Sprint Insight Inc.: Taking Risks and Going Green

Total responsibility: That is what mechanical design and construction firm Sprint Insight Inc. (SI) undertakes with every client for every project. And the company takes its responsibilities seriously, proudly providing clients around the greater Toronto area with quality products that are delivered on time and on budget.

“We work really hard to make our customers happy,” explains President Albert Salvatore, who also serves as chair of the Mechanical Contractors Association of Toronto and as the current chairman of the Trade Contractors’ Division of the Toronto Construction Association. “We offer a wide range of mechanical expertise that simplifies things for the customer and the construction process. But what makes us different from many of our competitors is our design-build capabilities. We have a lot of experience working on design-build projects and it isn’t something that just any company can do well.”

Founded in 1988, SI now provides its decades of expertise and mechanical services throughout both Toronto and Alberta. A full-service firm holding comprehensive capabilities, SI is in a constant state of growth and diversification, and draws on in-house engineering to assist with design-build projects, as well as to provide a source of knowledge for the bid-spec side of contracting.

Thinking Big with Public-Private Partnerships

Though SI has always been active in the public arena, the firm has recently entered the world of public-private partnerships, also known as P3 projects. The Shops of Don Mills and the Mississauga Transit projects were SI’s springboard into the larger P3 arena, and from the province's standpoint the P3 system is a way to affordably develop infrastructure by externalizing risk, effectively outsourcing both major construction and maintenance jobs to firms willing to assume the risk of a contract with rigid term and no room for compensation in the event of a major disruption to that service. The system ensures a steady budget for the taxpayers and creates opportunity for companies willing to assume that risk. For firms, the P3 system offers opportunity.

“P3 is a really fast growing part of the market right now across the board,” says Salvatore. “As a full-service mechanical contractor, we have always been active in the institutional market, but the P3 system enables us to land bigger jobs with a more long-term commitment from the province.”

A long-term commitment from a firm like SI can contribute to great positive change in infrastructure. “We have been working at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, which is a redevelopment project,” says Salvatore. The redevelopment of Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital is transforming downtown Ontario. The old building was demolished in 2010, and the three buildings constructed in 2011 are undergoing final finishing and commissioning. When finished in 2012, this development will form a hub with buildings, streets, new shops and open spaces that integrate within a revitalized urban community.

“It’s also a design-build and P3 project that has been designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, making the new center the third in the province to achieve LEED Gold in the health care field,” says Salvatore. The new center is estimated to cost $293 million, with $40 million awarded to SI for mechanical systems.

“It’s a very complex system we will be putting together, as all of the three new buildings being built will be connected through a network of underground tunnels,” explains Salvatore. “We will be working on the Gateway Building, the International Wellness Center, as well as the Utilities and Parking Building, which will begin being built once the demolition of the existing administration building has been completed.”

Sustainable design has become a reoccurring component of SI’s portfolio; for example, the Fengate office building in Oakville was a project originally designed as LEED Silver, but one that SI managed to deliver as LEED Gold.

SI sees the P3 sector continuing to be fruitful. The company was recently awarded another P3 project, the St. Thomas Consolidated Courthouse, which will be a joint venture with E.S. Fox Ltd. This project design and demolition have been underway, with new construction slated for fall 2011.

Proudly Building for the Province

Over the years, the firm has been a part of some other major infrastructural development projects in Toronto, including a facility for a certain National Hockey League team. “We did all of the mechanical work at the MasterCard Centre for Hockey Excellence, where the Maple Leafs train,” says Salvatore. In addition to the Olympic-size ice rink and three NHL-sized rinks, the facility includes a medical treatment room for physiotherapy and athlete recovery that includes a therapy pool, three hot tubs, a steam room, medical examination room, and a polar plunge pool along with meeting rooms and a restaurant.

In the coming years, the firm will continue to think big – and green. In addition to pursuing more P3 projects, Salvatore expects to bring the firm's expertise and experience to more LEED-certified and sustainable design projects, while sticking to its guiding principle of taking total responsibility that has established Sprint Insight Inc. as a preferred partner and a continuous success.