The construction world is a thrilling and fast-paced place. Literally and figuratively, it is ground-breaking territory where problem solving and product development can lead to positive changes around the globe. Despite this however, it can also be a difficult industry to negotiate. With competing businesses constantly striving to excel and dominate, fluctuating markets and the drive within companies to innovate and lead from the front, business decisions can become solely dependent on financial considerations. Unfortunately, the industry can become a case of risk versus benefit. In terms of encouraging positive relationships, community progression and genuine innovation, this is not a particularly good place to come from. It is refreshing then, to see the continuing upward trajectory of Aveiro Constructors Limited, an Ontario based General Contractor working in the ICI sector, that has served the local and international markets for almost forty-five years. It is not hyperbolic to state that this is a company that is focused on creating lasting, impactful projects that will benefit communities and clients alike. Indeed, this attention to ensuring the positive impact of its work is an aspect of the business that has, in addition to the technical skills and business nuance, been passed down through generations.
“Aveiro Constructors has built a vast wealth of experience, being in business for over forty years.”
Victor Aveiro, President of Aveiro Constructors, is rightly proud of both the longevity his company has achieved, and the quality of service it provides for its customers. While Victor acknowledges that it can find itself competing with larger companies on projects, he explains that the flexibility and foundation the company has built ensures that it is more than capable of rivalling these businesses. “Quite often, we are competing against General Contractors that are much larger than us. But we are fortunate enough to have our own operation; we have our own office and shop. We are not renting space so that facilitates us by being able to store equipment and stock. Our competitors don’t necessarily have that, so we are able to be more competitive sometimes because our overhead costs are lower.” In addition to this, Victor states that the reputation his company has earned over time means that it has built partnerships with other companies in the field, something that has enabled Aveiro Constructors to increase its reach across the industry. “Some of the large contracting firms in Ontario will have us join them to help and assist in the design process. Our part would be the design, supply and installation of the steel building. That is our specialty. It is also something that has helped us survive through hard times in our industry. We sometimes have other general contractors that will reach out and, literally, we can do work for our competitors.”
Recognition of the value in working together is something that has been instilled in Victor and is evident throughout the rich history of the company. Aveiro Constructors has built a vast wealth of experience, being in business for over forty years. The company was incorporated in 1976 by Victor’s parents, in partnership with his paternal grandfather. Victor’s parents shared all working aspects of the company, his mother running the accounts while his father worked primarily in the field. “My Dad would have done the estimating and running the jobs while my Mom ran the accounting side and the finances of the business. The two of them were partners.” Given that construction is, sometimes unfairly, seen as primarily a male led industry, this collaborative working model is not necessarily the norm. Refreshingly, it ensured that Aveiro Constructors were working to a progressive and inclusive charter long before such things were commonplace. Initially, the company targeted the residential market, a decision that was not initially successful. The struggled to gain a foothold. However, when Victor’s grandfather retired, his parents acted quickly, pivoting the business towards the area they now excel in; pre-engineered steel work. “They were able to turn it around, switching their model fairly quickly from residential into the commercial sector. They focused on pre-engineered steel building, and we are still very strong in that world.”
Around the time the company was set up, Victor’s father was working on a project that went beyond the technical details of a traditional building. The project, building homes in Chile, still resonates throughout the company and has, in a very tangible sense, influenced the course Victor has taken throughout his own stewardship of the company. “One of the milestone projects of his life is when he went to Chile. It was an emergency response project and, funded by the Canadian government, he built 30 homes in 90 days. That is one of the projects that he did just before he started this business and it kind of put him on the map of doing what he did for the rest of his life.” The reverberations of the project continue to echo through the work being done today. Victor talks in glowing terms about the work Aveiro Constructors did with Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU) to build a thirty-bed shelter for homeless youths in the London, ON area. It is the first building of its kind in Ontario and provides a “low barrier, trauma-informed model of care for youth between the ages of 16 and 24.” The shelter is pet-friendly, with each resident getting their own room. Additionally, six of the rooms are disability accessible. “That project was also kind of groundbreaking in that there is no other emergency use shelter in the London area or in Ontario, that we know of. To be able to make that project a reality was really very nice.” A secondary, but enduring, benefit of working on this project has been the positive relationships built between Aveiro Constructors and its partners, YOU and the architectural firm, A+Link Architecture. “Since then, we’ve been on other projects with them. We have a good relationship together have been invited to bid on other projects that they’ve been involved in.” Despite the impact that COVID has had on the construction industry, Aveiro being no exception to this, the future of the company is a positive one. While the pandemic had resulted in a slight scaling back for the company, there is growing evidence that the strong relationships the company has built, and the flexibility that comes from being a stable and enduring part of the local community, is assisting Aveiro Constructors in navigating uncertain times. “With COVID, we had around a 50% decrease from a bidding and estimating perspective. That made it far more challenging but we managed to keep a few jobs moving.” The future of the company is one that will be based on continuing the tradition of his company, doing the right things for customers and communities alike by playing to its strengths, building relationships and fulfilling promises. For Victor, it is simple. At the end of the day, it is about community and relationships. “We’re fortunate that the staff that are here are experienced. They know what they’re doing here and they are always willing to put the effort in, whatever it needs to be. So now, we are kind of taking more of a team approach. We are pretty lucky. We have good people here that are willing to kind of be part of that team and work together.”