Produced by Richard Gentile
With a reputation as a top contractor in Western Canada, Seko Construction is a design-build general contractor that specializes in commercial, industrial and recreational facility construction. Originated from pre-engineered steel building business The Permasteel Group in 1953, Seko Construction made a name for itself as a contractor of choice in the industry rather quickly.
“As we grew, we were approached by our clients to provide additional solutions within the projects we were completing currently,” said James Savage, VP of Business Development, during a recent interview. “We naturally saw this as an opportunity to offer these solutions to other prospective clients and therefore expanded our services and capabilities into the general contracting marketplace.”
“Today, as we have been for some time, we have extensive experience in building with conventional steel, pre-engineered steel, structural concrete, wood frame, and basically all major types of construction,” Savage added.
To add to its unique design-building process, Seko Construction recently re-aligned the brand and has partnered with Percon Building Systems, XPS Contracting and The Permasteel Group to operate under one owner. With all companies now operating as Seko Construction, the company is bringing design, construction and project management professionals into one team that will help clients efficiently accomplish design-build goals on time and on budget.
Safety is a primary priority at Seko Construction, and the company has taken extensive measures to be certified in all aspects.
“We’ve built or are currently building for a number of companies such as Suncor, Harvest Energy and Keyera, and many of these projects are on strict safety protocol plant sites,” said Savage. “We’ve proven throughout work and safety records with these companies that we’re a contractor that prioritizes safety within the office and also out in the field.”
Seko Construction’s approach to safety is through layers. The company has developed its own safety program which addresses not only specific safety protocols but is also tailored for specific clients.
“We have a committed full-time safety manager, Stacey Leclaire, who is based out of our Edmonton office, and she routinely meets with our Vancouver and Calgary safety officers,” explained Savage. “Our implemented safety procedures are regularly reviewed by our president, Stephen Elliott, who takes an active interest in reviewing these procedures to ensure a successful safety system.”
With a staff distributed amongst five offices from Calgary to Vancouver, Seko Construction pays careful attention to ensure that every employee is trained properly and feels like a part of the team.
“We have a very much decentralized structure within our Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton offices,” said Savage. “It basically means [these offices] manage their own work force. With that being said, with substantial resources throughout our five offices we can match the right resources and work force to the right project no matter where it is in Western Canada. That’s why our geographic footprint is so important to us, and that’s why “we can do that”.
“We’re very thorough in our hiring process to start with, and through a number of assessments from simple identification of past experience to more complex personality profiling, we ensure we’re matching the right people to the right opportunities. We value our people immensely and treat them accordingly,” continued Savage. “Our corporate culture within the company is an important factor to our client relations which we value. So in order for us to succeed, we need to ensure we are providing our staff with the proper resources to do so, whether it’s enabling our junior positions to achieve a desired carpentry trade ticket or experience, continue product and software training for our project management and coordination teams, or ongoing leadership training at the executive level. We are complete supporters of our staff and their desires to succeed.”
At Seko Construction, allowing clients to relate to their future building space and site plan layout is vital, as it allows owners become comfortable with their future investment.
“We employ a variety of programs and mediums within our resources. Early on in our sales and proposal processes we employ programs such as Revit, Tekla, AutoCAD, and also SketchUp to provide our clients with the ability to physically view and grasp the overall scope of the project and the details that relate to the future building space,” explained Savage. “Something we also feel is important is matching the technology to our clients and also the market sector. Our turnaround times on our visuals and proposals are critical, and in some cases there isn’t a need for employing a program such as Tekla if a less advanced technology will deliver exactly what is needed.”
When asked which projects Seko Construction was most proud of, Savage listed the following five:
Each project in itself was customized to the clients’ list of requirements.
“In the case of Techmation, we created a 35,000 sq. ft. head office in Alberta for them. This development needed to be an extension of their business mindset and corporate values and when you walk through the front door, its impressive,” said Savage. “What’s also impressive is quite frankly Techmation’s safety record. They’ve gone 4,770 consecutive days without an incident are recognized as Canada’s Safest Employer 2014 Gold Winner. 2014, and in the Top 50 Best Managed Companies in Canada. Working together as a team with Techmation created a facility that stands alone, from the three storey atrium, employee amenity roof-top patio, and exceptional level of finishing both to the interior and exterior of the facility. Our relationship with Techmation also enables us to tour future and current clients through the facility and speak with Techmation to discuss the facility and construction process with Seko.”
The Cervus Agro project was 90,000 total sq. ft. of dealership showrooms, service and machinery storage. “The scale of the building really matches the scale of the equipment, whether it is the 40 foot wide aircraft hangar-style doors, numerous overhead cranes for heavy equipment maintenance,” said Savage.
“When looking at the Toad ‘n’ Turtle Pubhouse & Grill, it’s the total opposite from the showroom dealership. It’s a two-story English-style pub which we recently completed in Calgary,” said Savage. “It’s got a rooftop patio, in-house meat smoker and extensive commercial kitchen. It differs greatly from a manufacturing project.”
“The year 2015 is going to be another exciting year for us at Seko,” said Savage. “We have recently expanded Seko Construction’s presence in both Alberta and British Columbia. With the emerging LNG market on the north coast of British Columbia we feel that our Terrace operation will be well positioned to provide our unique construction solutions within this geographic area and market sector. In southern Alberta we are in the process of opening our Lethbridge office as well. Staff for this office are long-term Lethbridge area residents and we are excited about bringing our service, knowledge, and expertise to the Lethbridge and area marketplace.
We’ll continue to focus on design-building general contracting in Western Canada in commercial and industrial areas, and with our new locations and additional resources, we’re expecting serious continuous success.”
“But with that being said,” he continued, “our heads aren’t in the sand. Today’s economic climate, in Alberta specifically, will definitely come into play. Therefore we plan on expanding our already successful position in the senior and assisted living facility construction market, along with possible future public tender opportunities as well.”
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