Total-R Insulation Solutions

Akin to its name, Total-R Insulation Solutions strives to provide the best solutions for general contractors’ insulation needs, and as a result, has developed solid relationships within the construction industry, says John Trapp, founding partner. “We want to be the contractors’ first call for building envelope solutions,” he states. “We feel as if we are part of their staff, and it’s our responsibility to make sure their needs are taken care of.”

Total-R has “always been a relationship-focused company,” Trapp maintains. “Why that makes us different from companies that just say they are relationship focused is that in an economy where companies are reducing their staff, we have actually gone heavier on the people route to ensure we have the right professionals on our team to properly service the emerging demands of the construction industry.”

For instance, contractors across North America are gearing up for stricter energy-efficiency codes based on the new ASHRAE 90.1-2007 guidelines that call for a 30 percent increase in efficiency over the ASHRAE 90.1-2004 standards. The new guidelines mandate building envelope improvements by requiring more effective insulation assemblies for roofs and walls.

“Because we are a distributor and fabricator of insulation material, we are not specifically aligned with one product,” Trapp notes. “The way we are positioning ourselves is by doing research and testing on what combination of material provided by different manufacturers is the best solution for various types of jobs. This allows us to recommend the right insulation solutions to the general contractors based on what the code requirement is in their area and what the owner would like to accomplish as far as sustainable construction.”

Heading in New Directions

Finding the best solutions for general contractors has been Total-R’s focus since Trapp and cofounding partner Darren Resch started the company in 2001. Before establishing Total-R, Trapp and Resch worked for Therm-all Insula­tion, a company owned by their fathers Doug Trapp and Jerry Resch, who taught their sons the importance of providing quality products and services to customers.

In 1998, the same year Trapp and Resch joined Therm-all Insulation, their fathers sold the business to a public company. Disappointed with the direction the new Therm-all Insulation was going, Trapp and Resch left to start Total-R and the two companies went “head to head,” Trapp says. Total-R acquired Therm-all Insulation in 2003, a strategic move that enabled the company to expand into new markets.

Initially, Total-R focused on fabricating and distributing metal building insulation for pre-engineered metal buildings for the light industrial, heavy industrial and commercial building marketplace. However, the Therm-all Insulation acquisition gave Total-R the capital it needed to establish a first-rate sales and management team. Sales Manager Rod McCafferty joined the company, whose experience in other industrial insulation materials expanded the relationship between Total-R and mineral wool insulation manufacturer, Roxul Inc., a division of Rockwool Interna­tional, based in Denmark.

“They were a key supplier for us because that product represents 25 to 30 percent of the insulation material used in Europe, but mineral wool represented less than 1 percent of insulation used in North America,” Trapp says. 

“We came in at the right time to help them grow their product line, and Rod was key in helping us do that,” he adds. “Roxul’s firewall product also allowed us to get more involved in heavy construction projects in the Alberta oil sands. 

“The Roxul relationship allowed us to diversify into all types of commercial and industrial construction, where our focus today is supplying general contractors with building envelope solutions that include independent air, vapor and thermal barriers that work together to provide the client an exceptional system.”

The company recently supplied Roxul insulation to a landmark project in Calgary – McCaig Building at The Foothills Hospital – as well as to the LEED-certified Edmonton Expo Centre at Northlands in Edmonton.

Looking forward, “Our growth model is to develop cost-effective systems – which we are doing our due diligence and research on now – that include our current sustainable product lines, but add revenue potential as insulation importance grows in the industry,” Trapp says.

For example, Total-R recently began distributing STI firestop materials to specialty firestop contractors or self-performing general contractors. It will begin distributing new air and thermal barrier products later this year. This will allow the company to expand further into the industrial and commercial markets, as well as enter into a new market – residential. 

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