It is widely accepted that where technology and innovative design meet, the world becomes a changed place. This approach is even more impactful when it is applied to practical everyday problems like surviving Canadian winters in style and with reduced energy consumption.
Known for its customer-centric design and innovation of architectural aluminum window frames, doors, curtain wall and much more, Alumicor’s impressive list of clients includes some of Canada’s most illustrious institutions and commercial and industrial developers. “Alumicor brings a higher level of expertise to the table. We understand and interpret our clients’ requirements to suit their projects and product needs. We are constantly developing products that meet or exceed these expectations, to ensure our customers have access to the very best solutions,” says Scott Goodman, Vice President, Marketing.
Alumicor serves its clients via five fabrication plants throughout Canada, taking pride in delivering orders on time and at great prices. Its facilities can be found in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, Ontario, Winnipeg, Manitoba and most recently, Langley, British Columbia. The company is owned by the U.S. commercial construction giant, Apogee Enterprises, which has been in the industry for well over six decades.
The company is favoured for its outstanding service, rock solid commitment to its business relationships and phenomenal quality that not only lasts but also adds a generous measure of good taste and style to any building envelope. The company manufactures and supplies next-generation aluminum products including curtain wall, glass storefront, and various types of windows. It even has its own in-house anodizing facility that adds strength and longevity to aluminum finishes through a process of oxidation.
Names like Google in Kitchener, Ontario; Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence, Ottawa, Ontario; and the Terrance Donnelly Health Sciences Centre at the University of Toronto, Mississauga, all trust this market leader to supply the best quality building envelope elements for everything ranging from multi-million dollar projects to smaller new constructions and renovations. “We focus on large commercial, institutional, office and retail buildings. Our products contribute to the improvement of the quality of life without sacrificing superior performance,” says Scott.
A history of growth
The company’s sixty-year history is as interesting as its products. Alumicor’s doors first opened in November 1959 when George Devonshire and Orlando Sauro decided to set up shop on Birchmount Road in Scarborough, Ontario. The two partners combined forces in the business and incorporated the company simultaneously. In the early days, Alumicor mainly worked with the supply and installation of high-performance windows on institutional projects. Even then it also offered storefront doors, framing, and hardware, as that was what the market needed.
George was a visionary and a very creative man. With his guidance, the team designed its first range of narrow and medium stile doors. It also designed its own framing system that was then fine-tuned and manufactured. With the industry going full-steam ahead, the initial location eventually burst out of its seams and in 1969, operations were relocated to 180 Commander Blvd. Scarborough, Ontario. Alumicor then began manufacturing Devac windows under license to Devac Inc. The business was booming and by 1976, the company had the opportunity to grow beyond Ontario, setting up an operation in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
In the same year, Alumicor partially acquired Alumanode, based in Etobicoke, Ontario; by 1978, it acquired full proprietorship of the company. It would be another six years before Alumicor would make another acquisition. In 1984 an expansion opportunity presented itself once more, and now the company moved into the east. It settled its Atlantic Canada operation in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The next facility was a few years in the making and opened in Montreal, Quebec in 1995. By January 2011, Alumicor melded four of its Ontario locations into two. Now, its production, distribution and office facility can be found at 290 Humberline Drive in Toronto, Ontario, while the anodizing plant is at Racine Rd in Etobicoke. By March 2018, the company was ready to expand again and Alumicor set up a new manufacturing and distribution arm in Langley, British Colombia. Today, sixty years later, Alumicor proudly serves North America from its facilities throughout Canada.
Top products, unmatched service
The company’s team of 16 sales representatives are all experts in the building envelope industry and are fully equipped to support clients throughout the initial decision-making stages. To ease the buying and design process even further, certified technical representatives are always ready to assist, guide and advise clients on the best options for their projects. The company also offers a large selection of product lines to choose from, with solutions for every weather- and temperature-related challenge the Canadian landscape can possibly present.
The company’s portfolio of top performers is well populated and thanks to each location’s professional Quality Assurance Team, customers can rest assured that its products are as high-performance and sturdy as the company itself. Here, the whole team shares the same vision. Manufacturing strictly functions according to a standard operational process as set out in the company’s official guidebook, and products are standardized throughout the company. In-house testing includes destructive tests on thermal break elements as well as first article testing, where the first units off the production line are inspected. In-line testing is done on 10 percent of the production volume and air and water resistance tests are also performed across Alumicor’s product spectrum.
The company’s forte is in fitting low and mid-rise buildings with its wide range of top-notch aluminum products. Its wide choice includes curtain wall that comes with two options: either stick-built systems that are assembled onsite or pre-manufactured, complete systems. Both of these options can be pre-glazed and offer thermally broken frames. In addition, Alumicor’s window range comes complete with fixed, projecting, integral or sliding frames while its sliding and mall doors can be fitted onto either single or multiple tracks and open automatically. The company also has a range of swing and storefront doors that are available with thermally broken frames, amongst other features.
In another division, skylights and overhead glazing add natural light to any space without jeopardizing interior temperatures. While clients can choose from Alumicor’s anodized aluminum finishes – which are corrosion-proof – they can also choose to go with either painted or powder-coated frames.
