In a world where mainstream thinking is the norm, it’s exciting to discover a surging real estate development company where the free-thinking approach of its founders is challenging the way business is done in that market.
Based in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, Adi Development Group serves The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Southern Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe. The firm was founded by brothers Tariq and Saud Adi, two hard driving movers and shakers known for deriving relevant solutions from unrelated fields.
With their diverse interests beyond real estate, these two are transitioning the company into an asset management firm with a difference. Adi Capital Partners manages capital on behalf of high net-worth investors and institutions and is set to significantly fuel the group’s overall expansion.
While Adi Development Group has seen a distinct move towards its purpose-built rental offering, it is particularly favoured for its condominium projects in the Greater Toronto Area. Here, too, it is seeing a marked increase in investors buying to let.
“Our hot sellers are our high-rise products. We built a very good brand around it,” says Tariq Adi, Chief Executive Officer. Adi Development Group also handles acquisitions, sales and marketing, project launches and construction.
Business is good for this driving duo, as Adi Development Group’s construction division is rapidly expanding. “Our goal is to build the world’s best development and construction company, period,” Tariq says. The group sees itself as a partner to clients that builds better quality apartments at a lower cost than its competitors; is always improving; is great at transforming challenges into solutions; and, of course, expanding annually.
An evolving industry
Its leaders also see the company leading the local construction industry into the technological age with the advent of the internet of things (IoT); modernizing – or revolutionizing – the way construction is done. Consequently, the company is introducing new applications and software like Procore, a full-service, cloud-based construction management platform that offers a choice of plans and functions. From budgets to weather, drawings, models and conflict investigation prompts, this tool is transforming the industry, literally from the ground up.
This capability can save incredible amounts of time and also speeds up the company’s response to project demands. As an unexpected bonus, the company has seen a large increase in the numbers of millennials and Gen Zs who, drawn by its industry-leading technology, are eager to join the group. For Tariq and Saud, this is an exciting development.
Adi Development Group is already leveraging revolutionary new concepts to plan better and to engage its workforce in ways that were not possible a few years ago. As a result, its construction staff turnover is decidedly low in a field known for unsettling fluctuations in staff numbers.
“We’re looking to really engage and empower [our] workforce onsite. No micro-management; instead we put systems in front of them and allow them to work with processes that they manage on their own,” says Saud Adi, Chief Operating Officer.
With reports that trillions of dollars are lost to the construction industry every year through material wastage, the company is urgently creating awareness of this in its teams. Huge environmental savings are made by recycling building materials; replacing lumber with concrete where possible; and preferentially using local tradesmen and suppliers, rather than shipping materials from further abroad.
“One of the biggest polluters in the world – causing the flash floods and greenhouse gas effects that we see happening – is buildings. Buildings are the number one polluter. After that come automobiles and transportation,” Saud says. It is on this understanding that the company bases its commitment to the environment.
The company also recently introduced an innovative software platform for the benefit of its clientele, putting technology at the heart of comfort creation. Its most recent project, the Valera condominium development in Burlington, Ontario, featured a complete IoT building.
In this avant-garde development, telecom and communications connectivity rely on the company’s smart home platform, ADI Home+, that runs on the highest speed internet currently available – a whopping 1.5 gigabytes, thanks to the latest fibre optics. This controls door entry, license plate recognition, and other sophisticated applications that are run from the occupants’ mobile phone and a control panel in the suite.
“It is just a more connected environment. [For instance] you can do elevator calls from your suite. We’re thinking about the customer and putting [them] at the heart of everything,” Tariq says.
Adi Development Group also manages two trades companies where concrete formwork is executed – using moulds to give shape and support to freshly-poured concrete elements – as well as drywalling. Here, too, the new technology is delivering advances with geofencing enabling it to track workers, workers’ hours, be aware of safety concerns, and check in and out with the help of a mobile phone.
“[We have] a relentless focus on our customers. We think about them every step of the way in everything. From the moment they first interact with our company to the time that they [take delivery of] their product,” says Tariq.
