Almost fifty years of experience, over seven thousand specialist products, more than fifty awards won, and six offices and warehouses throughout Ontario. These impressive figures are only a small part of what Form and Build Supply contributes to the Ontarian construction industry. The real value that this concrete products supplier brings to its customers is the consistent ability to be a reliable and timely ally. This stems from its owners, management, and staff –a group of people who take great pride in going above and beyond. A second-generation owner, William Ross believes that trustworthy relationships with staff and customers are the core of his company’s steady growth. “We’ve been very fortunate to have a very good team who help the company and our customers mitigate any challenges.”
The company’s proactive and collaborative approach over the years has created valuable relationships with its suppliers. These connections have enabled Form and Build Supply to establish partnerships with companies such as Dow Chemical (now DuPont) and W.R. Meadows. Form and Build Supply specializes in concrete products and concrete-related accessories, such as admixtures, concrete forming systems, reinforcements, sealers, crack repairs, and insulation products. “The way I sum it up is we kind of sell everything almost below grade,” Ross says. “A lot of our customers work on foundations. They do a lot of waterproofing for buildings, which is a big portion of what we do. Our delivery trucks are usually some of the first ones on the job […] because everything that we sell relates to getting a proper foundation built and protected.” In addition to these services, the company also caters for customers in the decorative concrete market, providing colors and antiquing agents, countertop mixes and materials, specialty forms and accessories, texture mats, stamps, and skins.
The history of the company goes back almost half a century, with the early years proving both challenging and formative. Ross’s father launched the business in 1975, visiting various job sites with a simple pickup truck and from day one, he focused on sourcing innovative specialist construction products and techniques. The first turning point was the partnership formed with supplier W.R. Meadows which, at that time, didn’t have a Canadian footprint. This partnership was successful for both companies, introducing W.R. Meadows’ products to the market, while also contributing substantially to Form and Build Supply’s early growth and development. Building on this platform, the company has experienced continued growth and now works from six branches in Mississauga, Kitchener, London, Hamilton, Windsor, and Whitby.
To survive in the construction industry, it is vital to keep an ear to the ground. Keeping abreast of innovative developments and industry needs is key. At Form and Build Supply, staying ahead of technological changes and ensuring it can offer its customer the most specialized product at any given time is a massive aspect of its success. Meg Spindler, Marketing Manager, explains that, by approaching business from a problem-solving approach, the company can consistently meet the client’s needs. “We have a lot of products that don’t go into day-to-day kind of things. But when those kinds of technical changes and challenges happen, we like to be there with the solution. We work with different specialized manufacturers and suppliers […] to make sure we have anything for any kind of challenge they [our customers] might have.”
In addition to this, Form and Build Supply’s team works closely with engineers and spec-writers to get the latest feedback from a rapidly changing construction marketplace. This forward-thinking approach has proved both effective and efficient on many occasions, most notably during the COVID-19 pandemic. As steel prices were starting to increase and the supply chain was experiencing delays, construction companies were on the lookout for alternative solutions to meet both budgetary and time constraints. Thanks to its extensive supplier network and deep product knowledge, Form and Build Supply could examine each customers’ individual requirements and suggest viable alternatives, such as a reinforcing fiber mesh to replace rebar and steel. By quickly delivering this innovative, affordable product, Form and Build Supply enabled its customers to complete their projects in time and within budget.
“Form and Build Supply is a company that understands the path to success.”
Over the past 48 years, Form and Build Supply has provided materials for a wide variety of construction projects. Understandably, it has worked on several high-profile projects. For example, the company worked on the refurbishment of the Darlington nuclear power plant and the building of numerous hospitals. One of the most remarkable was the Gordie Howe Bridge in Windsor. This new structure, built across the Detroit River, will connect Detroit and Windsor by linking Interstate 75 in Michigan with Highway 401 in Ontario. For Ross, the company’s involvement is hugely significant. “It is slated to be completed in 2025/ 2026. [We are] so very proud to be supplying material on such a large, symbolic job from both a Canadian and US perspective,” he says.
With key industry knowledge and strong relationships across the sector, Form and Build Supply is in a very good position. These factors ensure that its clients can rely on the company to come through, regardless of the requirements. Not only that, but it enables Form and Build Supply to identify, source and secure materials and services with minimal delay. This level of customer service means clients receive a speed of delivery that is second to none and is something that makes the company truly stand out. Not only that, but Ross believes that there is another, equally important factor that contributes hugely to the company’s responsiveness: its staff. “We will oftentimes get a customer call at 4:00 pm on a Tuesday, saying [they] need a truckload of material by 7:00 am tomorrow. We will get that truck ready, get it loaded up the night before, and have somebody out the next day. It reflects the commitment of our team.”
To put this in perspective, Ross and Spindler believe that the company can attribute its success to its staff, saying that it may never have achieved such great results without them. For example, the Whitby branch which opened in 2022 is a clear example of the team’s dedication and commitment. “From the people in sales to high-level managers, [we] were all involved in figuring out what was going to work for Whitby. We had some great conversations at all levels, which really contributed to having succeeded in the way that it has,” says Spindler.
Form and Build Supply is a company that understands the path to success. By creating a collaborative and cooperative working environment, staff will thrive and the company will succeed. Ross believes that initiatives such as the employee profit-sharing program means that everybody is both an active contributor to, and beneficiary of, the company’s success. “We’re proud we have fairly low turnover compared to other companies in our industry. I think [that’s because] people appreciate the culture,” says Ross. However, in some ways being part of the Form and Build Supply’s team is more like being a member of a community. As Spindler explains, the company takes huge pride in its staff and invests heavily in supporting staff members. “Whether it’s overcoming a problem or celebrating something, we created a close-knit group across all six of our branches, which is unique. Nobody stands alone because they know they have resources.” To emphasize this point, Ross adds, “There’s a lot of coordination going on between six branches and our employees treat one another with respect, as equals, and it just makes our job a lot easier.”
The company’s solid entrepreneurial vision and commitment to excellent customer service have earned Form and Build Supply several awards. The primary example is the Contractor Specialist Retailer Award, a category of the Outstanding Retailer Awards (ORA), which the company won in 2018. After opening its latest branch in Whitby last year, Form and Build Supply is keen on expanding the team with new talented staff members and growing its footprint in Ontario. In 2025 the company will celebrate its 50th anniversary. While looking forward to celebrating this important milestone, Ross and his team are always ready to take on new challenges. “We don’t have any specific plans at this point for a new branch, but we are always on the lookout for new opportunities.”