Alumicor boasts a number of unique products that offer not only good design but also high performance. One of these is its TerraPorte accessABLE™, a wheelchair-friendly door with a bevelled slope on an 0.5-inch sill, which means easy access onto same-level outdoor patio spaces – without barriers. The TerraPorte accessABLE™ door is also designed with an air buffer to provide a thermal break between interior and exterior glass and also offers high water resistance. This model provides improved comfort on multiple levels, saving on energy costs and repairs as it has passed stringent industry standards tests.
Another of Alumicor’s flagship products is the Integra 6000™, a visionary window system that offers multiple configurations. Whether the user wants it to open out, to open in or to remain fixed, this window functions in both directions. Laboratory tested and NAFS-AW-PG85-performance and quality accredited, this product also offers optimum temperature efficiency. “These windows are perfect for the institutional, commercial and residential markets,” says Scott. “The integral design allows for many configurations without additional sub-frames.”
When it comes to weathering heavy rains, Alumicor’s ITGRseal™ makes Integra 6000™ a fantastic rain screen system that offers optimum temperature and water resistance, eases glass replacement and lowers the cost of additional backer rod installation. It also comes with a choice of frames with an option for insulating foam in the frame’s structure and around the sash and glazing. This laboratory-tested product offers 10 percent proven improvement on its thermal protection capacity and also gives higher condensation resistance than traditional models.
On top of its leading-edge products, this team is all about service and its Rapid Response program focuses on giving clients quick turnaround times. This, of course, makes Alumicor a breeze to work with on all levels, which explains why its customers are so generous with their referrals. The company’s extensive footprint and dedicated distribution service ensure that its products are available throughout the country, while its commitment to inventory investment means easy and fast access to its most popular products, resulting in better project control and cash flow for its customers.
The company’s commitment to speed and efficiency is not just talk; its dedicated team prides itself on a three-hour estimation process on manufactured goods and also offers a three-day production guarantee. Therefore, from the moment a client reaches out to the point of delivery, rapid, quality service is Alumicor’s main focus at all times.
Innovation and quality
The company prides itself on staying abreast of industry developments and evolving alongside architectural, technological and manufacturing trends. This industry giant is well-versed in manufacturing architectural elements that are as avant-garde as they are technologically advanced, and its products are prized for providing designers and developers with next-generation effectiveness combined with the latest aesthetics.
Of course, to consistently reach new heights in manufacturing mastery, continuous improvement is of the essence. Quality standards to which Alumicor adheres include Canada’s Supplementary Standard SB10 code, which regulates energy efficiency in the construction industry; the National Building Code (NBC), which regulates building protocols; the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS), which tests window, door and skylight functionality; the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA); and many more. Alumicor is also a proud partner of myriad industry associations such as Construction Specifications Canada, the Canadian Glass Association and the Ontario Glass & Metal Association. It is also involved with the Ontario Industrial & Finishing Skills Centre, the Glass Trades Association, Ontario Building Envelope Council, Quebec Building Envelope Council, the Association de vitrerie et fenestration du Québec (AVFQ), and the East Coast Building Enclosure Council (ECBEC).
To ensure customers and consultants stay up to date, the company offers access to Lunch and Learn gatherings where information is shared and product features are discussed in detail. Alumicor also adheres to top safety standards and ever-improving quality levels, carefully watched over by its own in-house quality control system.
As an industry leader, Alumicor is also a proud supporter and provider of environmentally responsible design, with great consideration for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards. This gives clients peace of mind in knowing that they’re not only buying top quality aluminum products but that they have been manufactured with operational transparency, integrity and consideration for the planet.
Building a legacy
With quality such as this, Alumicor, of course, has no shortage of successful projects in its portfolio. Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto, Ontario, designed by Bregman & Hamman Architects, is a glamorous landmark that achieves a high level of innovation with Alumicor’s spectacular ThermaWall 2600 glass wall installations. Equally glamorous is the Rogers Place Arena, in Edmonton, Alberta. Furthermore, the ThermaWall 2600 and a range of other products give the Google building in Kitchener, Ontario an edge by completing its futuristic design with a glittering glass building envelope.
Another exquisite building the company had the honour of leaving its stamp on is the Songhees Wellness Centre in Victoria, British Colombia. The three-storey, 54 000-square-foot building shows off the company’s VersaWall 2500 curtain wall with operable vents and InsulDoors perfectly. The Musée des Beaux Arts in Montreal, Quebec is another proud example of how aluminum and glass can combine in modern design, while the award-winning Lean-To House in Blind Bay, Nova Scotia is proof that even Alumicor’s residential projects are something to behold. The house was designed by MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects and won the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal of Excellence in 2013. It features Alumicor’s TerraPorte 7600 Out-Swing doors, the VersaWall MidLine 2200 and UniVent 1350 windows – a winning residential combination if ever there was one.
Today, the company is run with the same heart that goes into its products and it prides itself in being an accessible employer. As such, it is open to those with disabilities under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Alumicor also upholds what it refers to as the Four Square Philosophy. This refers to the company’s four main areas of partnership, namely its customers, employees, suppliers, and shareholders. Its leaders recognize that all four of these elements are interdependent and therefore strive to create an environment of clear communication, mutual prosperity, integrity, care, and success.
Moving into the future, nimble service, quality, and transparency will remain the mainstays of this respected industry leader.