“Quality is not an act, it is a habit.” – Aristotle
HVAC Inc., of Laval, Québec, is a mechanical piping and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning contractor that acquires contracts for its project stages through recommendations, experience and a reputation for excellence. The company was founded back in 1978, with intentions of growing in the ventilation market.
“It grew up quite fast,” says Martin Lesiege, Vice President at HVAC. “Within the first year, we got about $1 million in sales and, after that, the business grew slowly.” In fact, slow and consistent growth as a means of sturdy expansion whilst retaining the utmost quality standards is a running theme at HVAC.
Lesiege says that, in 1982, still under its previous ownership, HVAC took shape as both a ventilation and plumbing company. This marked the beginning of the company’s growth and diversification into the range of services it offers today, however the success proven by the owners prior to 2000 did not go unnoticed.
“In 2000, I was integrated into the ownership of the company with two of my partners,” says Lesiege. “At that time we followed the same philosophy of the old ownership based on the respect of the engineer and respect of our suppliers to be able to build teamwork for every job. It’s very important to me that we work this way.”
This company culture centred on respect and due reliance on the various people remains a focus for management today. Lesiege explains that the way in which HVAC, as a private company, acquires and approaches its specific projects means that the company’s reputation for respect is paramount.
“Most of our market was a kind of project where you work with the engineers, you’re specified and recommended for the project,” says Lesiege. “We didn’t do a lot of public work at that time and also today it’s the same.”
Coupled with the tenacity to stick to the best-known industries and this appreciation for the accomplishments under previous owners, it is easy to understand why HVAC stands out from the pack in both Québec and the new ground it is making in Ontario.
“When clients come to HVAC asking us to do ventilation, we can do all the mechanical work; we can do the pipe-fitting, the process piping, the ventilation and all that you need to make the factory work,” says Lesiege.
“In Ontario what you usually have with our kind of contractor is to do all of the mechanics, but in Quebec, they have some sheet metal workers, some plumbing, and so on. There are not enough companies offering the whole integrated system.”
HVAC offers any and every aspect of the work related to its projects, particularly those in the pharma industry. Ranging from endless paperwork to follow-up field activity and quality control standards, the company leaves no stone unturned in its quest to offer the very best service.
The pharma industry: A specialist arena
“Most of our projects, probably half of our market is related to the pharma industry,” says Lesiege.
“We specialise in that kind of work and it’s very specialised (by nature), so there’s less competition in that kind of market and also you need a lot of specialised labour to serve this kind of industry.”
In tackling this lucrative industry, HVAC’s projects range from biotech pharma to research centres, factories and beyond. Getting ahead and being so successful in this niche market is an achievement which, Lesiege explains, has been crafted over the company’s years of experience. “It’s a combination of the history of the business, the specialities that we developed for the pharma industry, the name of HVAC too,” Lesiege says. “It’s well recognised in that kind of business.”
The name HVAC Inc. is also recognised for its meticulous handling of the seemingly endless amounts of paperwork that go along with these complex projects. Lesiege explains that, in order to succeed, the company has ensured that there are no weak links or lacks throughout its various teams.
“We don’t just have good labour on the field but we also have good management, good project management, good drafting crew and all that can put value to the projects of our clients,” he explains. “We always work on recommendation and we’re invited in to supply our knowledge on the project.”
One step at a time
HVAC acts a valued member of both the Association de la construction du Québec, the region’s largest multi-sector volunteer-membership group made up of nearly 15,000 construction companies, and Corporation des maîtres mécaniciens en tuyauterie du Québec (the Corporation of Master Pipe Mechanics of Québec). Lesiege emphasises the support and importance of such associations and local legislation in terms of health and safety and project management in the work of the company.
“There are so many codes to follow but for us it’s normal,” says Lesiege of the varying specifications of each project HVAC partakes in. “We follow the rules and the requirements of all applicable legislations. We don’t take chances on that.”
Ontario is relatively new ground for HVAC. The company has secured a contract to build a new vaccination factory in Ontario and Lesiege estimates that the project will take around a year to really get going. “It’s our first in the Ontario market,” he says.
“We also built a partnership with an Ontario company who is going to supply us with all of the good labour for the field installation. HVAC will be the prime contractor. We’ll take care of all the purchasing, the management, the relationship with the owner and engineer; hence we took on someone local in the field.”
This first step out of HVAC’s native Montreal market could be the shape of things to come, yet Lesiege insists that the company will take “one step at a time” in catering to this particular industry.
“We’re involved in that job because it’s the kind of building that we have success on in Montreal, so if that one goes well in that kind of building and that kind of pharma industry, we can probably get more contracts in the future,” he says. “It’s very specialised and we just want to keep the same quality on our projects.”
Quality is always at the bottom line of any moves HVAC makes. From its inception 32 years ago, to new ownership 10 years ago, to expanding to new locations today, quality always remains key. HVAC continues to serve the pharma industries and deliver as an exceptional contractor.