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compact solutions: making the most out of the least space P.40 H O M E T EA M : th e r a c e b e t w e e n a m a z o n , g oo g l e a n d a p p l e to p a r t n e r w i th b u i l d e r s

quiet, everybody! the future of silence is golden P.54

Face Value Incoming president Rick Martins stands up for what he believes in and that’s good news for OHBA page 32

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The official publication of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association FALL 2018 | Vol. 34 Issue 5




Ted McIntyre

Va lue

Norma Kimmins, OHBA

associate editor

art director


Erik Mohr assistant art director

Ian Sullivan Cant Graphic Designer

Saadia Kardar Intern

Temple Ray Marucci-Campbell copy editor

Barbara Chambers contributors

Avi Friedman, Tracy Hanes, Marc Huminilowycz, Joe Vaccaro cover photography

Margaret Mulligan advertising

Tricia Beaudoin, ext. 223 Cindy Kaye, ext. 232 publisher

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Laurel Oak Publishing Ontario Home Builder is published six times per year (Winter, Spring, Renovation, Summer, Fall, Awards). All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher © 2018.


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32 Rick Martins

OHBA’s next president is ready to step into the trenches

40 Finding Room to Grow

48 The Age of Interconnection

54 Shhh... Quiet, Please!

Innovation is paving the way to designing for smaller spaces

Apple, Google and Amazon are looking for places to call home

With today’s open concepts and high density, silence is golden

9 One Voice Working with our new #homebeliever government 11 Ontario Report What’s on tap for OHBA’s 2018 Conference in Ottawa, sustainability and artificial islands in the Netherlands, OHBA and EnerQuality Fall courses and the Awards of Distinction finalists are... 19 Frame of Mind Looking for design flexibility? You can’t move mountains, but you can move walls

21 Inside Storey No one likes to think about passing on, but every company owner needs a succession plan to avoid leaving chaos in their wake 25 Top Shelf Hot items for builders, contractors and designers include new veneers from Stone Selex, a super-slender brick from Arriscraft, a onestop-shop for mortgage issues, a modern, easy-to-install heating option from the Fireside Group and much more

63 Building Buzz Tarion’s Fall Education lineup, clearing the air for today’s indoor generation, a new program from Energy Star, Hamilton’s next path to laneway housing and RenoRun to the rescue for missing tools 73 Product Focus The increasing technology and changing styles of kitchens and bathrooms 82 Words to Build By Dan Gabriele, President, Marz Homes


The many faces of OHBA incoming president Rick Martins. Photo by Margaret Mulligan.

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One Voice

Pierre Dufresne (left) with Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark and MPP and Parliamentary Assistant Jim McDonell.

the welcome mat OHBA leadership team building positive connections with our new #homebeliever provincial government remember when you were a student returning to school in the fall and the teacher asked you to write the annual “What I did this summer“ story? Well, if you gave that same assignment to OHBA volunteers and staff this fall, it would be a very long read. That’s because OHBA has been incredibly busy since the election of the PC majority government in Ontario in early June. After swearing in his new cabinet on June 29, Premier Doug Ford recalled the legislature for a rare summer sitting. As his PC government got to work, so did OHBA. With 25 PC MPPs already signed on with the #homebeliever pledge, we are confident this is a #homebeliever government, and OHBA has been ready to work with them from day one. After attending the Speech from the Throne on July 12, OHBA President Pierre Dufresne and OHBA staff met with the new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the

“we are confident this is a #homebeliever government, and OHBA has been ready to work with them from day one.” Honourable Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds-Grenville, as well as MPP Jim McDonell, Parliamentary Assistant— both #homebelievers! OHBA discussed key issues including housing supply, choice, red tape/approvals, inclusionary zoning and the LPAT/OMB. Throughout the summer months, OHBA’s enthusiastic team met with several other cabinet ministers and MPPs. And there are a lot of new MPPs to meet! Not only because the legislature is now

larger (124 seats, up from the previous 107), but 73 are rookie MPPs. And it is a testament to the integrity and character of Pierre that while his term as OHBA President was winding down, his enthusiasm and commitment to leading our organization did not wilt in the summer heat. In fact, he stepped it up! OHB magazine asked Pierre what he was most proud of over the past year and he noted, “I think the fact that, being in Ottawa and far away from the GTA, when I was approached to do this, I was initially reluctant because I felt I wouldn’t be as effective or as representative as I wanted to be, given that I couldn’t take time off from my job. But I found very quickly that I really enjoyed visiting as many locals as I could, which was easier than I thought it would be, and meeting the local reps and learning their experiences and sharing the knowledge I had on the issues they were facing, and being an active presence for them and source of information on issues.” Pierre will lead his final board meeting during the OHBA Conference in his hometown of Ottawa from September 23-25, providing members an opportunity to thank him in person for his stellar work as OHBA president this past year. It’s also when we welcome Rick Martins as the 52nd President of OHBA. Rick has been a prolific volunteer in our industry and served as President of the Brantford HBA in 2011. Read more about Rick in our feature story on page 32. Please join us at the 2018 conference and meet Pierre, Rick and the rest of the newly elected Executive Committee that will lead our provincial association in the very busy year ahead. OHB

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OUR NATION’S CAPITAL AWAITS 2018 OHBA CONFERENCE DELEGATES HEAD TO OTTAWA Hosted by the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association, the 2018 OHBA Conference is set for September 23-25 at the Shaw Centre and Westin Ottawa. Here’s a look at some of the programming, events and activities planned.

SELLING HAPPINESS Marc Gordon is an internationally recognized authority in the field of customer experience who works with companies that want to create exceptional experiences that cultivate relationships and build loyalty with their customers. His trademark high-energy style presentations have been called powerful, a game changer and “the best choice to start or finish any conference.”

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A COLLABORATIVE APPROACH TO BUILDING IN OTTAWA Local builders, developers, municipal staff and politicians are taking a collaborative approach to building in the nation’s capital, and this session will explore the challenges and victories experienced in navigating an increasingly

regulatory environment, the impact of the new LPAT system and working together to shape the future of building in Ottawa.

CLIMATE CHANGE COUNCIL The OHBA Climate Change Council returns to the OHBA Conference with a fresh panel to update delegates on a hot, high-performance topic for the coming year: resiliency. With the onslaught of heat waves and flash flooding we’ve seen over the summer, one thing is for sure: resiliency is not emergency planning! Offering perspectives from a builder, an energy-efficiency consultant and an industry association advocate, this session will address: • What resiliency is and how it’s addressed in the Ontario Building Code • Resiliency in the home, municipality and broader infrastructure • Resiliency in the community development

LUNCH AND KEYNOTE SPEAKER Enjoy a fantastic lunch and our keynote speaker, Ray Zahab, presented by Blueprint Insurance Services Inc. Ray is

an inspirational ultra-marathon runner and adventurer who wants people to know they are extraordinary. On stage, Ray takes audiences through his tremendous personal story demonstrating how individuals and organizations can undergo incredible change to break through limits and achieve success.

OPENING RECEPTION Start the conference off with some fun, kick back and relax at the Home Builder House Party and enjoy stunning views of downtown Ottawa atop the 22nd floor of the Westin Hotel. Presented by Enbridge and hosted by the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association.


Ray Zahab

Other business programming includes an update from Tarion Warranty Corporation, “Perspectives on Homebuyer Preferences” from Tim Bailey of AVID Ratings and the Builders’ Choice Exhibition. For fun networking activities, delegates can also choose to lounge at the Nordik Spa, golf the afternoon away at the Stonebridge Golf Club or enjoy a GOHBA-hosted housing tour.

Don’t miss the big night as OHBA welcomes its 2018-2019 President, Rick Martins of Huron Creek Developments in New Dundee. The President’s Gala Pre-Reception is presented by Union Gas, the President’s Gala Dinner is presented by Cogeco, and Enercare presents the President’s PostReception.

AoD GALA Comedian James Cunningham once again hosts this gala event where the winners for the 2018 Awards of Distinction are revealed. The Awards of Distinction Pre-Reception is presented by Delta, the Gala Dinner and Awards Presentation are co-presented by Rogers and Federated Insurance, and the AoD Post-Reception is presented by Moen.

For further information and to register visit

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Clockwise from top left: Floating houses on the artificial islands of IJburg, Amsterdam; residential development on a former brownfield in Rotterdam; OHBA Housing Tour participants with the ConsulGeneral of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Anne Le Guellec (far right).

Walking on Water Netherlands housing tour highlights sustainability, innovative design and artificial islands By M i k e Coll i ns - W i ll i a m s

In recent years, OHBA has travelled to New York City; Reykjavik, Iceland; as well as Stockholm and Goteborg, Sweden as part of our ongoing International Housing Study Tours, where members can visit the most innovative, advanced and downright cool housing and development projects in the world. OHBA strongly believes in professional development and learning from the best and the brightest—not just by sitting in a classroom or attending a conference, but by meeting directly with European business leaders and walking through new communities to truly gain an appreciation for how they look, feel and function.

This past June, a small group of OHBA members ventured to the Netherlands. On day one, we visited new communities in Amsterdam being developed on former brownfield harbour sites in the Eastern Docklands, as well as the artificial islands of IJburg with our tour guide Jeffrey Bolhuis, MSc architect, co-founder of AP+E and tutor at the Faculty of Architecture and Built Environment TU Delft. It was incredible to see the diverse variety of architecture and bold motivation of the government to create new artificial islands to house residents just a short tram ride from the city centre. On our second day in Amsterdam, the

tour visited ‘The Edge,” which is the greenest building in the world according to British rating agency BREEAM. We were hosted by Canadian-born but London, England-based Kevin P. Flanagan of PLP Architects. The design of The Edge not only focused on sustainability and energy-efficiency elements, but also the spectacular atrium and workspace components catering to the next generation of employees. The tour continued to RijswijkBuiten—the work of one of Europe’s largest builders, VolkerWessel—which is an energyneutral suburban development just outside of The Hague. The community ontario home builder Fall 2018


Ontario Report

Clockwise from top left: Markthal by MVRDV in Rotterdam; the diverse streetscape of a new community in IJburg, Amsterdam; the interior open market of Markthal; and The Edge by PLP Architects in Amsterdam.

featured a variety of housing types, architectural styles and local energy production. In true Dutch fashion, nearly every home had direct access to a canal at the back of their lot, with kayaks and small power-boats that could navigate the canals in the community, which, in turn, connected to a larger series of waterways. The tour concluded with two nights in Rotterdam, visiting innovative architectural firm MVRDV’s office and the incredible mixed-use Markthal development in the heart of the city. This spectacular building, the first covered food market in the Netherlands, features nearly 100 food stalls, while the roof of the market hall is an arch that accommodates 228 apartments. Underneath the hall are 1,200 parking spaces and a supermarket. The tour delegates explored Rotterdam’s harbourfront 14

ontario home builder Fall 2018

redevelopment and learned about MVRDV’s next project for which they won a design competition: ‘The Sax,’ a 51-floor mixed-use tower that will be the newest addition to Rotterdam’s Wilhelminapier port development. Following a lunch presentation from Mobycon through the Dutch Cycling Embassy regarding how North American communities can learn from and adopt best practices in terms of community design and cycling infrastructure, the tour departed for a large-scale Net Zero Energy retrofit project of a low-rise social housing site by Energiesprong. The tour delegates visited an in-progress retrofit, examining buildings that were pre-retrofit in the middle of construction, then completed utilizing prefabricated panelized building systems. Energiesprong is very active in both new and retrofit projects in

the Netherlands, France, the UK and other European jurisdictions that have a strong focus on reducing GHG emissions and significantly lowering energy costs in aging existing communities. OHBA would like to thank our Housing Tour partner EnerQuality, major tour sponsors Cricket Energy and Ozz Electric, as well as site visit sponsor Sustainable Buildings Canada and lunch sponsor Building Knowledge Canada. Without their support, the 2018 International Housing Study Tour would not have been possible. OHBA especially would like to thank our tour delegates for spending four days travelling with us in the Netherlands and visiting two incredible cities and some of the most innovative developments in the world. Stay tuned for details on the 2019 tour destination!

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Always a step ahead

OHBA’s Fall 2018 Course Calendar Congratulations to the 2018 AoD finalists! Winners will be announced on Tuesday, September 25 at the Awards of Distinction Gala at the spectacular Shaw Centre in Ottawa. Join us as we celebrate the best of the best. Seating is limited, so don’t delay—order your tickets and/or book your tables at Here are some of this year’s finalists from the 41 categories in building, design, professional renovation, and sales and marketing .

2018 Ontario Home Builder of the Year

2018 Ontario Renovator of the Year

Tridel BILD

Amsted Design-Build Greater Ottawa HBA

Minto Communities BILD/Greater Ottawa HBA

OakWood Greater Ottawa HBA

Great Gulf BILD/Durham Region HBA

Lagois Design Build Renovate Greater Ottawa HBA

2018 People’s Choice Award Contenders are the top finalists in the Project of the Year Low-Rise, and Project of the Year High or Mid-Rise categories:

Geranium and Pemberton Group Friday Harbour Resort (Innisfil)

Minto Communities Glen Agar (Etobicoke)

HIP Developments The Gaslight District (Cambridge)

Mizrahi Developments The One (Toronto)

North Drive Investments Inc. One Forest Hill (Toronto) Paradise Developments High Point (Brampton)

OHBA and our Institute of Building Excellence (IBE) are committed to providing professional development opportunities for the residential construction industry. With a focus on updating and developing new training programs, we continue to raise the level of professionalism and set a high standard for entry into this important economic sector. The most effective way this can be done is through a certification program, providing builders and renovators with something tangible they can use to promote their business and keep a competitive edge in today’s economy.

