Innovative Approach Leads to Project Success for Engineering Firm

Integrated Sustainability is an employee-owned water infrastructure delivery and operations company with extensive expertise in all aspects of water infrastructure design and execution. They execute projects under a collaborative turn-key delivery model from concept to completion, assuming full risk and accountability for the entire infrastructure development. They are adept at finding new ways to increase efficiencies and reduce costs for their clients by adopting innovative solutions and cutting-edge technology. This transparent “design, build, operate” approach to water infrastructure development helps their customers realize substantial value.

“Our foundation is engineering and consulting services, specializing in industrial infrastructure for water,” says Stuart Torr, president, Integrated Sustainability. “We don’t provide a one-size-fits-all model, but rather a fully-vertical integration of services and customized solutions to meet our customers’ needs. We also try to hold as much accountability as we can because that’s when we can offer the best return on investment for our clients.”


This innovative approach in addition to partnering with Finning for insights on the construction component, work that was previously contracted out, was the basis for addressing an industrial freshwater reservoir project for a major oil and gas company in Alberta. “Integrated Sustainability was looking to lead their own construction, and we were tasked with providing options for a pilot project,” says Jeremy Pautler, Finning sales rep. “What started as a straight rental evolved into a full turn-key solution.” The project involved 19 pieces of equipment from dozers and excavators, to graders fully loaded with 3D grade control and VisionLink technology, as well as a project-dedicated technician to maintain the equipment and on-site fueling, by 4Refuel to maximize uptime. “This was the total package,” said Pautler. “We were able to combine our programs and resources under one contract with a single point of contact to make it easy for them to do business with us.”


“The project really evolved out of Integrated Sustainability’s dedication and strong willingness to adopt new ideas and enter into an absolute partnership,” said Nathan Smith, Heavy Rents for Finning. “Their extensive knowledge and technology expertise on the design and engineering side gave them the motivation and confidence to move forward, trust in our expertise on the equipment side, and take that next step of executing on what they are creating.” Gary Smolik, manager of construction for Integrated Sustainability was tasked with overseeing the pilot project. “I went to Finning because I like Caterpillar, and I know the product, service, and capability they can provide,” says Smolik. “But when we found out what the technology offer was and what it had the capacity to do, combined with having our maintenance and cost concerns addressed, it was a winning combination.”


According to Torr, they were able to action this new solution because everything came together at the right time. “We had always envisioned we would fulfil the entire extent of the design build model,” says Torr. “We were looking at where we could make the delivery and service offering better and where we had the opportunity to integrate all services to be able to provide increased certainty, a better product, and a better schedule. With Finning, we had people across the table as driven and excited as we were. There was an obvious connection between the two teams and we were both motivated by innovation. Finning wanted nothing more than to demonstrate the finest capability of their equipment, and we wanted to drive that equipment to its greatest efficiency so we could provide a better outcome.

Proof is in the results, and in this case, they speak volumes. “The 3D grade control gave us the capability to go to the final grade right out of the gate, allowing us to execute in a reduced time frame and accelerate our earthworks, completing the work in days versus weeks,” says Smolik. “The software also allowed us to see data in the moment, cycle times, and payload and make real time decisions with no loss in production. It allowed me to provide updates with actual, current production numbers; we were able to measure actual costs, so we knew we were on budget.” Integrated Sustainability used the online reporting data and remote fleet monitoring extensively which gave them another big advantage, as they could remotely manage the project. Not having to be on-site also allowed them to work on multiple projects simultaneously and Finning took care of the on-site technical needs for maximum equipment performance. “Finning oversaw the fleet management piece, making sure we kept the iron working, handling all repairs and maintenance, on-time services like fueling and oil sampling, and swapping out machines when we needed to maximize uptime,” said Smith.


Having the ability to oversee the entire project from design to construction and having sole accountability for every decision allowed Integrated Sustainability to accelerate project deliverables and manage weather delays and resources effectively to increase their efficiencies. “In this case, one of the largest oil and gas operators in Alberta came to the realization that this type of delivery, putting sole accountability into the hands of the specialists, worked extremely well for them,” said Torr. “We were in daily contact with the customer on an information basis, and they loved the fact they could go online to see the facility being constructed in front of them. By choosing a hands-off approach, they were able to manage a broader portfolio of work, while knowing the project was executed with utmost efficiency.”

According to Torr, “Because we were working on a lump sum price and using real-time data, every day we were looking for ways to improve and reduce costs. We were confident in the project, based on our previous experience, and we knew we could do it cheaper than market prices. We set ourselves some pretty bold goals and achieved them.”

Technology was a huge enabler for this project, but the key was the collaborative effort that showed how much potential there is when you open the door to new possibilities. “This was a true partnership,” said Pautler. “The trust we had in each other from the start made it extremely easy to work together.” According to Torr, it was the perfect blend of expertise. “Finning understands the equipment and how to drive efficiency, and by utilizing our areas of knowledge and expertise, we were able to lean on each other in the appropriate way. Anytime we are successful in delivering on a project and getting the customer value for ingenuity and innovation, it is extremely rewarding.”