment and expert workmanship that can be topped by no one.” “Our top priority is to do the job perfectly the first time because a satisfied customer is always our goal,” he adds. “Each individual project is completed with careful attention to detail and aesthetics. We use the highest quality materials and promptly exchange any that we feel may be inferior. “And from our years of experience, we know that quality service is of utmost importance to consumer,” Ken says. “With this in mind, our team of professionals attend to any service work with promptness and dedication.” Ken founded Heritage Design in the city of Kitchener back in 1987, at first with just a pickup truck and a tool belt. At the time, he had just moved to the city to take a position with a local pool sales and installation company, only to get there and be told the position was no longer available. Having already sold his house and moved his family, he had to make some quick decisions. After talking some more with the pool firm, he decided to register a business and work as a subcontractor for them. For two years, Heritage Design was the sole installer of above ground pools, fencing, and pool surround decks for that company. They began with two APRIL 2023


employees during the busy installation months, while Ken worked alone throughout the slower months. In the winter, he purchased a snow blower and contracted out to do driveways for local home owners. In the years since, Heritage Design has grown slowly but steadily, adding permanent team members, expanding their capabilities as the years have gone on. Throughout the years, they have had to change premises several times to accommodate their growth. In 1991, for example, they moved into their first brand new showroom in Kitchener. In 1997, they moved into a larger showroom with an expanded lumber yard. In 2004, they left Kitchener for Petersburg, where they began to sell pressuretreated lumber to DIYers and expanded their store offering to include hardware, fencing components, and just about everything homeowners need to build a deck or a fence. Finally, in 2009, Heritage Design purchased the building and property they currently operate from in Baden. This has helped them to continue growing and gain exposure to surrounding communities. There, they now have a fully stocked lumber yard and showroom, offering competitive prices and expert advice on all things fence, deck and shed related. “Currently, we would be one of the longest serving deck and fence companies in Waterloo Region, and in my estimation we are one of the best in terms of quality and service,” Ken says. Getting the company to this point, Ken emphasizes, was not just his doing – he says a lot of the credit also belongs to his APRIL 2023

wife Sandi. “Throughout all of our 35 years of business, Sandi has been my crutch in tough times, my biggest fan always, and a calm voice when needed,” he says. “I could not have done this without her.” These days, Heritage Design services both homeowners with smaller-type projects and home builders and general contractors with larger projects. Several of the builders they work with are long-lasting clients. Decks comprise about 50 per cent of their overall income, with fencing, roof projects, and snow removal comprising the other 50 per cent. Geographically, the bulk of Heritage Design’s work takes place within the Waterloo Region, though they are willing to travel to do larger projects – and Ken stresses that they are not afraid of the challenge that comes with those larger projects: “We have completed whole townhome projects, we have fenced complete subdivision perimeters, and we’ve enclosed complete commercial properties,” he says. “Our team is capable, well trained and quality conscious.” As examples of what they are capable of, Ken cites two recent projects, both new installation types for them. Both involved decking being installed on rooftops of new apartment buildings, both were in the Waterloo Region. All materials had to be craned to the rooftops and the materials not used had to be removed by crane as well. “We had not ever been involved in projects like this in the past, so a new challenge was faced,” Ken says. “In fact, we all enjoyed the challenge and both projects were completed on time and they looked fantastic.” In the near future, heritage Design is set to take on some other private homeowner projects that Ken describes as “large and varied” in terms of the number of things being constructed on site, which he says “always presents challenges.” Sometimes those challenges are directly related to the homeowner and other times to the local building department. In either case, Ken says that Heritage Design is eager to confront those kinds of challenges and find solutions. THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

Family -oriented Regardless of the size, scope, or complexity of their project, Ken believes that clients choose Heritage Design for the same two main reasons – the quality of their work and the quality of their customer service. “I have heard many times from many people that the quality of the work we complete is second to none,” Ken says. “This has been said by homebuilders to me as well. We are very good at what we do – from deck building, fencing, backyard roofing projects, sheds or pool cabanas to our snow removal business.” As for their customer service, Ken credits that to his daughter Diana, who now leads that effort: “In my honest opinion Diana excels at customer service even more than I do,” Ken says. “The business was built on providing customer service and superior projects and still operates in the same manner.” APRIL 2023