Marketing and Project Sales

Location: OHBA offices, North York Date: Oct. 4, 2018 Instructor: Richard Luciani

Building Science for Renovators

Location: OHBA offices, North York Date: Oct. 25, 2018 Instructor: Greg Labbe

Tarion Customer Service and Warranty*


EnerQuality has a full slate of training this fall, including two new workshops aimed at helping builders improve their homes in a cost-effective manner.

Part 9 Residential Air Barrier/AirTightness (New!)

EnerGuide Rating System V15 (New!)

High-performance air barriers and low infiltration rates are essential for ensuring healthy, comfortable, durable, efficient buildings and enclosure systems. Airtightness testing is becoming a common required practice for lowcarbon building codes and volunteer labelling programs.

Explore the new version of Canada’s energy performance rating and labelling program for houses. EnerGuide, used coast to coast, is a third-party certified, Ottawa-backed, home performance label that clearly and simply demonstrates your home is built far better than code (at less cost than SB12 3.1.1 Prescriptive Compliance). November 2

September 26

Energy Star Part 1: Advanced Building Science

Net Zero/Net Zero Ready

October 23

December 4-5

Energy Star Part 2: ESNH V17 October 24

All workshops will be taught by Andy Oding of Building Knowledge at the BILD offices in Toronto. As always, HBA member rates apply. For further information, or to register, visit or call (416) 447-0077. 16

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Location: OHBA offices, North York Date: Nov. 8, 2018 Instructor: Victor Fiume

Financial Management*

Location: OHBA offices, North York Date: Nov. 22, 2018 Instructor: Jean-Pierre Seguin

Project Management & Site Supervision*

Location: OHBA offices, North York Date: Nov. 29, 2018 Instructor: Greg Labbe

*Courses approved by Tarion Warranty Corporation. These courses are required to obtain warranty coverage.

Get ahead of the competition and start fulfilling your training requirements today! All course fees are $350 and enrollment is limited. Visit welcome.php today for further information and to enrol.



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Frame of Mind

walls as furniture A New York project offers dynamic design flexibility can interior walls be considered part of the furniture—something that homeowners or renters bring along to their new abode to make a house, home office or other space more suitable for living or working? It seems like a foreign concept, but it’s an idea that would shorten construction time and lower housing costs, not to mention develop new industries. With a rise in the number of non-traditional households that include seniors, singles and single parents, the limited choice of conventionally designed interior layouts can no longer suit the needs of all occupants. Adaptable units, though, can accommodate their varying space needs and facilitate the introduction of new building systems without compromising functionality or comfort. Society has undergone fundamental lifestyle changes over the past five decades. There has been a radical shift in the way people live and form households, work, enjoy their leisure, grow

old and die. Yet, the interior layout of dwellings has not kept pace with those changes. We still, for the most part, offer fairly rigid interiors with permanent walls attached to floors and ceilings. In addition, households of all types undergo changes in composition as their life cycles evolve. To accommodate, people typically choose between moving or home improvement. Adaptable units, though, accommodate varying space needs. They use design concepts and technologies to create an environment in which modifying the building takes precedence over demolition or moving. One idea that architects are toying with is the concept of walls as furniture. That is, that in addition to separating rooms and offering visual and acoustic privacy, walls can be configured for other functions, such as storing household items. Well-known for both high-end and humanitarian projects using environmentally sensitive recycled materials,

Shigeru Ban is a Pritzker Architecture Prize-winning architect who has been working on a series of “furniture houses” in both Japan and the U.S. Ban collaborated with American architect Dean Maltz on a residential development in Southampton, New York. Furniture House 5 is one of the 34 residences designed for the development. The design is similar to other models in the series, where the factory-produced units incorporate both structural and space-defining elements. Moreover, the prefabricated construction significantly reduces on-site construction time, waste and costs. Individual components include modular nine-foot floor-to-ceiling ‘furniture units’ that have structural purposes, while also providing spatial division and storage. In addition, during construction, the furniture units work as a flexible system—light enough that two people can move, position and install all the pieces. All in all, there are a total of 144 furniture units that were employed for Furniture House 5, including closets, bookcases, linen closets, pantry, partitions and HVAC compartments. The spatial concept divides the house into four separate zones, each enhanced by an individual garden that integrates the interior with the surrounding landscape. In addition, to allow the design to have large cantilevers, each corner is reinforced with triangular pieces of plywood to bear the horizontal and vertical loads of the building and to prevent buckling. Furthermore, the large glazed facades of the living spaces contribute to the indoor/outdoor continuity. Apart from the design’s flexibility, storage units are seamlessly integrated into the architecture to allow greater living space. Furniture House 5 is a sequence of spaces, transitions and continuous relationships between the interior and exterior architectural conception, designed for comfortable living in a new age. OHB Dr. Avi Friedman is an architect, professor and social observer. He can be reached at

ontario home builder Fall 2018


Inside Storey steps in who doesn’t know the business, it’s potentially disastrous. The odds are you’ll have to either sell it or watch the business deteriorate until the point where there’s little value remaining. What’s the first question you ask when a client contacts you?

“What do you want to achieve?” Forget about legal issues and everything else. In your best possible world, where do you want to end up? Then you work backwards from there. I guess you’d better make sure your successor really wants the job.

After you’re gone How to avoid future chaos with succession planning By Ted McIntyre with Doug Hendler, Partner, Blaney Mcmurtry llp

are you thinking of retiring? Of handing over the reins of your business to a family member? A business partner? A management service? You’d better start contemplating the prospect. Even if the idea of no longer working for a living currently seems as foreign to you as Egyptian hieroglyphics, you should consider what happens if, heaven forbid, you pass away suddenly or contract a debilitating disease. For if no plan has been carefully laid out, you’re inviting chaos in your absence. There are tax reasons to plan in advance, but also practical reasons— making sure your successor is well trained and ready for the job. Doug Hendler, a partner at Blaney McMurtry LLP in Toronto, has been practicing corporate/commercial and real estate development law for north of 40 years, with succession planning a notable chunk of his responsibilities. “You’ve got a very valuable asset and you want to protect its value,” cautions Hendler, “and you’re not going to do that without planning.”

OHB: what’s step one on the succession plan checklist? Doug Hendler: Everybody needs

a will! And you can’t do a boiler plate will, where you simply leave everything to your wife or, failing that, to your children. Businesses are usually more complex than people think. Trusts are especially appropriate if there’s a younger generation that’s not ready to step up. You hold the assets in trust for your kids, or for their children. Sometimes part of a succession plan is generation-skipping, where you leave the income to your children but the ultimate capital to your grandchildren to avoid double taxation when you pass. Then when your children pass, it’s just one tax. But there’s no automatic, one-sizefits-all checklist—no two situations are identical. And leaving things in trust is all well and good if you have an asset that runs itself. It’s very different if you have an active business making widgets or building homes, where there’s a whole distribution chain set up and personal relationships. If someone

Not every child wants to step into their parents’ shoes. My father had a business—he owned a real estate business and a men’s clothing business in Quebec City—which he was willing to give to me, but I didn’t want it and went off to be a lawyer. The successor also needs to be capable. I’m a lawyer, so I presumably have some brains, but if you asked me to suddenly run a business, I don’t have the experience, so what would I do? Either hire the experience or sell the company. I take it that things can get messy naming a successor in a family-owned business.

You’re usually going to step on toes either way, but I don’t offer counselling advice. I just point out the issue to the parent that they have to consider how they want to deal with this. If you have one child, it’s easy. But if you have a few kids and one or more want to be involved, that’s when they can be at each other’s throats. Many of these businesses, of course, do not have just one owner. I’ve seen these things come off the rails when two brothers or longtime friends, for example, start a business. They’re compatible and successful. But then their kids grow up and want to be involved in the business, and you wind up with conflicts. They might come to me and say, “My brother has these kids who are lazy, incompetent drug dealers, ontario home builder Fall 2018


but he’s insistent on them being part of the business.” And then the other brother comes in and says the same thing about his brother’s kids. And what happens is that people who got along wonderfully for 25 years end up hating each other. Then one sells his share or they split up the business and go their separate ways. I’ve seen bitter family wars over succession planning. Even with the best-laid plans, things can go wrong.

The wildcards are always the individuals left with the company. You can have a technically brilliant plan, but if the people start fighting amongst themselves and start suing—which is not uncommon, unfortunately—you end up destroying the value of the company. If the business owner doesn’t take his children’s/successor’s likes, dislikes and personalities into account, you don’t know where things are going to end up. It’s often impossible to predict. What are some of the considerations if the next in line decides to sell the company?

You want to look for strategic buyers— those who will typically pay more, either to eliminate a competitor or to gain access to a market they don’t currently have. You have to go through your financial statements very carefully to see what expenses a new buyer might not incur, such as your personal car or a slush fund you’ve kept. And the buyer might not need your warehouse, or might need less staff because they have some of their own. All of this needs to be factored in so that you can package the sale in a way that will be attractive. Otherwise, you may not get full value and risk having your bones picked clean You’re not just planning for your future, but that of your company as well.

That’s why it’s a good idea to sit down with your accountant and lawyer to not only create a succession plan, but a business plan, so that your successor knows where your business is going and what facets need improvement. It’s an area people often ignore and it’s not that expensive to do. Sometimes it’s good to 22

ontario home builder Fall 2018

make sure your bank or lenders are in the loop, too, so they are comfortable they’ll be paid back and that you’re not going to squander their security and that the company will be well managed. Is Part of a plan, Assuming you retire before you die, to ensure a revenue stream to live oFF?

If you can afford to hand over the business to your children, great; otherwise you work out a payment arrangement to make sure you’re not left eating wieners and beans while your kids are eating cavier and drinking champagne. Most parents work out an arrangement—for example, an estate freeze where they lock in the current value and give all the growth to the next generation in a tax-efficient manner. But they do extract the current value of the business when they retire.




What is the common excuse for someone not setting up a plan earlier?

People can’t imagine they’re ever going to die. They imagine they’ll stay healthy and live forever. They often don’t deal with this issue until they’re forced to or don’t have the energy to maintain the business like they imagined they’d be able to do. I don’t tell my clients if or when they need to step down, I tell them their affairs are fairly complicated and we need to organize them. I have a client with a patchwork of companies that are related but do different things, but despite my constant urging he never did a succession plan. He ultimately solved the problem by selling the main parts of the business. But had he not done that, and gotten sick one day, there would have been management and planning required that he couldn’t provide. It’s one thing to operate a business, but quite another to grow it and to be able to plan for five years or more down the road. What can go wrong if you wait to put a plan in place?

The process will be unnecessarily chaotic. You might wake up tomorrow and get hit by a bus. For God’s sake, plan! OHB

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Top Shelf I de a s for B u i l de r s & R e n ovat or s

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A bright idea from the Fireside Group p. 30

Step Out to the Ledge Stone Selex’s popular line of manufactured stone veneers includes Caledon Ledge. Available in a number of colour blends, including The Kentucky (pictured), with its mix of warm browns and greys to complement other building materials, Caledon Ledge measures up to 1 ½” thick, with each piece varying in size from 1 ½ to 7 inches tall and 4 to 23 ½ inches long. Although usually a dry-stack installation, Stone Selex’s manufactured stone veneers can also be installed stone by stone with mortar joints (the company recommends MasonBond400).

ontario home builder Fall 2018


Top Shelf The Long and Short of It Previously tough to get due to the high cost of importing from Europe, Arriscraft’s new extra-long Architectural Linear Series brick opens up new design opportunities for architectural customers. This elegant, super slender brick (2⅜” high by 23⅝” long) is simple to install and features a weathered finish that is ideal for modern designs, with rustic appeal. Four standard colours include Charcoal, Midnight Grey, Obsidian and Opal.

They’ve Got You Covered Available in R5, R7.5 and R10 to meet Ontario building codes, DuroSpan GPS insulation is manufactured using Neopor F5300 Plus, a graphiteenhanced expandable polystyrene provided by BASF. The graphite within the cellular structure reduces radiation heat transfer, resulting in enhanced thermal resistance, making it ideal for use as above-grade continuous insulating sheathing to meet 2012 OBC, Supplementary Standard SB-12. One-Stop Shop A one-stop source of funds for all mortgage situations, CYR Funding, headed by broker Rena Malkah and her 45 years’ experience, represents institutional lenders such as pension funds, life insurance companies, banks and private investors. For developers, renovators and builders, it supplies capital for land acquisition, land servicing, construction and incomeproducing properties. Construction projects can include everything from custom homes and infill projects to rental apartment buildings and condominiums. 26

ontario home builder Fall 2018

Seal the Deal Ideal for trades installing electrical, HVAC, pipes, etc., DuPont FlexWrap EZ is a flexible and versatile self-adhered flashing tape. Uniquely designed in a 2 ¾ inch wide by 15 ft. length roll to seal around small exterior penetrations of all different shapes and sizes, it helps prevent air leakage while improving the durability and energy efficiency of a wall system.

