Canadian Design and Construction Report special feature
Founded in 1908 as Canada Ingot Iron, Armtec has a long history of supplying products to the Canadian construction market. Today, through 40 locations across the country, Armtec has become one of Canada’s largest suppliers of drainage and precast concrete solutions for infrastructure, building construction, natural resource and agricultural segments.
Matt Balfe, precast concrete national sales and marketing director, says the company started with a drainage focus founded as Canada Ingot Iron and then changed its name to Armco Drainage & Metal Products in 1931. “There were a series of name and organizational changes after that, including the change to Armco Drainage & Metal Products to Armtec in the late 90s, but the company remained in steel and plastic with drainage as its core business.”
In 2004, Armtec became a publicly traded company through an IPO (initial public offering) and by 2007 the company began making what would be a total of nine acquisitions of precast concrete businesses stretching from B.C. to Quebec. “Precast is complimentary to drainage in many ways. Each of the companies we acquired and brought under the Armtec umbrella had different core strengths and different scopes of work and experience.”
In 2015 the company returned to being a private company, now owned by Brookfield Asset Management. Balfe says the marriage of the companies Armtec acquired included the retention of key client facing staff, many of who today still remain from the legacy companies. “We’re still growing, investing in equipment and talent, but many of those key people remain, or have just recently retired.”
Today the company offers precast solutions in three main segments: Infrastructure (including bridges, light rail transit and marine structures); building construction (including landscape products, electrical vaults, parking garages, hollowcore and wall panels) and natural resources and energy (including trenches, utilidors and custom solutions).
“We have worked on projects ranging from parking structures to long-term care facilities to providing custom solutions for the natural resources and energy sectors. We work with owners, engineers, architects and contractors to ensure their project’s needs are met.”
Some of those needs include building code requirements. Balfe says precast lends itself well to the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings for its resilience, sustainability and its inherent thermal properties. “We also work closely with our external vendors to ensure we are able to supply non-conductive ties and connectors to further improve the thermal properties of our building envelope solutions.”
Precast is also durable and adaptable, meeting other specific needs, and the growing requirements for sustainability. Armtec is a member of the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI), the Canadian Precast/ Prestressed.
Concrete Institute (CPCI) and the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA). “We are part of CPCI’s Sustainable Plant Program which assists us in monitoring every step of our operation to meet the high standards for sustainability.”
Balfe says Armtec is always looking for ways to improve its carbon footprint, including seeking aggregate sources close to plants, recycling water where possible, and planning for efficient shipping methods to reduce the numbers of trucks on the road.
The company also operates with a high focus on safety. “Precast concrete manufacturing and installation comes with high safety risks which we work to control and mitigate. We want our customers to know that the precast products they use come from a safety culture as strong as what they apply to their own business.”
Armtec’s drainage and precast arms operate as separate business units within the company he says, but the opportunity for crossover on projects, and for collaboration, provides customers with robust package offerings tailored to provide them with the best combined solution. “We can be a one stop shop for clients on an array of products, for instance, a bridge from our precast business combined with stormwater solutions from our drainage unit and a noise barrier from our soundwall group.”
He says the landscape of client demands and needs is always changing. To meet this challenge, all of the company’s engineered precast facilities have dedicated project managers, engineers, estimators and installation teams to ensure each project’s success.
Engineered precast is just one piece of Armtec’s precast business. The company also operates standard precast and soundwall businesses. “Our Durisol and ACRYLITE noise barriers from our soundwalls group are a unique solution for absorptive, reflective, and transparent noise attenuation projects across North America.”
For more information on Armtec’s products and services, visit https://www.armtec.com.
Armtec’s Precast Concrete acquisitions
2007 — Con-Force Structures Ltd (Richmond, BC; Calgary, AB; Winnipeg, MB)
2008 — Durisol Inc. (Mitchell, ON – Plant; Hamilton, ON – Office)
2008 — A.E. Concrete Precast Products Ltd. (Surrey, BC)
2008 — Brooklin Concrete Products Ltd. (Brooklin, ON; Hunstville, ON)
2008 — Boucher Precast Concrete Ltd. (Ottawa, ON)
2008 — Burnco Concrete Products Ltd. (Edmonton, AB; Calgary, AB)
2009 — Pre-Con Inc. (Brampton, ON; Woodstock, ON)
2009 — Groupe Tremca Inc. (Saint-Jean-Sur-Richelieu, QC) [since divested in 2015]