From its beginnings in 1989 serving the Windsor area with industrial expansions for the automotive sector, Con-Tact Masonry Ltd. has grown to a provider of all facets of masonry work, including restoration and on projects including ICI and high-rise residential throughout southern Ontario.
Estimator Andrew Wasilewski says the company’s move from strictly automotive projects began in the 90s. Its evolving capabilities included hospitals, schools, high-rise residential and retail centres. “Today, we cover all types of masonry including structural load bearing masonry systems, brick and stone veneers, thin set masonry claddings, restoration and heritage masonry.”
Con-Tact has contributed to several notable projects including Western University’s New Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing in London and the Dr. David Suzuki School for the Greater Essex County District School Board in Windsor. “This was the first and only LEED Platinum school in Canada, and was the province-wide winner in the Ontario Masonry Design Awards (OMDA) 2014 Environmental Design category,” Wasilewski said.
Con-Tact worked on St. Anne Catholic High School in Lakeshore, which Wasilewski says is a flagship school for the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board. This project was also recognized with an award as the Southwestern Ontario winner of the 2010 Ontario Masonry Design Awards in both the Architectural and Structural Institutional Design categories.
The company also took part in the Zekelman Residence in Lakeshore. “Here, the entire exterior veneer, soffits, and copings of this 20,000 sq. ft. residence consisted of mechanically fastened polished and rock-faced limestone sourced from the Owen Sound region of Ontario.”
Other notable projects include the Windsor Family Aquatic Centre, Windsor Family Credit Union (WFCU), Bellewood Public School and St. Joseph’s Catholic High School.
Wasilewski says Con-Tact works closely with owners, developers, engineers and architects from the beginning of the project through to completion to ensure a smooth process. “We have always taken a proactive role in helping consultants and general contractors solve unforeseen problems and accelerating schedules to help with early project completion.”
He says safety is of paramount concern at all times and all employees, not just the foreman, are encouraged to be observant of all surroundings and bring any potential safety concerns to light.
As with many industry sectors, Con-Tact understands the significance of the forecasted labour shortage. In response, Wasilewski says the company began discussions a few years ago with the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board about implementing a new curriculum with a focus on skilled trades education and in which students could take classes studying the technical and hands-on aspects of the masonry industry.
“The result was a collaboration with the school board, the Ontario Masonry Contractors Association, and ourselves in establishing a first of its kind pilot program in Canada at F.J. Brennan Catholic High School to introduce the masonry trade to students in the middle and secondary school system.”
He says the program covers both technical and hands-on education in the masonry trade for full school credit and upon graduation, the students will be certified in the completion of Level 1 masonry apprenticeship.