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Priestly Demolition Inc.: A Force to Be Wrecking With
The Priestly family roots in construction go back to 1971, the year Vic Priestly founded Vic Priestly Contracting Ltd. a site work and landscaping company in Ontario. In 1993 the demolition division of this site works company became a separate company and Priestly Demolition Inc. (PDI) was born to pave the way for continued growth and expansion in the site work, demolition, abatement and remediation sectors. Today, over 40 years later, PDI is the largest continuously operating demolition business in the Ontario.
What makes PDI unique within the demolition industry is the fact that it is family-owned and -operated, with a second generation of Priestlys at the helm. As president, Ryan Priestly manages the field and equipment operations, while his sister Robin manages all of the office and administrative functions. Vic Priestly continues to be active in the business, making his 40 years of industry experience available for specialized projects or simply just sound advice. The Priestlys pride themselves on the fact that they personally know their staff, they have strong relationships with their clients, and they own a large fleet of specialized equipment, all of which keeps them at the forefront the industry.
Growing up in the business together, Ryan and Robin share a wealth of knowledge and experience in safe, efficient, and effective demolition work. "Demolition has always been an experienced or learned industry," explains Robin, who goes on to say that over the years PDI has gained a reputation for being one of the best in the field. “We employ the cream of the crop and encourage promoting within. Our staff and our equipment are a huge part of our ongoing success.”
Like most aspects of the construction industry, the demolition business has its own distinctive challenges, and vigilance is always imperative. "Every day safety is our No. 1 importance," says Robin. Employee and client health and safety are non-negotiable priorities. Every employee must be part of PDI's safety training program, for which the company has developed strict policies to keep workers and worksites safe. Prior to beginning each project, the company undertakes a comprehensive analysis, outlining potential safety and environmental hazards on site, as well as identifying proper procedures to create safe operating environments.
Clients are provided with a copy of PDI's health and safety policies at the beginning of every project. A full-time safety manager is employed to monitor job sites for potential risks to employees, the company, and the environment. Finally, the company undertakes weekly equipment inspections, and prepares and reviews daily site reports. In addition to its intense safety program, PDI is fully bonded, carrying commercial, environmental and liability insurance that exceeds industry standards.
PDI’s current workforce fluctuates but generally averages around 250 employees who reflect a strong commitment to the company's safe, valuable and professional service commitment. The experience they apply to every project goes hand-in-hand with reliability, and dependability. "All of our employees participate in keeping up to date with new technology, and are committed to building good relationships with our customers," says Robin. Communication skills are also very important in working with a wide range of clients, including real estate developers, multinational corporations, general contractors, private homeowners, and government agencies throughout Ontario. As a result, PDI's portfolio of demolition projects includes a range of projects throughout Ontario, from small residential sites to the largest demolition and abatement project in Canadian history at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.
In 2010 PDI was responsible for completely gutting one of Toronto's most famous landmarks: Maple Leaf Gardens. Current projects, including the Women's College Hospital and Bridgepoint Health Hospital, are undergoing renovations, with several phases of teardown happening simultaneously with the facilities receiving upgrades. In addition, PDI is undertaking delicate interior demolition activity at Toronto's Union Station and The Four Seasons Hotel.
PDI continues to be a very strong and competitive participant within the Canadian demolition industry. The company reinforces its industry knowledge and presence through affiliation with several industry organizations that support contractors' efforts locally and internationally. "We're members of Ontario Demolition Contractors, the Environmental Abatement Council of Ontario, the National Demolition Association and the Toronto Construction Association," elaborates Robin.
Today PDI performs a majority of services in house with a vast supply of equipment, experience and capabilities. The company owns a large fleet of specialized equipment, such as excavators, dozers, cranes, crushers, trucks, and other equipment, ensuring its workforce is prepared to handle a job of any size. The intentional integration of specialized equipment and skilled employees enables PDI to process its own demolition materials, offering disposal and recycling services that keep projects green. PDI has become known within the industry for applying top-of-the-line green solutions and is capable of meeting LEED certification. “My father has been recycling and salvaging for a long time, before it became mandatory, so we are good at it!” explains Robin.
PDI continues to build strong relationships in every aspect of the business, including with clients, employees, suppliers and contractors. These strong networks are keeping PDI ahead of the competition by reinforcing and distributing the company’s outstanding reputation for innovation and integrity. Most important for the second-generation company, however, is the fact that Priestly Demolition Inc. remains a family business operating with family strong values and solid roots.