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What keeps you up at night? Is it the howling wind, or worry over what it might be doing to your reputation? Wake up to peace of mind with IKO’s new Dynasty Shingle with ArmourZone™. You’ll sleep better knowing your roofing jobs are covered by a 210 km/h (130 mph) Limited Wind Warranty1. The ArmourZone is an oversized 1-1/4” wide nailing area reinforced by a tear-resistant, woven band inserted into and extending beyond the common bond. It makes nail placement easy and helps prevent pull through in high winds. So go ahead. Elevate your game with new IKO Dynasty Shingles with ArmourZone. You’ll sleep easier, and your customers will too. To learn more, 1-855-IKO-ROOF (1-855-456-7663) or visit

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Top Shelf Smooth Operator Sherwin-Williams’ new Emerald interior/exterior Urethane Trim Enamel for doors, trim and cabinets delivers the smooth, uniform finish of an oil-based enamel with the convenience of a water-based formula. For exterior applications, this exceptional all-around performer delivers durability, gloss and colour retention, while resisting yellowing. For interior applications, it provides excellent hardness, adhesion and a silky-smooth uniform finish.

Feel the Heat The linear design of the Fireside Group’s DRL6500 offers a sophisticated, energyefficient and easy-to-install heating option for rooms with a modern feel. Featuring a large viewing area, wavering flame and choice of finishes, an optional fan kit to help circulate heat in larger rooms and a full-function remote control to optimize thermostat, blower power and flame height and intensity.

Compact Cooking Boasting numerous stellar consumer reviews, Haier’s 1.4 Cubic Foot over-the-range microwave oven is ideal for compact spaces. Measuring 23 55/64" wide, 16 3/16" deep and 16 31/32" high, the model includes several convenient features, including Glass Touch Electronic Controls, 1,000 watts of cooking power, 10 power levels and Sensor Cooking, which adjusts cooking time and power level automatically.

Instant Insulation Featuring all the benefits of regular sprayed-on polyurethane foam but in a clean and portable solution, CCMC-certified Insta-Panels’ insulated R-11 foam panels are made of rigid polyurethane foam and covered in steel or fibreglass on both sides. Because of their affordability, durability, high ‘R’ value and ease of installation, they’re ideal for residential applications where insulation is required or desired in radiant or traditional concrete floors. 28

ontario home builder Fall 2018

Top Shelf

Adding Something New to the Mix Festool’s new Mixer MX 1200 EF features tool-free height adjustment, a powerful 1200W motor, soft-start with variable speed trigger and a variety of optional, quick-change stirrer rods that broaden the application scope from stirring paint to mixing drywall mud and mortar. The design also features rubber corner bumpers and a motor cap which contribute to its robust, jobsite design.

FLO into the Future As the number of EVs on the road continues to rise, so does the need for reliable home charging. FLO is Canada’s largest EV charging provider and offers smart, future-proof solutions to meet the growing demand for residential charging. The FLO Home charging station is built from top-quality components designed to last more than 10 years and complies with the highest safety standards in the industry. 30

ontario home builder Fall 2018

Giving Contractors a New Edge Easy to cut and fasten, CGC Durock Brand Cement Board with EdgeGuard features wrapped edges that are formed smooth with a proprietary polypropylene fabric and then square-cut. The cement backerboard’s reinforced proprietary edge reduces screw spinout and crumbling during installation, while offering architects, builders and tile contractors an improved, water-durable, mouldresistant tile base for use in tub and shower area construction. Made in the Shade Lutron’s stylish Palladiom shading system features an exposed bracket with an enhanced drive architecture and even quieter performance—all with a slender 3” total profile that can handle a 12-by-12-ft. window opening—and the fabric required to cover it! Lutron’s Intelligent Hembar Alignment, meanwhile, can synchronize all automated shades in a single room or an entire home.

Do the Right Thing OHBA’s next president takes a stand for his beliefs By T e d M c I n t y r e


ontario home builder Fall 2018

Essential Info Born: April 27, 1973 Married: Anna (July 18, 1998) Children: Savannah (18), Taylor (13)


rom his home of Sao Miguel island in the Azores in 1972, 21-year-old Fernando Martins watched with growing anxiety as friends and acquaintances began returning in body bags. Termed Portugal’s Vietnam, the bloody Guinea-Bissau War of Independence in the West African colony of Portuguese Guinea was into its ninth year. Recently married and the sole provider for his widowed grandmother, Fernando should have been exempt from the draft, but had to go through the formality of ‘inspection’ prior to being issued a carte militari to free him of mandatory duty. “Unfortunately, he and his friends had a few drinks and got a bit rowdy, and there was a rift with some sergeants from the Portuguese mainland,” explains his son, Rick Martins. “A fight broke out, and the young men subsequently all received orders to ship out in 30 days.” In order to ensure a future with his bride and the hopes of starting a family, Fernando knew he had to escape, and a plan was hatched to smuggle him out of Portugal, then mired under a Fascist dictatorship. Whereas his wife Maria, who had taken up sponsored residence in Canada three years earlier but returned to get married, could freely come and go, Fernando’s exit would be more complicated. “My uncle took my dad to the mainland under the auspices of having to buy a new truck,” Rick relates. “My dad went ‘underground’ in Lisbon and crossed the northern border into Spain in Chaves. He didn’t know how to swim, but somehow got across the river. “Spain was also Fascist at the time, and he had to stay in a hole in the ground—an abandoned well at a farm—with three other men for three days,” Rick says. Thirteen days later, Fernando was smuggled into France, and eventually to Canada. “My dad is my biggest hero,” Martins says. “He risked everything to make life better for us.”

ontario home builder Fall 2018


Clockwise from top right: Raising a hand in victory in high school wrestling; young loves Rick and Anna steam up the studio; with Fred Flintstone, an early inspiration for Rick’s English language learning; with Anna at the 2013 CHBA Conference in Niagara Falls; a family vacation in Cuba in 2008; and celebrating his fifth birthday.

Martins is seated at the boardroom table of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association office in North York, having made the drive in from St. George, a modest village midway between Brantford and Cambridge that better resembles early 20th century England than 21st century Ontario. It’s only 8 a.m., but Martins, vice-president at Huron Creek Developments, has already gotten more done today than most marines. “My biological clock wakes me up at 5 a.m. 34

ontario home builder Fall 2018

every morning, regardless of when I go to sleep,” he shares. The routine that follows regularly includes breakfast smoothies and yoga at the local YMCA. Martins is not tall—maybe 5’10”—but cuts a solid figure, suggesting his competitive wrestling days in high school and Brock University. “I’m a push-up and chin-up major,” he jokes of his Phys. Ed. degree, but he’s being modest. “Wrestling taught me how to overcome challenges. In team sports you can say, ‘So and so

didn’t do his job,’ but in wrestling, when you’re on the mat, it’s just you and me. One thing I’m proud of is that I did lose matches, but very rarely did I ever lose twice to the same person. When I was done, I went back and figured out why I lost and made sure it never happened again. That’s all I’ve ever done in life.” “Made in Portugal but born in Canada,” Martins missed his first week of school when his grandmother passed away. “Mrs. Shuep was my kindergarten teacher,” he recalls. “I ran into her about 10 years ago and she said, ‘Rick, you’re still the only guy who ever caught me at a loss for words.’ It was that first day of school. I didn’t really speak a word of English—just Portuguese. I mean, I knew how to say ‘hi’ and I watched The Flintstones and stuff like that. Mrs. Shuep said, ‘Class, say hi,’ and everyone said hi. And then she asked, ‘What’s your name?’ And I said, ‘Fred Flintstone!’ His Portuguese heritage would made things awkward on other occasions for Martins and younger brothers Gary, Kevin and Renne. “We were different. We were in a community where people got their meat from Zehrs—all wrapped up in cellophane—while we had a pig hanging in our garage and were butchering chickens. But that’s how we were brought up.” The intangibles of that upbringing would breed the occasional confrontation. “I was taught from a very young age, ‘You’re not better than anyone, so don’t ever pretend that you are.’ But also that no one is better than you either, so don’t allow people to pick on you—or others,” Martins explains. “My dad always taught me that no matter your colour, creed, sex, religion—treat people the way you want to be treated. And if you see someone not being treated properly, stand up for it. And if that means you need to pop them in the nose, you pop ’em in the nose.” There were other ways to take that stand too, such as the day an 18-yearold Martins was waiting tables at the Cambridge Holiday Inn. “There were two Asian gentlemen at one table. Two tables down, I had a couple guys from a Texas company—boisterous, rude. There were some really derogatory comments being made. I could see the tension building, but the Asian gentlemen were very professional. I went into the kitchen and said, ‘Norm, get me those Texans’ steaks

Family patriarch Fernando Martins with sons (clockwise from top right) Rick, Kevin, Renne and Gary.

now! I have to get ’em outta here.’ They were still being derogatory afterward, and I said, ‘Gentleman, I appreciate your business, but what you’re doing is wrong and I wouldn’t want it done to my family. So I’ve paid for your meals, but I’m going to ask you gentlemen to leave.’” What Martins didn’t realize at the time were that the two Asian gentlemen consisted of a V.P. of Toyota and another man who they were trying to recruit for a new plant in Cambridge. They left a $1,000 tip.


Martins’ first paying job was as a nineyear-old, mixing cement for a freelance assignment his father and uncle Angelo had taken near Elora. “I’ll never forget: nine shovels of gravel, three of cement, a pail of water,” he says. “I wasn’t big enough to turn the mixer over into the chute, though, so they built this little platform, and I had this stick, and went up step by step, pushing the stick up until the mixer eventually flipped over. Half an hour between loads, all day long. I worked three or four weekends without being paid anything. Then Gustav, the property owner, started giving me $5 on days I mixed the cement.” Martins’ work ethic as a youngster was truly Old World. “At 14, I worked every weekend at a CNC shop, NBS General Machine. Fridays, after school, I’d work from 4 p.m. until midnight or 1 a.m.—whenever they needed me. Then 6 a.m. to whenever on Saturdays and Sundays. I did that until I was 16. Then came the Cambridge Holiday Inn, which is where I kind of learned what business and customer service was really about— processes, policies, going the extra mile, service with a smile—a genuine smile.” After his degree at Brock, Martins hoped the vocational journey would eventually lead him to a phys. ed. teaching job, but extensive cuts in the sector under the new Mike Harris government left Martins scrambling. “I got into a little financial planning—debt consolidation, insurance. I’d also worked for my wife’s family’s building company, Sunlight Homes. What I know about building today, I really learned from her cousin, Manny Ribeiro. I’m not a framer, a bricklayer, cement finisher or a foreman, but I’ve done all those jobs. One thing I’ve subscribed to is that if

“My dad is my biggest hero... He risked everything to make life better for us.” you’re going to do something, learn it. And I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty. I learned from Manny that it’s not the homeowner’s fault that the electrician didn’t pull the wire—you take care of it—you made a promise.” Fast forward to 1999. With daughter Savannah two months from entering the world and no health insurance, Christmas around the corner and a niece having moved in, Martins was thumbing through the want-ads when he came upon a posting for a three-month contract at East Forest Homes: “It said, ‘Looking for enthusiastic, young, entrepreneurial minded, good with numbers, some construction background.’ And I’m like, ‘I’m all of those things!’ So I go into the interview with owner Peter Catana, and for his first six questions, my answer

was, ‘No, I can’t do that.’ “The interview went so bad that I didn’t even tell my wife Anna about it. The next morning I’m on my way to Windsor and the car phone rings—keep in mind that these were expensive calls at that time. It was Anna and I was hoping everything was OK. She said, ‘This guy called about your interview and wants you to call back.’ Peter had a three-month contract with 12 plans—five townhomes and seven singles—that he needed to be estimated and contracts tendered.’ I said, ‘OK, but you realize I’m not an estimator, right?’ He said, ‘That’s OK‚ I can teach you.’ That was November 28, 1999. If you go back to my HR file at East Forest, there’s nothing official there—I came in on a handshake. “On Dec. 17, I knocked on his door and said I had everything done, so he could ontario home builder Fall 2018


just pay me for one month and I’d be out of his hair. He said, ‘No.’ “Being a 26-year-old Portuguese, I’m thinking, ‘I just saved this guy two friggin’ months and he’s not going to pay me for one month?!’ I think he saw me getting bright red, and said, ‘No, I have two months’ more work for you!’” “Two months became 18 years. Then Activa came along and made him an offer in 2016 that he couldn’t refuse,” Martins says. “ I was supposed to stay on, but it wasn’t a fit. When Peter found out, he called me up and said, ‘Do you want to do it again?’ I was able to pick my team from the best employees, start small and get back to the basics, what I love—being in the trenches.”


