Richmond Terrace: A Testament to Conscientiously Constructed Care

The Richmond Terrace Long Term Care (LTC) Home (Richmond Terrace), located in historic Amherstburg, Ontario, provides an invaluable service to over 200 of the province’s senior citizen. In 2012, however, it became clear that it was in need of an upgrade. To facilitate the task of a modern, significantly more user-friendly environment for its senior residents, Richmond Terrace brought on DeAngelis Construction Inc. (DeAngelis) as general contractor on the $14 million renovation project, which is projected for completion in late winter/early spring of 2014.

DeAngelis came with extensive institutional sector construction experience as a longtime full-service general contractor, active in Ontario since its 1966 founding by Frank De Angelis, and executive management assigned the project administration of delivering a tremendous new facility to trusted team members Steve Rambajan and William LaBel, who have 25 and 20 years experience in the industry, respectively.

Interior and Exterior Upgrades

Rambajan explains that the upgrade is pretty straightforward work for DeAngelis in terms of overall design, but only because the company is exceedingly familiar with local codes and restrictions, having worked extensively to Ontario Building Code and in line with Ontario’s municipal processes. For example, the Richmond Terrace project requires several access upgrades due to recently passed legislation, a fact DeAngelis was able to quickly identify and implement thanks to the company’s generous experience and amassed knowledge as a competitively prices, schedule-focused general contractor.

In total, new construction – done to comply with LEED standards – will amount to 130,445 square feet. The team is building several new rooms, offering 128 new beds at Richmond Terrace; together with the existing 115 beds, the facility will ultimately holds 243 residents. The project entails “knocking out both ends [of the existing building], and adding on additions,” explains Rambajan. Several lofts are being constructed to allow for extra sunlight into the interior, and the inner remodel includes a new dining area, kitchen, lounge with fireplace, and activity area.

On the property’s exterior grounds, DeAngelis is revamping the landscaping and adding on 64,500 square feet of planned features, including 44 new parking spots, new walkways and gazebos.

Proof is in the Process

As with all projects, Richmond Terrace requires DeAngelis to carefully schedule, coordinate and supervise the activities of all trade subcontractors, as DeAngelis sets out to be a single-source solutions partner. As a GC in the business for over 40 years, DeAngelis “has guaranteed performance-type trades they we rely on,” says Rambajan. More often than not DeAngelis works with carefully vetted, repeatedly proven strategic partners, but even when that isn’t possible there are no issues. When a project owner pushes to select specific, unfamiliar trades, such as for mechanical work, DeAngelis doesn’t fret thanks to the company’s in-house skill set and wealth of experience in management. “We have a bunch of guys in the company who specialize in different trades,” says Rambajan, explaining that these capabilities mean in-house labor can apply firsthand field experience to quality control in numerous areas throughout the course of construction.

Furthermore, Rambajan has several years experience in mechanical and electrical work and building commissioning – and this background came in handy on Richmond Terrace, which required “significant mechanical upgrades.” On an earlier project, “a pharmaceutical-grade” construction standards structure, Rambajan says, he was “parachuted into the project to make sure the mechanical and electrical guys were performing.” Likewise, on Richmond Terrace, Rambajan will be able to offer insight when necessary.

DeAngelis will also self-perform some of the carpentry trades for Richmond Terrace; however, when working as a general contractor, the company is careful not to overcommit. The company instead prefers to focus on keeping trades on an aggressive, yet achievable, schedule and carefully monitors deliveries, shop drawings and submittals, jobsite conditions, RFIs and consultant coordination. Throughout the project, Rambajan and LeBel are responsible for the aforementioned, as well as keeping up liaisons with the owner and chairing biweekly job meetings.

Satisfaction on the Job

For Rambajan, working as a project manager is a satisfying and rewarding job. “I get to see something form,” he explains. “A grass lot becomes a high-tech facility. How much better can it be than that?” With numerous past projects under his belt, Rambajan says that part of the fun is in driving around the Toronto area and being able to point to a building and say, “I did that, 20 years ago.”

Completing successful, high-end and/or high-tech projects is “a great feeling,” says Rambajan. The reward, he continues, “is in being able to give the owners the key and have them only call you back to say, ‘Hey, how’s it going, Steve?’” In order to be able to end on a good note, Rambajan stresses the importance of good superintendents, who are team members that he says “can sometimes be hard to find.” So when DeAngelis finds good people, it keeps them.

DeAngelis has an impressive portfolio that attracts and keeps good employees. The company serves as both a general contractor and construction manager on institutional, industrial and commercial jobs across Ontario. DeAngelis’ bonding facility enables the company to complete large projects, and design-build (turnkey) projects have become a large part of the business.

The company also retains several in-house capabilities, including the ability to pre-engineer structures (in excess of 80,000 square feet). There is a full-service concrete forming (vertical and horizontal suspended slab work) division for DeAngelis projects and for hire and the company has several licensed masons on staff available for full masonry services, including commercial and specialty masonry work (carved stone installation, cultured stone and flagstone). Core to the company’s activities is the commitment to deliver value through diversity.

Other completed DeAngelis projects in Amherstburg include Amherstburg Gateways, Amherstburg Arena, CDL Recyclers and Rexall drugstore, and every project delivers on the DeAngelis promise to make each job as good as the last. The Richmond Terrace Long Term Care Home will soon be added to the list, and years from now Rambajan and the individuals that worked hard to assure it is a progressive structure with a long life cycle can drive by and proudly say, “I did that.”