Crystal Consulting Inc

Finishing first in drywall service in Vancouver
Written by: 
Molly Shaw
Produced by: 
James Logan

After just a decade in business, Crystal Consulting Inc. has emerged as one of Vancouver’s top drywall contractors. The family-run firm is currently working on a great deal of the city’s real estate, including 17 high-rise towers.

“We’re looking at more than $30 million of projects in the next two years,” tells Garry Sangha, vice president of operations for Crystal Consulting. “But most of this work is generated by word-of-mouth; we don’t do a lot of advertisement. Our work speaks for us and our clients know they can count on two things from Crystal Consulting: customer service and quality.”

Based in Surrey, British Columbia, Crystal Consulting was formed in 2005, by Sangha’s father, Ajit Sangha and brother-in-law Kuldeep Singh Chohan. The company remains a family-owned operation today.

“Crystal Consulting incorporated in 2005; we’re a fairly young company,” tells Sangha. “We are primarily a drywall contractor, doing load-bearing, stucco, acoustical ceilings, insulation and light weight steel-stud framing – any division nine contracting.”

Big moves and bold steps

Sangha, who was just a teenager when he came to Canada, remembers his family’s struggle to make ends meet in the beginning. “My father came to Canada with just $$20 in his pocket,” he recounts. “My biggest sense of pride comes from the fact that we started at the bottom and rose to the top. We took the bold steps to get to where we are today.”

Since landing its first major contract with Concord Pacific, one of Vancouver and Toronto’s largest development firms, Sangha says it’s been a run to the top for Crystal Consulting. “We’ve been very successful ever since and now, we’re one of the major sub trades in B.C.,” he measures. “I think it all comes down to the things we really focus on that set us apart –customer service and the quality of our jobs and installations.”

A reputation for high-quality drywall services has helped the firm land numerous contracts with big-name general contractors and developers. “Our first contract with Concord Pacific came in 2006, including six towers and 575 units,” tells Sangha. “10 years later and we’re still doing the majority of their work in this area; about 20 towers.” Aside from Concord Pacific, Crystal Consulting also frequently works with Intergulf Development Group, Polygon Development, ASPAC, Aquilini Development and other major developers.

Since day one, Sangha says the foundation of Crystal Consulting has been laid on strong principles of integrity, reliability, accountability and firm commitment to the highest level of finishing quality.

“We firmly believe in building solid working relationships and trusted partnerships with our clients,” says Sangha. “We provide our clients with rapidly deployed and high qualified personnel for the services we provide.”

Currently, Crystal Consulting is running at some 250 tradespeople in the field, but Sangha says that number fluctuates given the company’s workload. “Right now, we’re averaging 250 employees,” he says. “We generally stick to the Surrey-Vancouver area, but we have brought crews right up through Fort McMurray in the past.”

Shaping Vancouver’s downtown

In conjunction with Concord Pacific, Crystal Consulting has played a significant role in the development of one of Vancouver’s most unique, twisted tower: the Erickson Tower Vancouver, designed by Arthur Erickson.

“We’re also in the works at Park Avenue, one of the largest residential projects in Surrey,” tells Sangha. “This development consists of two, 50-story towers and Park Place is in phase one; two, 45-story towers and 700 units.”

The Rogers Tower, which sits adjacent to the iconic Rogers Stadium, Concord Gardens and One Pacific are all part of Crystal Consulting’s extensive portfolio. “On any project, our costs are split between 60 percent labor and 40 percent materials, drywall being the biggest expense at 50 percent of the total cost,” tells Sangha. “Steel studs make up another 30 percent of the cost and insulation and miscellaneous materials such as stucco and specialty ceilings, T-bars are 10 percent on average.”

Supported by sub trades

Crystal Consulting delivers the majority of its scope of work in-house, but Sangha says the company often utilizes sub trades. “Insulation is mainly done by sub trades,” he shares. “In a way, they’re also the backbone of the company. It’s important to make sure you hire proper subs and keep them around and keep them working for you. This means there’s less turnover and we have subs that work solely for us.”

“Everyone knows how the systems work and the expectations; it makes it easier to plan and execute projects, especially some seriously big buildings,” measures Sangha. “As far as subs and employees, our company has a 2 percent turnover rate; people who started with us in 2006 are still here.”

This low turnover rate is something Sangha says was critical in carrying Crystal Consulting through the lows of the recession. “We were slow, but not as slow as a lot of other people, we were able to weather the storm,” he tells. “It comes down to customer service and quality –keeping your promises and not biting off more than you can chew because construction is a relationship-based business. Because we’re able to maintain a high level of service through busy times, GC and developers keep us in mind during the slow times and throw us more work.”

Sangha says he can see Crystal Consulting hitting more than $20 million in revenue on a yearly basis in the next several years, but he also says he’s cautious to reach that threshold. “I’m not sure if it’s good for us to surpass that mark,” he says. “When you pick up way to much work, something is going to suffer and we refuse let our customer service and quality of work deteriorate.”

Even after 10 years, the family foundation that started Crystal Consulting remains. “My father, Ajit, is still involved in the company, not necessarily the day-to-day operations, but more so as oversight. “My brother-in-law, Kuldeep Chohan, is principal and between me, him and my father, we divide up the roles. I’m in control of marketing and day-to-day operations such as site issues and planning and Kuldeep looks after all of the manpower, a huge task in itself.”

Family ownership and an outstanding commitment to top-notch finishes and customer service are keeping Crystal Consulting Inc. finishing first, time and time again in the drywall contracting business in Vancouver.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Coast Building Supplies
Investors Group Financial Services
Kozak Thomas Luck, Chartered Accountants
RD Engineering Ltd