Integrating and Innovating Construction Services in Canada

Plan Group

plangroup

The name Plan Group has become synonymous with quality and innovation. As Canada’s most innovative multi-trade construction services provider, with offices in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver, and supported by industry leading talent and resources, Plan Group draws on its electrical, mechanical and Information, Communication and Automated Technologies (ICAT) expertise to provide tailored multi-trade solutions that turn its customers’ visions into realities.
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Plan Group works closely with its customers to establish a comprehensive understanding of a project’s details and each customer’s unique needs. In doing so, Plan Group is able to execute flawlessly, safely, on time, and on budget to meet and exceed customer expectations. The company is present for every step of a project’s progression: from initial consultation through design, testing, installation and completion.

Plan Group was established in 1955. Originally Plan Electric Ltd., it began as a small family-owned electrical subcontracting company. Over the past 60 years, Plan Group has grown significantly, evolving to better meet its customers’ needs through the delivery of complementary multi-trade offerings.

“Plan Group, as a whole, was really founded on innovative, entrepreneurial spirit,” Glen Landry, VP – ICAT with Plan Group, shared. “We continue to evolve where it makes sense for the company and it’s all because of a belief in our people and the opportunity to really take an idea and bring it to life.”

The company has built a comprehensive suite of services including: electrical, mechanical and ICAT, offering structured cabling, building systems, safety, security, green energy, industrial controls, critical power, and proactive maintenance programs, to name a few. Plan Group also offers exceptional design-build capabilities that showcase the team’s in-house talent and expertise.

Bill Kurtin and Paul Sheridan assumed leadership of Plan Group in 2005 and since 2014 it has been a subsidiary of Bouygues Energies & Services. In 2014, Plan Group helped launch Mindful Experience, a leading IT solutions provider and in 2015, acquired Quebec construction company Gastier, further expanding its presence in the market. Today, Plan Group has over 400 employees who comprise one of the largest groups of technical tradespeople in Canada. The company also boasts over 2000 active field employees and operates a fleet of over 150 GPS-enabled vehicles, which supports its design-build, construction, installation and maintenance services.

No project is too small, large or complex for Plan Group to undertake. One of its greatest strengths, which facilitates the achievement of continuous success, is the adoption of T.I.M.E., the company’s operational excellence program. T.I.M.E. is used to keep team members on track, and projects on schedule and on budget.

“We are a multi-trade contractor which has electricians sitting with mechanical guys, and technical building systems people all in the same trailer. We work together as a unified team, therefore outcomes tend to be much more aligned and coordinated on constructability,” explained Landry of how T.I.M.E. powers this collaborative spirit.

Kyle Getty, Project Manager – Environmental Construction agreed, saying, “We put a ton of effort into even having the opportunity to tender the work. We use our jobs well. We have the capacity to do what we do because of our teamwork.”

“We push the envelope on a number of components, especially around the seamless integration of multi-trades. People collaborate for a better outcome and I think that gives the feeling for employees that it’s a great place to work – everybody is working toward the same goal even if they have a different technical background,” Landry noted.

Plan Group’s excellence is showcased across its portfolio, with a number of notable projects including: Humber River Hospital, Pearson International Airport, 100 Adelaide, and its work with regional transit authorities, among many others. On the 100 Adelaide project, Plan Group was selected for its design-build capabilities and implementation services. The firm’s non-traditional approach on 100 Adelaide offered the integrated and coordinated delivery of electrical, mechanical, technological disciplines simultaneously. Landry explained, “This is one of the first times we have ever seen a fully coordinated and augmented design for electrical, mechanical and ICAT.”

He continued, “The entire building – instead of being done in separate pieces, in different design groups – it’s all been designed together under one design platform, so that is very unique and what that does is it stops a lot of the costly design changes that can happen on projects.”

Plan Group worked closely with PCL, the general contractor on the project, and the building owner to align project design with constructability and sustainability, identifying efficiencies at every stage of the design process.

Dave Scott, Project Director – Electrical Division, for the 100 Adelaide project – explained, “Our goal is to minimize the need for our customers to submit Change Orders and Requests for Information (RFIs) as they relate to mechanical, electrical and technology scope gaps. We have been able to accomplish this by cross-referencing all touch points related to all systems and by working from a common set of coordination drawings, directories and 3D models.”

