Volume 12 | Issue 1 | Year 2009

While the construction industry has had its ups and downs there’s still a need for structural steel systems to support the building of commercial and industrial properties, because steel not only is more cost-effective to use, but provides more in the way of endurance and stability. But more than the steel itself is the way in which it is fabricated and for this Canadian builders and contractors look to Collins Industries Ltd., which has supplied the framework for buildings for more than 25 years.
Collins Industries Ltd. was founded in 1984 by Paul Collins. Starting with only three employees, Collins has grown to almost 100 employees, and is constantly expanding and changing to keep up with the demands of the steel industry.

A leader in the structural steel industry, Collins Industries Ltd. fabricates up to 1,200 tons of steel per month, and has one of the fastest production and turn around times in the industry. Located on the east side of Edmonton, Collins Industries Ltd. has easy access to major highways allowing for convenient transportation of products all over Western Canada, and even as far as Russia.

Enabling the company to retain its successful position is its ISO: 9001:2000 certification as well as sophisticated, state-of-the-art processes and technologies, including Tekla Structures (previously X-Steel) software to provide fast service.

Because of its range of industry expertise, the company has been privileged to work with many customers in the industrial, commercial, and institutional markets; on the industrial end these include EPCO, Weyerhaeuser, Petro Canada, Sherrit, ATCO Gas, Siemens Opti and Shell Oil, among others. On the commercial side Collins has supplied companies such as IKEA, Walmart, Home Depot, and Sobey’s Warehouse, and on the institutional, it has supported the Shaw Conference Centre, College Plaza, Edmonton, and the Chinook Centre, Calgary.

The structural steel industry continually touts structural steel framing as a money saver in building construction – into the hundreds of thousands of dollars – as compared with a typical concrete system, even though steel prices have been on the rise. However, just as the price of steel has increased, cost increases in other materials are a reality. The upshot is that today steel framing continues to offer approximately a 5 percent cost savings over other building materials.

According to the American Institute of Steel Construction, the single most important factor for managing not only the cost of the structural steel package, but the overall value that can be obtained from utilizing structural steel is the early involvement of the structural steel fabricator. The structural steel fabricator is the construction professional most acquainted with the value implications of design decisions, material availability, costing paradigms and process optimization. Projects where the fabricator is engaged early recognize that structural steel is not a commodity and benefit directly from the fabricator’s expertise.

Today’s design and construction marketplace demands the wise selection of the project framing system and the proper management of the process of acquiring that system, according to the Institute. Fabricated structural steel systems provide both the material and the industry expertise to bring the greatest possible value to any building project.

From the production of steel, to its fabrication and use in construction applications, the industry has endeavored over the last several years to make a difference to the environment. Involved in recycling and reuse initiatives since the turn of the century, the steel industry has reduced its energy consumption on several steel processes and its CO2 emission by more than 20 percent since 1990. The steel industry’s commitments are real, measurable and worldwide and the hope is that architects and engineers will fully utilize these resources to build greener buildings.

Collins not only prides itself on its environmental initiatives but it also excels in other ways. For example, the company maintains an extensive mentoring and apprenticeship program. Opportunities to train new talent in welding, steel fabricating, and iron working gives Collins an upper edge by having quality staff, and one of the best apprenticeship programs in Western Canada.

Such talent has enabled the company to garner several awards; among these are the 2005 CISC Alberta Steel Design Award for the most effective and innovative use of structural steel and the 2003 CISC Alberta Steel Design Award for the Shaw Conference Center Hall D Expansion.

Inside the company’s 25,000-square-foot plant on five acres, Collins maintains a paint shop with a monorail system to receive steel from other areas of the plant, as well as four 5-ton cranes, plus a transfer table to move completed projects to the loading area. The company also has six loading bays with a 10-ton crane handling all incoming raw material and outgoing fabricated steel.

Along with these and other capabilities, Collins employs a drafting department consisting of 14 draftsmen, with plans to expand that number. Its drafting office takes a proactive approach to produce quality products for customers, as well as creating a positive work environment. The company also participates with the University of Alberta’s Co-Op Programs by hiring students from the engineering faculties.

In addition to its ISO certification, the company’s credentials include Canadian Welding Bureau CSA Standard W47.1, Division 2.1; Certification of Recognition: PIR (Partnerships in Health & Safety); Member of CISC (Canadian Institute for Steel Construction.)

To help in the field, Collins Industries has partnerships with the following field erecting companies:

  • Island Industries, maintaining a strong working relationship for 15 years;
  • Danco Erectors, working with this company for more than 10 years;
  • Sierra Fabrication, also for more than 10 years. Sierra mostly erects the miscellaneous steel for Collins’ projects.

The company’s field installation crews exhibit proactive safety practices and seek to follow the regulations of Occupational Health & Safety.

In this way Collins Industries assures its customers of both a safe construction project and a solidly constructed building – something that will last, much in the same way as Collins Industries.

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