Company Known for Value Engineering Sets Sights on Ontario
By Anna Guy
Few global companies have a history as celebrated as Demathieu Bard Construction. Founded in 1861, the France-based company has a long and impressive resume within the industry as a significant contributor to the growth of the French national rail company’s infrastructures, with a reputation for quality and skill, particularly with large, complex projects. Demathieu Bard has developed into a major independent company in the French construction industry, making their mark in a number of high profile markets such as military and civil engineering, industrial and commercial buildings, and major road and rail infrastructure projects.
The Canadian chapter of the company’s history began in 1997 with the creation of subsidiary Construction Demathieu & Bard Inc., or CDB. At that time, Demathieu Bard had cultivated a roster of legacy projects across Europe but was always looking for the right opportunity to go above and beyond. The opportunity to work on a $100-million-dollar contract to repair the Jacques-Cartier Bridge in Montréal was what followed. Following this great success, CDB’s then began working with the Quebec hydropower industry.
In the early 2000’s, the first projects comprised of the rehabilitation of the Rapide-des-Quinze hydro-plant and the construction of the Chute-Allard and Rapide-des-Cœurs hydro-plants. Following the success of these projects, CDB continued to set its sights on advancing its legacy by tackling large-scale complex projects in Canada such as the construction of the Romain-2 generation station in Québec’s Eastern Cote Nord region, and the Kapuskasing River power project in Northern Ontario. CDB further surpassed its expertise in bridge construction with substantial projects such as the Rouge River Bridge on A50, the St-Jacques Bridge in Montreal (currently ongoing), and a multitude of bridge rehabilitation projects across the province. CDB has worked extremely hard to establish itself as a major player in the Québec construction industry and is now recognized as such.
Building on the success of the first Canadian expansion and utilizing the ability to recognise and develop new business opportunities, CDB has put the spotlight squarely on the Ontario market, launching its second Canadian expansion. This endeavor was kick-started by the opportunity to create a joint venture with Maple Reinders Constructors Ltd., and conduct the massive rehabilitation program on the Trent Severn Waterway’s infrastructures. This $268 million contract is comprised of two geographical bundles, south and central, and encompasses over 20 projects focusing on the rehabilitation and/or reconstruction of the dams, locks and canals along the 386-kilometer waterway, which are expected to be fully restored by 2021.
Currently, preparations are well underway. The significance of this project revolves around its size and complexity, as well as its importance in maintaining an open and continuous link between the Bay of Quinte on Lake Ontario and Georgian Bay on Lake Huron.
Looking at the needs and sheer volume of work required, it’s clear to see how the company’s impressive resume and experience places it in an ideal position to tackle the project. More so, it is the type of large, high-profile, and highly complex work on which Demathieu Bard has made its name and will provide a good footing for their expansion into Ontario.
“We are driven by opportunities,” Stephan Steiner, Operations Manager for Ontario, declares. “We saw an opportunity to come to Canada 20 years ago for the Jacques Cartier Bridge and now we are celebrating our 20-year anniversary in Quebec! Over the past years, we have looked at Ontario, pursued opportunities, and have now made the move to come here. Last year, we opened an office in Peterborough and pursued work on the Trent Severn project. Our model is to execute carefully measured plans when it comes to projects and expansion.”
When asked the backbone of his plan, Monsieur Steiner responded, “Where we can make a difference is on highly-technical projects. Our method is to provide world-class technical expertise and to deliver beyond expectations. Whatever it takes! This leads to very good client relations,” further adding that CDB’s name is systematically associated to value engineering and challenging construction methodologies. “This is our trademark,” Stephan admits. Based on CDB’s history, it is clear that these industry changing complex projects are a hallmark of the company. “We have strong financial and technical support from France, which is also a competitive advantage.”
Valuable partnerships with complimentary teams are another strategic advantage for CDB, particularly partners with a strong organization implanted locally. This is key when navigating new projects. Currently CDB is working towards more contracts within Ontario. “We have a crew developing the local mid-size market, but we remain attentive to every opportunity that would allow us to shine. Our aim is to grow in Ontario, but never to compromise our standards and our reputation. This is the only way to sustain our business in this highly competitive market.”
With their impressive history, technical know-how, and a culture of innovation and quality, CBD is an exciting new player in Ontario’s civil construction industry. CDB’s ability to recognise and build on opportunities with their unwavering drive for excellence is sure to produce exceptional results here in Ontario. A definite history in the making!