Graham’s Collaborative Culture Key to P3 Success
Graham, an employee-owned company founded more than 90 years ago in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan has become a major player in public private partnerships (P3s), completing large infrastructure projects across Canada.
Canada is facing a crisis of inadequate or failing public infrastructure — with a limited ability to address even the most pressing needs. As a result, more Canadian governments are using P3s to make strategic investments in schools, hospitals, and transportation infrastructure that achieve efficiencies and foster innovation.
“There are many public benefits to P3s, not least of which is having the private sector manage a majority of the risks on a project,” says Adam Burk, Vice President of Investments at Graham Capital , a subsidiary of Graham. “We’re firm proponents of the P3 model, as it fits with the collaborative culture we practice at Graham.”
Building truly collaborative partnerships
One of Canada’s largest and most respected construction companies, Graham has a long track record of success — starting out in 1926 building railway stations for Canadian Pacific. Now a geographically diverse organization with roughly 1,200 full-time employees and a presence throughout Canada and the U.S., Graham is divided into four main operating divisions: Industrial, Buildings, Infrastructure, and the newest addition, the Development and Strategic Investing (DSI) Group — also known as Graham Capital.
Founded in 2008 and with offices in Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver, the DSI Group is responsible for leveraging the experience of the company’s other three divisions in the development and financing of P3 initiatives.
“At Graham we work in conjunction with our partners on the construction side to provide a full solution,” says Burk. “We’re able to handle every aspect of a P3 project from pre-construction to financial close and then right through construction and operations.”
Building a unique P3 offering
Graham views the P3 delivery method as a way of maximizing certainty and minimizing risks for government clients. With deep experience in all aspects of construction and a variety of available financing options, Graham serves as a risk manager for the entire lifecycle of a project, including financing. Graham’s unmatched expertise translates to guaranteed costs, quality, and scheduling, beginning at the planning stage and extending throughout the project’s operating life.
“Our job is to understand and deliver on the client’s requirements, while being proactive in developing solutions that meet those needs,” says Burk. “At the same time, we have very strong banking partnerships and are driven to make a return for unitholders, while always fostering the collaborative culture and sense of shared responsibility that is the hallmark of ‘the Graham Way’.”
Building the Regina Bypass
Perhaps nowhere has “the Graham Way” been more apparent or beneficial than in the current $1.88 billion Regina Bypass infrastructure project. It is the first transportation infrastructure project in Saskatchewan to be procured using the P3 delivery model, and the largest such project in the province’s history.
Graham Capital led the financing for the Regina Bypass and was highly involved in providing overall strategic direction to the consortium, while Graham’s infrastructure group is one of the lead partners in the JV consortium. As a testament to Graham Capital’s financing approach, the project reached financial close within 60 days of being announced.
“This project has gone so well that our biggest challenge thus far has been the Saskatchewan weather,” says Burk. “In terms of our relationship with the client, the financing, and how construction has been going, it has been a great example of the benefits of a truly collaborative effort."
Scheduled to be completed in October 2019, and currently ahead of schedule, the Regina Bypass is one of five large P3 infrastructure projects being managed simultaneously by Graham. The company’s effective ongoing leadership on this and other projects has only served to strengthen Graham’s reputation as Canada’s leading turnkey P3 solutions provider.