Teamwork, Trust and Transparency
There’s a lot to be proud of at Nortex Roofing. As the company celebrates an impressive 30 years in a competitive industry, the reasons for its success are clear: growth through quality, and dedicated and passionate team members.
Specializing in commercial, industrial, and institutional roofing projects that include general contractors, property management firms, and federal, provincial and municipal institutions, Nortex puts its clients first every step of the way, ensuring their satisfaction is top priority.
Although it’s a large company in terms of the types of clients it serves and the staff it employs, Nortex still operates with the tight-knit family culture that helped them succeed from the start, says Project Manager Cameron Sahadath.
“We don’t carry a lot of people for overhead in terms of all the bureaucracy you might find in a very large company,” he says. “Many of our employees fill multiple roles with a kind of ‘jump in’ attitude and go-where-you’re-needed approach. You don’t often hear people around here say ‘that’s not my job,’ which tends to happen when you have large infrastructure and multiple people involved in things.”
Over the years, Nortex has stayed true to that mandate, starting small and continuing to grow while maintaining a family culture and environment. “That’s been a big driving factor to success,” says Sahadath.
To an outsider observing the company, that seems bang on, as does its very apparent dedication to its clients.
A key determining factor when approaching any project, Sahadath says, is ensuring that the company is not sacrificing the finished product at the expense of the bottom line.
“We’ll take the time to sit down and speak with clients and make sure they’re comfortable with the work we’re doing. We educate them on the services we’re providing, and give them full understanding of the options available when we’re putting proposals out there,” says Sahadath. “At the end of the day, we want to do justice to our customers and the people we serve and work with.”
Roofing work tends to be inconvenient for people, and not something they look forward to, he adds. Although it’s essential, roofing isn’t like getting your bathroom re-done, or having landscaping installed, with nice finishing details everyone gets to see.
“Roofing is something people really have to feel confident in,” Sahadath says, “because they’ve put good money towards it and need to feel they’ve gotten the value out of it.”
And that’s really what the company’s primary focus has always been: ensuring that at the end of the job, the client feels that the money has been well spent and that they don’t regret their choice.
“It’s really been the primary focus for our company and will continue to be so,” he says. “No matter how large we get in terms of the types of contracts we’re taking on, none of that attitude has gone away.”
That attitude is reflected by a consistently low staff turnover, due in part to helping employees find the “best fit” for them within the company.
“We have people come in as project managers who really take a shine to being estimators and naturally move into that area,” he says. “Some companies take an approach where if you can’t hack it you’re gone, but here if you start with a role that maybe isn’t your bailiwick, we’ve always endeavoured to find where each individual employee’s strength lies, and help you grow in those areas.”
Senior management plays a very hands-on role in the day-to-day business, as well, which isn’t always the case in larger companies.
“Our president is on job sites to oversee things and make sure things are running well,” says Sahadath. “I work directly with our senior vice president, and If I’m here working late he’s doing the same thing. There’s a lot of that attitude that management leads by example.”
The company is also involved in a number of charities, community involvement programs and sponsorships. Whether it’s a donation, purchasing a table at an event, or just providing information on services and promotional offers to help people save money, Nortex always tries to contribute, give back and make a positive impact.
That impact includes working with environmentally sustainable initiatives that have been a big driving factor for many companies concerned about going green, recycling, and climate issues.
Whether it’s “green roofs” with vegetative infrastructure, or providing solar reflective and energy efficient roofs that help reduce heating and overall operating costs, many of the clients Nortex works with not only want to leave a greener footprint, but also desire transparency in how waste materials are handled, especially when removing old roofs, says Sahadath.
“We’ve really embraced providing transparency in our environmental sustainability initiatives,” he adds. “We’re very upfront about the materials we’re using. We don’t use hazardous or contaminating materials. Anything that we work with is properly handled and disposed of in the correct facilities, and then used for landfill or recycling.”
When Nortex does work with hazardous or designated materials, it always ensures that they’re handled by properly trained personnel and disposed of in the correct manner.
The challenge in roofing is the limitations to how much environmental sustainability is present in the type of work done, and the type of materials used. Every portion of the construction industry is different, with some sectors such as mechanical and HVAC on a “completely different wavelength” environmentally from the roofing industry.
