CanWest Blog

CanWest takes reins in environmental leadership

Being the largest company of its kind in Western Canada means that CanWest Concrete Cutting & Coring must be leaders in safety and environmental responsibility.

“We’re in the position where we must be leading the pack,” says Dan Hambrook, Canwest’s Owner and President. “Because we’re the largest, we’re the ones being watched.”

This environmental commitment has lead to the recent investment in a modern concrete cutting process to safely recycle slurry. Slurry is created when water is used with the diamond blades to cut concrete. Until recently, CanWest has been collecting slurry in a vacuum, storing it in a tank and taking it to concrete dumps. But as the company has grown, the amount slurry is too great for those concrete facilities, Hambrook says.

They’re now using specialized dehydrating machines that collects the slurry and, using air pressure, pushes the clean water out. It also produces a completely dry puck that can simply go back into the concrete pile.

“Now we can reuse this water for the next project. It’s completely clean and recyclable,” Hambrook says. “These machines are making a big difference.”

It’s a modern approach to the issue of slurry collection, and one that may be too expensive for CanWest’s smaller competitors.

“Most of our competitors are not dumping it properly,” he says. “People have been dumping slurry down drains for years. People will do a concrete driveway and just wash the slurry down the drain.”

But environmental responsibility is a priority both for CanWest and its partners, who want to know dumping is being done legally.

“Nobody wants to be dumping slurry in the drain. The water goes in the ground and contaminates the earth,” Hambrook adds. “We care about the environment. The world has to change — we want our kids to have clean water.”

In addition to these new machines, CanWest has converted various equipment to electric in a bid to further their environmental responsibility. This includes excavators, concrete saws, bobcats and more. Now when working on projects in food plants, or other interior buildings for example, the adjacent workers aren’t getting fumed out, Hambrook says. The company has also begun to use a vegetable-based hydraulic fluid instead of oil based. All part of stringent environmental policy, hazard assessment and controls, to ensure there’s no contamination.

The first two slurry recycling machines are now up and running, with full time employees whose sole responsibility is to look after slurry. This reflects CanWest’s industry-leading safety standards.

“Anybody can go out and buy a concrete saw,” Hambrook adds. But these smaller companies that people hire because they’re cheaper don’t have the same safety controls.

“They might not have safety programs, or full-time safety employees, or on-site safety meetings. It’s a problem in this industry.”

To learn more about how CanWest can meet your concrete and coring needs, contact one of the regional offices.

4 reasons to partner with CanWest

Turnkey solution provider gives partners peace of mind

In the construction industry, the problem is a common one – hiring multiple contractors that can only service niche needs and then trying, often unsuccessfully, to avoid scheduling conflicts, delays and cost over-runs.

And what if one of those contractors has an electric saw or trencher that goes down? You’re faced with further delays that can topple your development’s schedule and budget like a house of cards.

CanWest Concrete Cutting & Coring offers an unparalleled scope of services that gives project managers access to turnkey solutions to their construction needs, thereby negating the need (and cost!) of hiring multiple vendors.

When complimented by one of the most extensive fleets of equipment in Western Canada, it becomes even clearer why CanWest has been trusted with some of the largest and most unique projects in the country – from runways at the Calgary International Airport to excavation with the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller.

Here are four reasons why businesses are choosing to partner with CanWest Concrete Cutting & Coring:

1. Equipment

CanWest has a full range of state-of-the-art concrete cutting and coring equipment and highly trained operators to service everything from large industrial projects to residential developments.

“We are proud that we can provide our customers access to the newest and most well-maintained fleets of equipment out there today,” says Valerie Hambrook of Canwest. “And because we have multiples of everything, there is no downtime if something breaks down.”

The other benefit of having access to a vast network of equipment is turnaround time on any last-minute needs.

“One of our clients biggest pain points is timely access to equipment,” says Hambrook. “If someone needs a saw in two hours, we get them a saw in two hours. Nobody can do that but us.”

2. Services

CanWest eliminates the need for multiple sub-contractors by offering a turnkey solution to concrete cutting and coring construction or renovation projects.

Just some of the company’s suite of services include concrete cutting and coring, wire sawing, placing and pouring, crushing and breaking, excavation and repairing and sealing.

“When someone calls us, we can usually handle just about anything that pertains to our area,” says Hambrook. “We do excavation, core drilling, every kind of concrete cutting there is. … we’re a one-stop shop. You don’t have to deal with multiple sub-contractors.”

3. On time and on budget

The benefit to having access to a vast fleet of services and equipment is CanWest can better drive to completion on time, and on budget.

“Time is money. If we’re down and equipment is not working, things come to a standstill. And that doesn’t work for anybody,” says Hambrook.

4. Safety

Hambrook notes CanWest operates an industry-leading safety program that includes job-specific safe work practices and procedures, multiple certifications and a stringent environmental policy, hazard assessment and controls.

The company recently invested heavily in a cutting-edge sustainable concrete cutting process where workers can safely recycle the slurry that’s created when they cut concrete. The process separates the contaminants from the water, which can be reused for the next project.

“Environmentally, CanWest is ahead of the crowd,” says Hambrook.

Learn more about how Canwest can meet your concrete and coring needs. Request a free quote on your next project, or contact one of our regional offices.

Adding a basement window can improve property value

The addition of a window can improve the look and feel of your basement space

When it comes to installing or enlarging basement windows, there is a lot more to the process than meets the eye.

The first thing to decide is if you’re adding the window purely for cosmetic reasons or if you plan to add a bedroom, says CanWest Concrete & Coring marketing and media manager Dallas Lushman.

“People add windows to the basement for a lot of reasons, but the top two are usually to increase the value of their home by adding a bedroom or just wanting to have more natural light beaming into the area,” she says.

If you’re adding a new bedroom to the space, the window must meet residential building code standards, meaning an egress window is required.

“An egress window is large enough that a person could escape in the event of an emergency, such as a fire,” Lushman explains. “This is really important from a safety aspect and it’s actually a legal requirement.”

A window added to let in natural light can make your basement look and feel bigger and brighter.

“Regardless of the reasons people are adding basement windows, it increases the property value and improves the living quality, too,” says Lushman, adding CanWest Concrete Cutting & Coring not only adds or replaces windows but enlarges them as well.

What to check before adding a basement window


The City of Calgary requires property owners obtain permit when adding a new basement window or door because it is a change to the home’s permanent structure. Some of the regulations include how close a window can be to another window or a corner as it may affect the foundation. CanWest Concrete Cutting & Coring can help by narrowing down the right questions to ask City officials, and by creating a plan so the permit process goes smoothly.


Make sure your subdivision doesn’t have any guidelines regarding basement windows. Some neighbourhoods in Calgary have strict rules regarding renovations that change the appearance of houses in their respective areas. It’s a good idea to check before you cut!

Contact us to schedule a consultation, or simply request a quote.

Watch our team adding a basement window