“The sustainability of our operation, I believe, is upheld by the way we operate and how we do things – by the service we provide to our clients,” he adds. “Our pricing is fair, not underpriced or over-priced, but we price things so we are providing a perceived value product to our customer and we are able to reach our goals with respect to the bottom line, which is profit.” Ken goes on to credit their estimators, who he says “are honest and open while dealing with clients.” He also says that as a company, they keep in close contact with clients throughout the entire process, and strive to be as informative and transparent as possible at every turn. As testament to that openness, Ken points to their customer loyalty, especially on the commercial side. He says many of those customers – particularly homebuilders – have used their services and products “for many years, so that I believe speaks for itself.” To help maintain those relationships, Heritage Design uses technology. For example, they utilize Asana, a project management software that they use to communicate with clients, record all communications, record all changes, details, follow-ups, and more. They also use it to track sales and keep their staff accountable. Another thing that helps is their emphasis on environmental sustainability. Ken says that clients appreciate that, and he again credits Diana for leading the way. On her insistence, for example, the company purchases a lot of materials shipped in cardboard and they THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

take the time to separate the cardboard from other waste and dispose of it properly. They also recycle all their scrap metal and aluminum products. Additionally, the company uses environmentally sustainable building materials when possible. For example, when composite decking materials came on to the market they selected Trex as one of their first products, primarily because of their focus on reducing their ecological impact, as all the materials they use in their product are recycled. On the topic of suppliers, Ken says that Heritage Design generally builds very strong relationships, especially with companies who share their values like that. “Because of our years in business we have built good solid relationships with most of our current suppliers,” Ken says. “Our biggest suppliers are very helpful, informative as per pricing, and willing to quote whatever we are looking for if it is specialty products.” “It is very important to have open and honest relationships especially with large suppliers,” he adds. “For our three biggest suppliers we are not a large account in comparison to some of their other accounts, but by keeping payments on time, by using them often, and by trusting their prices we help solidify solid relationships.” Because they build solid relationships, Ken adds, they are able to turn projects around quickly: “Our wood suppliers will deliver or allow us to pick up if it is something we need quickly,” he explains. “Usually they are APRIL 2023

able to get specialty items for us quickly as well, enabling projects to not get too far behind. Truthfully, with all suppliers, regardless of the size or scope of their operation, a good open, honest and trusting relationship enables both of us to operate more smoothly and help our operation to attain the goals we set.” According to Ken, Heritage Design has also been built similarly strong and trusting relationships in-house. When it comes to their employees, he says they have some really longstanding people. He credits that to their corporate culture, which he calls “a very key part of the business.” “I have always been an advocate of having a family-orientated culture in the workplace,” he says. “My daughter, Diana, has the same mindset and operates with the same set of values. All staff are important regardless of their actual position or wage and all need to be treated with the same attitude and voice. Birthdays are remembered and recognized, children’s birthdays are recognized, and we recognize health issues if they become a concern. Employees are a part of ‘our family’ and will be treated accordingly.” That culture, Ken says, is one of the main reasons people choose to come work at Heritage Design. Other reasons include their competitive wages, including bonuses based on company profitability; they offer employees vehicles depending on their position; and the friendliness and welcoming attitude of their existing staff. “We help each other, know each other quite well, and we will make new employees THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

comfortable,” Ken says. “Of course, they must bring the proper attitude, come to work and not play, and carry their weight on their particular job and position. It is not a free ride but they will be treated well.” Moving forward, maintaining that culture is a key focus for Diana, who has taken on a more active leadership role in recent years, and will soon inherit the company fully. Ken has already taken a step away from the day-to-day operations of the business, and is mostly involved via weekly meetings with his daughter. In the immediate future, Ken sees the company maintaining its current course as Diana grows more experienced. He says their near-term goal will be to “maintain our level of business, possibly add a homebuilder or two to our client base, and recruit and train new staff to replace those that could possibly be retiring in a couple of years.” As for the longer-term, Ken says that will be up to Diana. He is positive, however, that the company will maintain the same family values and the same emphasis on customer service. Those were the values that Heritage Design was founded on, those are the values that helped them thrive for more than 35 years, and those are the values that will help them continue to thrive well into the future. APRIL 2023

THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA For more on Heritage Design, including more about their decks and fencing products, more examples of their past projects, and to read testimonials from their past clients – and to get in touch with Ken, Diana, and their team – visit

A century of efficiency Heritage Restoration Inc. (HRI) is a family-owned-and-operated business that has been restoring heritage buildings and structures across Ontario for almost a century. Across those years, the company has passed through four generations of family ownership, and has evolved tremendously in terms of size, services, and capabilities.

