GTA Construction Report staff writer
St. Catharines-based Stevenson Sprinkler and Fire Protection Ltd. has big ambitions for growth, based, however, on the company’s relationship-based roots and its focus on combining responsiveness and competitiveness in the new construction, retrofit, and maintenance markets.
“All of our customers are unique in their own ways,” says general manager Ryan Fulton, who took the helm after founder Gary Stevenson retired. “We have customers needing our services 110 per cent and others, more independent, who tell us what they want and are specific in their requirements.”
“We’re a one-stop shop,” he said. “We offer everything that has to do with life safety.”
The company has focused its efforts in the Niagara peninsula, where Stevenson started the business in 2007. Fulton and his business partners wants it to grow, and has decided to expand market coverage based on employee location and capacities. This has opened opportunities in other southern Ontario and the GTA communities. Soon, as well, stevensonsprinkler.ca will open an online store selling fire extinguishers and other life safety products.
Recent legislation requiring nursing and special care facilities to have sprinkler systems installed by 2019 has resulted in a surge of retrofit business, Fulton says. These projects are challenging on two levels.
First, the often non-profit organizations requiring the retrofits need to find the money for the work. The government has programs available and is trying to help easy implementation of this new law, and Fulton says his representatives will help the facilities in developing budgets and preparing estimates for necessary funding that is needed. (This work, he hopes, will lead to future business, although there also is a competitive side to the process – when the funds are available, there is often competitions and then Fulton needs to sharpen his pencil, negotiate with suppliers, and compete effectively.)
The second challenge relates to the work itself. The nursing and assisted living homes are occupied, and the retrofit work needs to be conducted in individual rooms. Fulton says his unionized technicians appreciate this environment, and make sure that they minimize disruption, dust and inconvenience to residents.
Once the new construction or retrofit work has been completed, Stevenson Sprinkler and Fire Protection Ltd. seeks to build a lasting maintenance relationship with the property owners and facility managers. There is a need for inspections, system upgrades, and emergency service call responsiveness. Stevenson Sprinkler and Fire Protection Ltd. can respond 24/7 when required.
Currently, Fulton says about 20 per cent of the company’s business comes from large contracts, 40 to 50 per cent is service or day-work, while the remaining volume earned by testing and inspection services and fire extinguisher installation, maintenance and inspections.
In the future, Stevenson Sprinkler and Fire Protection Ltd. would like to win and build more work for new construction projects. “Lots of general contractors don’t know we exist,” he said. “We want your business, and we want to be competitive.”
He believes Stevenson Sprinkler and Fire Protection Ltd. can compete effectively in the GTA as well as other areas because of relatively low overhead and the company’s efficient staff. (Installers are unionized and certified.)
“We’re very competitive. We work with our suppliers to get the best price possible, by negotiating with them and meeting with them, as well train our employees to be efficient and cost effective.”
The goal, of course: Win the work and do it right, so there is repeat business – and then develop relationships so that Stevenson Sprinkler and Fire Protection Ltd. can continue serving maintenance/service requirements through the decades ahead.
For more information, visit stevensonsprinkler.ca or phone (905) 562-7575.