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Building Quality From Coast to Coast
By Judy Penz Sheluk

Going Back to R-2000 Basics
Everts Lind Enterprises Ltd., Bridgewater, N.S.
Richard Lind, President

As a custom builder, the biggest challenge now is to fit all the new products, material and processes into what the client is looking for in the new home. The clients are bombarded with information and they need someone to help them choose the features they need most.
We always start with the basics principles of an R-2000 house; it’s the best place to begin. Then we look carefully at the site for best orientation for solar heat gain. We look at the site ground and choose the proper foundation. We find that ICF foundation systems work well in our region to avoid moisture problems.

Putting Customers in the Driver’s Seat
Bayside Builders, Summerside, P.E.I.
Peter Brown, President

For over 25 years, from starter homes to multi-unit developments, the Bayside Group of companies has offered housing services to both current Islanders and aspiring ones. Founded in 1983 on a tradition of excellence in quality, design, and craftsmanship, as well as respect for our Island and its most historic landmark properties, our company believes in the great honour it is to build and manage homes.
Our expertise is complemented by a pledge to customer communication that keeps the client informed and in the driver’s seat during construction; we do what it takes to make dreams come true — on time and according to budget.

Green Team
All-Tech Construction Management Group, Maberly, Ont.
Cam Allen, Managing Partner

All-Tech was formed about three years ago to market, design and build green homes and small commercial buildings. The team includes Stephen Hogeboom, owner of a 60-year-old family roofing company; Bill DeVries, an IAQ/Mold/Thermal Imaging Technician; Tom McCleneghan, a P.Eng. (civil); Shaun McFie, owner of an electrical contracting firm; Mario Piazzi, owner of a HVAC company; and Cam Allen, a semi-retired custom builder/contractor. The objective was to involve all partners in the development stages; sort of a permanent project team. So far, it’s working great.
The group is especially proud of its involvement in the Central Frontenac Mature Living Townhouse Project in Sharbot Lake. As Ontario’s first GreenHouse Certified Construction Townhouse, the team put the specific needs of seniors first and foremost in the design of the 4800 sq. ft., six-unit complex. By blending known energy efficient technology into a cost efficient package, we were able to provide affordable rental housing for active seniors. Building doesn’t get more rewarding than that.

Giving Back
Stepper Custom Homes Inc.
Dave Hooge, President and General Manager,  Calgary, Alta.

“Our passion has been building since 1956.” Our motto sums up how we do business. Each member of our Team is encouraged to be passionate about what we do. We have a balanced approach to what that looks like, but in a few words…we give back. We give to our customers by striving to be the top in customer satisfaction, and by providing award-winning and innovative plans and processes to build our customer’s homes.
We give back to the environment as a Built Green builder, as well as by replanting trees to replace all the trees used to build Stepper Homes in a year. We give back to society by building homes for the homeless in partnership with Habitat for Humanity in Calgary, and by our staff actually travelling to El Salvador to build homes there. It is important that each Team member believes in what we do and has fun doing it. That, in turn, translates into a better experience for our customers.

The Changing Reno Market
Michael J. Martin Luxury Renovations
Mike Martin, owner, Otttawa, Ont.
Reno by Design
Suzanne Martin, owner, Otttawa, Ont.

Baby Boomers have long been setting trends. As we approach 2011, it is apparent that the aging Boomers will once again change the face of residential housing.
In today’s renovation market, there are two primary Boomer groups: empty-nesters comfortably situated in their established neighbourhoods, and ready to renovate in preparation for retirement; and those downsizing and preparing their homes for sale.
The residual effect of the latter is the next generation of families, whose demand for renovation services involves upgrading older homes to meet the lifestyle needs of growing families, paired with an ever-increasing demand for a home office.
Fortunately, building industry professionals are in tune with new trends, including maintenance-free materials, barrier-free design elements, and the “greening” of the home-space. Hidden compartments and multi-functionality have become standard starting points for designers.
Of course, renovators and designers are frequently presented with client-sourced products found online and in magazines but, as professionals, we must be cautious. Many non-Canadian products have not yet been fully integrated into the local marketplace, nor approved for Canadian standards.
Fortunately, our industry is keeping abreast of developing trends, and our regional, provincial and national Associations add value to their member professionals by promoting new products, business guidelines, and by acting as a forum for learning through one another. 

Logic, Function, Style
Dynamic House Design, Inc., Pritchard, B.C.
Julie Orser, Co-owner & Designer

My philosophy is to figure out what’s logical, make sure it’s functional, and then add the style — style is the easy part. It’s amazing how many people will just pick a stock plan out of a book or off the Internet because they want to get going, and because they think they’ll save a few thousand dollars.
But a new home is typically the biggest investment of someone’s life, an investment in not only money, but also time, effort, inconvenience and emotion. Such an investment deserves planning, research and deep thought; a house plan that is tailored to meet lifestyle needs. It should also optimize the actual building site for design layout, landscaping, and passive solar potential. When the plan is further developed to consider such things as furniture placement, organization, traffic flow, and sightlines, it should also result in less square footage with the functionality of a larger space.
Such planning takes time. I typically spend as much time getting to know my clients as many designers spend designing an entire house. But, once I fully understand a client’s lifestyle needs (and wants), the process of designing a client’s house can begin — with logic, function, and style.


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