Bothwell Accurate

On top of the commercial world for 80 years

Based in the Greater Toronto Area, Bothwell-Accurate is one of the oldest and most experienced companies to provide roofing and waterproofing services to commercial buildings in the region.

In business for more than 80 years, Bothwell-Accurate has completed over 40,000 projects, which has given them the knowledge, experience and expertise to ensure every roofing project is completed on time, on budget and with the best quality.

For such a highly regarded reputation, it’s no wonder that Bothwell-Accurate has built roofs for some high-profile clients, such as the Toronto airport and the Air Canada Centre.

“We’ve done a lot of very pronounced roofing systems,” says George Vassallo, President. “Bothwell’s modus operandi is to handle more of the difficult roofing systems, because of our size and magnitude, there are very few that can do what we can, so we try to look for things that are a little bit different.”

Vassallo bought the company back in 2006. Although the company was already specializing in commercial roofing, he decided that Bothwell-Accurate needed another differentiator from its competitors. “We decided to get into more environmentally friendly roofing systems,” he says, “rather than the conventional roofing systems that use asphalt and tar.”

First, Vassallo’s team started to work with recyclable, single-ply membranes. This is more significant than it sounds. One of the huge issues in the roofing industry is waste; in fact, tens of millions of asphalt-based roofing materials are hauled to the landfill every year. “You can’t recycle a conventional system,” he adds. The next move the company made under new ownership was to choose lightweight concrete to replace all of the standard insulation that goes on a rooftop for sloping. Because it’s concrete, the roofing system becomes a lot more sustainable, lasting for about 75 to 100 years—as opposed to 15 to 20 years.

Encouraging Bothwell-Accurate’s new vision is the City of Toronto’s new Green Roof Bylaw, which applies to new commercial, institutional and many residential development applications.“It has now been legislated that 25 per cent of all new roofs in the city have to have green vegetations on top of them,” says Vassallo. “We have done about 20 jobs now with greenery on rooftops.”

Moving ahead, the next major move in the roofing industry is putting solar panels on rooftops and, not surprisingly, Bothwell-Accurate has a major stake in that trend as well.

Company culture

In addition to its ability to evolve with the changing market, Bothwell-Accurate has remained successful with its thriving company culture. “I empower my people,” says Vassallo. “I let them experiment and offer suggestions. We started having quarterly meetings with an open forum, where everyone gets to bring their points of interest and discuss. We have had a lot of suggestions that we have implemented into the company and that’s worked out extremely well for us.”

Vassallo is certainly on to something. Studies repeatedly show that people work best when they’re entrusted with responsibility. “I believe that you get out of people what you put into them,” he continues. “I go out of my way to make my people feel very comfortable here, with a sense of ownership in the overall success of the company. We also set aside time to have fun, because we all work hard. For example, when the FIFA World Cup was on, the company bought soccer shirts for all of its employees. We have a lot of people representing different nationalities, so everyone got a shirt from their country of choice. There was a lot of bantering going on in the organization that makes it a lot of fun. We try to do things like that to lighten it up a little bit.”
Outside of the office, Bothwell-Accurate invests in its employees’ families, as well as the community. One of programs Vassallo implemented was a $100,000 sponsorship program for all the staff that have university or college-bound kids, which the company will distribute accordingly. Bothwell-Accurate has also donated about $325,000 to local charities.

“I feel very strongly that you have to give back to the community that supports you,” says Vassallo. “We’ve got a good atmosphere within the organization and we’re starting to give back more and more, and our people really do enjoy that. The way I see it, if you have a good culture within the organization, then business just happens. When people enjoy what they’re doing, customers and vendors see that, and they want to participate in dealing with someone who is always cheerful versus somebody that’s always grumpy. It has worked out extremely well for us. The customers like dealing with our people.”

On top of the industry

Moving forward, Bothwell-Accurate has a lot to look forward to as the roofing industry continues to play into its expertise. And to put action to its ideals, Bothwell-Accurate is building a new LEED Platinum facility on which the roof will feature the company’s environmental offerings. “We have worked a deal with the City of Toronto, where they will put a platform behind our building, almost like a lookout, so the public can actually look and see what we’ve done on top of our roof. We’re going to use it as a training ground for all of our customers.”

On the solar side, the Bothwell-Accurate purchased an electrical contracting company and a mechanical contracting company that allows the team to perform solar integration internally, instead of relying on anyone else. In that vein, Vassallo says he plans to continue to look for vertically integrated companies that will allow Bothwell to grow.