It is always exciting to discover construction companies that set the bar on quality in modern and sophisticated new ways. This is indeed the case with Greenferd Construction, an innovative office renovator in the city of Toronto, Canada, which has served some of the world’s most successful companies since 1994. The company’s robust roster of repeat business proves its commitment to quality and consistent customer care.
Started by the acting president, Bryan Green nearly thirty years ago, Greenferd Construction achieves office renovation excellence by asking the right questions first. Is the client happy? What is the definition of success for each key stakeholder? Are their expectations being met? These are the questions that set the stage for every new project here.
“Greenferd not only builds exceptional office spaces; we also build and manage the high-performance teams that do,” says Scott Hledin, partner. As a result, there have been many proud moments over the years, such as completing Golder’s new 150,000 square foot office in a new LEED building, or the Globe and Mail’s new 81,000 square foot head office at 351 King Street East at 81,094 square feet, or Aviva Insurance’s new 275,000 square foot head office in Markham. Currently Greenferd is completing three floors for the Senior Executives of a major financial institution along with a mix of other exciting projects.
At the heart of this office renovator‘s success lies an approach to communication that drives everything in the firm. “We manage and lead high-performance teams, both internal Greenferd teams, as well as the teams of trades and professionals that are involved with all our projects. [They’re] diverse in terms of their make-up. Not just racial and gender-based diversity, but also of skillsets.” Hledin points out that the company’s diverse knowledge and skills base provides a fresh perspective on every project. It makes “sure that everybody’s ideas are heard because that’s how you get the best innovative thinking, teamwork, and collaboration on a project,” he says. “We call it, ‘The Collective Perspective.’”
To support the effectiveness of its approach, the company offers its staff comprehensive, formal leadership training. “Many of our competitors use the same trades. You wouldn’t be able to distinguish the end product that Greenferd built versus one of [our] competitors. We don’t design the offices; we only build them. Because of that, what we focus on is moving the client from today to project completion and the experience they have throughout that process,” he says. “The stakeholder experience is what sets us apart.”
Building the ultimate team is like an art form, one that the company has perfected over the years. The logic behind this becomes clear considering that, when projects hit a rough patch, everyone on the job is quickly tarred with the same brush. “No one’s going to say the project didn’t go well, but the electrician was terrific. That’s not going to happen. So we need the electrician to be thinking, ‘I need to do my best work and be timely so that the drywaller can come behind me and close up the walls on time, so that the painter can come in and finish his job on time.’ And then the overall project will be considered a success,” Hledin says. “Everyone succeeds together.”
Commitment to quality and effective communication are what the integrity of this entire process pivots on. The goal of each project has to be understood fully by each contributor, and this goal differs for every project. Some clients have precise deadlines, while for others, budget constraints override this, and they might prefer moving in later if that ensures cost savings. Other project owners value a hands-off experience that allows them their time and freedom to focus on running their own businesses, while others prefer to be intimately involved throughout the process.
“Understanding from the outset what a successful project is to everybody is important. A common goal is important on any team. It focuses the efforts and directs the actions of all the team members.” Hledin highlights the fact that, unless goals are communicated clearly and continuously, it is easy for trades and other project contributors to focus solely on their scope of work and not the overall success of the project.
By the same token, the spirit and enjoyment of projects are treated as crucial to achieving successful outcomes. Regularly focusing the team on the common goals is done in a motivational way that keeps contributors engaged and positive about the company’s projects. “Most of these trades work for my competitors as well. I want them to be excited to come to my team’s jobsite because they’re excited and motivated by my site manager. They know that they’re professional. They know that they’re going to build a team-oriented environment and be well-scheduled, working in a safe and clean environment so they can do their best work,” Hledin says proudly.
The company’s attention to even the smallest aspects of its projects is impressive. Greenferd Construction’s office staff is as attentive to the details that ensure optimum collaboration as its team members are working in the field. That includes taking into account exactly how clients prefer their invoices to be set up to avoid document returns and payment delays. Setting clear guidelines for speedy processing on clients’ information requests is just one of the secrets to running a smooth operation and something that this dynamic leader feels especially strongly about.
Comprehending the speed of information processing at the start of a project may seem simple but is important since establishing parameters help manage expectations and everyone can agree to these from the beginning. This acute awareness of and attention to the client experience also means that the entire process is made to be as transparent and seamless as possible.
Greenferd’s team of forty is the mainstay of its operation and also what sets it apart. It includes around seven project managers, twenty site supervisors, four project coordinators, five finance professionals, and an ever-growing close-out/customer experience team. Its values are based on being reliable, accountable, passionate about both life and quality construction, inquisitive, and caring about self and others. These are all people invested in making the world a better place.
As caring is a significant part of its ethos, the firm also helps where it can outside of its walls. One of its beneficiaries is the Pinball Clemons Foundation, a group that focuses on providing guidance, support and mentorship for Greater Toronto’s youth facing economic and social challenges. Some Greenferd team members even offer their time to be mentors, and in turn, Pinball Clemons himself regularly takes time to talk with the Greenferd team on how strong teams build strong communities. Additionally, Greenferd is also a proud Employer Partner of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion to further inspire inclusive work environments that mobilize the potential of individuals – and of teams.
Greenferd Construction also focuses on the future and is an early adopter of globally significant trends, like utilizing technology in construction to enhance communication for all stakeholders. That includes investments in OpenspaceAI technology at the onset of the COVID-19 restrictions. This technology comprises cameras that document and deliver on-site information to collaborators and project owners who may not be able to access the site. Very much like an intuitive “Google Street view” for your jobsite. This seamlessly integrates with specialized construction project management software called CMiC to facilitate information management among project stakeholders.
In addition, the company is also serious about the environment. Greenferd’s operations were certified carbon neutral in 2013 and the team also delivered the greater Toronto area’s first LEED Platinum commercial interior project over a decade ago. Even when clients are not aiming for LEED certification, the company still prefers to focus on best practices prescribed by the certification standards. Its openness to embracing new ideas makes it the darling of office designers that optimize work environments to obtain the best employee wellness, satisfaction, and engagement.
The business has enjoyed consistent and steady growth, even over the past few years of COVID-19 affecting markets. “We are constantly being introduced to opportunities to work with new companies. Our goal is to bring them into the fold and have them become repeat customers and deliver their version of success,” says Hledin. To this end, the company is continuously and selectively handpicking new team members. Greenferd seeks out new team members who are committed to unlocking their own potential, so they can lead and inspire high-performance project teams.
“As in many industries, consumers are becoming more discerning and have more choice than ever. That is why we feel that this personalized service of understanding what success means to each stakeholder and delivering that is essential to winning and creating new business moving into the future,” Hledin says.
By focusing on customer needs and establishing clearly communicated goals, project teams can deliver clients’ desired outcomes, and Greenferd Construction will continue to deliver next-generation office spaces for many decades to come.