To the team, the term ‘customers’ includes what it refers to as its ‘internal’ and ‘external’ customers. It sees its employees and trade partners as internal customers; and end-users, real estate agents, stakeholders and investors, as its external customers. It ‘relentlessly’ ensures that both categories get the value and the quality they deserve.
One of the company’s main differentiators is that it goes all out to ensure that comprehensive planning precedes all its projects. “We’re ensuring that our site staff has the proper tools and knowledge before construction starts. Most people forget that,” says Saud..
This includes proprietary initiatives like AdiGreenVision, the company’s strategy for sustainability, born of a desire to ensure that all future projects will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified. Going a step farther, the company is also currently considering accreditations that examine the ‘quality of life’ aspects of built habitats, going beyond rating the building’s performance simply in terms of energy preservation, and so on. These include standards like WELL certification, and others.
The company’s second initiative, IntelliSpace, is committed to achieving ultimate space optimization, so that homeowners get the maximum for their money. In the current property climate affordability has become buyers’ biggest concern. IntelliSpace gives the company “the ability to do two-bedroom and two-bathroom [units] in 620 square feet,” says Tariq.
This requires investigating every possible means to create a living environment that’s good to be in. To achieve this, the team employs an ergonomically smart approach involving improved natural light, better foot traffic, higher ceilings, and other design elements that significantly enhance the living experience of each unit.
Building on bedrock
Driven by a superb eye for detail and a visionary sense of creativity, the Adi brothers founded Adi Development Group Inc. in 2007. Together with a passion for quality, they shared a penchant for architecture and construction, a good bedrock on which to develop this impressive market-leading firm.
As the Adi brothers’ unique passion attracted the attention of the marketplace, so work poured in to the group, and soon it had grown from six employees to more than 200 – and counting. “I think we will probably be 1000 people in the next couple of years,” says Tariq.
When it comes to people, the industry professionals that staff Adi Development Group are lauded by the owners for their engagement, commitment, and belief in the company’s vision.
“What I love about them all is that we hire them through the lens of [finding future] leaders. We’re literally looking to nurture careers. We [ask] whether they have leadership capabilities [that can be nurtured] today,” says Saud. And, in a company whose owners believe that leaders are not born, but cultivated, the method appears to be very successful.
The team’s commitment to excellence is made visible daily. Employees’ development is supported through training, coaching and other tools that allow them to become the best that they can be.
Growing and giving back
The company is highly acclaimed for its excellent work and last year was ranked as Canada’s 10th fastest growing company out of 400, based on 3,250 percent average growth over three years an achievement by anybody’s standards.
In addition, Saud and Tariq received two large honours this year. They were named to Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 list, honouring ‘younger’ business leaders and movers for their great contribution to the country’s economy and people through business innovation and achievement. They also placed number 10 on the Globe and Mail’s list of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies.
This is a team that believes in giving back – and it does so in spades. Every Christmas, the whole team delivers its generous contributions to the local Ronald McDonald House in support of the families who have to spend the holidays there. It is also a benefactor of the Canadian Diabetes Association and several hospitals in and around the Burlington area.
3D printing the future
For the Adi brothers, the industry is faced with technological disruptions which will change the nature of construction forever. One of these is 3D printing which, although in its early stages, is already in use for buildings. The largest of these, the two-storey Al Warsan, was recently unveiled in Dubai.
At just under 7,000 square feet in area, the project is said to have used only 15 labourers and to have generated around 60 percent less building waste than the average project of its size, securing it a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
“I think there’s a huge opportunity for prefabrication, and 3D printing will play a huge part. Countries like Dubai are saying that they want two percent of all materials in their buildings to be 3D printed – like domes and knobs and hinges, et cetera,” says Saud. He reckons that 3D printed buildings will soon be commonplace. The brothers also see robotics playing a much bigger part in many techniques such as drywall installation.
Adi Development Group is primed for evolution and expansion across Canada and into the United States, and for its transition into an asset management company. And great opportunities in construction and real estate are opening up in its current market.
Yet despite its complexity, two simple words still sum up this up-and-coming giant-to-be, and those are ‘building excellence.’ With the Adi brothers’ flair for design, detail and precision in everything the company does, this is one to keep an eye on.