“We’re a business,” Martins notes, “so we have to make money to pay employees and stuff. But we’re trying to make a difference at Huron Creek Developments. We built the first VisitAble units in Ontario last year, 42 West Acres—accessible with larger doors and other details. We built nine of them in a stacked format, showing how they could be integrated into different built forms. This year, we’re scheduled to do a complete site in Simcoe of bungalow townhomes—Portside— that will all be VisitAble for aging people to stay in place or stay in the community. “Inclusive living is about allowing people to have choice to fit into society with as little difference as possible,” says Martins. “And I don’t think you want to legislate it—every time something is legislated, it gets screwed up. If you get in front of the right people—builders, industry, the councillors—we will change the conversation, then everyone feels like they’re part of the solution instead of being regulated to do it.” Martins is motivated by his cousin Tiffany, who was born with complications. Martins saw first-hand how an accessible home could improve the quality of life for both Tiffany and her aging parents. If you have the time, he’ll reel off the names of others who have inspired him—all of them: from Ms. Garside, the young GM at the Cambridge Holiday Inn, to Chris Lowry, his high school wrestling coach and now best friend—“He made me accountable and taught me that no matter how talented you are, there’s always someone there willing to work 36

ontario home builder Fall 2018

A passion for the pitch As one might expect of a native of Portugal, Rick Martins loves his soccer. A player in his youth, Martins still passionately competes on the pitch in both a men’s over-45 and over-35 division, assuming the traditionally draining positions of centre-midfield and sweeper. While he was heartbroken by Portugal’s Round of 16 exit at this summer’s World Cup, Martins’ emotions were most tested on June 15—Portugal’s opening game against Spain. “I was at St. Clair Ave. and University at the Ministry of the Environment at 1:05 p.m.,” Martins says. “The game started at 2 p.m. I figured I’d be 15-20 minutes late to the Oriental Sports Club in Cambridge, with the big screen and 300 people. I got there at 4 p.m. Missed the entire game, and Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat trick!”

harder”—to the late Trudy Beaulne, the head of VisitAble Canada who challenged Martins to think outside the box. Doing the right thing also included a 2012 humanitarian project in the Dominican Republic, not far from the Haitian border. “It was James Bazeley’s dream as president, but he couldn’t get it done under his term, so Doug Tarry carried it forward as president,” Martins says. “The town was called Agua Negra, which translates to Black Water. When we left, they ended up changing the name to Agua Vita, ‘Water of Life.’ “I was able to take my wife, my two kids, my niece and my mother-in-law down there with me, and we stayed at a resort not too far away. It was an unbelievable teaching moment, with the kids seeing the lack of indoor plumbing. The sewers were a hole in the wall, and when it rained it kind of washed up and down the street. We had a hammer, a crowbar missing the heads and a saw that was so dull that if you turned it upside down, it cut just the same. There was no such thing as an electric tool. My family was sifting sand so we could make concrete.

“We walked into one home and there was a gentleman with gangrene. We walked into another house and their pigs were living with them because they might be stolen if they were left outside. My wife and the kids spent a lot of time cleaning up the beach, because we were going to do the presentation there, but part of the reason they called it Agua Negra is because the town is in a lower area and the garbage dumps all sit up high, and after every major rainfall, everything gets washed down there. “On my second day, this little boy came and asked if he could help. I asked if he was helping because this was his mommy’s and daddy’s home. He said, ‘No señor. I help because maybe one day you come back and build a house for my mom and me.’ I get goosebumps just thinking of it. It’s by far the best trip I ever took in my life, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.” The job at hand, though, is as OHBA’s next president, and Martins is ideally suited, suggests outgoing president Pierre Dufresne. “Rick is a really special guy. He has an incredible knowledge of both the technical construction and policy sides of

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TOP: Martins (left) was among a group of OHBA members who made a humanitarian trip to the Dominican Republic in 2012. CENTRE: Celebrating his Portuguese heritage with Arlene and John Meinen of Pinnacle Quality Homes; strong-arming MPP Dave Levac with Brantford HBA President Steve Szasz at Queen’s Park this year; and Rick and Anna at the 2011 CHBA Conference in Banff.

our business. And I don’t think I’ve met anyone more passionate about our industry. He’ll speak from the heart, and it’s not just speaking for the benefit of the industry or to influence a policy one way or the other—it’s true personal conviction. He’ll never do anything to compromise the industry for his own benefit. He really cares about the bigger picture.” “He truly believes in making a difference,” 38

ontario home builder Fall 2018

adds Huron Creek’s Production and Land Development Manager Carlos Da Silva, who, as a friend of Rick’s brother Gary, has known Martins since he was seven. “He takes a team approach before making a decision. He’ll gather all the input from purchasers and look for group opinions at the office. You’ll get a good idea from one person, then someone else gives thought on it, and you make it into a great idea.”

As for challenges on the home front, Martins senses the need to strike a balance. “For the past year and a half, especially with all the politics that entered into home building with the elections, inclusionary zoning, OMB and Tarion, there were a lot of big files that were put out and a lot of turmoil and uncertainty that was caused in our industry. Let’s stop the car, ask for directions and work together to figure out where we want to go and how to fix this. Because interest rates are going up, and first-time homebuyers are already having a hard time qualifying with the new mortgage rules. We’ve got to tackle that right away, because the goal of homeownership is extremely import. It’s what my parents came here for, it’s what I worked so hard for, it’s what I want for my children and my children’s children.” Skilled trades is another issue on the front burner. “I think it’s really important to get it down to a one-to-one ratio,” Martin says. “The biggest problem with trades isn’t a today thing—it was the changes in the school system through the ’90s when they took shop class out. Now they’re trying to force it back in. I tell all my builders and friends in this industry, ‘Let’s not point fingers; let’s start ourselves.’ With my own company now, although we’re small, each semester we’ve taken on two co-op students, and I’ll place 10 kids with trades.” Martins’ profile picture on Facebook is a close-up of him holding a live starfish while the family was down in Marco Island, Florida, and it triggered a recent memory. “Today I saw a kid from my old high school, who was a wrestler but had problems with focus at school. When he saw me he said, ‘Hey Mr. Martins, I’m working with Hunter Framing.’ I said, ‘Great—that’s just for the summer, right?’ He said, ‘No, I’m going back to school. You’re right—I need to get my Grade 12.’ “It’s little examples like that that will catch,” Martins says. “I love the story of the gentleman walking on the beach who picks up a starfish and tosses it back into the ocean. Another guys says, ‘You’ve been here all morning throwing starfish into the water, but there are still thousands of them on the sand here. Do you really think you’re making a difference?’ And the first gentleman tosses the next starfish into the ocean and says, ‘Well I made a difference for this one.’” OHB

LOFTY GOAL Oakville-based designer Ramsin Khachi made the most out of this Toronto loft for radio personality Adam Wylde.

double duty Serving as a dining table option is a must for kitchen islands. A PLACE TO WORK A simple, clean workspace takes advantage of a vacant corner.


ontario home builder Fall 2018


grow Getting the most out of compact living spaces

CLEAN LINES Efficiently sized appliances are grouped along a single wall for a seamless look.

By M arc H u minilow yc z


he dream of owning an affordable detached family home remains a formidable challenge in Ontario, leading many in our urban centres to turn to smaller multi-residential units—primarily condominiums. But that doesn’t mean there can’t be a place for everything in those more compact abodes. To meet a growing demand for living spaces at affordable prices, Ontario’s developers, architects and designers—supported by furniture, cabinetry, storage and appliance manufacturers and retailers—are coming up with creative ways to do more with less space. Architect Rod Rowbotham, president of Toronto architecture and design firm One Space Unlimited, recognizes that the proliferation of smaller-unit buildings in the GTA is due to high land costs, which is compelling developers to include as many suites as possible in order to make a profit. But efficient layout choices can often offset some of those limitations in square footage. “The key to maximizing space is minimizing circulation areas in condo suites as much as possible, such as eliminating long corridors and ensuring that the main entrance opens directly into a room,” Rowbotham says. “In the suite, you need to make adjustments and be creative, especially in kitchens, using space-efficient cabinetry, single sinks and compact appliances. There are, though, some areas where you can’t compromise or minimize, like bathrooms, which need to meet building code requirements for barrier-free access, including wheelchair accessibility, counter height, wider doors and a clear area in the entranceway.” To create a feeling of space in tight quarters, One Space employs a design approach that is characteristic of many Toronto condos. Bedrooms are moved away from exterior walls, while a galley kitchen and living areas are kept adjacent to exterior glass walls, maximizing views outside. In addition, says Rowbotham, a Toronto zoning bylaw specifies that 40% of a bedroom wall facing an exterior wall must be clear glass, which gives residents a sense of consolidated space. “Interestingly, this layout is now being adopted by smaller municipalities beyond the GTA, such as Barrie,” he says. GTA designer Ramsin Khachi believes that creating an attractive, livable small space comes down to good design and hardware.

ontario home builder Fall 2018


“Convertibility and double-duty are key factors these days, such as transforming a bed into a work desk without having to remove paperwork off the desk, or turning a kitchen island into a dining table,” he says. “Capitalizing on depth, width and height, things need to tuck into each other to maximize walking floor space, like placing dog bowls in a drawer in a kitchen kick space. If you cut down on contrast and clutter, you create a home that looks and feels bigger.” Khachi elaborates on some of the systems and techniques that are currently available to maximize space. “A company called Duravit manufactures an ‘OpenSpace’ shower with two walls that fold into a corner—a great innovation that makes a difference in a small bathroom,” he says. “And Robern makes recessed medicine cabinets and vanities that take advantage of the space between walls, including lots of accessories inside.” To maximize floor space in bathrooms, wall-hung toilets and integrated bidet toilet seats are becoming prevalent, according to Khachi. “These days, we always install wall receptacles behind toilets,” he says. Some other space-saving items include closet rods that pull out of walls, accessories for electrical and USB outlets in furniture and sliding barn doors. On the small appliance front, Khachi likes to see everything grouped and tucked away along a single wall for a clean, seamless look. As to compactness, he notes a few European appliance makers such as AEG, Miele and Liebherr who offer narrower and thinner dishwashers, 24-inch wide refrigerators with lots of space and combination clothes washer/dryers.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Resource Furniture’s Passo expanding dining/coffee table; Bosch’s Home Connect collection of small space appliances can be controlled with a single app; Duravit’s OpenSpace shower stall folds out of the wall and includes a full-size mirror.


ontario home builder Fall 2018

T he N ew C u b is m A kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and living space in a 10’ x 10’ x 10’ self-contained cube? Three years ago, Italian product designer Luca Nichetto and Toronto developer Urban Capital unveiled a unique small-space concept called Cubitat at the Toronto Interior Design Show. Described as a “plug and play living space,” the prefabricated, multidisciplinary, fully-integrated cube contained a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, lounge area and hidden storage spaces. The idea was that urban dwellers would be able to buy and customize their cube online, have it delivered to their residence, and quickly furnish their space without the need for renovations or additions. Inspired by both the prefab world and modern production methods, the custom-assembled architectural solution was designed to be a “transferable home,” comprising a central frame forming four walls containing pull-down furniture for each of the spaces. Combining elements from its residential developments with ideas about prefab construction, architecture as product and compact living, Urban Capital created Cubitat “as a concept for the future with its feet firmly planted in designs and practices of today.”

ontario home builder Fall 2018


A Big Partnership for S mall S paces

LEFT: Richelieu’s Milo Pull-Out Table Slide mechanism hides cooking and sinks areas beneath. RIGHT: Panasonic’s PullDown Cabinet System provides easy access.

