Brouwer Construction: Fairness, honesty, integrity and respect

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            Successful St. Catharines long-term care projects demonstrate Niagara contractor’s competence

GTA Construction Report special feature

Brouwer Construction (1981) Ltd. — the company traces its roots to 1959 — has thrived for decades based its owners’ Christian faith and adherence to basic values: Fairness, honesty, integrity and respect.

“We’ve done everything over the years from schools to churches to multi-storey residences,” says president Albert Brouwer. “Each project is different but the same in that we approach every job with our faith behind us and an understanding that the project is about the relationships involved, both with the trades and the client.”

Brouwer says at the base of relationships are how individuals are treated, with realistic expectations for everyone involved. “Flexibility is our specialty but our strength is in our people,” he says. “The guys in the field are the ones who make a difference and though we are involved with every project, we rely on and trust them to handle things.”

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The company’s relatively small staff has taken on some large projects including general contracting and construction and project management. Brouwer works on both pre-engineered and design build projects.

Deer Park

The Deer Park long-term care facility had been slated for renovation in conjunction with a renovation of its partner, the West Lincoln Memorial Hospital. “The West Lincoln plans fell through but the work on Deer Park still needed to be done to bring things up to code so that work went ahead,” says Brouwer.

The two-phase, $7.3 million project included construction of a new wing and the relocation of 40 or so residents, and then the demolition of part of the existing structure to accommodate a linkage between the wings and new parking. “We started in November 2011 and this November we were able to move the residents over,” Brouwer says. “When we’re finished we’ll have brought this 30-year-old building up to modern codes and created a new main entrance. Depending on the severity of the winter, we hope to have the second phase done by June.”

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Brouwer says the tight-budget project has been designed to attain LEED Silver certification, based on sustainable and internal elements more than external design features. “We used low VOC materials, looked at the travel distance of materials, reused what we could and did a lot to control run off to ensure the building could be the best it could be within the budget.”

He said mostly local sub-trades worked on the project, and the Niagara regional government – the property’s owner, has been a good partner..

Tabor Manor

The $17.2 million Tabor Manor project includes a new, four-storey structure, underground parking and a site refocusing for a new main entrance.

“This was a very tight site with proximity to the property lines,” Brouwer said. “The height of the building was compressed to reduce shadowing and everything, including digging the foundation, involved logistical challenges. The existing water, sewer and gas lines also ran through the site we were working on so there were additional considerations at every stage.”

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Brouwer says the private facility, operated by the Ontario Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, has experienced several stages of renovations over the years.  The current renovation will change home’s focus, giving it a new main entrance but maintaining the all-brick façade.

For more information, visit www.brouwerconstruction.com

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