The Lark Group

In a history that dates back nearly 40 years, Lark Group has amassed an extensive portfolio of projects and expertise. The company develops, constructs and manages a wide range of properties, but one of its core strengths is in the area of healthcare facilities. Past projects in this sector in British Columbia include the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, the Port Hardy Hospital Expansion and Ren­ovation, TLC Medical Building in Langley and the CareLife Fleet­wood facilities in Surrey.

“Lark doesn’t just build buildings,” the company says. “We build homes. We build relationships. We build communities. With an extensive resume in care institutional development, Lark is a pro­vincial leader in developing and building senior living communities. We also have built numerous healthcare facilities. Lark offers operational services, account­ing, information systems, marketing strat­egic planning, market research and ad­vertising. Experience and team work help to ensure the success of each community.”

In May 2010, Lark Group continued its excellence in this market segment when it broke ground on the Kinsmen Care Facility in Surrey. This is a 157-bed facility for seniors owned by the Whalley & District Senior Citizens Housing Soc­iety. The 120,000-square-foot facility will have four storeys when it is completed later this year. This new facility will replace the Kinsman Lodge, which was built in 1975.

“The new facility was designed to have mostly individual rooms for residents – there will be only seven shared rooms,” according to Project Manager Nicole Asselin. “It is being built with state-of-the-art technology and electronic monitoring systems.”

‘A Big Asset’

The design/build Kinsmen Care Facility is “right on schedule and coming along well,” Asselin explains, but there were some challenges at the start of the project. The work was in the planning stages in 2008, but the project was put on hold because of funding issues, she notes. Once the project got under way last year, there also were some new challenges when the construction of the facility’s structure was changed.

“The owner decided to change it from being just a concrete structure to use the Hambro system, which is a concrete and steel system with load-bearing walls,” she says. “That challenged the mechanical and plumbing plans, which were already set at that point. We had to alter and customize the plans and add extra layers of drywall so we could meet the fire rating requirements, but we are on track now.”

As the design/build contractor, Lark Group has a $30 million contract for this project and is scheduled to complete its work by the fall. Asselin says the structure is completed, so the team is completing the finishes and the cladding is in progress. The project team still has to perform the architectural concrete work and install and finalize the mechanical and electrical systems.

The project has benefited from “a constant exchange of information” between the owners, Lark and other key members of the project team, Asselin says. Because it is a design/build project, Lark has been refining systems as the project progresses and working to ensure it meets the owner’s operational requests.

“Working with the owner has gone very well, and so has our work with the trades,” Asselin says. “We’ve worked with a number of the key subcontractors in the past, which has been a big asset in developing this project. The mechanical, electrical and structural contractors all provided design/assist expertise, which was certainly an asset when the structural plans were being changed. They were involved from the get-go, which was very helpful.”

Solid Reputation

Lark Group is known in British Col­umbia for its expertise in healthcare construction, but that is not the only area in which it excels. The company also is a developer of office complexes, ice arenas, industrial sites and healthcare facilities, as well as a manager of a diverse real es­tate portfolio. Lark Group is using the design/build method for the construction of the Kinsmen Care Facility, but it also has extensive experience in general contracting and project management. In all sectors of its business Lark Group is proud to have many repeat clients.

“The Lark team is comprised of well-educated, highly trained and talented professionals who have the vision and unique expertise to guide our customers and partners through the development, construction and management processes,” President Larry Fisher says. “Our team dedication, intensity and reliability are the foundation upon which we serve our customers’ needs.

“On time and on budget are the hallmarks of our reputation,” he continues. “We will move mountains to achieve these goals and meet or exceed the expectations of our customers and investors.”

These qualities and values are especially apparent in Lark Group’s work in health­care, Asselin says, because its reputation in this sector has become so strong.

“We have so much experience in this particular industry that we’ve really created a good name for ourselves with this work,” she says.

During its work on the Kinsmen Care Facility, Lark Group encountered a few challenges with the weather, but the work is on track now and she expects everything to wrap up on schedule.

“There were some common challeng­es that you’ll see on any project, but we have a good team and the owner has been great to work with, so we are enjoying our time here,” she says.