These and other small-space items are available at Canadian Appliance Source, a GTA retailer catering to consumers and builders looking for compact appliances. “Small-space living is on the rise, and we offer many options including 24-inch wide refrigerators right through to 18-inch wide modern dishwashers,” says product knowledge specialist Andrei Volintiru. “Customers are always worried that they need to sacrifice quality for size,” says Volinturi, who carries products from over 40 manufacturers. “We reassure them that quality will never be compromised in their small footprint. One of the hottest items for small spaces is an all-in-one washer and dryer system. Even though cycle times are a bit longer, they offer the same, if not better efficiency as conventional machines. They are simple to install, offering ventless condensation drying and a standard wall plug.” Although appliances for small spaces are available, designer Khachi believes that the industry needs to catch up to the current demand. Enter appliance electronics giant Panasonic, inventor of the microwave oven. Recently, Panasonic Canada entered a partnership with Canadian cabinet and door hardware manufacturer Richelieu to create a line of home storage and organization products called Smart Living Solutions, innovative systems designed to optimize living spaces, including a selection of multifunctional kitchen and closet accessories. In addition to three ‘core’ Panasonic small-space appliances— a built-in induction cooktop, a four-in-one combination oven (conventional/steam/microwave/infrared) and a counter-depth, energy-efficient ‘smart’ refrigerator—key systems developed by the partnership include a soft-down cabinet, revolving shoe system, a pull-down cabinet, wall-mounted clothes drying, a revolving closet and a combination shelf. Space design, compact appliances and storage solutions make up a large part of designing small spaces. But what about

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Inspired by Fujisawa, a gated, self-sustaining 1,100-unit small-home community designed and built by Panasonic in Japan, Panasonic and Richelieu have taken their show on the road. CityNow, a futuristic, sustainable community created by Panasonic, Canadian closet and storage manufacturer Richelieu Hardware, as well as builders in Denver, Colorado, includes a 320 square-foot “smart space” micro condo model. This summer, a similar unit will be opening at Panasonic Canada headquarters in Mississauga to showcase their products and give consumer and developer visitors a feel for what it’s like living in a small, modern space.   “Our goal is to utilize unique appliances and space-saving devices to maximize vertical space,” says Kevin Smith, Business Manager at Panasonic Canada Home and Building Solutions Division. “Twenty-four percent of our business in Japan is devoted to interior spaces in the domestic market. In 2014, we decided to enter the Canadian housing market as a partner to builders and developers.” “Builders talk about square footage, but a big part of saving space is about cubic capacity,” adds Smith. “We can increase this capacity by 10-15% with items like ‘soft counter’ shelving, where top shelves are brought down to a reachable level, pulldown systems, revolving closet systems for narrow and deep spaces and multi-track systems in walk-in closets to reduce space.” Eric Pothier, Director of Business Development at Richelieu Hardware believes that, while the micro unit being showcased by his company and Panasonic may cost developers 5% to 10% per square foot more to build, it will deliver at least 25% more per square foot in revenue. “Our partnership with Panasonic offers the best of both worlds— the latest in technology and hardware,” says Pothier. “We have a specialized team ready to work with builders and designers to help them create the most modern and efficient spaces available for their clients.”

beds, seating, tables and cabinets? Resource Furniture, located in Toronto’s design district, is the Ontario licensee for a chain of retail stores specializing in small space furnishings, founded 14 years ago in New York City. (There are three other Canadian franchises—in Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver.) Resource Furniture’s showroom offers a number of products, designed and manufactured in Italy, such as a range of multi-function wall bed systems, systems that convert a bedroom into an office or a dining room into a bedroom, coffee tables that quickly and easily transform into dining tables and a variety of small-space seating options. Seeing a growing trend of smaller living spaces in the city, with increasing numbers of down-sizers and new residents moving to condos, owner Brian Dazé secured his Ontario franchise and hasn’t looked back. “Our suppliers are mostly family-owned Italian companies who have been doing this for a long time,” he says. “Their products offer style, functionality and durability using quality fabrics, millwork, mechanisms and engineering. They may be higher-end, but from a cost perspective they make a compelling business case.” Resource Furniture works primarily with designers and consumers on layouts for their spaces, creating 3D renderings to make sure they get exactly what they want and need. “Furniture is a key element in design,” says Dazé. “With shrinking floor plans, we want to reach out to developers with our product offerings and ideas to show them how to make their spaces work.”

CAPITAL IDEAS One Toronto developer that has won numerous accolades for its high-end, yet functional urban condos is Urban Capital. According to Director of


ontario home builder Fall 2018

TOP: Richelieu’s Opla-Top Table Extension offers instant kitchen workspace and seating area. ABOVE: Robern’s recessed vanities are both efficient and stylish.

Development Taya Cook, small condo design is all about vertical space. “Because it comes down to cubic feet versus square feet, we design our units with maximum ceiling height, floor-to-ceiling doors, windows, closets (where possible) and exposed ductwork to avoid bulkheads wherever we can,” Cook says. Cook notes that the kitchen is an area that merits the most thinking in a condo. “It’s important to make the best use of the kitchen space to minimize its impact on the rest of the unit,” she explains. “Smaller appliances that allow for stacking storage on top, space-efficient cabinetry and a functional pantry space are key.” As noted, small condo bathroom design is more limited by accessibility regulations, but there are things that can be done to maximize the space. “It’s all about storage under the sink, a cleverly designed mirror/medicine

cabinet and finishing,” says Cook, whose company likes to continue floor tiling up walls to create the appearance of a bigger space, and use an oversize mirror that slides away to reveal double storage cabinets in the wall behind it. Smart electrical and mechanical design is also critical in small condos according to Cook. “It’s all about coordinated design between the components,” she says. “We devote a lot of thinking to using the most efficient machinery for the space, as well as the best (and most aesthetic) placement of mechanical units and switches.” As the cost of housing continues to rise and living spaces shrink, developers, architects and designers—fed by ingenious new products from manufacturers—are finding innovative ways to create attractive and functional living spaces. Thinking small has never been a bigger deal. OHB

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Apple, Google and Amazon have begun partnering with homebuilders By T r ac y H a n e s

model home in the Northern Virginia community of Avendale has some features that leave would-be homebuyers literally starry-eyed. When the command “Alexa, turn on Relax” is uttered, lights dim, shades lower, soothing music plays and illuminated stars appear on the ceiling in the master ensuite bathroom. Working in partnership with Amazon and its Alexa platform, the Brookfield Residential Smart Home, unveiled last year, showcases how voice-enabled technology can make homeowners’ lives home convenient, easier and just plain cool. Alexa can preheat the oven, turn on the coffee maker, lock doors, turn on lights, raise window coverings, prompt lawn watering and set the thermostat. “The home has several voice-enabled scenes,” explains Marc Thibault, vice-president of sales and marketing at Brookfield Residential, who is based at the company’s Markham office. “When you walk in, a motion sensor activates and Alexa welcomes you. You walk into the great room and say, ‘It’s movie time,’ and all the blinds in that area of the home come down, lights dim, the TV turns on and Netflix is on the screen.” In the boys’ room, lights go down and the Star Wars theme plays on command, while a dance party comes to life in the girl’s room, with LED strobe lights and streaming pop music. Brookfield partnered with Apple at some of its California developments in 2017, becoming the first builder in the U.S. to make Apple HomeKit a standard in its new homes. Using the Home app on their iPads or iPhone, or speaking to virtual assistant Siri, homeowners can control door locks, lighting, thermostats and home entertainment devices.

Other U.S. builders are mining the potential of voiceenabled technology. This year, in partnership with Amazon, major builder Lennar Homes opened model homes—or ‘Amazon Experience Centers’—in 15 American cities such as Washington, Dallas, Seattle and Los Angeles, where Amazon, Alexa and Prime work together to perform functions such as opening window blinds and starting a playlist. The smart homes also allow voice control of TV, lights, thermostats and allow monitoring of visitors arriving at the front door. Amazon has also signed a deal with Caydon Property Group in Australia to include Amazon Echo Plus (the smart speaker that connects to cloud-based Alexa) in 1,205 apartments in Mason Square precinct of Melbourne. Now that virtual assistants from Google and Amazon have been available in Canada since late last year and early this year (Apple), partnering with new home builders seems like a logical progression. So far, however, few Canadian builders have ventured into the voice-automated frontier. Brookfield is one of the first out of the gate north of the border. Three model homes to open this fall at Yonge Street and Bloomington Sideroad in Aurora will feature some voiceenabled scenes similar to those in Brookfield’s U.S. smart homes. Homes in the development will come standard with wifi-enabled light switches for front foyer and exterior lights, wifi-enabled smart thermostats and Bluetooth-enabled front door locks. These features will be compatible with Apple and Android devices and can be controlled by Apple HomeKit (Siri), Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. ontario home builder Fall 2018


How to set up a smart home STEP ONE Choose a voice-activated virtual assistant such as Amazon Alexa (1), Google Assistant (2) or Apple’s Siri (3).




STEP TWO Choose the hardware, or hub, such as Alexa’s Echo products (1), Google Home (2) or Android smartphone or Apple’s iPhone (3), iPad or Apple Watch.




STEP THREE You will have to buy products (such as lights, thermostats, door locks, fans, etc.) and download apps compatible with the platform you are using. For other products (such as fans, coffee makers, etc.), you will need a smart plug that you can plug them into.

Since March, Mattamy Homes has been including the voice-enabled Ecobee4 smart thermostat in every new home it builds—about 7,000 a year—as a result of a partnership with Ecobee. The thermostat has built-in voice-enabled Amazon Alexa, which means it can be used with some other household functions. However, not all homeowners are at that comfort level and don’t have to use the voice automation if they don’t want to, says Subhi Alsayed, vice-president, Sustainable Development for Mattamy. Homeowners who want to embrace the technology can add things such as voice-enabled blinds, lights, etc. on their own. They can also control the Ecobee4 by computer or smartphone. Or homeowners can simply rely on the thermostat’s built-in intuitive features, such as a room sensor that allows it to manage a room’s hot and cold spots. Alsayed says Mattamy is looking into offering buyer packages that include voice-enabled devices, “but it’s not a one-size fits all approach.” Mattamy is planning to build smart homes that will serve as innovation labs where the builder can experiment with different technologies and products before they are marketed to homebuyers. National Homes is taking some cues from its homebuyers to determine what it will include in its homes in the near future. It held a Blueprint Workshop in January that was part focus group, part think tank, bringing together past and present homeowners, National staff, engineers, designers and others at the IBM Innovation Space at Venture Labs in Markham. It explored how homeowners feel about their homes, how they live in them and what type of design, features and technology they believe will improve their lives. Partner leaders from the tech sector included representatives from IBM, Thoughtwire (a Canadian digital intelligence company) and Panasonic. National will be using the information gleaned from that session to help guide the design of its next homes (solar energy and kitchen storage and organization solutions were top-ranked features), as well as results from a comprehensive online survey (60% of respondents indicated interest in better home technology). Deena Pantalone, director of marketing innovation and managing partner for National Homes, constantly researches new home products and emerging technology around the world to see what might be a fit for her company, and that may or may not include voice-automated features. “For us, it’s what is most user-friendly, what makes living in the home less stressful and provides people more time with family,” says Pantalone. While they have a lot of technologies at the research stage, for her company, a feature must be affordable and easy to use, Pantalone notes. “Does it bring value or it is just one more thing to check? There are a lot of things like Alexa and we are constantly investigating those advances. The important thing is to look at what makes life easier. It takes some time to activate all these devices and to make sure everything communicates without glitches.”

TOWER OF TECHNOLOGY Tridel has built Toronto’s first operating smart condo, Ten York, where residents recently moved in. It is the first Tridel Connect building, with fibre optic wiring, unlimited ultra-fast high-speed internet and its own smart network. While voice-enabled platforms aren’t part of the mix there yet, the infrastructure can accommodate these things in future. “We studied what we could do in a high-rise condo environment that would make it easier for residents to do things in their home,” says Jim Ritchie, Tridel vice-president of sales and marketing. “This started a


ontario home builder Fall 2018

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number of years ago, but Ten York is the first one out of the gate.” Each suite will have a wall pad, similar to a tablet that can be used to set the suite temperature, the security alarm, receive notifications from the property manager, communicate with the concierge, show guests arriving at the front door and let them in, as well as view select common areas. Residents have digital door locks with keyless entry, and an app is coming that will allow them to unlock their door with their smart phone. Ten York also has licence plate recognition, so as a resident approaches the garage in a vehicle, it recognizes the plate and opens the door. A smart locker has also been set up to accommodate deliveries of parcels. “The packages will have codes on them that will be scanned by a reader that will detect the size and weight,” explains Ritchie. “The delivery guy will show up, scan the bar code and a door in the smart locker opens according to the size of a package. A digital message will be sent to the resident and a picture taken of the delivery person and the individual removing the package.” Tridel also had Rogers design and install a distributor antenna system that provides connectivity for cell phones, as in buildings over 30 storeys tall and in tall buildings surrounded by other tall buildings, there is typically degradation of cell phone signals. It will work with current Rogers’ customers, while those with other plans can connect at their own cost. While Ten York doesn’t have voice-enabled platforms yet, “that could be on the list,” says Ritchie. “There’s no shortage of things we could do, but we want to have services that work and provide maximum benefit to residents today. It’s feasible to layer on features that people like and they could be personalized within the condo suite itself. The tech exists.” Ritchie says creating the smart network in the building was complicated and time consuming, with special software, firewalls and troubleshooting functions having to be worked out, but that “everything we have so far is tried and true and something we can control.” Aqualina and Aquabella at Toronto’s Bayside neighbourhood will be the next Tridel Connect condos, which could be advantageous, as they will be adjacent to a proposed ‘smart’ neighbourhood. Sidewalk Labs, a Google sister company formed to explore how to solve urban issues using technology and innovation, has partnered with Waterfront Toronto on a 12-hectare brownfield site at Queens Quay and Parliament Street. The Sidewalk Toronto plan has few concrete details yet, but the intent is to create a mixed-use smart neighbourhood. Extensive sensors will collect data from people living and moving within it to test how technology can improve urban living. But concerns have been raised as to how that data will be shared. Sidewalk Labs has committed a total $90 million to the project so far, with a draft plan to be released in early 2019. With the technology still new to Canada, builders are taking a cautious wait-and-see approach. Even early adopter Brookfield is not offering voice-automated packages yet. Thibault says there is a learning curve with the voice-enabled platforms, as they have to learn users’ voices and dialects over time. And not every smart device works with every platform. “The initial intent is to use the models as a talking point,” says Thibault. “It generates interest and traffic from people who want to come in and see the latest and greatest. When they walk through, they see what the possibilities are. It’s partly R&D (research and development) too—we’re using it as a learning experience for ourselves.” Next year, Brookfield will build Smart Home 2.0 model homes in Seaton. “They will be a little bit smarter and more refined,” says Thibault. “We will use what we have learned from our mistakes.” OHB 52

ontario home builder Fall 2018

Smart Home Stats A survey released by iQor found that more than


U.S. adults experienced issues setting up or operating a connected smart home device. Consumers get frustrated dealing with installation issues and having to deal with multiple companies during the process. The study polled 1,004 U.S. adults living in a "smart household" environment.

