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Lambert Somec

lambertsomec

Lambert Somec is a leading electromechanical construction contractor and industrial equipment fabricator. The Quebec City-based business operates a fabrication facility in Quebec City for its own use and for external custom fabrications, and has additional offices in Montreal and projects as far away as the Caribbean and Africa…
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Founded back in 1954, the company boasts a breadth of experience across a wide range of major industrial, commercial, and institutional jobs. The team takes on both public and private work and offers a variety of contracts including fixed price, fixed fee, public-private partnership, and turnkey.

Lambert Somec’s ability to deliver a full mechanical and electrical solution sets the company apart. “In Quebec, the contractors usually do either HVAC, electricity, plumbing, mechanical installation or process piping. At Lambert Somec we do all electromechanical trades,” says President Yvan Laroche. This approach creates a clear advantage for the client. “The fact that we are performing [multiple trades] in-house allows us to offer our clients an integrated solution,” explains Philippe Pelletier, Director of Lambert Somec’s mechanical-industrial division. “The client is doing business with only one contractor so the client does not have to worry about the coordination of the work by different trade contractors.”

This integrated solution prevents unforeseen complications and costs. “If you have different contractors in each trade and there is a coordination problem, usually the client needs to put his hand in his pocket and pay one of the contractors to relocate either his ductwork, his piping or his electrical conduits,” Mr. Laroche points out. “When clients work with Lambert Somec they don’t have those issues. We protect our client from any additional cost in regards to trade coordination.”

Protecting against additional costs and delays are core company priorities. “The two prominent goals of our clients are to respect their budget and schedule,” Mr. Laroche says. “At Lambert Somec we are proud to say that we always respect the schedules and the budgets.” If it is impossible to adhere to the schedule, the team will point that out upfront—before any contracts are signed. “We will inform the client that his schedule is impossible to meet and we will give him what we think is the best schedule possible. So when we do get the contract, we know we can deliver on time.”

Safety is also a top priority at Lambert Somec. “When you have a company the size that we do, health and safety is important,” Mr. Laroche points out. “We try to take care of our personnel. We don’t want to have any accidents.” This commitment to safety requires an ongoing effort from every employee. “The construction business is a teamwork. We need to keep all our workers in good health. We have a lot of pipefitters, sheet metal workers, electricians, millwrights, boilermakers—Lambert Somec needs them in good health as well as their family. We require that our personnel work safely so nothing happens to them.”

The company demonstrates its commitment to quality and safety through its accreditations. “We are trying to maintain our leadership in the industry by being up to date with all the new standards,” Mr. Laroche remarks. Lambert Somec has been ISO 9001 certified for over 20 years, demonstrating its ability to deliver quality results. “We were one of the first electromechanical contractors in Quebec to get that accreditation. Now, our team is working to become OHSAS 18001 certified.” The new Operational Health and Safety accreditation is designed to help organizations control occupational health and safety risks. “We will be audited in mid-November in order to get our accreditation. We will possibly be the first electromechanical contractor to receive the OHSAS 18001 accreditation in Quebec.”

Lambert Somec’s recent projects cover a wide swath of sectors, from hospitals and university facilities to heavy industrial plants and electrical power plants. Data centres are one specialization that is enjoying rapid growth at the moment. “Here in Quebec there are many data centres since this technology requires a lot of cooling,” Mr. Laroche explains. Rather than pay the cost of producing cold air for the facility, data centres throughout the Quebec province enjoy free cooling for many months per year. “We have seven months of cold weather, lower than 10˚C, during two to three of which that temperature can get as low as -25 degrees Celsius. We can therefore bring in cold fresh air from outside instead of producing it, lowering the operational cost of the centre. The same data centre in Florida or California would need to cool their air 12 months a year with a much higher deferential temperature. Here we only need to cool the air during approximately six months per year, bringing down the energy cost.” The team delivers a complete data centre solution, designing and building all the cooling, heating, and ventilation systems as well as the electrical main and emergency power supply of the project.

The construction industry has been strong in Quebec for the past six years and Lambert Somec has maintained regular growth. Healthcare construction has been particularly active. The team has been involved in multiple projects within this sector recently, including the CRCHUM research centre, CHUM “superhospital” and the McGill University Health Centre (CUSM). Another major hospital in Quebec City will come out for tender next year and the team is optimistic that they will be involved in that project as well. “With the experience that we have in these types of projects, we hope that we are going to get our market share.”

After that, Mr. Laroche expects healthcare projects to wane, since most of the major projects on the table are already underway or completed. The private sector shows no sign of slowing down. The commercial and condominium high rise construction business is maintaining a good pace. “There are also some new data centres that are going to be built in 2017 and 2018, so of course we hope to be [involved] in those projects.”

Hydroelectric plants are another growth area in which Lambert Somec is heavily involved. “Quebec has a lot of hydroelectric power plants, and we have done quite a few up to now.” The company’s Hydro-Québec projects include La Romaine 3 power plant, La Sarcelle power plant, Chute-Allard Power Plant, Rapides-Des-Coeurs Power Plant, La Tuque Power Plant, Lac Robertson Power Plant, Tilly Switchyard, and Lg-3 Power Plant. Another hydroelectric plant is currently in the works in Quebec and the team hopes to win that project as well.

After 62 years in business, Lambert Somec enjoys rare staying power. “We are in our third generation of shareholders in the company. You don’t see that often—a company that will go through three generations and will still be in good financial health. We have maintained regular growth year after year.”

The company has always chosen to play it smart, preferring a planned and steady growth to secure the company over anything too fast or reckless. This conservative approach has brought six decades of success, so it certainly makes sense for the company to stick to its tried and true strategy. Indeed, the team is confident that the business will continue along the same path well into the future. “We have had regular growth year after year and we plan on maintaining that growth for the next generations.”

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 24, 2019, 2:36 PM EDT