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Ottawa Construction Association (OCA)


Most OCA members will know Terlin Construction Ltd. as a general contractor that operates in a niche space.


Since the late 1980s, the company has been building and fitting up outlets for a wide variety of major national retailers: Shoppers Drug Mart, Pet Smart, Indigo and others. That strategy has enabled Terlin to stand apart from the pack, focus on what it does best, and rise above the ultra-competitive open tender market.


But when the global recession hit in the late 2000s, founder Terry McLaughlin came to a stark realization. Half of his company’s business was invested in the national retail sector. If that market were to take another significant hit, Terlin would be in trouble. It had to diversify.


As chance would have it, a number of contracts had taken Terlin overseas. The company was performing embassy work on behalf of the Government of Canada in parts of the Middle East and Africa. On those projects, McLaughlin and his team saw a new emerging market: the need for perimeter-protection solutions for critical infrastructure.


“We’ve all seen news stories about attacks on public spaces—in England, Germany, France, and even recently in Toronto,” he says. “Designers and owners around the world are specifying solutions for perimeter protection, blast and ballistic mitigation, entry control and hostile vehicle mitigation on critical infrastructure assets.”


And while owners and designers here in Canada are starting to wake up to the need to adopt such solutions, implementation lags behind the rest of the world.