There will be


Internet of Things devices (including everything from watches to self-driving cars) deployed by 2020, according to analyst firm Gartner.


A survey released in December 2017 by consulting firm Deloitte found nearly 40% of those who participated in the survey were concerned about connected-home devices’ security and tracking their usage.

reduce energy consumption

According to NPD Group, Canadians are most interested in home automation products that will make their home safer from robberies and break-ins, followed by those who will then reduce energy consumption.


NPD Group found 60% of consumers who showed extreme interest in purchasing home automation products said they would be more likely to hire professional installers.


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Quiet, Please! Recent design trends have made modern living a noisy proposition By M a r c H u m i n i l ow yc z


ondering what all the clatter’s about when it comes to modern home design? Well, in many cases, it’s the clatter itself. Today’s new homes, with their open-concept designs, quartz countertops, tile and hardwood floors, high ceilings, TVs mounted on walls and large floor-to-ceiling windows, are being embraced by builders, architects, renovators and homeowners alike for their clean, modern and minimalist ambience. But while these designs are pleasing to the eye, they are not necessarily pleasing to the ear. A few decades back, heavy drapes on windows, carpeting on the floors and bulky furniture did much to deaden echoes in large rooms and suppress noises from other parts of the house. By contrast, modern open-concept design and bare floors promote echo-y spaces and room-to-room noise, with little regard for acoustics. And the problem isn’t just noise inside the home. With developable land becoming more scarce, new homes, townhouses and condos covered in more exterior glass are being built close to busy streets, highways and industrial areas. As a result, our homes are not always the quiet havens of yesteryear. While the current code does not address residential exterior noise, it does contain a minimum requirement for sound transmission in walls separating multiunit residential buildings (condos and townhomes) and hotel suites. Nicholas Sylvestre Williams is an acoustical consultant and principle with Aercoustics Engineering in Mississauga, whch has specialized in acoustic design, noise control and vibration control for more than 40 years. Williams claims to get at least one call a month from condo owners asking if his company can come over to test for noise from neighbouring units, and tell them what can be done about it. “To understand noise, you need to understand the concept of sound transmission,” explains Williams. “It’s more than just a heavy-footed neighbour. The overall amount that a wall will reduce sound is called a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating. The higher the number, the less sound is transmitted.” But a high STC rating does not necessarily guarantee less noise, according to Williams. Sound travels through the air from one room to another, but it is also transmitted through walls, ceilings and floors. This is called “flanking” noise, which STC tests do not take into account. The existing National Building Code of Canada calls for a minimum STC rating of 50 in walls separating townhome and condo units. Recent changes in the national code, expected to be implemented by the provinces, have added an additional noise rating, Apparent Sound Transmission Class (ASTC)—a more realistic measure of the actual sound transmitted between occupants, since it includes noise through walls, ceilings and floor junctions. Now, in addition to an STC in walls of 50, adjacent units in multi-residential buildings must be separated by a wall, floor or ceiling with an ASTC rating of at least 47. “In modern condos, with continuous floors on each level and separating walls built on top of them, sound can travel through the floor to the next unit,” says

ontario home builder Fall 2018


Hushed Tones Great acoustics are a must-have for clients of David Small, an Ontario designer and builder of contemporary “naturally modern” family homes. “Our core design principle is ‘cozy,’ which translates to a comfortable and quiet home environment,” Small says. “Design is too often driven by the real estate industry, which demands cavernous spaces, creating an acoustical nightmare,” Small notes. “Our clients are looking for spaciousness with great exterior views. In order to balance this with coziness, we may include high ceilings in certain spaces and eight-foot heights in others, in addition to the right interior materials—wood, stone, throw rugs, soft textures and the right colours—strategically pointed in the right directions for comfort and acoustics.” Small indentifies that a room’s layout is also an important factor in controlling sound. “If a client insists on a great room open to a bedroom level

back-to-back electrical outlets and allowing for air space in the ceilings between two living spaces can go a long way to reducing noise, Williams adds. As to flanking noise transmission in walls that separate units or rooms, Williams recommends gypsum wall assemblies using resilient channels. It’s a system that uses sound-dampening metal strips (also called sound bars) screwed into wall studs, to which a layer of drywall is attached, helping increase sound isolation by acting as a divider that prevents sound vibrations from travelling from the drywall through the stud. Further, installing loose, flexible insulation (fibreglass or mineral fibre) between walls will add greatly to the sound-blocking effect. Construction Canada’s website, however,

above, we will position the bedrooms further down the hall in a cluster, separated by a door at the beginning of the hallway.” Another consideration is the positioning of mechanicals in the home. “Typically, the furnace is put in a mechanical room in the basement with ductwork all the way up,” Small says. “We place the mechanicals on the second floor in a small room not immediately adjacent to bedrooms, using rubber gaskets to dampen noise in HVAC connection points and locating closets and storage areas as buffers.” In addition to installing insulation in the walls and floors of the home to ensure a quiet interior environment, Small likes to visit the building site with owners prior to breaking ground to check for potential sources of exterior noise such as traffic and nearby commercial/industrial complexes. Strategic placement of rooms and windows, triple-pane windows where required, and using the property’s topography for acoustical screening are techniques employed to limit the home’s exposure to exterior distractions.

cautions that a resilient channel wall assembly is more labour intensive and therefore more costly, and also increases the footprint of the wall, reducing a floor plan’s useable square footage. And if not installed precisely, it can actually make the noise situation worse. Instead, the site recommends noise-reducing laminated core gypsum board, which can be secured directly to studs, saving time and space. Williams identifies glass as the weakest link when it comes to addressing exterior noise. “New residential buildings today offer a 45 to 50 STC rating. With windows, you get 20 to 30 STC,” he says, recommending options to help, including double-pane glass with a larger air space between panes; laminated windows with a protective vinyl layer of material inside of two pieces of

Strategic placement of rooms and windows, as well as a site’s topography, can help limit exterior noise.

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Williams, adding that, in older condo buildings separated by concrete floors and walls, this was not an issue. “Likewise, floor-to-ceiling windows can transmit flanking noise through glass between adjacent units. Sound mitigation in these situations is not difficult. Just look at the junctions at the walls and windows. Build these areas up or separate the floor or the window from one unit to another.” Williams advises that much can be done by builders to minimize noise—between units and rooms, as well as from the outside. “With acoustics, the devil is in the details,” he says. “Use your ears. Where could noise potentially come from? It could be in walls, ceilings or even HVAC systems.” Small steps, like carefully sealing gaps and cracks in walls, avoiding



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glass; as well as windows with two different thicknesses of glass to block different noise frequencies (manufactured by Jeld-Wen, among others). Williams believes that these windows offer better sound insulation than triple-pane glass, which, he notes, are designed primarily for superior climate insulation. How much extra will it cost builders to utilize these steps and products in order to meet the residential multi-unit noise requirements of the new national code? For material only—underlayment between floors, wall and ceiling resilient channels, acoustical strips under drywall where it meets the floor, acoustical caulking between drywall joints (wall and ceiling), duct and pipe wrap material, as well as acoustical putty around electrical outlets—Williams estimates an average premium of $3 to $4 per square foot. Installation costs, on the other hand, would depend on the size of the project. Acoustic windows (not required by the new code), would cost from $1,000 to $2,500 total, based on typical residential sizes. Row townhomes present another noise problem: so-called “party walls” that separate units from each other. Liteblock, a cellular concrete product relatively new to Canada but established around the world, is manufactured by Litebuilt Concrete Canada. It’s made from a concrete slurry expanded by air injection to create insulating air pockets, much like an Aero chocolate bar, then formed into lightweight, 5”-thick mortarless interlocking building blocks. The product is primarily used to separate attached units in mid-rise wood-frame projects, offering both fire protection and sound insulation. According to Litebuilt G.M. Stephen Baker, the product (along with half-inch drywall on top) provides a separating wall STC rating of 52. If acoustic batt insulation is also added, Liteblock’s lightweight bricks offer both fire protection and sound insulation.


ontario home builder Fall 2018

builders can achieve an STC of 65 or better. “The average cost of supplying and installing Liteblock is about $10 per square foot,” Baker says. “When implementing it into two-hour fire walls, builders can actually save 35% on the construction, because these types of walls require multiple fire-rated products to achieve the fire rating. Using Liteblock, you can achieve a fire rating of up to five hours while saving a lot of money (and space) in the wall assembly.” When it comes to new detached and semidetached homes, better exterior climate insulation and more energy-efficient window products come with the added benefit of improved sound insulation from outside noise. “Although our clients don’t specifically mention concerns about noise, they know that above-average insulation and better windows will result in a quieter home,” says Roy Nandram, owner of Ottawa-based RDN Construction. “The exterior walls in all our homes are super-insulated and the windows are all triple-pane. We also pay attention to sound attenuation in the walls between bathrooms and bedrooms, adding insulation between the studs and, if clients request it, an extra layer of drywall. The insulation adds about $500 to $1,000 to the overall construction cost; and an extra drywall layer about 75 cents per square foot.” There are several products and building systems available to builders who want to offer clients a quieter living environment. Owens Corning’s EcoTouch Quiet Zone Fiberglas acoustic batt insulation is designed to control noise by absorbing sound vibrations transmitted through walls, interior partitions, floors and ceilings. Made of 73% recycled content and formaldehyde-free, it can be installed in stud frames in masonry units, stairwells and service rooms, as well as between joists in floors and ceilings. Like mini shock absorbers, Regupol SonusClips attach gypsum wall board to interior walls and ceilings.

Sound Advice from Interior Designers If someone is cleaning up after dinner, chances are, no matter where you are in today’s modern home, you can hear the dishes clanking off the kitchen’s quartz island and footsteps skittering across the floor. But what can be done to dampen sound and create the quiet, cozy sanctuaries that we so long for? Designer Erika McCarthy of Baudit Interior Design believes that the quest for quiet is all about details. “Anything soft absorbs noise,” she notes. “Big upholstered furniture in the living room will do a much better job of dampening sound than moulded plastic.” McCarthy also recommends good oldfashioned fabric drapes on windows (the heavier the better), plants, area rugs on the floor and tapestries on the wall for sound absorption. “In the kitchen, though, not much can be done, except installing wood floors instead of ceramic, which I recommend all the time,” she says, adding that cork floors are another good option. As to noise from appliances, especially the dishwasher, McCarthy suggests investing in higher quality brands that usually operate more quietly than others. Catherine-Lucie Horber of Royal Interior Design recommends area rugs to soften the footfalls of those inside. “I love them for many reasons. They make rooms cosier and quieter, while making spaces look bigger,” Horber says. “Custom drapes—positioned up to the ceiling to add the illusion of height—and brightly coloured cushions are both design elements that offer the added benefit of sound absorption.”

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ontario home builder Fall 2018


NOW HEAR THIS! (OR NOT) Quebec-based AcoustiTech, a BILD member providing both acoustic product and technical advice for builders and contractors, suggests the following to limit extraneous noise in construction and renovation projects: 1. Make sure that the building design meets the recognized design principles of acoustics. Hire a qualified acoustician to guide you throughout the project and help avoid significant costs of demolition and reconstruction. Determine realistic and achievable acoustical values for the building.

Similarly, Roxul Safe and Sound provides an open and porous mineral fibre insulation that easily fits into wall, ceiling and floor applications, offering great acoustical dampening. Window fashion manufacturer HunterDouglas, meanwhile, claims that all of its products absorb sounds to various degrees. Flooring manufacturer Mohawk’s latest product, Air.o, designed for application on wood or laminate flooring, is a hypoallergenic carpet featuring a high-grade attached felt underpad made of 100% recycled water bottles that offers a soft, easily-cleaned, sound-absorbing surface. And new assemblies for wood, laminate, tile and carpeted flooring installations touting a reduction of noise transfer between floors include acoustic underlayment products from such companies as AcoustiTech and Amvic. ‘Dissimilar glass,’ such as this offering from Jeld-Wen, features panes of two different thicknesses to block different sound frequencies.

2. Limit the use of ceramics in kitchens and bathrooms. Or take specific measures to reduce the resulting sound for the benefit of the neighbours. 3. Require the use of a door sweep seal at the bottom of corridor doors and appropriate seal around them to limit sound transmission. 4. Seal any openings where sound could infiltrate, especially in and around plumbing and ventilation. Seal all cracks and openings in the building’s envelope. If air can pass, sound can too. 5. Whenever possible, avoid perforating the gypsum ceiling with recessed lighting or other systems that reduce the integrity and seal of the ceiling. 6. Don’t forget to dissociate the dense elements of the building, such as floors, baseboards, walls, pipes, etc. 7. The use of acoustical membrane should not be limited to hardwood floors, but also include ceramic, marble and natural stone floors. 8. Install ceramics before the cabinets are installed in order to have a full coverage of acoustical membrane over the entire room.


