A little bit about the company
Spar Construction Ltd. prides itself on the depth of experience offered by our core staff and can boast, on average, over 22 years industry experience for each of our project managers. Our project managers are the direct line of contact from the initial emergency stages to the final project completion.
Founded in 1985, Spar Construction Ltd., is a locally owned, Edmonton based, full service restoration and general contractor.
Spar Construction was already unique in the building industry before the events that radically affected the company two years ago. The restoration contractors were used to dealing with victims of fire, flood, theft and vandalism on a daily basis. Then, they came face to face with the shock, uncertainly and change that their clients face when they suffered a disaster of their own.
“Our building burnt down in 2013, which forced us to relocate and set up our business in a short period of time so we could still service our customers and clients,” says Mark Comeau, company president. “We had to rebuild. The irony that we are a flood and fire restoration company has been brought to my attention many times.” The fire gave the entire company a better insight into what their clients go through. “We have experienced it from a perspective that many of our clients face.”
Spar Construction was founded in 1985. Comeau joined in 1988. He had recently graduated from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and was working as a draftsperson for a homebuilder. A friend, Ken Lakhram, who was working at Spar knew Comeau was looking for more opportunity and invited him to check out an open project manager position. It was a perfect fit. Comeau soon became an owner, joining Ken Lakhram and Colin Campbell as partners in 1998. Dave Wilson was then added as partner in 2011.
The team loved reacting promptly to the challenges of fire, flood and other devastations, showing their clients that rebuilding and restoring meant fresh, new starts – but they were unprepared to see their own facility go up in flames.
“I remember getting a call from Lakhram saying ‘The building is on fire! You should get out here!’ I thought he was kidding around. I sat in one of the control trucks for three or four hours thinking ‘what are we going to do now?’” he reminisces. I went home for few hours and came back. There was a backhoe on site. They knocked the building down to nothing.”
In the midst of the smoke and flames, there was a moment of light heartedness and hope. Comeau says he was very impressed by the firemen running into the building to grab what they could save, including their computer towers. “All of a sudden a fireman comes out the front door carrying our framed Wayne Gretzky jersey,” he laughs. It was an interesting choice at the time, but he appreciates having the sentimental item. The jersey was restored, reframed and moved to the new office. It was symbolic. The jersey survived and rose from the ashes – and so did Spar Construction.
“We didn’t miss a beat,” smiles Comeau proudly. Despite “not having a pen to write with”, losing their building and nearly everything in it, within two weeks the company had moved to temporary headquarters and had reopened, stronger and better than ever.
Comeau explains, “When I came on board in 1988, I had no idea or indication that there was a company like this responding to people’s misfortunes. When Lakhram suggested there was an opening, I had no idea what to expect. The decision was simply to be a project manager in a general capacity. However, with our recent experience, I can certainly relate a lot closer to the experiences our customers go through and it’s given me more perspective on the process. I can quite confidently say that in all circumstances, people come out in a better position before their loss because of how we rebuild. We rebuild their buildings, their homes, their livelihoods and, by proximity, their lives. It’s done properly. It’s built to last. It’s a new start and a new opportunity to move forward.”
Just as their clients are able to move forward, thanks to Spar Construction, the energetic company is enjoying their own new start in a brand new facility.
“One thing I believe that sets us apart is the depth of experience amongst our key project managers, says Comeau. My business partners and I are very much engaged in the company performing well. Being in the industry for a long period of time along with our education and training instills confidence in our present and future clients. In this industry you need to provide restoration, 24/7 response, storage, and so much more – all while demonstrating compassion and inspiring courage. It’s a full service operation. The contracting and rebuilding, that is just one aspect of what we do.” He goes on to reference their 10,000 square feet of storage, warehousing, capital investments and infrastructure setup, all things he knows are necessary to properly service his clients.
Spar employees, of which there 50 between the field and office, are continuous, detail-driven, and sympathetic. They all know how to get the job done while understanding the loss, fear, frustration and uncertainly their clients are dealing with.
Comeau is proud of his team. “A number of my staff have been with us for a several of years. I think that is a testament to their loyalty to Spar Construction. They feel like they are doing something they are proud of. They are engaged. Many have been here for more than 20 years.”
When Spar Construction opened in 1985, there was only a handful of other companies performing restoration repairs in Edmonton. Today that number has increased significantly and competition in the industry is fierce. However, Spar’s reputation, knowledge and skills continue to make them business leaders.
“That’s something I’m certainly quite proud of, how we maintain a presence in the city with a lot of national businesses coming on stream,” smiles Comeau. “We are one of the few last local companies in this industry that has been around this long. Our goal is to maintain our presence in the Edmonton market and we also plan to expand and grow.”
The company has changed since Comeau came board, and so has he. “I recall doing my first large loss house fire many, many years ago. That’s where I really grasped the scope of what exactly can happen to a family when they have gone through a major fire situation and a loss of their contents and their home, and the responsibility that we are entrusted with in order to bring all that back to where they can be comfortable again.
“If I could tell our clients just one thing, it would be this: “We’ve seen your situation from your perspective. That has given us additional depth into what people are dealing with when it comes to a disaster. It’s another level of experience that I’m not sure many other companies can offer.”
Whether Spar is renovating a family dwelling after the basement floods or restoring the Comfort Suites in downtown Edmonton after its 2006 fire, Spar Construction is the company with the legacy, the knowledge and the very personal experience to take care of all your disaster restoration needs.
Spar Construction extends heartfelt thanks to each and every one of their clients, employees, supporters and vendors, most of whom they have worked with for many years. The company welcomes new clients and opportunities and is ready to help Edmontonians do what they so recently achieved: rise like a phoenix from the ashes.