Phoenix Glass Inc.
As one of several well-integrated companies within the Atis Group Inc., a leading manufacturer/marketer of windows and doors, Phoenix Glass Inc. fabricates and installs architectural glass and aluminum products for residential high-rise developments, commercial buildings and retail properties from its two locations in Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Jim Lebedovich, general manager of Phoenix, says that what sets the steadily growing company apart is its “flexibility and ability to produce custom designs for all customers. We take the designs of the architects and developers and we’ll actually develop products for them.” Phoenix bends over backwards to make any-and-all designs a reality; it's a mission that the company has successfully accomplished since its founding – originally as a small family-run business – in 1992.
“One thing that we excel at is that we don’t back away [from challenges in design] … ‘Can’t do it’ is not in our vocabulary,” emphasizes Lebedovich. Phoenix’s designs take on many forms, including windows, curtain walls, sunshades, structural glass, window walls, storefronts, entrances, sloped glazing and contoured storefront systems. Distributing products from within the Atis Group companies, particularly Columbia Aluminum Products and Allied Windows, and using Reynobond composite wall panels, Phoenix can address any commercial or residential project and complete any unique building envelope requirements.
Integral Work on Uptown
One particular project showcasing the Phoenix capabilities is the 850,000-square-foot, mixed-use project known as Uptown Centre – located in downtown Saanich, British Columbia (a municipality lying in the greater Victoria region at the southern-most tip of Vancouver Island). Lebedovich says Phoenix was called in to create “a number of different window systems” for the project.
“On the office buildings we used a unitized curtain wall, it was all shop glazed and installed on site,” explains Lebedovich. The extensive and ambitious LEED Gold neighborhood development project presented many challenges, yet all were met by Phoenix.
“There was a real tight schedule on the office buildings [for Uptown],” shares Lebedovich, shedding light on some of challenges the company faced. “We produced unitized frames that were 24-feet high. This enabled us to enclose two floors in a short time period. The most challenging part was completing the tough corners with compound corner-miters. It was very tricky.”
Custom designs were essential in the work Phoenix completed for the Uptown Centre project of which it was a subcontractor, hired to produce and install various sun shades, curtain walls, storefront facades, thermally broken doors and other glass-and-aluminum fabrications; the work allowed Phoenix to collaborate with many of its locally-based, world-class partners, including Chatwin Engineering, Chandler Associates Architecture and Cobalt Engineering.
LEEDing the Way
As a LEED Gold-certified project, Uptown demanded that Phoenix use “all energy-efficient glazing,” and the aluminum systems used had to “meet LEED requirements,” affirms Lebedovich. More than able to meet these specifications, Phoenix was commissioned to manufacture all the glass and aluminum framing needs on the project. This might have presented a problem for another company, but Phoenix is on the cutting edge of the sustainable-building industry, and its large-scale, overwhelmingly green operation complements LEED-certified projects to a tee.
From the very beginning Phoenix was sought out as a partner for Phase I of the Uptown Centre project (completed in the summer of 2010) and is now working on Phase II (set to be completed in the summer of 2012).
Of Phoenix’s overall work profile, Lebedovich says, “We’ll take on any project from $50,000 to $7 million in value on a regular basis.” Yet, no matter the size of the project, Phoenix makes sure there are overriding characteristics to the work it completes: that it is artistic, aesthetically driven and can always be considered architectural in nature. “There is no question, everything we do is architectural,” Lebedovich asserts. This philosophy has resulted in the company successfully completing approximately 40 to 50 projects annually.
Lebedovich himself has been in industry for over two decades –25 years – and with Phoenix from the time when it was a small family-run business. Now working under a corporate umbrella that has over 1600 employees and operations all over Canada, Lebedovich says his goal is “to continue to grow the business and get involved with larger projects and bigger developments.”
As Lebedovich looks to take on bigger developments, such as projects within the high-rise window market, he acknowledges the convenience that comes with being associated with a group that allows for integrated partnering opportunities with trusted sister companies. “It enables us to supply a bigger scope of work on projects.” In addition to ease of partnering, Phoenix stays successful in its industry by staying diverse – Lebedovich says that it’s thanks to “diversity” that Phoenix has been able to consistently complete a wide range of projects and “get through downturns in the market.”
With over 100 employees, a generous fabrication facility and several sister companies within the Atis Group of Companies with which to partner, Phoenix Glass Inc. is well prepared to handle large, long-term, sustainable building projects with ease and efficiency.