A willingness to take on higher margin jobs has allowed TurnKey Site Solutions to lay its foundation in Ontario’s drilling and shoring business.
Matthew Over, president of TurnKey Site Solutions, started his career in construction at age 16. The beginning of his career focused more on the excavation side of the business. However, his career focus would shift, when he began hearing about the need for shoring contractors in the Greater Toronto Area.
“I kept hearing shoring is more lucrative. No one really wanted to do the small, tight access jobs, like in a backyard or inside a factory,” Over said.
“Some of the jobs were taking us two days just to set up and get all the stuff to the location where we had to drill and shore.”
In 2012, after frequently renting drill rigs to complete the task at hand, Over decided to purchase his first machine and established TurnKey Site Solutions, based in North York, Ontario.
“I never looked back. We now have six drills in the fleet and about 70 people working for me,” Over said.
TurnKey Site Solutions has now built a name for itself as a drilling contractor for residential work, low headroom jobs, sewer and watermain work, as well as high mast light poles.
“Those are my favourite. If we do a sports field, we dig 25 holes in a day,” Over said.
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TurnKey Site Solutions also takes a different approach to contracting, according to Over. The company owns all of its own floats and service equipment, and its director of construction Fernando Marques draws upon previous experience in the pool business to orchestrate jobsites.
“We actually run our business slightly differently than a traditional big shoring contractor,” Over said. “One-week or two-week jobs we’ll do better than anyone else in the province.”
Weapon of choice
The go-to drill rigs for TurnKey Site Solutions are the company’s three Geax machines.
“They are weapons. These things are rock stars from every aspect,” Over said. “The drill speed is much greater and I can switch between gears for different types of soils. We’ll drill in third gear until I hit some tough ground and then switch out.”
Geax, based in Italy, began designing and manufacturing drilling machinery in 2006.
The company was founded by Adriano Pesatesi, who has worked as a design engineer for drilling companies since the 1980s. The creation of Geax aimed to produce drilling machines that are structurally innovative, compact and easy to use.
In 2003, Pesatesi began operating drill rigs, in order to focus on the needs of operators, as well as test his new designs. He was then able to combine his design experience with on-site testing to develop the Geax line of drills.
Today, Geax drilling machines are distinguished by their compact size, and ability to work in tight spaces. However, the machines are just starting to build a reputation in Canada.
“They’re huge in Europe and most of our technology comes from Europe, as they mastered shoring in tight access,” Over said.
Largest fleet in North America
Over owns two Geax DTC80s and the smaller DTC30, which he purchased from Selix Equipment. With a third DTC80 ordered, TurnKey Site Solutions now operates the largest fleet of Geax machines in North America.
“As Toronto keeps growing, the population density grows and we try to get more out of every property. The demand for shoring keeps growing,” Over said.
The Geax DTC80
The DTC80 is built off of a 24 tonne Hitachi Zaxis 160 LC-3 and features a 123 hp Isuzu engine.
Built for foundation piles and water wells, the machine delivers a maximum pile depth of 31 metres and a maximum pile width of 1.5 metres.
The machine is equipped with an interlocking Kelly bar of round cross section.
The supporting boom is lengthened to operate in a variety of working conditions and adapt to on-site situations.
To reduce set up time, The DTC80 features independent movement for the vertical alignment of the tower. As well, the mast can be positioned to lower the machine’s level of gravity for moving around on site.
The Geax DTC30
The 9 tonne, 198 cm wide DTC30 features a Eurocomach 500 ZT as its base and is powered by a 50 hp Kubota engine. The machine features a minimum working height of 4 metres (without a jib) and can tackle a maximum pile depth of 15 metres and a maximum pile diameter of 80 cm.
The drill rig design is based on a monolithic steel structure where the telescopic bars rotate. This provides more visibility and positioning freedom, thanks to the arm structure.
Over added the technology and after-sales support provided through Geax and Selix for his machines is second to none.
“If it’s a smaller part I need, they’ll courier it to me no questions asked. I can have parts in three or four days from Italy,” Over said. “With other suppliers in Italy, I’m waiting months.”
With the fourth Geax machine on order, Over expects TurnKey Site Solutions will continue to grow. In 2018, the company completed 152 drilling jobs and this year he hopes to break 200. However, with 600 drilling requests received this year, there’s room to grow the business.
“But I’m more concerned with quality control and safety. That’s what I care about the most,” Over said. “If you do a perfect job, they’ll hire you back, and about 80 per cent of our clients are repeat clients.”