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August 31, 2017

Why Hiring Local Makes Sense


Have you noticed how much emphasis there is now on farm-to-table eating, locally brewed beers and regional wines? On local artists and musicians? Most people recognize the value and importance of those kinds of local buying.

But what about when hiring a construction manager?

There are some important benefits of “buying local” in that area, too.

Local firms can act more quickly if there are problems because they don’t need to search for the right contacts to remedy the issue. Local constructors have extensive knowledge of the relevant building codes and regulations and approval processes. They don’t just know the regulations, but more importantly, they know and have worked with the people who enforce them. And they have a stronger grasp on the local pricing and availability of quality trades and suppliers.

Our business is about relationships. The people involved in the local constructor community have relationships with the local architects, designers, suppliers, subtrades, municipal authorities and others who are important to the success of any project. A non-local firm, or a branch of a big out-of-town firm, may have some contacts, but is unlikely to have the strong relationships developed over years of collaboration and shared problem-solving.

By hiring a local firm, you gain the peace of mind of knowing that someone intimately familiar with the market is problem-solving on your behalf.

Sometimes, decision makers choose large national or international firms because they think the quality of the end product will be better. In fact, the local firms work hard to maintain their carefully established market reputations, which are based on providing the best quality results combined with prompt, reliable, service to their clients.

When hiring a constructor to help you with your renovation or new office development journey, choose a firm that can offer a relationship built on trust, familiarity and personalized service. When you find a locally owned firm that has been in the community for decades, they offer more than building skills – they give you the knowledge, expertise, network and attention you deserve.

And on a higher level, working with a local firm helps you help the community. Significantly more of your investment will stay in the area, making a much greater local economic impact.

Everybody wins.



May 17, 2017

Keeping It Safe


On May 11, the Ontario government launched several initiatives to prevent worker deaths, injuries and illness in the construction sector as part of Ontario’s Construction Health and Safety Action Plan. That plan contains 16 recommendations to create a more knowledgeable, skilled sector and to increase the sector’s compliance with occupational health and safety laws. Notably, in addition to enhanced worker awareness and training, it calls for more targeted enforcement, exploring opportunities to expand the application of tickets,

There are compelling reasons for this program. About 30% of all work-related traumatic fatalities and occupational disease fatality claims for workplaces in Ontario occurred in the construction sector, even though it comprises only 6.7 per cent of all provincial employment.

Of course, most of those terrible accidents don’t take place on commercial interiors projects, in which we specialize. Still, at Gillanders, we are always working to improve safety performance. And we are very proud of our CAD 7 safety rating from WSIB, which is the highest rating attainable.

Our Accident Prevention and Safety Plan is distributed onsite to ensure all personnel and trades people are fully equipped to deal will accidents and keep our sites safe. At the start of each project, it is important to designate persons representing both the workers and management who are responsible for ensuring the adherence to the safety plan. The health and safety reps can also be responsible for relaying the schedule to all affected personnel, including building maintenance and security. We want to be sure that the workers and tenants are communicating and agree on the methods being used to correct problems when they occur.

We are known for our ability to carry out complex interior renovations with the least disruption to our clients’ businesses … and that includes safeguarding their employees. Whenever possible, we use physical barriers to isolate the work activities from occupied spaces. We pay special attention to sealing ventilation systems and minimizing contaminant migration between spaces. We also make certain that all proper exits are maintained or suitable alternates designated.

What may not be as obvious is the role that our commitment to quality plays in keeping everyone safe. You see, because we set a high quality standard for the work from the outset, you can be confident that there will be no sloppiness, no hastiness, no need for rework and no enhanced risks.

Your project stays on schedule; your goals are met; your business continues to run smoothly … and everyone is safe.



March 24, 2017

What a Party!


Celebrating Our 60th Anniversary and Investing in the Future

We were delighted that so many real estate, design and corporate leaders joined us at the Toronto Board of Trade on Thursday, March 23, to celebrate our Diamond Jubilee, a remarkable milestone in our history.

As our President, Berto Ramos, said, “The new Gillanders logo is a highly visible symbol of change, but it simply represents the brand, which is really made up of every aspect of the connection between ourselves and the clients we serve – our promise and our performance. New challenges have arisen in our industry, and our responses have changed accordingly. But not our core values of integrity, value, service and quality. We remain to true to our history while we focus on being a 21st century organization.”

Berto thanked the clients, building owners and managers, project managers, and the many talented designers whose visions we’ve made real over the years.

In recognition of the role of design in our industry, VP Mark Tomjenovic announced our investment in the future of the industry – the establishment of the annual Gillanders Diamond Scholarships, one for each of a 2nd year and 4th year student in Ryerson’s Design Technology program. The awards will recognize the way their work demonstrates an in-depth understanding of construction technology and how it affects the quality of their designs. These students will have successfully brought together the art of building science and the design of a commercial, institutional or retrofitted projects.

As do we, from the construction perspective.



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