Throughout their history, they have always placed an emphasis on moving the industry forward. At the same time, some things they have kept same – today, fourth-generation owners Chris and Clay Huntley emphasize the same traditional values their great-grandfather employed back in the 1920s. “We’re an extremely longstanding company,” Clay says, “and we continue to focus on what has brought us success: quality workmanship, efficient use of resources, accountability, building relationships and providing a safe working environment for all of our employees.” Clay’s grandfather, Alfred W. Huntley, founded his first business in 1921 – Huntley Chimney Service, a residential chimney repair company, which serviced clients’ needs throughout the Toronto area. In 1926, Alfred W. formed Huntley Steeple Jack Co., and he began expanding into larger commercial rigging and rehabilitation projects. Then in 1955, after more than 30 years of restoring homes and buildings in the GTA, he passed his business onto his son Kenneth. Kenneth continued to grow both companies, eventually uniting them as Heritage Restoration Inc. in 1969. Like his father, he operated the business for more than 30 years while training his sons. In 1998, those sons, Bruce and Alfred, took over the company. Throughout the early 2000s, Bruce and Alfred pushed the business to new heights, completing more numerous and prestigious projects. Bruce’s sons, Chris and Clay, both grew up around the family business. Clay, for his part, APRIL 2023


initially intended to pursue a career in another field – he went to school for kinesiology – but throughout his professional career he has never worked anywhere else. In 2011, after the tragic passing of their uncle, Chris took a more prominent role in the company, Clay followed suit in 2012. For about seven years, Chris and Clay worked alongside their father, during a period of what Clay calls “accelerated growth.” From about 2016 to 2019, in particular, he says the company took some massive leaps. For example, that’s when they developed and introduced a second division that does new restoration, primarily concrete repair – which Clay runs today. In 2019, following that period of growth, Bruce officially retired and Chris and Clay took charge of the business. In the years since, the company has focused less on growth and more on internal improvement. For example, they fully transitioned to an app-based system for all site safety and administration paperwork as a ‘going green’ initiative to reduce paper usage. They also began conducting quarterly meetings geared toward furthering education and generating employee feedback to help make the company more efficient and create a better working environment. Most significantly, HRI Group has spent the past few years taking a very close look at their health and safety systems and processes – more on that in a bit. Today, HRI’s capabilities are as expansive as they have ever been. They continue to operate as a masonry historical restoration contractor, but now they also have teams APRIL 2023


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of professionals to provide structural rehabilitation, building envelope services, and generational site works services for newer buildings and infrastructure. “Between our two divisions, we offer one of Canada’s most comprehensive sets of restoration services,” Clay says. “We are well equipped to streamline small, simple projects, or to tackle large, complex challenges.” In terms of value, HRI Group has done projects valued from a few thousand dollars – usually as favours for existing clients – to projects valued in excess of $10 million. The majority of their work is still historical restoration, but new restoration and concrete repair jobs represent a growing percentage of their portfolio. The sectors they service vary, and their clients include a mix of public and private entities. According to Clay, clients across the building spectrum tend to choose HRI for similar reasons. One of the main reasons is their efficiency: “Our goal is to be as productive every single day as we possibly can,” he explains. “It’s challenging, but we do everything we can to limit our downtime, to limit our mistakes, to limit the amount of time we sit idle or have to go backwards. That’s how we keep our costs down. That’s what makes the difference.” Another main reason clients choose HRI, Clay believes, is their communication and, relatedly, the character of their team: “We like to think we’re a team of reasonable people. We communicate well. A lot of the THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

controversy in construction often comes down to people not communicating well and people not giving each other the benefit of the doubt. A lot of that goes away when you can pick up the phone, clarify where you stand, and hear the other person out. If you’re reasonable and you have the ability to accept some fault here and there and not just try to deflect blame, then that also goes a long way.” “In construction, a lot of people are just trying to deflect at every turn,” he adds. “I think that’s what often frustrates clients. Then there’s a spiral, because once clients are frustrated they’re a little bit less reasonable, and things propagate in a negative direction.” “I like to think that the biggest thing that sets us apart – beyond the obvious, which is the price – is how we carry ourselves,” he continues. “It’s all about how we navigate the inevitable issues that are going to be present in a construction project. That’s particularly important in restoration. We’re not building ground-up, we’re dealing with existing structures that have unknowns about them, and we’re going to run into those unknowns. There’s no way from a design perspective to foresee everything that we’re going to run into. We have to be able to work together with all of our stakeholders in order to navigate those issues, which will inevitably pose challenges to budget and pose challenges to schedule. I think people return to us because they appreciate the way we approach those challenges.” Of course, HRI also delivers a very high standard of quality – Clay calls that their “other obvious” point of difference. He partly credits the company’s quality control to, once again, their ability to communicate and collaborate: “There’s usually always some form of a third party consultant involved in our projects, whether it’s an engineer or an architect,” he explains. “We look to engage with them early on.” “We also involve and engage with the product manufacturer’s reps,” he adds. “That’s of massive importance. We work with lots of different products for lots of different situations – but the people who rep those individual products deal with those products every single day. They should know the products even better than the consultants who specified the products. They are incredibly knowledgeable. They are really good resources for information in terms of quality control.” APRIL 2023