As Sahadath puts it, “It may seem that our industry is behind, because there’s not the same leaps and bounds you might see in a more dynamic industry where you’ve got a lot of repeat traffic, and where the technology is approached in a very different manner.”
That being said, every trade is “really endeavouring” to stay as far ahead of the curve as possible. Because of the nature of roofing – with infrequent replacements and a lower rate of repeat business – Sahadath thinks the progression of the environmental initiatives for this particular industry has been slower, but Nortex provides honesty at every stage.
“If there’s something that presents a potential issue, especially from an environmental standpoint, we always ensure that we’re not sweeping it under the rug. We ensure that it’s being properly dealt with and handled, and that that’s being properly communicated to stakeholders at our client’s end, so they in turn can get back to their stakeholders, or the general public, or whoever they’re reporting to.”
Nortex also takes every opportunity to educate its clients on the types of “green” initiatives available to them. Unlike interior restoration work, exterior construction often generates a lot of waste product that can’t be re-used, which then becomes a matter of proper handling and disposal.
“It gives us an opportunity to help educate clients,” Sahadath says, “so when they go through this process, whether it’s with us or another contractor, they’re more cognizant of what options are available to them. And that’s been a very well-received approach for a lot of people.”
While the desire to embrace initiatives is encouraging, it’s also just as important to know where the limitations are, he says, and with proper explanations and understanding, clients gain a better sense of how to approach projects – both present and future – from a sustainability standpoint.
The standard lifespan of a roof is 15 to 20 years, says Sahadath, so many clients may not be familiar with what’s available today. But as manufacturing and safety and materials improve, and society in general becomes more educated, overall change will happen.
“It’s all part of a large institutional process and the whole infrastructure that’s part of environmental cognizance in construction,” he says. “Overall it’s still a very positive thing and a lot of the barriers people face – with cost for example – will go down as more options become available.”
Although the initial payment can still be expensive, it ultimately benefits both clients and owners financially when they undertake projects for environmental sustainability.
“One of the nice things with a roof is because of the options available, whether you’re going with solar initiatives or green roof systems, these are things that can be retrofitted,” says Sahadath. “If a client replaced a roof five years ago, they haven’t completely lost the opportunity and the ability to take on environmental sustainability initiatives. They may be limited in which ones are available, but they haven’t completely cut off the legs.”
As Nortex heads into its next 30 years, it looks to continue to learn and grow both from experience gained on jobs and customer feedback.
“Even if you put your best effort forward, there’s always room for improvement and our accomplishment has always been our ability to learn,” Sahadath says.
“Good, bad, or otherwise, we take experience as a constructive approach and use that to do better. We could continue to do things status quo and run flat, but that’s not good enough. If we can do better for our customers and clients and the people we service, then we owe it to them to do that.”
Sahadath says Nortex recognizes there’s always room for growth, and the company plans to embrace that challenge moving forward.
“When we grow from year to year, we show we can improve upon our processes, and that tends to be the best thing our staff takes away from anything we do here,” he says, and it is a viewpoint that’s shared across the board. “It doesn’t become one or two individuals’ limelight. It becomes something everyone is involved with. It all comes back to the process of our culture here.”
Plans include bringing in staff who share the same invested interest in the company’s overall vision, and people looking not just for a job, but a place to put down roots and build on that family environment.
“That’s something we continue to work towards, whether it’s with our office staff, or the crews in the field,” Sahadath says. “We don’t have annual meetings where we say we have to meet a certain dollar figure by a certain year. Our company takes that pressure off the employees and that’s why we’ve have the longstanding success we’ve had.”
Although growth isn’t mandated, Sahadath is confident Nortex will continue to thrive in the coming years, whether it’s bringing in new clients or additional revenue streams.
“Every year has built on the previous, and our biggest milestone would be to continue that momentum and stay current with industry changes,” he says. “We want to continually improve ourselves and not become complacent.”
It’s a matter of everyone putting their best foot forward which tends to translate to positive results, Sahadath says. “It’s all a team thing here. It’s not about any one person or one thing. For us it’s all group effort. That’s the biggest driving takeaway – more than anything. There’s not just one thing that makes this company great but a whole series of many things all working together as a team.”