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Nova-Con Projects Ltd.

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When Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Nova-Con Projects Ltd. was established in 1999 as the contracting unit of Longboat Development Corp. – the real estate development arm of the Stevenson Group Inc. – it started out small with a handful of employees and less than $1 million in revenues. 

In 12 years, Nova-Con has grown into a general contracting, construction and design/build services provider whose revenues and employees have multiplied rapidly as it took on larger, more complicated projects across the province. 

Much of Nova-Con’s success can be credited to its founding principles of integrity, reliability, accountability and safety, says Ramsay Clark, vice president and general manager.

“We take pride in our reputation and build strong partnerships with clients, many of which work with us on multiple projects,” Clark states. “We achieve superior results through our ability to listen and customize our services, while earning the trust and confidence of our clients.”

Through relationships and select partnerships, Nova-Con has expanded its portfolio into new market sectors. 

Today, the company delivers a broad range of projects including office buildings, retail centers, recreational facilities, industrial buildings and multifamily residences.

Nova-Con expects to double its revenues to $60 million next year based on its current workload, Clark says.  “We want to stay at an appropriate scale so we can service our clients and do the best we can for them,” he adds. “It’s not necessarily getting big as it is getting better. We want to be the best in what we do.”

Nova-Con Projects can provide comprehensive construction management services to ensure a project is delivered on time and within budget. “As the client’s agent, we act as an extension of their staff and focus on promoting their interests,” the company says. “Because the management team of Nova-Con has decades of real-world general contractor experience, we know what qualities are essential to good construction management.”

Nova-Con is a perfect partner for design/build project delivery, it adds. “By staffing the project with construction professionals during the planning and design phases, our team fully understands the project goals, technical details and key issues before construction begins,” Nova-Con says. “Once it is time to break ground, our team is on the move, executing the job in accordance with contract documents and building a successful project for all stakeholders.”

Talented Employees

Nova-Con values its relationships above all else, Clark maintains, and this starts in-house with the employees.

Nova-Con’s management team has developed and implemented innovative programs including quality assurance, loss prevention and contract cost management.

“Our team of highly skilled and experienced personnel have successfully completed a number of projects on schedule and within budget,” the company says.  “We pride ourselves on our ability to meet our clients’ business needs through the added value of technical excellence, efficient organization, loyal tradesmen and personal service.”

The company has developed a cohesive network of professionals, which include:

  • Project and construction managers;
  • Estimators; 
  • Planning and schedule specialists;
  • Construction site coordinators;
  • Procurement and contract administration specialists; and
  • Project management information and technology specialists.

Nova-Con’s employees work closely with land developers, commercial real estate firms, property managers, financial institutions and accounting firms to ensure the needs of its clients are met, according to Clark. 

“The principals and associates of our company are all seasoned professionals whose extensive experience brings a wealth of knowledge that we believe is unparalleled,” he says.

“Our team strives for a high level of integrity in dealing fairly and openly with clients and everyone involved in a construction project.”

The company’s communication skills and commitment to customer satisfaction distinguish it from other contractors in the industry, he maintains.

“One thing that sets us apart from others is the willingness to listen and be flexible in our relationships with owners and clients,” Clark says. “The proof is in our high rate of repeat business and our reputation.”

Valued Partnerships

Because Nova-Con subs out the majority of its work to its vendors and subcontractors, it relies heavily on the expertise of these firms to deliver quality work safely, on time and within budget, Clark explains.

The company enjoys long-term relationships with its vendors and subcontractors. When Nova-Con establishes new partnerships, it seeks to work with companies that abide by the same principles it values – dependability, reliability, integrity and accountability, as well as maintaining a good work ethic and a commitment to safety. “We are very committed to site safety and looking after our personnel,” Clark asserts.

Prestigious Projects

Nova-Con’s dedication to industry relationships proved invaluable in the past three years especially. While other contractors in Canada and the United States struggled under the weight of the troubling economy, the company did not seem to be affected by the global economic downturn. In fact, Clark explains that Nova-Con has been able to grow steadily since its inception.

“The recession passed us somehow,” he remarks. “I think it was because of the diversification in Manitoba. It never seemed to hit us. The construction industry is quite busy here.”

In November, Nova-Con will begin demolition on a large mixed-use development in Winnipeg called Centrepoint that is set to revitalize the city’s downtown core.

Developed by Longboat Development and Groupe Germain Hospitality, the 200,000-square-foot project will consist of an office tower, a hotel and a 450-stall parkade at the site of the former A&B Sound building. 

Nova-Con has worked closely with designer Stantec throughout the value-engineering and design phases. The renowned architecture firm will occupy the office building upon its completion in 2013.

Nova-Con also is involved with the 92-unit Bison Point condominium complex in Winnipeg. “The enterprise was $16 million, and the owner’s budget was $1 million less,” Clark notes. “Through value-engineering and working with our subtrades, we were able to bring it in on the owner’s budget and thus receive the contract,” he adds. “We are just in the early excavation stages now and will finish up in about 18 months.”

Stevenson Group

Nova-Con’s parent corporation, the Stevenson Group, is locally owned by the Chipman family. With more than 3,500 condominium and residential units and more than 2 million square feet of commercial property under its management, The Stevenson Group is one of Winnipeg’s largest and most successful independent third-party property managers. 

The Stevenson Group is comprised of five distinct operating divisions: 

  • Cushman & Wakefield Commercial Brokerage oversees commercial sales and leasing;
  • Stevenson Management Services handles the property and facility management functions;
  • Stevenson Advisors Ltd. is an appraisal and consulting services provider;
  • Longboat Development Corp. is the real estate development arm; and
  • Nova-Con Projects Ltd. is the general contractor responsible for building Stevenson’s projects.

 The Stevenson Group began operations in 1901 and has grown and expanded its services to meet the changing needs of the Winnipeg market. “[We offer] the most diversified range of services in the local real estate community combined with the insight and expertise that local and national clients rely on to find, develop and manage the right properties,” it says.

“We provide clients with responsive leadership and consistency of management through each project’s duration, working in partnership with owners, architects, engineers and subcontractors to deliver projects.”