* Photo supplied. Hard graft: CatCon field manager Jerry Vandenbroek (left) works alongside carpenter/supervisor Tony Cabral.
* Photo supplied. Hard graft: CatCon field manager Jerry Vandenbroek (left) works alongside carpenter/supervisor Tony Cabral.
What is it you want?

Construction is like a multi-limbed creature with tentacles in commercial, industrial and residential seas - the CatCon Group of Companies, for example.

The CatCon Group undulates amid all three mediums. Its latest works include a service station, communications data centre and housing complex. These were the raw materials that improved existing structures, built new construction or managed the process. Featuring among other projects, large and small, were a classroom block, warehouse and control tower.

Partner-owners Jerry Vandenbroek and Chris Maiato swim within and about a full suite of services.

Mr. Vandenbroek's 35 years-building experience positions him to deal with all of the group's project management and field coordination. Mr. Maiato of the CatCon-acquired, 30-year-old Maiato Enterprises oversees the financial aspects.

With interests in construction, development, services and landscape management, the CatCon Group eyes its world through a multi-faceted lens.

"The construction market is fairly saturated with a number of companies offering competing products and very different price points and very different quality standard," Jerry Vandenbroek said.

Service at a fair price

"Local clients simply want good and prompt service at a fair price... Our aim has been to deliver a quality product at a fair price point to both our clients and us. We have intentionally controlled our expansion and overheads, which has enabled us to pass those efficiencies onto our clients," he said.

Mr. Vandenbroek also noted the bulk material discounts, flexible financing options and payments his firm negotiates in order to increase client savings.

"We are also willing to work with our clients on pricing and design and make recommendations to them on how and where they can save money," he said. "In one recent example, we worked with a client to trim out about 30 per cent of cost from their project while maintaining the quality of the work."

"We see ourselves as a service provider," Mr. Vandenbroek said. "A building or extension is the deliverable product, but the work does not end there, as the building needs to be maintained over the course of its life."

Making that happen is the CatCon Group's 10-plus to upwards of 30 full-time staff and vendors, large and small contractor relationships and overseas specialty trade relationships.

"We prefer to hire local where we can and participate in various government programmes," Mr. Vandenbroek said. "We have leveraged the Hustle Truck Programmes and the social rehabilitation programmes from the corrections system to hire some staff... We will continue to pursue these programmes."

Despite the economic slowdown, the CatCon Group has not found it necessary to lay off staff, and in fact, is experiencing renewed requests for proposals.

"We have recently completed the new school wing at Warwick Academy and are providing site supervision/project management for Don Mackenzie's self-storage warehouse and office building in Pembroke," Mr. Vandenbroek said. "We are also about to start construction on our Crow Lane Lofts project as soon as we have completed engineering and design work. In addition, we are keeping busy with some work for the Housing Corporation and Government of Bermuda."

The CatCon Group doesn't purport to have a specialty.

Commercial and industrial

Mr. Vandenbroek noted: "We are focused on commercial and industrial construction and have been branching into interior fit-outs etc., however, our team has capabilities in a diverse number of areas, so we can tackle almost any project."

The group, which is always striving to improve its performance, readily accepts feedback from clients, architects and other stakeholders.

"We are an open book contractor and are happy to show our clients our costs, profits and overheads so they understand the true cost of construction," Mr. Vandenbroek explained.

Operations manager, Theresa Maiato manages the office for the group, monitors the supply chain and does the ordering and billing.

But it is Giles Christian who manages CatCon's landscape design and maintenance. He's responsible for the trees and plants transplanted while a building's foundation is dug and thereafter until they can be replaced following end of construction at the site.

Mr. Christian uses local weather-tolerant endemics and weed discouraging, water evaporation preventing compost to protect the environment from chemical sprays. He introduces carbon dioxide reducing leafy plants for cleaner air and companion plants to naturally repel pests.

Chives planted under rose bushes, according to Mr. Christian, can stop black spot. And marigolds, such as those that sometimes border sidewalks in the City of Hamilton, help prevent aphids, whitefly and nematodes.

Mr. Vandenbroek noted: "'Green' roofs and surrounding trees lower the 'heat island effect' in urban areas caused by building materials which effectively retain heat... Expanding the 'forest canopy' (planting trees) lowers the amount of heat retained by the building."

So, what is it you want? For more information on the 'safety first' culture for which the multi-limbed CatCon Group has been recognized, call 296-6673 or log onto www.catcongroup.com.