Adding Value through Design-Build and Design-Assist Services

ENERSOLV Design + Build Ltd.
Written by Jen Hocken

Since the early 2000s, the landscape of the construction industry has shifted toward carbon reduction goals with a focus on sustainability. As a result, the scale and complexity of projects have increased, causing developers to realize the harsh reality and pitfalls of the traditional tender-bid-build process.

Enter ENERSOLV Design + Build Ltd.

Located in Vancouver, British Columbia, the company has been transforming the industry for over 15 years. Already known for its turnkey delivery of HVAC and plumbing systems, Enersolv recently added an electrical division to offer complete Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP) services for complex, mixed-use projects—making the company unparalleled across Canada when you factor in their unique design-assist and design-build processes.

While the traditional tender-bid-build process may have worked well in the past, the desire to hit lower carbon goals has increased the complexity and scale of projects to such a degree that the historical dollar-driven choices are no longer viable. Designers know the many ways to lower carbon emissions, but contractors understand the nuance of labour and material cost as well as real world practicality. When designers don’t consult with constructors and vice versa, developers find themselves spending more money than expected or are faced with an inability to meet their low carbon targets.

Enersolv has everything under one roof.

“In breadth of offering, I think we are pretty much unparalleled across Canada. There may be larger mechanical contractors or larger electrical contractors, but we have our own consultants, our own engineers, and our own asset developers,” says Business Development Director Adrian Ryan.

Enersolv’s ability to offer design-assist and design-build streamlines the process for developers and allows them to make well-informed decisions to maximize cost efficiency and ensure their low carbon goals are met or exceeded.

An example of the value of the design-assist and design-build process is in Appia’s SOLO project located in Burnaby, BC. Enersolv has worked with SOLO from its first phase through to its fourth, where the first phase began with a traditional tender-bid-build process. For its second and third phases, Enersolv was selected for design-assist. For its fourth and final phase, SOLO elected Enersolv to do the design-build process. Throughout the 10-year long SOLO project, we see in real time the market’s shift from the traditional process to new, more effective delivery methods.

Design-assist and design-build are the ways of the future. Having everything under one roof allows Enersolv to provide a business case backed by great engineering, robust financial analysis, and current market pricing. For developers, a business case tailored specifically to their project is an invaluable asset because it gives them financial justification based on numbers rather than opinion. With the big picture in mind, they are able to ensure their projects meet or exceed their low carbon targets both practically and efficiently in the real world and throughout its life cycle.

Ryan notes, “Those developments are now so complex that the developer has worn the scars of going for the cheapest contractor or the lowest bid, and they’ve realized that they now have to hire contractors that are more sophisticated who can help reduce risk with an integrated design and construction process.”

As the market shifts, Enersolv continues to grow. “We’ve expanded the business to such a point now where we have a world-class service offering, and we’re just focusing on building on our world-class team,” says Ryan. “We invest in our staff, and they, in turn, invest in us.”

Over the last three years, the number of employees has risen from approximately 75 to 150. The team leaders understand the importance of loyalty to its staff, which has resulted in a reciprocal commitment from employees. A world-class team will be instrumental in Enersolv’s continued work in transforming the industry, pushing the market limitations to encourage innovation and technological advancement, and solidifying the company’s seat at the table of large-scale, complex projects that exceed their sustainability goals.



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