Safe Start

Safe Start

Project Details

Bellview, Ontario
28,000 square feet
End Use: Office

A New Belleville Haven

SafeStart creates its own ‘field of dreams’.

Employee Experience: Natural light and easy access to the outdoors create an optimal workspace.
True To Vision: Using detailed renderings helped ensure the final building met the customer’s expectations.
Bright And Modern: Mixing wall systems and angles adds aesthetic appeal.

Creating A Safe State Of Mind

Live By Example

Driving through the small city of Belleville, Ontario, safety may not be top of mind. But for thousands of people across the globe, it’s home to a true field of dreams — headquartered here, in the rural grasslands, is the global leader in workplace safety: SafeStart.

SafeStart was started in 1975 by Norm Wilson and is now run by three of Wilson’s children. The company has grown from serving Canadian industries into an international business that provides safety training and resources for its customers. SafeStart addresses the unintentional human error involved in the majority of incidents and injuries — a key issue traditional safety programs don’t solve.

For SafeStart employees, safety is a way of life. It’s one that goes well beyond the workplace, affecting families and countless others. In early 2014, the business recognized its own growth was beginning to impact its ability to safely and effectively conduct business in its existing facility. As a company founded on saving lives and preventing injuries, SafeStart knew that to keep its own employees safe, it needed to provide a new workplace.

“Our goal was, if we’re going to go to work here, how do we create a space that we want to be in every day for eight hours? What should that feel like? So, we decided to focus on building a space that reflected what we sell.”

Barb Tait, SafeStart 

SafeStart wanted to address four states that are common gauges in determining workplace safety with its new structure: rushing, frustration, fatigue and complacency.

“These states impact productivity, customer service and safety, so we wanted to build a space that would reduce those states — creating a healthier work style — sort of a ‘live by example.’”

Barb Tait, SafeStart 

When Dreams Become Reality

Creating a building that brings a client’s wish list to fruition is not always possible in the world of construction. There are numerous factors to consider, including location, necessities versus wants, budgets and accommodating room for growth. When SafeStart decided to move ahead with its building plan, it decided to partner with local firm Bel-Con Design-Builders Ltd., a Butler Builder®, which demonstrated it could truly be a collaborative partner and make SafeStart’s vision a reality.

Bel-Con wanted to include SafeStart every step of the way to ensure their vision for the space would be actualized.

“We used modeling to generate exterior and interior renderings, so they could see what their building would look like. It helped them with the visual process of going from concept to working drawings. 2-D drawings are very static. People who aren’t used to working with them are often surprised when what is built is not what they envisioned. By providing detailed renderings, Barb and others at SafeStart could really understand and visualize what the building would look like and that it met their vision.”

Tom Gunsinger, Bel-Con Design-Builders Ltd. 

Let The Sun Shine In

Ask anyone who works in an office building what the keys to job satisfaction are and, besides the usual answers of a rewarding job, fair pay and great co-workers, another significant factor is exposure to natural light.

Numerous studies have shown the impact of working in a windowless environment versus one with substantial light exposure. Let the sun shine in!

SafeStart wanted its employees to have lots of light and to be able to go outside, too. Bel-Con planned to use the SunLite Strip® daylighting system to add natural daylight throughout the 28,000-square-foot building. Additionally, the building would have numerous doors,
enabling employees to step outside and take a fresh air break.

“Now, no one is more than 30 feet from a door. There’s also a big patio with outdoor seating and many windows, so they can soak up the sunshine.”

Barb Tait, SafeStart 

A great, new warehouse was also an important design request.

Bel-Con constructed a new warehouse to let employees safely and efficiently move pallets, wrap packages and handle rush customer requests. The new warehouse is less fatiguing on the staff, so they aren’t as tired anymore.

“Butler seems to create buildings from the inside out, considering people and their states of mind. This mindset completely aligns with what we try to do with our clients.”

Barb Tait, SafeStart 

A New Home With A View

Thanks to the collaborative efforts of Tom and his team, Bel-Con was awarded the Butler Design Award for the new SafeStart facility.

“By integrating Butler wall systems for exterior appeal and future expandability, along with SunLite Strip daylighting systems, we built a bright, modern and attractive new office that SafeStart can leverage to recruit and accommodate top talent. And by providing visual preliminary building renderings, we helped ensure the building matched SafeStart’s vision and expectations.”

Tom Gunsinger, Bel-Con Design-Builders Ltd. 

When SafeStart initially gave Bel-Con DesignBuilders Ltd. its wish list for the new facility, it was a simple two-page bulleted list that included low-maintenance green space; big windows to let in lots of light; room for future expansion; at least 80 workstations; eight offices; a boardroom; four small meeting rooms; and a new warehouse.

“There was no detailed plan at the beginning, just a vision of how I wanted the building to feel. It was amazing. I went back to my original wish list and it was all checked off and done. Bel-Con Design-Builders Ltd. did an absolutely incredible job with the design and build.”

Barb Tait, SafeStart 

Two-and-a-half years after the first meeting, SafeStart is serving more global clients than ever thanks to its Belleville partner. A partner that transformed a field with its vision and gave SafeStart a new home with a view.

SunLite Strip® has been further enhanced since this project was completed.

Butler Builder®

Bel-Con Design-Builders Ltd.


Ernest A. Cromarty Architect Inc.

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