Versatility and Skill

BC Drywall Installations
Written by Robert Hoshowsky

BC Drywall Installations Ltd. provides a wide range of drywall-related services including demolition, installation, mudding and taping, plastering, priming and final coat painting. It also installs steel studs, drywall, special ceilings and acoustical ceilings.
BC Drywall Installations has the workforce, skills, resources and financial backing to complete projects of all sizes. Since 2001, it has developed an industry reputation for versatility and has grown from a one-room operation with handful of employees to over having over fifty full-time, dedicated staff at locations in British Columbia and Calgary, Alberta.

The company stands apart from its competition owing to its outstanding bonding capacity of $15 million which enables it to undertake large works that other companies simply cannot handle. “We take on projects ranging from $10,000 all the way up to $15 million, depending on how many we have going on at the time and how much the project value is,” says Ngaire Sellars-Afele, the company’s office manager and health and safety manager.

“Some projects are so big that you have to have a certain bonding capacity, and if you don’t, then you don’t even get invited to bid on the project. So our $15 million bonding capacity eliminates much of our competition a lot of the time.”

BC Drywall Installations often works on anywhere from twenty to thirty projects at once, serving customers across British Columbia’s Lower Mainland as well as Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Saskatoon and Regina. The company precisely controls costs and planning, resulting in projects which are delivered within budget and on time, earning it repeat business from many long-term customers.

Its sheer size provides many other benefits for clients. “If we are doing a renovation project, we can do demolition, painting, drywall and more. So the general contractor has to only deal with one subcontractor instead of multiple subcontractors,” says Sellars-Afele. Employees include expert tradespeople, field supervisors utilizing the latest available technologies in a coordinated effort with estimators and accountants.

Sellars-Afele has been with the company for the past eleven years and has been a part of much of its growth even before becoming office manager and health and safety manager. Prior to working her way up to her current position, she started as a labourer on job sites doing cleanup and other jobs shortly after graduating from university. She took a construction safety officer course and then received her Certificate of Recognition (COR) from the Worker’s Compensation Board of British Columbia (WCB).

BC Drywall, “with proven successful projects and growth of our resources,” expanded into the Calgary market about a decade ago to meet the needs of its many customers. The company’s solid management team and passionate, trained estimators, office staff, and field employees continue to make the business a success.

The company’s management remains closely involved at every level. General Manager Mehrdad Shamei brings more than 25 years of experience and a master’s degree in structural engineering to his role. Over the last ten years he has focussed on estimating and management of wall and ceiling system contracts, and oversees all Branch Managers in British Columbia and Alberta. Bill Mainland is Branch Manager of the firm’s Calgary office, and involved with projects from the estimating stage through to execution and project completion. He brings with him 16 years of experience in the construction industry and the successful completion of many high end commercial and residential projects with intricate design-build requirements.

BC Drywall Installations has a steel stud, insulation and drywall division and a demolition arm. This allows it to be able to perform interior light- and heavy-gauge framing of walls and ceilings, design-build engineering, acoustical ceilings and insulation, interior drywall including finishing and texture spray, exterior steel stud framing, tear-down of buildings, millwork, wall coverings, electrical and mechanical installations, ceilings, partitions, concrete cutting among its many services. The company has the experienced staff and tools necessary for every job.

As office manager and health and safety manager, Sellars-Afele oversees all areas of safety for BC Drywall and has years of experience. She is proud of her record and the safety record of the company.

“Because of our COR program – our health and safety program that we have – we wanted to be COR certified because that helps you get projects as well,” she says. “On some projects, it is mandatory; the general contractor will want you to be COR certified, and also it works in our favour.”

The Certificate of Recognition program (COR) provides occupational health and safety accreditation, and certification serves as a key indicator of a company’s commitment to health and safety, which must be excellent.

“You have to pass the audit, so it has to be well run. We have a safety officer that manages it all and also persons delegated to take care of certain safety issues. We have always made safety a priority here at BC Drywall.”

Every project, regardless of size, is approached with safety in mind. Safety orientations are required for all employees. These include evacuation and emergency procedures, and hearing tests are administered twice a year for every employee in the field,

The company is committed to protecting both employees and its assets and so provides frequent checks of machinery and equipment. Regions prone to earthquakes also have emergency preparedness kits available.

Sellars-Afele believes that safety is not solely the responsibility of upper management but must be shared by all staff. Every one of the company’s workers from managers to fieldworkers, suppliers and contractors must share in the responsibility of reducing risk through proper safety procedures, as defined in the company’s health and safety manual.

To ensure its safety protocols are up-to-date, the company maintains memberships with a number of health and safety related organizations including the Worker’s Compensation Board, Work Safe BC and St. John Ambulance.

Drywall projects, particularly large-scale jobs, require tremendous amounts of manpower and materials. To keep track of projects, the company harnesses the power of special estimating software. The information is then sent to project managers who will monitor progress and determine if BC Drywall is on track with scheduling, the amount of money being spent on taping and framing, and many other performance metrics.

One of the company’s many successful projects is Eighth Avenue Place in Calgary which houses many of the city’s well-known and respected business leaders. The building, in the heart of downtown, boasts a world-class fitness centre, top restaurants and shops and a conference centre.

“It’s a huge office high-rise in downtown Calgary,” comments Sellars-Afele of the site, which saw the company take on work exceeding $14 million over a period of about two years. “Everybody knows it.” BC Drywall’s extensive portfolio also includes projects in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

BC Drywall’s has numerous long-standing relationships with large-scale general contractors such as EllisDon and PCL Construction. It has a reputation for quality work and rarely needs to advertise.

The company’s considerable staff numbers and solid backing mean it is never short of qualified workers to take on jobs of all sizes, unlike many of the competition that are unable to weather economic ups and downs.

“We always seem to have manpower where some people don’t,” says Sellars-Afele. “We can do any project, no matter how big. We work with some of the biggest general contractors in Western Canada, and we have a good track record, and we are pretty versatile.”



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