Building Canada’s infrastructure requires innovation in construction techniques and an integrated approach to project management and execution.
Where collaboration meets innovation
Founded in 1926, Graham Construction is one of Canada’s most experienced construction companies and a leader in innovative infrastructure development. “Innovation and collaboration are at the center of how we operate — we have a true partner culture,” says Cecil Dawe, Graham’s Executive Vice President of Industrial and Infrastructure. “We recruit, train, and develop our people to foster a collaborative environment. This results in more successful project outcomes for Graham and our clients, and for all stakeholders.”
Graham invests in its people through purpose-built learning and development programs that strengthen employees’ commitment to Graham’s culture and core values. These internally-developed programs ensure the business has highly qualified and progressive project teams and is part of Graham’s long-term devotion to innovation, collaboration, and future industry leaders.
This approach generates innovative solutions to complex challenges. During the recent Groat Road Bridge Rehabilitation project in Edmonton, Graham worked closely with its engineering partner to develop a unique overhead gantry crane system to revitalize the 70-year-old bridge. This enabled the structure to remain open to traffic throughout construction while protecting the marine habitat in the river below. Despite its aggressive schedule, the project was successfully delivered on time.
“Innovation is not new to Graham, it’s something we do daily,” says Tom Cole, Graham’s Vice President of Infrastructure in Western Canada. “Our clients recognize and appreciate our abilities to collaborate and innovate, to meet the needs of demanding projects.”
Collaborative contract models are reshaping the industry
Graham is an advocate for more collaborative contracting models. These efforts have included discussions with national and provincial construction associations and meetings with capital project staff at over 80 provincial and municipal governments. Graham provides clients with suggestions for improved public procurement of infrastructure projects, from a constructor’s point of view. This includes recommendations for optimizing Canada’s standard model for P3 (public-private partnership) projects.
“Innovation should never be an afterthought,” says Cole. “We believe collaboration is essential in the early stages of a project because that’s when we discover where everyone’s strengths are, and therefore able to develop innovative solutions together.”
Graham endorses early contractor involvement because it allows for optimal designs to emerge, and early planning to de-risk the construction phase before building commences. Putting these project partners together early in a project’s lifecycle, allows that fusion of knowledge and experience to generate impressive results.
Graham’s track record of collaborative project delivery is extensive. In 2013, the company began working on the first project in Canada to leverage the integrated project delivery model — the Dr. F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital in Saskatchewan — and is currently working on the first progressive design-build contracts in Canada at the Buffalo Pound Water Treatment Plant also in Saskatchewan and the Stuart Lake Hospital Redevelopment (BC). Graham partners closely with its clients, designers, sub-contractors, suppliers, Indigenous communities, and all other stakeholders involved in a project.
Ongoing innovation in technology
“In addition to hiring and developing our people to be collaborators and innovators, we also invest in technology to give our people great tools and systems to help them manage projects,” says Matt Gramblicka, Vice President of Information Technology and Enterprise Applications at Graham.
Graham is currently investing $20 million to integrate industry-leading software into its existing project management system, ensuring project stakeholders have the most recent iteration of technology at their disposal.
This continual investment in improving on-site technology, in combination with its recruitment and training programs, true partner approach, and leadership in emerging contracting models, has positioned Graham as the contractor of choice for clients across Canada. Graham is delivering the solutions to successfully build and replace Canada’s infrastructure.