GK Mechanical Inc.

Plumbing, heating, air conditioning and ventilation services in Alberta
Written by: 
Jeanee Dudley
Produced by: 
John Carioti

GK Mechanical Inc. has been in business since 1978. The business has grown significantly over the years, all the while adapting to meet the needs of contractors and building owners throughout Alberta. Headquartered in Edmonton, GK Mechanical serves clients throughout the province with a growing presence in British Columbia as well. As a full-service mechanical contractor, the business offers new construction, retrofit and service work for plumbing, heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems in the commercial sector.

Chris Morris serves as the company’s vice president and general manager. He has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, starting out after high school working as a plumber for his uncle’s business. “In school, I had always thought I wanted to be an automotive mechanic,” he recounts. “After working a summer with my uncle, I found that I really liked the construction industry. I opened my first business at 25-years old in Ontario.”

Morris has been with GK Mechanical since 2013 and leads a team of more than 100 employees, including skilled plumbers, HVAC specialists and sheet metal workers. Formerly located in Grand Prairie, Alberta, the business relocated to Edmonton within the last few years in order to better serve customers. The facility includes offices, storage and an in-house sheet metal shop, accommodating efficient, quality-assured work on every contract.

Reliable professionalism

With in-house design capabilities, the GK Mechanical team is capable of performing a wide range of contracts such as design-build, design-assist and bid-and-spec work. Around 70 percent of volume is performed for general contractors, with the remaining 30 percent for owners. The crew is consistently running 15 to 20 projects at a time, with the average contract timeframe lasting around two years.

Recent work includes a project at Stoneycreek Mall in Fort McMurray, Alberta. We did the full mechanical system for this project,” Morris explains. “The contractor had built this large outdoor mall with four buildings connected by a big parkade. Our role was to tie in all of the main infrastructure for the base-build portion. As other businesses rent the spaces, they do their own interior fit-out. They may choose to work with us for plumbing and HVAC or they may choose someone else.”

The crew is also at work on the Best Western Sawridge Inn and Suites in Fort McMurray, a large hotel and conference center owned by The Sawridge Group. “We are just getting ready to wrap up and the owners will start renting rooms around the middle of April,” Morris says. “This is an interesting project for us because it is the first hotel of its size in the area. Things are moving closer to the big oil refineries, making this hotel a little more accessible to people who come in and out of town for business.”

Morris and his crew have two additional large projects going as well. The first is Mayfair Village North in downtown Edmonton, which began construction in late 2014. The structure is a 10-story rental apartment building commercial space on the ground floor. GK Mechanical performed a full scope of mechanical work on the multiuse building. The crew is also working on the Hendrix Building, another large residential project in downtown Edmonton. From the ground, the structure offers two-story townhouses around the exterior, with a 29-story tower in the middle comprised of rental apartments.

Rewarding work

One of Morris’ favorite projects has been his team’s work on a new high school project in Grand Prairie, Alberta. “This was a combination new and renovation project,” he elaborates. The school is part of a large complex with an aquatics center, an existing school and a library as well. The contractor is adding this high school to the existing complex, so the specific facility is new. We were responsible for tying in main services to the existing infrastructure. One of the biggest challenges of working on schools is that the end date never changes. Even if you have several delays before you start, when a community announces the opening of a new school, people expect to be ready when school starts. We wrapped up this project last summer and students were in classes by fall 2014.”

 While school projects are some of the more rewarding contracts the crew has taken on in recent years, Morris and his employees strive to provide integrated, customer-oriented services to customers on every project.  Value engineering has become a major selling point for clients in recent years. GK Mechanical has engineering and multiple trade disciplines in-house, providing higher value and more avenues to find savings for customers.

With the oil industry growing steadily in the region, GK Mechanical is likely to see a continued trend of new opportunities for the coming years. The business is expanding into British Columbia gradually, taking on a few projects there in 2015. While the regional markets ebb and flow with economic and industry cycles, Morris is confident in his team’s abilities.

As the business continually grows with the market, Morris says his team is undergoing a rebranding to better market, communicate and address the needs of clients. Over the coming months, the company will change its name to Leader Mechanical Contracting Ltd.

With in-house expertise and strong resources, Leader Mechanical Contracting Inc. will continue to provide a reliable line of mechanical services to customers in Alberta and British Columbia.

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