Pomerleau sets up construction innovation lab at Factry

  • April 12, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Canadian construction company Pomerleau is partnering with Montréal training centre Factry to create a laboratory dedicated to developing technology for the construction industry.

The Pomerleau aXLab is said to be the result of cooperation between two organisations that share the same values of collaboration, vision and the desire to generate concrete change to build tomorrow’s living environments.

The construction industry is changing, driven by technological breakthroughs. Pomerleau, which for years has been investing in innovation, wants to lead this transformation by accelerating the development of technologies, equipment and processes to be deployed on construction sites across the country. Against the backdrop of the economic relaunch, there is an urgent need to design innovative buildings and agile infrastructures that meet the real needs of communities.

This is why Pomerleau decided to set up its lab on the campus of Factry, an organisation recognised for its ability to generate innovative projects that put people at the centre of any transformation.

“With this project, we want to develop new skills to usher the construction industry into the future,” said Ian Kirouac, executive vice-resident at Pomerleau. “Creativity means allowing yourself to imagine solutions to the most complex problems, and this partnership with Factry is the perfect way to accomplish that.”

Far from abandoning a downtown forced into dormancy because of the pandemic, Pomerleau and Factry believe in the importance of offering Montréal another opportunity to shine.

“Local businesses are already brimming with solid ideas for collaborations, and having a high-tech lab at a school of creativity is a major asset,” said Marie Amiot, CEO of Factry. “Real change occurs in society when people and technology complement each other intelligently. The partnership between Pomerleau and Factry will bring the best of human and technological potential under one roof.”

Located in the heart of the Quartier de l’innovation, the Factry campus will let Pomerleau innovation teams to come together. There they will develop technologies in robotics, off-site construction, IoT, artificial intelligence and digital twins.

“By trying out technologies in a custom laboratory, we will be able to accurately determine their efficacy and added value for our projects and the entire industry,” said Eric Lessard, vice-president at Pomerleau. “We believe in the strong potential for emulation with the creative ecosystem at Factry.”

Close to 4000 young people and professionals from a range of sectors visit Factry every year. The aXLab will allow younger generations to learn from Pomerleau experts by taking part in workshops and other educational initiatives. These discussions aim to inspire innovation teams and enhance technology research projects. Future programming at Factry, featuring a range of training sessions, workshops and events, will showcase the ideas, knowledge, questions and surprises that emerge from the aXLab.

Pomerleau will begin the buildout of the aXLab in the coming weeks. The lab will be headed up by Carolyne Filion, innovation manager at Pomerleau. The evolution of work and the partnership between Pomerleau and Factry will be documented and communicated regularly.

Pomerleau is a pioneer in sustainable buildings. It specialises in the building, infrastructure, civil engineering and renewable energy sectors. Founded more than 50 years ago, the company employs up to 4000 people at its nine regional offices and more than 150 worksites across the country.

Launched in 2016, Factry School of the Creative Sciences is a non-profit organisation with the mission of developing creative skills among professionals and youth. Located in Montréal’s Quartier de l’innovation, this campus has distinguished itself for its cross-disciplinary approach, innovative teaching method, and connections with the creative industries and the business world. Factry is supported by two founding partners – the Collège Sainte-Anne and the Association of Creative Communication Agencies (A2C) – as well as by public partners, the Ville de Montréal and the government of Québec.