Another noise-mitigating option for a home’s exterior and interior is Icynene, a one-step spray foam insulation and air barrier system that insulates from climate and sound. A closed-cell version called Classic Plus, which expands 100% to fill every corner of the building envelope, is used in continuous exterior applications. An open-cell version is used in interior cavities. “Sound control in homes is as much an art as a science,” says Paul Duffy, Principal/ Lead Consultant at Toronto’s Paul Duffy and Associates and former Icynene V.P. of Engineering. “Acoustics revolve around material choices plus layering to capture and deflect various sound wavelengths. Icynene insulation products are air-impervious, restricting mostly higher-frequency sound waves. Because electrical outlets, cables and plumbing can penetrate the air barrier and allow sound transmission, they spray and air-seal these areas.” Duffy adds that acoustic insulation is especially important in party walls where, in addition to spraying cable outlets and plumbing,

ontario home builder Fall 2018

a multi-layered application of Icynene product is used to create “dead air” spaces to deaden sound. Another system designed to keep Mother Nature out while providing good sound mitigation is insulated concrete form (ICF) construction. Toronto’s Amvic Systems claims that its ICF homes offer an STC rating of 50+, compared to conventional wood-framed house ratings of 36 to 38. (By comparison, exterior walls faced with four-inch-thick brick give an STC of 45. Factoring in an interior layer of drywall brings their rating up to 50.) Sometimes it’s a combination of innovative products and creative problem solving. The use of sound-isolation clips, for example, has almost become the standard for Rick Martins, V.P. of Huron Creek Developments and incoming OHBA president. Martins’ company regularly uses Regupol SonusClips to attach gypsum wall board to interior walls and ceilings. Essentially little rubber shock absorbers, they’re designed to reduce airborne and impact sound transmission, and can be used in wood, steel and concrete construction. Each SonusClip has a design load rating of 36 lbs. and can support up to two layers of 5/8” gypsum board when spaced no more than 24” x 48” on-centre. “It’s something they’ve been doing for years in the commercial industry, but which has never really crossed over into the residential industry due to price—it’s about $1,000 a unit,” explains Martins. “But, truthfully, that $1,000 helped sell me 40 stacked units in my next site. And it’s not really $1,000, because instead of having core slab, I’m dealing with wood structure, putting a Gyp-Crete concrete slurry coat on top of it. Core slab is great, but you get that tapping noise all the time—if someone upstairs is wearing high heels, with ceramic or laminate flooring, it drives you bananas the floor below. “Sound is going to be a big deal in the future,” says Martins. “Our STC is 60, and every decibel of difference is huge. “Even how you mount your cabinets is important,” Martins adds. “When a cabinet is mounted to a wall, and the wall is tied into that floor, as soon as you close the cabinet, the vibration goes down and through. So for any common walls we have, we install sound clips. We put a resilient channel there. You screw it into the stud, and then you screw your drywall on. But cabinets need backing—you can’t just put them on the drywall. So within the drywall, we run a 2” x 6” wherever the cabinets are going to be mounted, while still not being attached to the wall system.” In an era where silence is golden, sound thinking like this will surely perk up the ears of potential clients. OHB


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Building Buzz N e w s a n d mov e s fro m t h e i n du s t ry seminar provides an in-depth analysis of a builder’s individual scores and looks for opportunities to improve satisfaction based on homeowner experiences.

PDI Training At Tarion, we often hear confusion about the Pre-Delivery Inspection and its purpose. In our PDI training seminar, we’ll take you through best practices to educate homeowners about their new home, how to document damaged or missing items and how to explain the features and limitations of the warranty. This session helps builders set the tone for a positive and productive relationship with their homeowners.

Delayed Closing/Occupancy

Class is in Session

Tarion’s Fall Continuing Education Lineup for Builders By Siloni Waraich, V.P. of Tarion Stakeholder Relations

September is an exciting time of year all over the province. Kids are headed back to school, conference and industry events are starting to fill our calendars and Tarion’s education lineup is ready to kick into high gear. Each year, Tarion kicks off its Fall Builder Update season at the OHBA Conference and it’s looking forward to being in Ottawa later this month to share some exciting updates with OHBA members. But in the world of Tarion education, builder updates are just the tip of the iceberg. Meant to bring members up to speed on current issues and trends, these updates complement Tarion’s full suite of continuing education offerings. Highlights include:

Tarion 101 Suited to new and experienced builders with staff turnover, this

course is a fulsome introduction to Tarion, its processes and the resources available to help builders meet their warranty obligations.

Improving Customer Service This seminar covers best practices for customer service, from the signing of the APS through to after-sales service. Tarion encourages builders to bring sales staff, warranty service staff and even construction supervisors. Successful customer service, after all, starts from the ground up.

What Your Customers are Trying to Tell You Each year, Tarion undertakes customer satisfaction surveys with newhome buyers. Builders who receive enough responses are then provided with a report of overall satisfaction levels. Based on those reports, this

This in-depth look at delayed closing/ occupancy will ensure builders understand their obligations to buyers and will provide advice on communicating with buyers and when compensation is payable.

CPG Tutorial We recommend builders ask their trades to join this interactive session. Using a model home, Tarion staff will bring the Construction Performance Guidelines to life, walking attendees through how defects are measured and assessed for warrantability.

Ontario Building Partnership Together, under the Ontario Building Partnership (OBP), Tarion, OHBA and the Ontario Building Officials Association will be hosting the first annual OBP Industry Forum later this fall. The goal is to gather all key players in new home construction—trades, builders, building officials and Tarion—in one room to talk about construction trends and emerging industry issues. This is one way the OBP ontario home builder Fall 2018


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is working toward consistency in education and raising the bar on professionalism. Stay tuned for more details on how you can register for this exciting event. Education is an important part of Tarion’s commitment to its licensed builders in encouraging professionalism in the industry, and to homeowners in ensuring that all parties are knowledgeable about the warranty and understand their rights and their responsibilities. If you’d like to hear more about Tarion’s education offerings and how they can be customized to your needs, or to book a session, be sure to connect with your Stakeholder Relations Representative or email

Home Environment

Staying at Home? Time to Clear the Air! According to the recent Indoor Generation Report, commissioned by Velux and carried out by data mining company YouGov in March and April 2018, Canadians estimate that they spend 68% of their time indoors, but,

in reality, it’s much more. “The Indoor Generation refers to the growing number of people who spend the vast majority of their time indoors—currently 90% of their lives—compared to previous generations,” cites the study. “We are increasingly turning into

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a generation of indoor people where the only time we get daylight and fresh air mid-week is on the commute to work or school” notes Peter Foldbjerg, head of daylight energy and indoor climate at Velux. “Most people think that indoor air, the air in their homes is better than the air we breathe outdoors, but it may be worse, up to five times more polluted than outside,” said Nels Moxness, President and CEO of Velux Canada Inc. “The numbers in our report indicate a lack of awareness about the impact of always being indoors—and today’s indoor generation children are those who are most likely to suffer from conditions that affect their physiological and psychological state.” Velux has launched a short film, The Indoor Generation, to raise awareness of the importance of living in healthy homes and the small changes that everyone can make to improve their living environment and indoor air quality. The study serves as a marketing tool for Velux’s new skylight automation system, Velux Active with Netatmo. The first smart skylight system that connects with Apple HomeKit, it allows homeowners to manage indoor climate control at home or remotely across all Apple devices and can be controlled using Siri, Apple’s voice-controlled intelligent assistant, or with the touch of a button on the app. “(It takes) out the guesswork, giving homeowners additional control over their new or existing Velux Skylights by automatically opening the skylights two-to-three times daily to remove stale, polluted air,” said Moxness. “The system has the ability to recognize a need for fresh air and open the skylights automatically, creating a healthier indoor environment.” Smart sensor technology monitors CO2, humidity levels and temperature in the home and data from local weather stations to automatically open the skylights if fresh air is needed. The system can also automate skylight blinds to maximize energy efficiency and interior temperature.


Energy Star is on the rise

An impactful new label has just hit the housing market. Rising cost of ownership and changing demographics are driving demand for higher density housing such as condos and apartments. Due to smaller square footage, homeowners are searching for different building features to be proud of. A recent CHBA Homebuyers Preference Study suggests one of those building features is energy efficiency. Now, mid- and high-rise builders have the opportunity to certify their buildings with the trusted Energy Star label, commonly known for products, equipment and new homes. EnerQuality, under license from Natural Resources Canada, will be selecting a group of elite builders to be the first to participate in the new Energy Star Multi-family High-Rise (New Construction) Program. These industry leaders will be making a significant impact on energy reduction, health and resilience of Ontario communities through their commitment to the program. For 20 years, EnerQuality has been certifying energy-efficient low-rise homes, giving homeowners the reassurance that their investment is not only better built, but also better for the environment. That includes labelling more than 85,000 Energy Star homes since 2006. “Energy Star is an iconic brand that people can trust—this does not change in the home building industry,� says Corey McBurney, president

ontario home builder Fall 2018



of EnerQuality. “EnerQuality will be profiling the builders who are at the forefront of the program and educating homebuyers on the benefits of energy efficiency when it comes to buying their new home.” This project is made possible through the financial support of the Independent Electricity System Operator, Enbridge and Union Gas. For more information visit or contact .


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An innovative resource service for the GTA residential construction industry, My Design Studio celebrated its 15th anniversary and grand opening of its new 8,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art Experience Centre in Woodbridge in June. Offering residential decor and finishes for its builder clients and their homebuyers with an extensive collection of on-trend design and lifestyle options, the facility features operable components, including ovens, faucets and fireplaces. Yasmine Goodwin, a graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design, started in the residential construction business working for a builder to design model homes. Recognizing a need for a third-party service to manage the finish selection process for builders, she founded My Design Studio in 2003. It has since helped transform more than 5,000 buyers’ homes for 44 builders. “We really set out to change the customer experience,” explains Goodwin. “It’s important for me that

people who have invested money in one of the largest expenditures they’ll ever make—their home—have a great experience. And that reflects positively on the builder and his or her brand.” Previously, My Design Studio operated in a 2,500 sq. ft. space in North York. Yasmine’s daughter Joelle Goodwin, with experience in international business, joined the company in 2015 as V.P. of project development. They are one of the few businesses in the residential construction sector headed by women.

Zo n i n g

Hamilton maps out a path to laneway housing A proposed pilot project would alter the zoning bylaw in parts of lower Hamilton by October, allowing homeowners to build a “secondary unit” in a standalone structure, no taller than six metres, along a laneway or alley, noted the Hamilton Spectator in a June 20 story. The plan notes that additional parking would not be required, although homeowners would not be permitted to sever and separately own the property. The zoning change would initially apply only in the lower city, and not in downtown Hamilton, Westdale or around McMaster University. Hamilton commissioned a laneway housing study in 2011, but has only addressed it seriously over the past two years. The proposal from the City’s planning staff is seen as a method of “gentle intensification” and also a nod to Hamilton’s affordable housing strategy. “Coun. Jason Farr asked staff to bring back a bylaw for council to approve before the upcoming October election, while Coun. Matthew Green asked for a separate-but-related report on tiny homes as soon as possible,” the Spectator observed.

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Caliber Communications provides LIVE Remote Video Monitoring services on fast LTE cellular networks. From viewing log reports including high res images, actions, observations, and audio recordings of voice commands, to searching captured license plates, syncroReports, allows clients to see, and be alerted in real time, of the actions taken by Caliber Monitoring staff on their properties.




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Ever notice that you’ve broken a critical tool or are missing vital supplies, and have to burn valuable time trekking to the closest hardware store. Understanding that the time of a contractor—and that of their subtrades—is best spent on site, RenoRun entered the Ontario professional building market in Montreal in March 2017, and then in the GTA last fall. Renovators simply place an order for materials, tools and supplies on a free app and RenoRun will deliver everything to your jobsite within two hours—guaranteed! Servicing an area from Burlington to Bowmanville and north to Aurora, the first delivery is free and, in a move that will be particularly appreciated come winter, every delivery comes with fresh coffee for the entire crew! Further, as with Uber, you can also track your delivery vehicle online. Fees are based on catalogue item count—one to six items is $45, and from seven items to a full truck is $65. Transport-only shipments are quoted individually.  “It’s a perfect storm right now for us, with contractors doing more and more of their business via mobile,” says Eamonn O’Rourke, CEO and co-founder of RenoRun. “The ability to access all of your material needs at your fingertips is a complete game changer.”


