Bassi Construction started doing masonry in Ottawa more than 50 years ago and has since grown to encompass a number of divisions while accumulating a client list that includes some of Canada’s top real estate companies.
“We want to have controlled growth and make sure we have the right team in place first and then diversify into other markets,” said chief operating officer Albert Celli, who was managing director of Halsall’s Ottawa and Sudbury offices for 18 years before he joined Bassi in 2014.
“We’re happy in the sector that we’re in and are always looking for new clients after building up trust.”
A one-stop construction shop
Bassi has become a one-stop shop that provides new construction, renovations, restoration work, construction management and, most recently, fire and flood remediation services. It initially established relationships with real estate companies including Morguard, Bentall Kennedy, GWL Realty Advisors and District Realty through doing commercial fit-ups, including lobbies, corridors, washrooms and amenity spaces.
About 80 per cent of Bassi’s business comes from word-of-mouth recommendations, which Celli credits with having brought more retail, institutional and residential projects to the company.
“The spinoff from that was not only did we work on the inside of the building, we started providing restoration construction services, which deals with bricks and mortar, windows, parking garages, balconies, cladding and that sort of stuff,” said Celli.
Sun Life Financial Centre
“Most of the commercial work is behind the scenes where we’re doing fit-ups from $2 million to $5 million for lawyers and class-A office space,” said Celli.
“The big one in Ottawa I’m working on now as a construction manager is a $13 million modernization of the Sun Life Financial Centre. There are two buildings with two lobbies and an atrium that’s being gutted and modernized to compete with the new class-A building stock in Ottawa.”
A component of the work in the lobby of Sun Life building is in preparation for Parliament Station, a stop on the the city’s light rail transit system called the Confederation Line.
Bassi opened a Toronto office a few years ago, where much of its work is as a preferred contractor for Regus, a multinational corporation that provides executive office space, meeting rooms and business lounges to clients. Bassi has also done work in the Maritimes.
Out-of-town condo developers
The respect that Bassi has earned from national clients in Ottawa has resulted in out-of-town condo developers coming to the nation’s capital and enlisting its services.
Bassi has been responsible for building the SoHo Parkway, SoHo Lisgar and SoHo Champagne condominiums in Ottawa, and will also work on the upcoming SoHo Italia condo, for luxury hotel and condo developer Mastercraft Starwood.
Bassi recently hired Jordan Bianconi, who worked in national investment services for Colliers International in Ottawa for seven years, as its director of business development and real estate. His role is to generate more new business and act as a real estate advisor.
Full service emergency solutions
Some of that business should come from Bassi’s new fire and flood remediation and restoration division, according to Bianconi.
“We saw an opportunity to help mitigate clients’ risk and concerns, as we have all the in-house capabilities to assist clients with these kinds of issues. What is unique about this division is, unlike our competition in this sector, we were a construction company first, so we don’t just come in and clean up and then leave our client to hire another contractor.
“You would deal with our company to take care of the whole process, from clean-up to restoration and/or redevelopment. It’s less of a hassle for the owners, as they only have to deal with one company rather than many through the process. We have in-house engineers, architects and technicians. We allow for a smooth process.”