Tiki International Inc.


Based in Calgary today, the projects of Tiki International span right across western Canada, and the history of Tiki International goes back as far as 1989, when the founder Radenko Vojadinovic started the original Tiki Engineering in former Yugoslavia’s city of Sarajevo, but following the outbreak of the Yugoslav Wars in 1991, he left the country for Canada, where he restarted his business under the name of Tiki International.

Today the company brings over 20 years of experience in engineering, with focus on general contracting, design and build, project management, and estimating and budgeting. The company’s goal is to become a leader among construction contractors by striving for the highest quality workmanship using the most advanced engineering and project management methods. The team of Tiki International provides clients vast experience in professional and technical services and administrative project support, and exceptional work ethic.

The Canadian Business Journal spoke with Vojadinovic about the company’s relentless pursuit of efficient and effective service when it comes to project execution as an industry-leading, forward-thinking, innovative company, and about the broad number of projects Tiki International executes annually.

“As we speak, we have a project in Moosejaw, Sask., in Richmond, B.C., and we are starting in Whitehorse, Yukon. While we have between 20 and 40 employees at the time, we never look at these numbers; we are looking at the quality of the team. We are always looking to have the right people and a good team. One man can’t accomplish much, but as a team we can accomplish a lot,” says Vojadinovic.

For the past several years, the company has been focusing on projects in retail store construction and renovation. Some of the projects have been malls and shopping centres. Finished in 2009, the company spent four years renovating Tower Lane Mall in Airdrie, a town north of Calgary. The renovation, at the cost of approximately $24 million, included four-block project renovation with challenges in terms of executing the renovation while the shopping mall remained open. The company faced similar challenges when renovating Deer Valley Shopping Centre in Calgary. “This used to be an enclosed mall, and it was redesigned into a location with more outdoor space, so we literally cut the mall in half, and renovated the whole space with new design. We also added two new buildings that are LEED certified.”

Today Tiki International has to take into account the latest requirements in the Seismic Design in B.C., as B.C. is considered to be seismically active area of Canada (boundary between the North American and Pacific tectonic plates occurs along the west coast off the Vancouver Island). This has been reflected in the requirements of the 2012 British Columbia Building Code, designed to bring a higher level of safety in the event of an earthquake. “Our current Loblaw project in Richmond requires renovation but also completely new structural design for earthquakes, and also installing tsunami structural designs for these structures,” says Vojadivonic.

To support the engineering challenges of such projects, the company has four structural engineers on staff overseeing projects. This allows the company better recognize any potential issues that may occur during construction and renovation, and propose solution to the client and fix and upgrade structures as necessary while the project is in development, saving the owner time, effort and money, creating good relationships with clients by thorough client care.

“We will continue our focus on commercial renovations. Besides shopping malls, we have renovated many Loblaw Superstores and Canadian Tire stores. One of the more significant projects for us has been renovation of the Manitoba Legislative Building. This also represented several challenges, but we have the capabilities to address any challenges, and renovate any kind of space.

“We currently tender four projects. The challenge is to find the right people to join our team. We take our time building good teams that can work well together and work well with our clients. This is the challenge. I always look at the work team as a hockey team. You have to bring out the strengths of each player in your team so that you can win the game. We coach our people so we can have the best team and win.

“It’s all about good service for the client. Whenever we work on a project, profit is never our focus, our focus is to do a good job. We focus on service, and on being proud of the quality job that we did,” says Vojadinovic.

Even the market offers great potential for growth, Tiki International does not seek to grow into a larger enterprise, with preference given to focus on the customer satisfaction rather than the bottom line, keeping annual project volumes between $20 and $30 million. According to Vojadinovic, the company could grow, but with weaker service, the customers would be returning with issues, rather than new projects, meaning that the company may be losing clients in a long run. “I look at the business as the late Steve Jobs did. He always strove for perfection, and that’s how one can build a successful company — close attention when it comes to execution, and striving for perfection,” concluded Vojadinovic.