As megacities across the globe grow, Vancouver too is witnessing a building boom. Main growth drivers are residential construction, retail and industrial buildings, as well as infrastructure projects. Sika is speeding up expansion of its distribution structures and supply chain to be able to tap into the large market potential.
Numbering 2.5 million inhabitants, Vancouver is the largest metropolitan region on Canada’s west coast. In global city quality-of-life rankings, Vancouver regularly earns a spot in the top three. Aside from the economic upturn that the region is enjoying, this is one of the reasons for the huge increase in residential construction seen here in recent years. New high-rises are being built in response to the growing scarcity of space and increasing land prices. Business is also strong in the renovation sector given the growing demand to reinforce old building structures in this earthquake-prone area. Housing construction also means government investment in infrastructure, including expansion of the SkyTrain network, in road bridges and tunnels, and in utility plants.
New production facility in Surrey
To guarantee fast delivery of Sika products to customers in the Pacific Northwest, which includes Vancouver, Seattle and Portland, the company’s fourth production site in Canada was opened in Surrey. A good half hour away from Vancouver, the city of Surrey is located close to the border with the US. The new facility houses a modular mortar plant and equipment for the production of a wide range of concrete admixtures. Eliminating the sometimes high transport costs will help to make Sika products even more competitive. Customers very much appreciate the quality of the products now being produced nearby. In the construction industry, weather conditions can dictate that products are ordered at very short notice and picked up directly at the production facility. Delivery reliability also fosters trust in Sika. Numerous requests have been received from customers to view the ultramodern plant.
Back-up marketing activities
As well as expanding distribution structures in North America, Sika is also stepping up marketing activities. The Group is primarily known in the construction sector as a supplier of high-quality technologies for complex requirements. This prompted the company to run targeted promotions under a wide-scale campaign to inform specific dialog groups of its extensive portfolio of products and the ways they can be used on the building site. Sika also invests a great deal in training its partners to ensure that architects, engineers and designers get an insight into the numerous applications for Sika’s continually growing product mix. One particular focus of Sika’s marketing efforts in North America is key project management. The goal is to establish the Sika range as products of choice across entire construction projects. To make this happen, a significantly reinforced Sika sales team uses an electronic platform to systematically record and track building projects. This serves to showcase the project potential of different products and solutions within the organization. Usually required at the start of a construction project, concrete admixtures thus open the door for Sika to identify opportunities to place its complete product portfolio.
Brentwood Town Centre – a project 20 years in the making
The city of Burnaby borders to the west on Vancouver and enjoys excellent SkyTrain connections with the metropolis. It is also the site of an unparalleled construction project due to run for the next 20 years. The Brentwood Town Centre will house a new shopping complex with over 350 businesses and restaurants as well as ten high-rises up to 60 floors containing offices and 4,200 apartments. Brentwood is presently the largest construction site in British Columbia. The project is being completed in four different phases. The initial buildings going up are the mall and the first two high-rises. Three more have been approved by the relevant authorities. Sika products are being used in the projects now underway.
Partners with experience and know-how
A project of this magnitude calls for competent partners such as Burnco. Established over one hundred years ago, the family-run concrete supplier has a strong presence in British Columbia and Alberta. The company has been placing its trust in Sika know-how and product solutions for years. “Sika is always prepared to develop and test new product formulations. That is a big help to us and gives us technical leverage,” explains Mike Kask, Burnco’s Regional Manager British Columbia. Logistics posed a huge challenge when the earthquake-proof foundations were being poured for the first two high-rises at the Brentwood Town Centre. Because parts of the old shopping center are still open for business while the new mall is under construction, very little space is available. Each of the two 4,600 m3 foundations was poured in a single day. 80 vehicles fed a long system of pipes with highly flowable and pumpable concrete – properties made possible by Sika® ViscoCrete®. For the third high-rise the compressive strength of the concrete is the decisive factor because the project clients want narrower load-bearing piles in order to gain usable floor space.