Newton Group of Companies
Ed Newton grew up on a farm in New Zealand, where he and his family did all the heavy lifting themselves. Newton reckons that’s why building and carpentry appealed to him—it’s honest, hard work.
After leaving the farm and spending a few years in England to learn what he calls “the formal part of the building trade,” Newton found a home in Canada in 1992. Why settle here? Why would anyone move halfway around the world? For love. Newton married his Canadian soul mate, Linda, and moved to Guelph, Ontario. By 1994, he was itching to start a general contracting business. Thus, Kiwi-Newton Construction was born.
Kiwi-Newton Construction specializes in institutional, commercial and industrial (ICI) contracting. The company’s services include total turnkey developments, project management, design-build, cost engineering and general tender.
“Our portfolio includes a lot of condominiums, schools, retirement homes, health care facilities and manufacturing plants,” says Newton. “We like variety.”
Newton isn’t exaggerating about variety. Since moving to Canada, he has noticed many contracting companies that specialise in a niche offering. “It makes sense,” he reasons, “but I like doing it all. In fact, I’ve been going through a phase where instead of piecing out the work to everyone else as a general contractor, we are doing a lot of the work ourselves,” he says. “I’ve become the risk-taker, manager, manufacturer and erector, all in one.”
Variety has also played a part in Newton’s larger-scale plans, which have included making Kiwi-Newton one of four subsidiaries under the umbrella of Newton Group of Companies. All companies focus on design-build construction, but each one offers something different.
Nadeco Limited, for example, services the municipal water and wastewater construction industry. Because most of Nadeco’s projects require mechanical components with electrical controls, this division employs highly skilled technicians in the mechanical field. In addition, Nadeco houses a miscellaneous metals shop which assists in bringing added value and savings to clients.
Newton Bridge Solutions Ltd. is a subsidiary that manufactures and installs fibre reinforced polymer (FRP) composite bridges that are built to customers’ specifications. The strength properties of FRPs are the main reasons to choose them in the design of structures. Newton Bridge’s products are manufactured in-house and assembled on site. “It’s a great new technology,” says Newton. “We’re trying to get it into the mainstream.”
Finally, there is Newton Parking Structures Ltd. This division offers the CANADACAR System, which is a prefabricated, engineered and constructed freestanding parking garage structure. These systems use cutting-edge technology to generate free-span modular parking bays. “We’re excited to embark on our first contract for the new parking structure business,” Newton explains. “The garage will be a 450-car structure at the GO Transit station in Markham, Ontario. Again, we’re putting new technology into action. It has taken a while to get the job, so it’s nice to see it come to fruition.”
With all the successful projects in Newton Group’s portfolio, it’s hard to say that one stands out. For Newton himself, he tends to pick his most recent project as his favourite, so they all get a turn.
“Right now, my favourite is a Kiwi-Newton project for the Linamar Training & Tech Centre,” he says. “We selectively demolished 6,000 square feet of the existing 30,000 square-foot building, gutted it and built around all four sides, turning it into a 100,000 square-foot tech centre. The new building features manufacturing floor space, an auditorium, a banquet hall/showroom, office space, utility space and training rooms. It’s beautiful.”
The best part? Sustainable technology. Kiwi Newton worked with Linamar to design a LEED building. And this Tech Centre has everything. Some green features in the building include
1. Automatic lights that dim down to low levels during daylight
2. Motion-sensor controlled lights that turn off when no movement is detected
3. Reused concrete demolition materials for a structural granular base under the new parking lot
4. A green wall (covered with vegetation) for cooling and air filtering benefits
5. Skylight with panels that open or close depending on the outdoor temperature and weather
6. White roof over office and training areas to reduce the load on cooling systems in the summer
This project represents the direction Newton wants to go with his design-build construction. “My mission is to build more sustainable buildings with state-of-the-art technology, especially when it comes to using less energy,” he says. “I want to present a building that lasts longer, is cheaper to build and operate and that is energy efficient. That’s my goal.”
Staying the course
Ed Newton has a lot on the go and certainly has more to look forward to from his companies. If all goes according to plan, Newton Group of Companies will still be growing years from now. For that to happen, Newton believes he should continue in the same direction he is already heading. That means he will keep leading the industry with prefabricated building systems.
It also means a sustained focus on designbuild construction.
“I want to continue focusing on the design-build aspect of all the divisions,” he concludes. “Design-build is where we will showcase our offerings and attract attention to our skills. We believe our work will speak for itself.” Clearly, Newton’s work already speaks for itself; now, it’s only a matter of watching his companies thrive.