When Paul Frederick decided to strike out on his own in 1985, he jumped in with both feet. What he lacked in business experience he made up for in determination, technical expertise and industry knowledge. After a few years operating out of his southwest condo, his company began to grow and earn the reputation for integrity and quality work that it enjoys today. In the heart of a recession, he set out to make his mark in Calgary with Caliper Inspection, and 35 years later he has done just that.
“Once we got established, things started to broaden out a bit,” says Paul Frederick, founder and president of Caliper Inspection. “Now we have about 26 administrative and technical staff, with staff inspectors as well as contract inspectors that we use on a regular basis and many others worldwide.”
The company has evolved into a full-service business that provides not just welding inspection but full equipment mechanical, electrical, instrumentation, structural and industrial coating inspection for refurbished and new equipment. Caliper prides itself on staying informed about manufacturing standards and codes to ensure compliance with regulations at all times and in all parts of the world. It is dedicated to educating not only its own staff and contractors but also its clients about important changes in the industry. This once-small local business has grown into a firm with strong ties to corporations across the globe and a scope that reaches far beyond its original welding focus.
Today’s Caliper Inspection provides comprehensive expertise before, during and after fabrication, allowing technicians to reduce or eliminate re-work. In addition, the Caliper team monitors manufacturing progress to ensure on-time delivery and that the equipment adheres to all standards and regulations. Caliper is a one-stop shop that can assist clients with every aspect of their projects, from weld procedures, drawings and documentation to purchasing and vendor surveys. The company also offers clients quality control assistance by auditing existing programs and helping develop and implement quality control programs, manuals and procedures.
“And if they come across quality control problems that their staff can’t resolve they can resource us to do specialized quality control services – especially when customers come to them with unique specifications or designs that require special needs for the manufacturing to take place,” says Frederick.
More than three decades of experience has positioned Caliper as a leader in equipment inspections, welding consultation, codes and compliance, expediting and quality control. These services save clients time and money while increasing employee safety, and that is precisely why Caliper Inspection has become a go-to company for clients. The team has fostered strong relationships with clients, many of whom have been working with Caliper for decades. In fact, the company’s first job in 1985 was with PanCanadian, and it remains a trusted partner today in the form of Encana. Clients appreciate the quality standards, professionalism and integrity Caliper brings to every job, so when contacts move to different companies or transfer to different countries, they take Caliper with them.
“We have a good rapport with clients and we end up working for them over and over again. They keep bringing us with them wherever they end up being relocated,” he says. “They are very appreciative of the fact that we can get results.”
The company is happy to accommodate its clients, offering a global network of like-minded trained and certified contractors to meet client needs while applying Caliper’s high standards. Closer to home, the organization’s main service areas are Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Grande Prairie with the head office in Calgary and a new location in Grande Prairie that opened in January 2019. This expansion was key with the Alberta economy and energy projects in the Grande Prairie area beginning to move forward. Caliper identified a growth opportunity in Grande Prairie that will continue to expand as business there grows.
“We saw that there was a missing component in Grande Prairie, so having the local presence of an inspection company like ours utilizing local inspectors is becoming more important,” he says. “There are a number of people setting up manufacturing shops and working in Grande Prairie. When clients are looking for inspectors, there is a limited pool and there was nobody with an office up there to undertake what we do.”
Caliper in Grande Prairie, and other locations in Alberta, is available for much more than inspection services. It recently obtained certification to start testing welders for the industry so it will be active in ensuring tradespeople are properly certified. This complements Caliper’s Canadian Welding Bureau certification CSA W178.1; Caliper is a rarity in that it has corporate certification along with a large number of certified CSA W178.2 welding inspectors. This allows Caliper to retain its high-quality standards while better serving the diverse needs of its clients.
Over the years, Caliper’s projects have been diverse as well. It has been involved with enormous jobs like the Husky Bi-Provincial Upgrader that employed a large number of inspectors in various locations as well as the Encana straddle plant in Empress that saw equipment and materials needing inspection out of Germany, England, Scotland, Japan and South Korea. Caliper has also completed numerous jobs for companies across the province, including many working around Grande Prairie including PETRONAS, Seven Generations Energy, Encana, SemCAMS and Murphy Oil. Whether it’s a job on upstream well-site equipment, a midstream project, bridge or structural steel work, or handling logistics and shipping preparations, Caliper delivers great results to companies in any business requiring manufactured metals.
Outside of oil and gas, Caliper is involved with various infrastructure projects that range from the Stoney Trail ring road to sewage treatment work for the City of Calgary, and through its sister company, Peregrine Integrity Management, it can perform in-service inspections on pressure equipment for such industries as oil and gas, refrigeration and food processing across the province.
It’s clear that Caliper has evolved far beyond merely sending inspectors out to look at welds. Being project based, the company addresses the whole assembly, employing specially-trained professionals with a breadth of knowledge second to none in the industry. The company is the first choice of clients with complicated packages that require specialized expertise and execution. Caliper’s knowledge and execution is what makes them different.
“When we send an inspector out for a complex piece of equipment like a compressor package, we’re not just looking at the welding. We’re looking at the instrumentation, industrial coatings, the way in which things are being fabricated and installed to make sure proper alignment has been done, and doing the expediting to ensure all the pieces for that package will arrive in time to meet the schedule,” says Kelly Bowles, sales and marketing manager for Caliper.
Given its expertise in a wide range of areas and its dedication to exceeding customers’ expectations, Caliper Inspection has become a benchmark for clients locally and around the world. In the end, its services have a negative cost impact; in many cases Caliper saves clients more money than it costs to hire them. And after 35 years, Caliper Inspection is proud to still be saving clients money as it serves the industry.
“We’ve been around a long time and it speaks volumes that we have maintained many of our client relationships over decades,” says Paul Frederick.
And with a planned expansion to the United States east coast and its new branch in Grande Prairie, Caliper Inspection is set to be around for a long time to come.