Province Recharge

Oldcastle APG, a CRH Company, underscored a commitment to its Permacon business in Canada with the November 2023 dedication of a new hardscape production line in Anjou, Quebec. The advanced paver, slab and segmental retaining wall operation is built in an existing enclosure across from a twin-machine line whose decades of output supported the Quebec and Ontario hardscape market leader. The Anjou plant is equipped with the latest MASA XL big board machine, plus highly integrated wet and dry side equipment and quality control technology.

“The upgrades at the Anjou facility will create more opportunities for Permacon to provide the highest quality outdoor living solutions to our customers throughout the region,” says Oldcastle APG President Tim Ortman. “The Anjou enhancement is an important strategic project for Oldcastle APG, set to boost production and almost double current local manufacturing capabilities to meet increased demand in the residential market in the area.”

“The new facility checks many boxes for our strategic growth criteria,” adds Oldcastle APG North Region President Jesse Hawthorne, who is based in Toronto and responsible for Eastern Canada and Northeast U.S. operations. “Sustainability is deeply embedded in our business and operations, and the new machinery and equipment will result in lower energy consumption, higher productivity, and more efficient material utilization.”

The Quebec plant project was completed on the heels of Oldcastle APG’s upgrade of another legacy site in Rehoboth, Mass., supporting its focus on continued strategic growth. In addition to the MASA XL spec, the plants standardize unit height quality control around laser scan assemblies mounted immediately behind the big board machines. Laser measurement is key to production lines engineered for high throughput and a variety of paver, slab and block units in 40 mm to 200 mm heights.

The latest MASA XL big board machine, plus highly integrated wet and dry side equipment and quality control technology, anchor Permacon’s new flagship operation.

The Anjou Recharge Station combines Belgard and Barrett Outdoor Living products, and is among the earliest such Oldcastle APG installations

Along with the hardscape unit production upgrade at Permacon headquarters, Oldcastle APG added a Recharge Station, a new feature envisioned for 200-plus APG-operated locations in the U.S. and Canada. The station is built and furnished with products that are made on-site or delivered from sister plants, providing complementary offerings to hardscapes. It provides employees with an outdoor space to experience prior to and throughout the workday.

“The Recharge Station encompasses a variety of Oldcastle APG solutions that our customers use to create spaces where people connect with the outdoors,” says Lucas Vallon, president of the Permacon business. “The goal is to provide our team members with the same opportunity to Live Well Outside by interacting with the products they work hard to manufacture. Call it ‘Pride in Use.’”

Plant managers position the Recharge Stations for employee convenience, ideally attached or adjacent to break rooms or near the most frequently used entry or exit points. Oldcastle APG officials view the availability of outdoor space access and experience as a critical feature for employee well-being and state of mind.

“There are numerous studies that highlight the mental and physical health benefits of spending time outdoors and we aim to offer these benefits to our end users through the creation of beautiful outdoor spaces,” notes Vallon. “These Recharge Stations are an important step in walking that walk and providing the same for our employees.”

Laser scan measures unit height to within ±0.5 mm tolerance.

Oldcastle APG acquired Permacon in 2000, marking its first investment north of the U.S. border, and eventually established the Anjou headquarters property as home to its lead research & development center for North America.

“The business has been a successful and important part of our North American hardscape portfolio since the acquisition,” says Tim Ortman. “Our upgrades at Anjou ensure we have the right machinery and technology to make quality products that meet customer demands and we aim to stay ahead of market requirements throughout the U.S. and Canada.”

Oldcastle APG has replicated the Permacon model of success in its residential and commercial Canadian markets with the acquisition of Alberta’s Expocrete Concrete Products Ltd. in 2013 and Vancouver peer Abbotsford Concrete Products in 2019. Today, Permacon, Expocrete and Abbotsford serve as significant solutions providers in their respective markets under the Oldcastle APG banner.

Oldcastle APG is a leader in the CRH Outdoor Living Solutions business, headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. The business has evolved from a primarily concrete paver and block operator to a provider of a comprehensive outdoor living portfolio, enabling homeowners and design professionals to create unique outdoor residential and commercial settings. Oldcastle APG added an exclamation point to its expanded market vision with the mid-2022 acquisition of Barrette Outdoor Living, a leading player in steel, aluminum and vinyl fencing, railing, and accent products for homes and commercial properties. Consistent with its heritage in concrete masonry and hardscapes, Oldcastle APG sells and distributes Barrette Outdoor Living products through big box or independent home improvement retail channels, plus specialty outdoor product dealers. Outdoor Living Solutions is known to be closely connected to customers through a broad geographic network coupled with its suite of products and services spanning hardscapes, masonry, fencing, railing, packaged lawn and garden products, pool finishes, and composite decking.