Getting better As previously mentioned, safety is an important emphasis of HRI Group, and they have taken strides over the past few years to highlight and reinforce that emphasis. As a result, the company is now COR certified – they received their first certification in February of 2020, which was the culmination of a multi-year goal for the company. As part of that effort, they hired a full-time safety manager whose sole focus is health and safety. Moving forward, HRI’s goal now is to continue getting even better on safety – just like they want to get better at all aspects of their business. “Our focus has never been based around getting bigger,” Clay says. “Our focus has always been getting better.” Sometimes that means getting bigger, he admits. For example, the company grew a lot between 2016 and 2019 because they felt like they needed to grow in THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA

in order to “offer the services that we wanted to offer.” “We wanted to offer a complete package of restoration services,” Clay says. “If they had an old building, we could fix it. If they had a newer building and needed the building envelope cladding done, or if they had a concrete structural problem – a few years ago, we couldn’t fix it, but now we can. Now we can resolve just about any challenge our clients have with their buildings. We needed to get to a certain size to be able to do that.” “From here, our focus is being the best we can be,” he concludes. “If that involves us getting bigger, then that’s what will happen. If it doesn’t, then it won’t. The question that matters is ‘How do we improve as a company?’ We’re going to keep spending a lot of time doing analysis and getting feedback in order to answer that question.” APRIL 2023

For more on Heritage Restoration Inc., their two divisions, their range of services, and their past projects – and to get in touch with Clay, Chris, and their team – visit THE CONSTRUCTION SOURCE CANADA


RNR Steel Incorporated is a Winnipeg-based steel fabrication company serving the commercial construction and heavy industrial sectors. Starting small more than two decades ago, the company has seen continued growth and has expanded its facilities and projects through the years.

Joelene Ray, daughter of the company’s co-founder Richard Ray, shares RNR’s history. “It originally started with Richard’s friend William Rodko who was a small repair person and he brought Richard in in 2001,” she says. “They changed the name and changed the operations to a steel company.” The early January 2001 partnership saw Rodko Repair become RNR Steel. Joelene joined the team in June 2001 to work in the office. As the company grew, it was evident they needed more space so in 2010 they relocated. “We moved to our location that we are still at today which is a bigger facility because we couldn’t handle the production in our smaller shop,” Joelene says. “In 2013 or 2014 we put an addition on to make more space because we grew again.” Richard retired last year and today RNR Steel is owned and operated by Joelene and her business partner Edward Carreon. Edward is originally from the Philippines where he worked as a civil engineer doing design and estimating work. He says that when he came to Canada in November 2012, he wanted to continue his career working with structural steel. He was initially hired by RNR as an estimator in April of 2013. Today, he has added project management to his duties. RNR Steel serves an interesting mix of clients from large structural jobs and miscellaneous projects to smaller custom fabrication jobs that form a special niche for the company. Their main source of fabrication is structural steel and miscellaneous metals APRIL 2023


for condos, apartments, and commercial and industrial buildings along with bridges and other civil infrastructure. The company also does a wide variety of custom fabrication jobs including fabrication of mezzanines, stairs, railings, miscellaneous brackets, access ladders and columns. Warehousing for projects is also provided. “When I started here, RNR Steel was more on the structural side. Seventy to 80 percent of the jobs we were doing would come from the structural side and only 20 to 30 percent of them were miscellaneous. But lately, because of the market where everybody is really looking for work, they really want to get the job even though they’re really not making that much money on the structural side.” “Miscellaneous is more on the specialty side, like guardrails, ladders, something that everybody doesn’t want to do,” he says. “These days I would say we are more on the 50-50 percent structural and miscellaneous.” Joelene is quick to point out that RNR maintains a strong commitment to their smaller customers who have been loyal through the years. “Originally, our business ran a lot on walk-in customers, so we still cater to those walk-in customers. We do a lot of small jobs as well just because they were the ones that grew us to the size that we are now. If we told them, ‘No, we don’t do that anymore,’ we just don’t think that’s fair to customers who have dealt with us along the way. So, we still cater to those smaller customers on top of APRIL 2023