It’s no secret that the Durham Region has grown to become an innovation hub in Ontario, accelerating tech and innovation in the Eastern Corridor. Envision Integrated Building Technologies, in particular, has been hard at work creating a plethora of opportunity — from technology and job creation to bringing startups to the forefront.
Envision Integrated Building Technologies Inc started its journey in February 2017 with a partnership between two consulting firms — one group was an expert in project systems and the second was a leader in structural and building technology. Since then, Envision Integrated — a Building Soutions company comprised of a team with strong operational, project, information management and process quality experience — has introduced the PACE Building System, a modular component-based precast concrete structural building technology that allows for accelerated construction while improving quality and safety. Envision Integrated also uses digital 3D and building management tools to manage and coordinate building projects using an integrated design build project delivery method.
Spark Centre caught up with Garry Rutledge from Envision Integrated to talk about how its contributing to Durham Region’s innovation ecosystem and two incredible projects coming down the pipe.
Q: How is Envision Integrated contributing to job creation within the Durham Region?
A: Envision Integrated has built its business model around an offsite construction process, which requires an adanced manufacturing facility with both strong systems and technical support. With the creation of the facility, there will be a need for 200-250 factory-based positions to support the projection and project work associated with the Building Infrastructure work over the next 7-10 years. Roles will include management, engineering, production, process manufacturing support, information management and production in addition to roles related to specific building projects.
Q: Envision Integrated has taken its first steps towards the development and execution of two specific projects within the Durham Region that is anticipated to begin in 2021 — an expansion for The Humane Society of Durham Region (HSDR) and a new facility for St. Vincent Pallotti’s Kitchen. What can you tell me about these projects?
A: The Humane Society of Durham Region moved to their current location in Whitby in 2008 and have since found the increase in demand has resulted in the recognition of additional space and services to support this growing demand. The HSDR $2.0M capital campaign will deliver on the vision to build the only not-for-profit animal hospital in Durham Region, supporting a growing vulnerable population with a 4000 square foot extension that utilizes innovative and safe building technology from Envision Integrated Building Technologies.
For HSDR, this means that they will have the capacity and infrastructure to extend services to low income households in Durham Region such as spray-neuter services, higher capacity for care, expanded food bank and more. They will also have the capacity to support staff training and education programs on animal care and pet ownership for the general public and including Indigenous communities in Durham.
The expansion will also provide an opportunity to hire new full and part-time staff to operate the facility and will further drive economic development in the Region through new contracts with professional services organizations, trades companies and permits/fees to Municipal Government in addition to the partnership with Envision Integrated.
St. Vincent’s Kitchen is part of Durham Outlook, a community-based organization that serves and supports people in need by providing daily low-cost nutritious meals. As a s result of an ever-increasing demand for food in the Region, a new facility was initiated in 2015 and the site work began in 2017. However, the discovery of environmental issues related to previous owners of the site, the Organization did not have sufficient funding to complete the facility. Envision Integrated has offered its support to secure government funding through potential innovation infrastructure programs that will allow the facility to be completed using its innovative PACE Building System. With the new site, St. Vincent’s Kitchen will be able to expand their capacity by over 30% and have the ability to support take-out arrangements from the facility.
Both projects are currently waiting on agreement from the provincial Ministry of Infrastructure on the Infrastracture Program Funding requirements before they can proceed. The expectation is the program will be announced this Fall and work will begin on completing/updating the designs in late 2020 or early 2021 with construction beginning in the later half of 2021 and completion by year’s end.
For Envision Integrated, both projects will provide a demonstration of its innovative technology that can be applied to other major building development projects in Ontario.
“I think there is a real potential for the Durham Region to develop into a Building Technology hub with the right support from industry, the Government and investors.” – Garry Rutledge, Envision Integrated Building Technologies
Q: How is Envision Integrated collaborating with other startups in the Durham Region, bringing innovation and technology in the Region to the forefront?
A: Envision Integrated has been partnering with Render Developments to better provide renderings of our projects to the owners. In addition, we are looking for potential projects to partner up with Acreage — a Fintech company that will allow our Project owners the opportunity to access another form of Capital and allows the retail investor to benefit from real estate gains.
There are a number of other startup companies, including Sarox, that have incredible support technologies with whom we are interested in developing partnerships as our company matures. More importantly, I think there is a real potential for the Durham Region to develop into a Building Technology hub with the right support from industry, the Government and investors.
Q: How is the Government currently supporting your initiatives?
A: All levels of Government in the Durham Region have been amazing in their willingness to support our requests for funding for these needed projects and to allow our startup company to be involved. I think there is a global understanding of what this type of advanced manufacturing company can do for the Durham Region, with these first two projects being our local demonstrator projects for North America. These demonstrators are very important both for the needs they fill and the fact that they are stepping stones to our regional Advanced Manufacturing Plant with which we would be able to support a significant number of building infrastructure projects expected in the region with product made in the region. As a result we have been very fortunate to get letters of sup
port from municipal, regional, provincial and federal government politicians representing both Oshawa and Whitby.
We have also been very fortunate to have support from a number of different Universities, including here in Ontario. Envision Integrated believes that by maintaining strong ties with the Research Institutes, the community and the Government — as well as with our industry partners — we will be able to deliver an ever improving product to the evolving construction industry and continue to add jobs to the Durham Region.