Planning, managing and constructing unique environments

TORCON has been providing design-build construction and contracting services throughout the Greater Toronto Area since 2009. TORCON President Ira Idzkowski started the company after spending 20 years working on specialized construction projects when he decided that the time had come to branch out on his own. TORCON focuses on building and constructing unique environments through the company’s work with a number of high-profile builders and architects.

The Canadian Business Journal spoke with Idzkowski about what it takes to flourish in the high-end design constructing business. “We work with design firms such as Johnson Chou Inc., Cumulus Architects Inc., Colarossi + Associates & others. When we started, our first project was with Grip Limited, which is a full-service ad agency with clients in Toronto and the GTA. Working with Grip was my first project—a complete renovation of a 10,000 square-foot space with Johnson Chou Inc. as our designer, and have since collaborated on multiple projects.”

From Torcon’s inception, a collaborative relationship with Johnson Chou Inc. has been a constant.  Here is an excerpt from  “We are an internationally recognized architecture and design firm dedicated to innovation and excellence in design. Our work is widely published and we have been recipients of many local and international awards. This could not be achieved without the efforts of the team, both in design and construction and Ira of TORCON has been a part of our success.”

Design-build is the company’s core strength, with the portfolio of work at Toronto’s Pearson International being the best example of that. For the past five years TORCON has been an accredited contractor for the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, which means all the work executed by the company is conducted in accordance with safety requirements, applicable legislation, and best practices within the industry. A testament to the aforementioned, is TORCON’s commitment to receive The Certificate of Recognition (CORT) as endorsed by the Canadian Federation of Construction Safety Associations by spring 2017.

TORCON has gathered tremendous momentum with many recent projects, including those for the GTAA, and airport tenants such as CIBC, Relay retail stores, and the new Nuance duty-free stores that are currently under construction. This year the company also completed the Air France/KLM executive lounge. “This was a full design-build project for us, so we hired Johnson Chou to design and we managed the construction for them.” This may sound a little confusing for an outsider, being used to designers hiring construction companies to follow the design, but according to Idzkowski the business simply goes both ways. “If a design build project requires a designer, we will hire a designer of our choosing for this task,” he says.

The company has delivered a multitude of projects over the past decade but Idzkowski has a few that are particularly deeply ingrained in his memory. “Certainly, the Grip Limited project. This was the first large-scale project for TORCON, so I feel a little sentimental about it. I remember it vividly. I was Project Manager, Site Superintendent, Janitor—I did everything because I was the only one working for TORCON at the time,” laughs Idzkowski. “Then the projects started to come in, working on the Red Bull Canada headquarters was a great experience. Also, in 2012 we worked on the sales office for the Sixty Colborne condominium, and Johnson Chou received Project of the Year Award for this project from ARIDO (The Association of Registered Interior Designers of Ontario).”

With such a robust portfolio of well-received and immensely successful projects, Idzkowski plans to take the company to the next level and start using its existing industry know-how as a springboard for exponential growth. So far, TORCON’s growth is at a rate of 50% annually. The company is also starting to prepare to move its location to two new offices and intends to acquire a property that would serve as the company’s new home in the near future.

“We will continue to focus on the commercial projects. Yes, we are in a very competitive field, but we found our niche, and we love that we get to work on such unique projects. Our work is mainly on very high-end commercial spaces, and we are very fortunate that we connected with prestigious designers such as Johnson Chou Inc. In fact, since we started TORCON we have not yet lost a client. It seems our clients are clients forever.” To the question how did TORCON achieve such a remarkable statistic? Idzkowski replies, “we simply treat them better than we treat ourselves. Our maintenance division supports completed, client occupied spaces; with this continued service our clients remain satisfied allowing for existing relationships to thrive.”