Gardon Construction developing innovative solution for jobsite realities

April 1, 2022

Reported BY Build Manitoba 2020 Summer Edition

Jeff Olafson and his team at Gardon Construction are turning this pressure cooker pandemic into one of innovative possibilities. The general contractor is hard at work creating a solution that could solve long-term jobsite challenges.

"Everyone is trying to find a solution, innovation is everywhere," says Olafson, Gardon's CEO, explaining that the high cost and high demand for sanitation equipment, disrupted cash flows and rapidly changing health and safety protocols were driving factors in researching new realities.

"We had to lay off about 70 per cent of our staff within the first month, the month of March, due to public and customer concerns with COVID-19," Olafson explains, adding that he immediately started thinking about how to get people back to work. Re-thinking how to improve safety on the jobsite, while focusing on instilling public confidence with owners, clients, consultants and subtrades in this new pandemic environment became Gardon Construction's focus.

"We started looking at our assets - our temporary jobsite trailers, our jobsite washrooms, our PPE requirements, everything. We were seeing gaps that needed immediate solutions. The portable toilet industry had assets available, but they were in limited quantity because of high demand, as well as coming in at such a great premium," explains Olafson. "So, we went back to our files and found our solution."

Back in 2013, Gardon converted three recycled shipping containers into washrooms for Assiniboine Park Conservancy. Since they had technical experience in ISBU container conversions, they were confident they would be able to apply those techniques to their current prototype.

The re-imagined design, a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is in its final stages and will be a solution for the construction industry.

"If this is a solution for Gardon, then it can be a solution for industry."

The prototype will have enhanced sanitation features, with onboard hot water supply and storage, along with an added sterilization system to address decontamination. According to Olafson, these solutions will be required for the industry going forward and will meet the requirements of enhanced public health bylaws and workplace safety regulations. Gardon Construction is hoping for a mid-June reveal and is excited about future possibilities.

"We have been in discussions with a leading Canadian manufacturer, which could help scale the production of our prototype, making the units available to not only Manitobans, but to an entire North American marketplace. An exciting opportunity that we hope solidifies," says Olafson.

Though Olafson won't spill all the beans on the innovation's features and how it'll solve many jobsite concerns, but he is certain that these enhancements will improve the sanitation and sterilization demands that will be required on jobsites, an issue that he says has been overlooked in the industry for decades.

"The truth about our new world is that we're not going back to where we were," he says. "Our post-pandemic world has changed that and changed it for the better."

GCL News Room April 2022

 


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