Understanding our Clients
Have you ever been to a Home Show? These shows have been around for countless years and during that time hundreds of thousands of people have wandered the rows of booths looking for ideas and information.
We’ve been an exhibitor many times and utilize this opportunity to build awareness of our company, but more importantly to talk to people. We want to hear what’s on their mind and answer their questions. If we make a connection that leads to working together, that’s fantastic. But, we understand that consumers who come to the Home Show are in various stages of the process and need different kinds of assistance. As much as the internet has become a desirable source of information, there is still a need to have a face to face conversation where a homeowner can ask their questions. They want to meet the builders who they will consider for their home project and this is an easy, open-ended way to do that.
During the shows we get many different questions but here a few of the commonly asked topics.
Should we renovate or build a new home?
Many of our clients have lived in a certain neighbourhood for quite some time. They decide to go on a search for the next home of their dreams but come home realizing that they don’t want to leave. That means two things – a major renovation of their existing home or demolishing the home and replacing it with a new, more energy-efficient home built to today’s standards. We’re often asked how to determine which course of action is best. There are few questions that will help make some things clearer – what is your family’s life-stage? How old is the home? What needs to change? What would you like to change?
These are just some introductory questions. To give a proper assessment, it will require a visit to your home to better understand the condition of the home and lot. We are diligent in examining the home’s structure for efficiencies or lack there-of! As well, we check with the City as to any restrictions on what you can do in your specific area.
Another related question is how long will each choice take? This is certainly an important question but often one that’s difficult to answer with certainty. Whether a new build or a major renovation, permits will be required and our experience has been that this step in the process can take quite a while! We’re very familiar with the nuances of the cities in which we build and are comfortable working with City Staff to keep the process going.
Certainly the final choice to build new or renovate is the homeowners, but we believe that our construction expertise is valuable to them.
What’s Design/Build mean?
We are often asked if we are a ‘Design/Build firm…..some even ask what the difference between that and a homebuilding contractor is?
Yes, we offer both services. Sometimes our clients come to us with their design drawings and together we work through a process of making sure that the home design can be constructed properly. We also have a portfolio of home plans that you can select from and then we work with you to modify the plan to suit your building site. Most common is that you can sit down with our Design team to draw up your own custom home plan.
Having the experience of building many different home plans within a diverse set of site conditions allows us to offer the necessary advice required. Whether your home plans come to us from your Architect or Architectural Designer or our team creates them, we as the builder, examine them carefully to ensure that the home can be built efficiently and appropriately. Our goal is to minimize the need for changes once construction has begun and hopefully eliminate surprises!
Efficiencies in the home – forced air or radiant heating?
Another popular question is whether a forced air system or radiant heating the better choice for their home. Simple definitions include:
A forced-air central heating system is one which uses air as its heat transfer medium. These systems rely on ductwork, vents, and plenums as means of air distribution, separate from the actual heating and air conditioning systems.
Radiant heating is a system in which heat is produced and transferred underneath a home’s floors. The heat rises from the floor upwards throughout the rest of the house.
Each systems has its pros and cons however, both systems create extremely comfortable and healthy living environments when properly designed for your home and specific needs. We prefer to discuss this question in context with your needs so that we can give the best solution for your home.
Green roofs, living walls, PV panels
With a renewed interest in energy efficiency for our homes plus the many energy products now available, meant that we had lots of questions from consumers. These questions varied from asking about a specific product to general questions on the benefits and costs of energy features.
Our conversations included discussions on a ‘green roof or living roof’ (a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane). ‘Living walls’ (self-sufficient vertical gardens attached to the exterior or interior of a building with the plants rooted into a structural support which is fastened to the wall itself) are also becoming more desirable and our visitors wanted to know the features and benefits of each.
PV panels, also known as photovoltaic, is another popular topic. Unlike solar thermal systems, which are used to produce hot water, PV panels capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity.
Again, with so many different topics possible, it’s hard to cover everything in a short space. But be rest assured, this is important to us and we continually take courses and seminars on leading ‘green technology’ so that we have the knowledge and skills to manage our client’s builds.
Home Automation – what’s the best solution?
Consumers are very interested to incorporate new technology into their everyday lives. From home security to lighting and audio control, the options are limitless. And the best part is that they can be controlled right off your mobile phone. We’re a very mobile society and having this convenience has gone from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’!
With several products available and different features, we work with several experts in this field to tailor the appropriate solution to suit each home owner. Obviously a custom build can incorporate this technology right into the initial design, but there are plenty of options for the retrofit market as well.
From our point of view, we want to keep on the technological ‘edge’ of home automation and continually educate ourselves on what’s available and how it will be incorporated into the build process.
Home Shows bring people from throughout the Lower Mainland and beyond. We really enjoy the opportunity to talk to them about their homes and answer the many questions that they may have. We’re confident that our experience plus our construction processes can really benefit them. This venue provides an excellent opportunity to meet and to decide if there’s a good fit for both of us!