Landry added, “In this project, obviously the elements of smart buildings are prevalent within the construction so we have a central Computer Automated Platform (CAP). It’s a central brain for the building to allow tenants, as well as operators, to be able to manage and look and see how the building is working around them and how they can customize the experience.”

“The building devices are Power Over Ethernet (POE) driven,” Scott described. “The majority of the building devices, both building mechanical and electrical, have a unique IP address and reside on the common building network. This makes coordination between all disciplines even more critical.”

Plan Group has also been an integral part of the multi-year, multi-stage PRESTO service roll-out in Ontario. PRESTO entails communication and cooperation amongst a number of stakeholders, a list which includes the Ministry of Transportation, private government agency Metrolinx and a number of regional transit authorities.

“Metrolinx devised a program,” Landry explained. “The intent of it is actually to integrate all of the transit fare systems within 11 different transportation agencies. It’s an incredible undertaking,” one that continues to expand from the Greater Toronto Area up into Ottawa.

Plan Group worked with Accenture on the project, who was awarded the design-build and operations contract. Plan Group was involved in the design, engineering, manufacture and installation of the devices upon which the system runs. The system is composed of nearly 8000 devices that are incorporated in busses, subways, streetcars and rail stations throughout the 11 participating transit agencies.

When asked to highlight a specific waste water project, Getty responded, “I’m proud of every job that we have. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small upgrade at the St. Clair reservoir in Toronto, a major upgrade at the Welland Wastewater Treatment Plant in Niagara or the new reservoir at Chalk River. We are completing these jobs safely and ahead of schedule.”

Steve Thrasher, Manager – Health and Safety, reinforced the importance of health, safety and quality standards at Plan Group. “Health, safety and quality is at the heart of all that we do every day at Plan Group (whether it be on a job site, in the office, in a service vehicle).”

Plan Group has a strong Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) program and ensures that safety is everyone’s first priority. Beyond a strong Internal Responsibility System (IRS), Plan Group has four Canadian Registered Safety Professionals (CRSP), a number of safety committees and an active HSE campaign to audit and maintain safety across its operations.

“We’re nothing but our reputation,” said Getty. “Our reputation is great. We’re safe. We implement T.I.M.E. and with all of that, we don’t compromise quality. We have the ability to do large jobs and small jobs, being safe and having the utmost commitment to quality.”

Plan Group’s multi-trade industry expertise plays a significant role in reinforcing its reputation and its potential. Getty credits Plan Group’s team of estimators who are considered some of the best in the field.

“The potential for growth here is huge, both professionally and personally and Plan Group encourages that. They want people to grow,” Getty said. “Construction is a hard place to work, there’s no point in making it harder by working in a company that’s not here to support you. Plan Group definitely has its support systems and its resources and I will absolutely say that they care about their employees.”

Scott agreed that, “It’s a positive place for young people, young tradespeople to grow. There are always opportunities for anyone who is willing to work hard. It’s a very positive place to work.”

Plan Group, through the continued delivery of quality output on projects that put its multi-trade expertise to the test, will continue to grow its reputation as an industry leader. By undertaking projects that challenge its capacities, the firm will continue to diversify its portfolio, growing its offerings and its geographic footprint from coast to coast.

Scott noted, “The goal is always to look after the client first, trying to stay ahead of the curve by seeing around corners to see what’s needed in the industry. Mechanical, electrical and technology disciplines are becoming more intertwined, especially in today’s smart buildings.”

By leveraging the multi-disciplined talent, expertise and resources it has developed over time, as Landry emphasized, “Plan Group wants to be the absolute best and most sought after multi-trade contractor,” achieving this feat through “authentic partnership, relentless determination and intelligent delivery,” resulting in the best possible customer experience and exceptional results.

Industry Changemakers

The construction industry has historically been slow to evolve, drawn to tradition over technology. As the industry is in a state of rapid innovation and advancement, organizations like the Toronto Construction Association (TCA) are working tirelessly to build strong member businesses that won’t fall behind.

June 18, 2019, 4:19 PM EDT