40 Years of Innovation in Mechanical Contracting

By Anna Guy

Pitt Meadows Plumbing (PMP) is as synonymous with community and family values as it is for decades of innovative mechanical contracting.

A reputation like this doesn’t grow overnight, rather it develops over years of consistency and treating both clients and employees right. What started out in 1979 by brothers Steve and Stewart Robinson as a local plumbing company has flourished into one of Western Canada’s most trusted mechanical contracting firms, working on some of the most high-profile projects in the regions in which is operates. While the trajectory of the company’s success has taken the team to places Steve and Stewart never originally imagined, the company nucleus remains strong—family, knowledge, innovation, passion, and integrity.

If you live in the Pitt Meadows/Maple Ridge, BC, area, you probably know someone who has worked for PMP, if you haven’t yourself. And if you live anywhere on the West coast of Canada, you will recognize the high-profile projects on which the PMP team has worked. For over 40 years, PMP has collaborated on a variety of projects from residential to educational buildings, high-rises to industrial warehouses. Think Emily Carr University of Art and Design, the Penticton Regional Hospital, and the Arc in downtown Vancouver, to name a few.

“Although the company has gone through various iterations, our core values have remained the same, and I believe have helped us to get to 40 years,” says James Zelinski, CAO for PMP. “These are the things that drive us.” With over 160 employees and growing, PMP has a simple vision to be “the best mechanical contractor in every market in which we operate,” says Zelinski.

Pitt Meadows’ focus on new technology and processes has led it to some of the biggest large-scale projects in BC. The team stays at the forefront of industry trends and is constantly evolving the company’s modelling procedures. PMP is able to give clients the most accurate illustration of a project through employing Revit®, a software that can produce complete model-based building designs, essentially making 3D visualizations to see a building before it’s built. These 3D model capabilities for shop fabrication is a large part of what makes Pitt Meadows a leader in the industry.
Experience, a strong knowledge-base, and an industry-leading pre-construction planning strategy afford clients not only in-depth planning months in advance, but also means potential problems can be solved before they arise. With innovation as the engine for this ship, PMP has implemented a prefabrication and manifesting hub into its facilities which saves companies exponential time and money. “With Revit, we can prefabricate systems in-house, then ship them to various sites where we will install them,” says Zelinski. “This enables us to prepare and construct materials ahead of time and save thousands of jobsite labour hours. We are a values-driven company, and investing in innovation is one of our core values.”

Take the Penticton Regional Hospital, for example. PMP created Multi-Trade Racks (MTR) in collaboration with multiple trades including electricians, plumbers, and HVAC, and sheet metal workers, to affix everything that goes above the T-Bar in the hospital ceiling in the PMP shop.

“With our MTRs, we put everything in there off-site. We build it, then simply install on site, and slot those things up from one to one.”

With a proud foundational history, PMP has its sites set on the future. In conjunction with Pacific Vocational College and the Industry Training Authority, prospective tradesmen and women can complete a full apprentice program with PMP—there is a classroom in its shop, and the instructors come do classes there. “Part of the reason we run our own school,” says Zelinksi, “is to continue to grow and stay ahead of the curve and best practises.”

What better way to celebrate 40 years in the community than by inviting everyone over for an open house? In the fall of 2019, the company will hold a community-wide celebration to commemorate this important milestone. As community members view the PMP premises on its 40th anniversary, it is expected that many will reflect on the role the team has played in the area. How employees receive a full pension, a full benefits plan, the family days, and corporate retreats. It’s a testament to the team that 40 years is just the beginning. For PMP, each project is bigger than the last. Now transitioning to its second-generation of leadership with Matthew Robinson, Steve’s son, Zelinksi believes being nimble and able to read (and, at times, dictate) industry trends will keep PMP on the forefront of the industry.