EllisDon Construction, a name synonymous with quality and innovation in the construction industry, has been on a transformative journey since its inception in 1951. Hammad Chaudhry, VP, Innovation & Construction Technology at EllisDon, sheds light on the company’s storied history, its mission, and how the adoption of the cmBuilder platform has revolutionized their project planning and execution workflows in a recent interview with cmBuilder.
Founded by brothers Don and David Ellis Smith in London, Ontario, EllisDon has evolved from a general contracting firm to a global leader in construction services, providing a plethora of solutions to clients across various industries. The company’s mission is to alleviate risk for their clients, diversifying their offerings from construction management, design-build, and building operations to innovative solutions such as the EllisDon Capital Group and Energy and Digital Services. “The history of EllisDon and the mission of the business is essentially to take risk away from our clients,” explains Chaudhry.
In his new role as VP of Innovation and Construction Technology, Chaudhry is poised to propel EllisDon into the future, leveraging technology to enhance sustainability, innovation, and the quality of services delivered. “My biggest aspiration is to continue taking EllisDon into the next decade and forward, especially now that construction technology is finding quite a footing within the venture capital community,” he says.
“cmBuilder has allowed us at EllisDon to actually use that technology to solve the use case of 4D planning and sequencing, especially on jobs where traditionally we’ve not been able to do so.”
- Hammad Chaudhry - VP, Innovation & Construction Technology at EllisDon Corp.
Reflecting on the changes in project delivery over the past decade, Chaudhry acknowledges the advancements in technology such as drones, 3D scanning, and Building Information Modeling (BIM), yet he emphasizes the need for a societal shift in how work is procured. “It’s both like we’ve progressed, but at the same time we haven’t,” he notes the industry has in fact had the tools and processes in place for quite some time, underscoring the necessity for a collective effort to push the industry forward.
Looking ahead to the future, Chaudhry predicts that AI will continue to play a significant role in the construction industry, but he also highlights the importance of fostering a Canadian ecosystem for construction technology and attracting young talent to drive innovation. “The biggest technology trends are going to go back to mechanisms that we employ to procure work and also to incentivize the creation of IP,” he asserts.
When it comes to site logistics and planning, tools like cmBuilder have proven to be invaluable for EllisDon. “The largest value drivers are being able to get that information to the actual stakeholders. That’s where tools like cmBuilder, when implemented strategically, can have the most benefit for everybody involved,” Chaudhry explains.
EllisDon’s adoption of cmBuilder has dramatically reduced the adoption curve and time to delivery for 4D modeling, enabling the team to deploy the tool on projects where it would have been otherwise impractical. “cmBuilder has allowed us at EllisDon to actually use that technology to solve the use case of 4D planning and sequencing, especially on jobs where traditionally we’ve not been able to do so,” says Chaudhry.
With EllisDon’s well-known prominence you might think they could rest on their laurels and leverage their brand to continue their growth trajectory, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, led by Chaudhry and his mentor and team leader Brandon Milner, SVP, Data and Digital Engineering, EllisDon is doubling down! With the recent introduction of the EllisDon Accelerator and technology pilot programs, EllisDon is able to work with startups and technology vendors to provide meaningful access to key personnel and market insights to help further development of the tech, while also benefitting from the efficiency gains that come with adopting these platforms into their business. It’s a true win-win.
EllisDon’s journey from a humble general contracting firm to a global construction powerhouse is a testament to their commitment to innovation, the development of long-lasting partnerships and a focus on risk mitigation for their clients. The results gained from the adoption of cmBuilder is only but one example of how EllisDon is benefitting from the implementation of cutting-edge technologies across their operations. Chaudhry noted other emerging technology providers such as Fieldwire and Timescapes as a part of their Contech partnerships are supporting EllisDon in their pursuit of setting a new standard for construction technology across the industry. As EllisDon continues to embrace technology and innovation, the future looks bright for this industry leader, and their story serves as an inspiration for others in the field.