Hangar 2: Supporting Canadian National Defence

Graham is a construction management company founded in 1926 that operates from 14 locations throughout Canada and the United States, all of which focus on offering integrated, innovative construction solutions for projects ranging from small building renovations to complex $500 million design-build projects. In 1981 the company expanded its service offerings to include integrated project solutions. By combining the resources of a large company with its legacy as a small-town family business, Graham has cultivated an impressive reputation founded on the company’s core values of commitment, integrity and reliability.

The Hangar 2 Project

Graham began work in April 2011 on the construction of a new aircraft maintenance hangar at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, which is located four kilometres northeast of Trenton, Ontario. Isaac Fehr, senior project manager for Graham, notes that the company is “in the homestretch” of finishing work on the $46 million maintenance hangar, known as Hangar 2. The project is on track for completion in March 2013. The two-bay, 11,582-square metre hangar will house the new CC-130J Hercules aircraft. The Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) awarded the contract to Graham in March 2011.

Fehr explains that Hangar 2 is “much more than just a straightforward box,” noting that the finished hangar will include maintenance facilities, shops, a paint booth, decontamination showers and office areas, among other features. Graham is meeting all required standards to obtain LEED certification for the hangar.

For construction of Hangar 2, Graham subcontracted all trade work out to specialized companies. Fehr describes Graham’s process for selecting subcontractors to perform work as follows: “Price is one thing, but we also look at the background of potential subcontractors, especially those with larger scopes. We look at their previous project lists to determine if they are capable of performing the job.” In addition to hiring subcontractors for mechanical and electrical systems, as well as structural steel work, Graham hired subcontractors for work on the building envelope, including roofing and cladding. As Fehr notes, “It’s key to get a good subcontractor to perform that work.

One specific challenge that Graham encountered during production related to the diversity and highly specialized nature of the materials required for construction of the hangar, which in some cases required procurement from abroad. Fehr recalls, “We had equipment coming from different parts of the world. The paint booth came from the U.S., the big hangar fabric doors came from Finland, and the decontamination showers came from England. Just coordinating the shipment of various materials across the ocean was an interesting challenge.”

Graham’s strategic partnerships weren’t restricted to global alliances, however; the company was also able to work with a number of local companies throughout the completion of Hangar 2. The company employed a mechanical subcontractor from Belleville, Ontario, as well as a local electrical subcontractor and a site works contractor from near the base. Fehr notes, “We procured doors and hardware locally. We try to use as much local content as possible.”

Graham’s Construction Industry Expertise

The construction of Hangar 2 is right within Graham’s wheelhouse, according to Fehr. He explains, “This type of work is quite typical for us. Graham does a wide variety of projects. We’ve done a lot of heavy industrial and commercial projects.” For its industrial clients, the company has demonstrated mechanical, process piping, civil and earthwork, electrical and structural expertise on a large scale. Among Graham’s completed commercial construction projects are educational facilities, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, office buildings, warehouses and distribution centres, hotels, retail outlets and multiunit residential housing developments.

One of the larger projects Graham has completed in recent years was the Kelowna and Vernon Hospitals Project, which involved the construction of three new hospital buildings in British Columbia – two in Kelowna and one in Vernon – for Interior Health. The three design-build facilities totaled 58,000 square metres. Graham completed construction on this $376 million project in January 2012. This undertaking was the largest, most complex public-private partnership (P3) hospital project that the British Columbia government has procured.

Fehr has enjoyed his work on all of Graham’s projects. He remarks, “Construction is an exciting industry. There’s always something new, and there are definitely challenges that will keep an individual motivated. It’s not your standard assembly line. You come into work, and there is usually something different that comes up that day that has to be dealt with. There is a lot of problem solving.”

Indeed, the entire team at Graham is well positioned to successfully solve a wide variety of problems and challenges, backed by an operational philosophy of teamwork and responsibility. Fehr reflects, “The longer you’re in the construction industry, the more you know how all of the challenges will get dealt with that day. There are always challenges, but you deal with them.” Given the commitment to quality and reliability that Graham continually demonstrates, most recently with the Hangar 2 project, the company has certainly proven that it is a construction solutions partner that contributes to a safer, healthier future for North America.