Greenferd Construction is a commercial contractor, specializing in high-quality interior office renovations. Providing construction management, general contracting, budget and scheduling services, small work projects and site assessments, Greenferd works with top-tier companies in the Greater Toronto Area. Cadillac Fairview, RBC, AMEX and Knoll Furniture are just a few of the names on their expanding client list. How is it that Greenferd manages to land such prestigious projects? It’s their approach to the job, among other things. The company mantra and focus has always been on three things: professionalism, quality and service. The strategy has been successful. By continuing to focus on those virtues, Greenferd has built a positive reputation in the industry, growing from a $10-million company to a $35-million company in the last five years.
It’s not just the C-level people who carry out professionalism, quality and service. According to Bryan Green, Senior Partner and Scott Hledin, Partner, even the company’s most junior people have to exhibit these attributes.
“Throughout recent growth, stages we have focused on bringing people into the company who can deliver on those traits,” says Green. “It used to be that if you were on time and on budget, it was good enough and people were generally satisfied with that. But now, that’s only the minimum, and if you can’t deliver that, you shouldn’t be in business.”
“We focus on these key attributes so that all the interactions we have with anyone in the value chain are consistently positive,” he continues. “A lot of our employees on the frontline are not your traditional construction people. They obviously have the construction knowledge behind them, and they also have personality and people management skills. I think that’s what helps set us apart.”
Greenferd Construction was started in 1994 by Bryan Green. Green was working elsewhere in the industry when he decided to follow his entrepreneurial spirit and start his own company. He began building relationships with people in sub-trades—a key strategy in the construction industry in order to secure good pricing and reliable workmanship. Green realized how important relationships were to the business right from the beginning, which is where the roots of the motto “professionalism, quality, service” set in. From there, the company has been growing gradually and now employs 20 people.
As for Hledin, he met Green on a personal level. They became friends and he asked Hledin to come to work for him. “I’m not originally from the construction industry,” says Hledin. “I actually got my MBA from Western at the Ivey School of Business. I think that was appealing to Bryan, because he wanted to add another element of professionalism to the company to help bring it to the top of the industry. It’s worked out nicely so far.”
As mentioned, Greenferd is no stranger to high-profile clients and projects. Take one look at their website and it’s clear that all their work is impressive. It would be a difficult task to pick just one project that stands out. Having said that, Green does highlight a project that has really showcased what the company offers.
“I would say the project that really helped move us to the next level would be AGF Management, a multi-floor renovation of occupied space,” Green says. “As a high-end financial institution, the project required superior-quality trades and it really showcased the level of workmanship we bring to the table. Throughout construction process, the space remained occupied, which was complicated in terms of not interfering with the company’s work, while delivering what they needed on time.
Completed roughly three years ago, the AGF Management project was 69,000 square feet in total and was designed by B+H Architecture and Interior Design. AGF Management was so satisfied with the initial project that they remain a loyal customer today. Another noteworthy Greenferd project was Knoll Furniture’s showroom—destined to become the GTA’s first LEED Platinum CI project. “It was great for us,” says Hledin, “and LEED is something we’re encouraging here. We have LEED-accredited professionals on our staff. It is a priority for us to get our people trained, accredited and thinking about LEED principles.”
A compelling promise
Greenferd is driven by one long-term goal: to be seen as the best commercial contractor in the GTA. “We don’t need to be the biggest,” Green states, “but we want to be at the top.” As for their short-term goals, Greenferd will be doing what they need to do every day to accomplish their big goal, which means working with staff to be the finest construction professionals around.
“We want to constantly train and upgrade our staff’s skill set,” Hledin says. “To do that, we are looking at professional management training. We are going to have courses for site managers to train them on how to be effective managers. I think most people are focused on how well people understand construction—which is obviously necessary, but only the beginning. Of course site managers need to understand construction, but how well do they manage the trades? How are they managing the project?”
“Even though not everyone in the company is involved with managing projects,” Hledin continues, “they can all still be active in setting expectations and following through, correcting issues that have risen”. That’s how Greenferd sees management. “If you want to be the best, you have to focus on the people that deliver on the promises: professionalism, quality and service. We think that promise is compelling.”