U.S. Builders Targeting Multigenerational Homes High housing costs. Rising interest rates. The obligations of the so-called sandwich generation. All of these factors are driving a new trend in housing: multigenerational living. Whether it’s college graduates coming home to live in mom and dad’s basement, or aging parents moving in with their children to avoid the cost of senior housing, statistics show that more and more people are living in multigenerational households. In the U.S., a Pew Research Center report released in April showed that the number of Americans living in multigenerational family households has continued to rise. In 2016, a record 64 million people, or 20% of the U.S. population, lived with multiple generations under one roof, up from 51.5 million, or 17% of the population, in 2009. And the trend has only risen, according to multiple experts. Builders are responding. Miamibased Lennar Corp. builds multigenerational homes under the brand “NextGen – The Home Within a Home.” Currently available in 13 states, a typical NextGen floor plan includes a private living room, bedroom, full bath, kitchenette and single-car garage. There’s a separate entrance, as well as a door into the main home, so occupants can retain their privacy while also being close to family. And Sunrise, Fla.-based GL Homes, recently tested the market with a new approach—the multigenerational community. At its Dakota community in Delray Beach, Fla., GL is building both two-storey models geared toward families as well as single-storey models popular in its active-adult projects. Amenities are multigenerational as well; Dakota includes a playground and family-oriented clubhouse, as well as pickleball courts, designed for older residents.

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Stoney Creek’s Caliber Communications has dramatically upped the ante on its live remote video monitoring services. Already the world’s only company with live monitoring off its own cellular platform, Caliber has been pushing hard in the artificial intelligence (AI) realm, launching its own artificial neural network a few months ago. As a result, all of the raw video generated by its entire network of security cameras now passes through Caliber’s AI before arriving at the live monitoring stations of its central monitoring centre. “We’re now able to run our own algorithms and create our own advanced analytics,” says Caliber’s Chief Systems Engineer Alex Vourkoutiotis, meaning their AI can search for anything it’s been trained to do, such as identifying a spool of wire and taking an inventory on an entire site. It can even determine aggressive motion between individuals based upon the speed at which they approach each other. “We just finished 20,000 images of 4:31water PM trucks on construction sites,” says Vourkoutiotis, whose firm already has its own licence plate recognition software. “We had clients calling saying they were being billed $900 for a water truck showing up on site, but didn’t think they actually cleaned anything, and could we review to see if they showed up and sprayed water? Instead of manually going through all the recorded footage, we trained the system to do it (getting the answer in a fraction of the time). Now those clients can also get notifications every time a truck shows up and sprays.” Whatever the system has been programmed to seach for, such as an individual approaching the fenceline of a secure site, Caliber is processing and analyzing its live video at a lightning speed of 30-frames-per second. “And we already have the industry’s best timeshare ratio,” says Vourkoutiotis, whose staff, on average, monitors less than a third of the sites of its competition, meaning more eyeballs on each site. OHB

Product Focus I de a s for B u i l de r s & R e n ovat or s

Spa-inspired tiled showers are as hot as ever, says Losani Homes.

cool s! w revie

idges e c h fr high-tt pr eserv e th a et t er fo o d b e v e r n a h t

CONTRIBUTORS Tania Benacquista Design Centre Manager, Losani Homes Ben Boudreau Sales Manager, Frendel Kitchens Ltd Michelle Koch design consultant, Dynamic Kitchens Jane Lockhart Jane Lockhart Interior Design

A Place to Call Their Own

Homeowners are now thinking long term in customizing today’s kitchens and bathrooms

Margaret Macdonald Architect and Design Sales Manager with Maroline Distributing Inc. Randy Oke President, Oke Woodsmith Building Systems

By Ted McIntyre

Technology is connecting our lives and appliances, and consumers are both setting and following colour and style trends, but there’s something deeper driving the fundamental design changes in modern kitchens and bathrooms: a combination of high home prices and the evolution of the way we live there. “In the past, people were spending more on decorative pieces and fancy crown mouldings. Today they’re spending the same money, but doing it with convenience in mind,” says Ben Boudreau, sales manager with Mississauga’s Frendel Kitchens Ltd. “They’re making use of pullouts and drawers. It’s following how people are living within the kitchen, working with it, the storage and convenience of it. “People are concentrating on maximizing the space and utility of their kitchens,” echoes Losani Design Centre Manager Tania Benacquista, “Softclose drawers and doors, tilt-fronts on

your kitchen sink for dishcloths and soap sponges, garbage pullouts and recycling centres.” Kitchens are also increasingly about embracing the social cooking environment and sharing that experience with others, while bathroom design is looking to the future—not so much from a tech standpoint as aging in place, explains Randy Oke, President of Oke Woodsmith Building Systems Inc. “With a lot of our renos, people want to be able to stay in their homes if their health changes, so we’re looking at accessibility with large door openings, space for turning wheelchairs,” says Oke. “We’re doing a lot of accessible baths, and accessible showers where, instead of having a curb, we’re indenting the floor so tiles make a smooth transition into the shower, and sloping the floor so that it drains.” In the bathroom, toilets are becoming more compact, but with plenty of

technology, including seat warmers. Walk-in glass showers are trending, as are smart features inside, such as customizing water temperature. And if you look down, intriguing tiling designs predominate. We interviewed six experts from around the province to poke their brains as to the current and future trends in the two most popular rooms to renovate.

Bathrooms Colours “White fixtures seem to be the normal now, and then your colour comes with tiles, paints and cabinetry selections. We like to direct people that way—if they stick with a neutral colour like white, they have the opportunity to decorate around it.”

Randy Oke:

ontario home builder Fall 2018


AFFORDABLE HOUSING SPECIALISTSÂ Providing builders, lenders and municipalities with expert advice on affordable housing



ontario home builder Fall 2018

Product Focus “More colour— people are less afraid to use brighter colours and more sparkle and chrome in hardware, bringing more shine into the space. There’s still a lot of white in flooring and wall colours, but there’s a move away from cold greys to warm greys and to rustic-looking flooring and woodstyle tiles.”

Michelle Koch:


about the shower. I’m seeing more space allocated to showers, even drying zones, where you’re on a glassed-in area with a heated floor.

Randy Oke: “Standalone decorative

tubs, rather than built-in tubs, and custom tiled showers with glass wall panels and doors.”

“In a smaller footprint, a spa-inspired tiled shower has been the way to go, but if space allows, a standalone tub can make an ensuite luxurious.”

Tania Benacquista:

Jane Lockhart: “Standalone showpieces—but maybe 20% of our clients actually use the tub they purchase. Their kids will, but the adults care

What’s Cool?

These Four Fridges, to Start 1 3





Technology is about clean living for Sub-Zero. In a world more aware of farm-to-table eating, Sub-Zero (36” Built-In Over-and-Under Glass Door Refrigerator/Freezer pictured) is making waves in food preservation with a proprietary air filtration system within the refrigerator that cleans the air of bacteria and gasses, particularly ethylene gas, every 20 minutes. “For example, a head of lettuce in a regular fridge will last less than a week, but with this air filtration system, it will last two to three weeks,” notes Margaret Macdonald, Architect and Design Sales Manager with Maroline Distributing

Inc. “That’s a cost savings, a healthier choice and also saves you time from going back to the store to buy fresh food. With smaller condos and 24” appliances, there’s an increasing need for food preservation. Grocery stores don’t cater well to one or two people in a home. You’re committed to that box of lettuce, so to have it last a lot longer helps a lot.” 2 LG’s InstaView Door-in-Door

‘Food grazing’ is easier than ever with LG’s InstaView Door-in-Door fridge. Just knock twice on the tinted glass panel and it will illuminate so you can see what’s inside. It reduces cold air loss to help

keep food fresher, longer. Just click the button of the door handle to access the door-indoor to get at the stuff you eat and drink the most.

bottom-right door becomes a refrigerator or freezer with the touch of a button, enabling you customize temperature settings (there’s even a Beer and Wine setting and an adjustable wine rack).

cheese, fruit, tropical fruit and veggies. Consumers can also activate SuperCool or SuperFrost while they’re still out shopping for groceries so that the fridge will be prepared to preserve new foods 3 Samsung’s Family Hub upon arrival, before autoThis 36” refrigerator (now matically returning to normal 4 Liebherr Monolith offered in three styles: Four temperatures afterward. Door Flex, Four Door French Produced under the highIts InfinitySwipe touchand Three Door French) est international quality screen display works in conincludes a huge 21.5” touch standard, the German comcert with its SmartDeviceBox, screen that, among other pany’s new refrigerator line which can be controlled with things, allows you to view offers a stylish, high-tech, your smartphone or tablet. grocery-tracking fridge camActiveGreen- and Energy Structurally, door hinges eras. There’s also Meal Planner Star-certified model. Standing are rated up to 79 pounds that suggests recipes based on 84” tall, this stainless steel and can be opened up to your family’s food preferences. design takes food preserva115 degrees, and the doors And if you want a fridge to tion seriously with such self-close from an angle play music and movies, well, it advancements as BioFreshof 30 degrees as part of its will do that for you too. Plus, with separate storage And with FlexZone, the environments for fish, meat, SoftSystem technology. ontario home builder Fall 2018


Product Focus

Oke Woodsmith is installing more accessible ‘curb-less’ showers.

Toilets “Toto is a company that really understands aging in place, which is a big component for people who don’t want to go into a nursing home. I want to say their Washlets (an extending, bidet-style, warm-water self-cleaning nozzle beneath the seat) are trending.

Jane Lockhart:

Tiles “Tiles are either getting really big or really small. The more popular shape is the hexagon. We’re seeing lots of textural looks. Cercan Tiles is a good example of what’s happening in the bathroom tiles, where you pick the big piece of tile and they’ll cut it to whatever shape you want. And we strongly advocate a dark grout in showers or high-traffic areas. It’ll look like it’s not dirty when you have dark grout.” “In the past few years, if I showed people tiles that didn’t look like white Carrara, they were like, ‘Whoa, I don’t know about that.’ But now they’re saying, ‘Oh, an orange terracotta hexagon tile—I kinda like that!’ because it’s what they actually like and they’re not worried about selling the place.”

Jane Lockhart:


ontario home builder Fall 2018

Kitchens Colours Michelle Koch: “People are moving away from mass-produced. A little more high gloss. White is always hanging around, but we see people adding hints of colour and natural wood— blues and green, away from cool greys and toward warm colours.” Randy Oke: “Lots of black hardware and leaning away from chrome and brushed nickel.”

“When the market changed last year, the jig was up for allwhite. When the government brought in new rules, people started thinking, ‘Hold on, we’re going to take a little more time purchasing.’ They’re now looking for more personality in kitchens and bathrooms.”

Jane Lockhart:

Cabinets Ben Boudreau: “We’re seeing more of a contemporary/transitional design. People are getting away from traditional cabinets with a lot of detail and going to a cleaner, sleeker

Taking Care of Business In most of Europe, you’ll find a bidet, which sprays a stream of water for cleanliness after use. Toto’s Washlet combines the comfort of North American sit-down toilets with the cleansing rinse of a bidet’s water jet after finishing one’s business. With the touch of a button, a self-cleaning wand extends from under the seat to deliver a soothing warm water rinse. If your client is cool with the roughly $2,145 price tag, the new S550E model includes an elongated heated seat, LED nightlight, a filter system to absorb unpleasant odours, a warm air dryer and the new ewater+, which has cleansing and antibacterial properties. There’s also an updated touch-sensitive remote control and a sensor-controlled lid that automatically opens and closes. Available in both a contemporary and traditional styled seat.












Product Focus Countertops Randy Oke: “Manufacturers are doing

some wonderful things with quartz to look like granite. What you see is what you get, whereas with granite, once they’re cut they can look different.” Michelle Koch: “Lots of quartz, but granite is definitely growing in popularity as people get back to that natural feel. And I’m seeing natural and matte in countertops.”

Waste centres and pull-out drawers are popular, Frendel cites, while Oke Woodsmith (right) sees a demand for islands with both storage and seating.

look with more functionality in the kitchen. Form is following function—more waste centres, pull-out drawers. Builders are increasingly including as standard a lot of softclosing hardware with quality Blum hinges. There are fewer (cabinet) doors in the kitchen, but more expensive hardware. And the height of cabinets is increasing—tall or stacked units. Folks are getting away from corners with unusable storage space, and going to pantries with interior pull-out racks for spices and such, giving you easy access to the whole space.” Randy Oke:

“Full-height cabinets

“The majority remains quartz, but also a lot of caesarstone and granite.”

Tania Benacquista:


to the ceiling for extra storage and kitchen items that are used less frequently, or with a glassed showcase at the top.”

Randy Oke: “They remain a focal point and gathering point, with added storage.”

“The majority of our homeowners are doing painted cabinets—usually in a white or offwhite/grey. We do a lot of Collingwood, a Benjamin Moore colour.

Ben Boudreau: “Islands are becoming the main table and gathering spot, so a lot of food prep with seating has to be incorporated around it so you’re in the middle of all the action.”


Jane Lockhart:

Tania Benacquista:

Michelle Koch: “Clean lines but also the Farmhouse style is growing, with more curves. I’m seeing a mixing of metals—black, gold, pewter. There’s more variety now.”

“They’re getting bigger and with better storage. And as opposed to sitting like you’re on a subway, where you can’t talk to anyone because you’re all facing the same direction, they want more useable L- or U- shaped seating.”

The Hub of the Matter Whether it’s refrigerator touchscreens, or the ability to monitor your dishwasher or brew a cup of coffee from your smartphone, most manufacturers have developed—or are in the process of developing—connected appliance systems. In one case, though, the newest tech in the kitchen isn’t even an appliance. GE’s industry-exclusive Kitchen Hub is mounted over the range, putting it at a comfortable viewing level and above the one appliance family and friends gather around while making dinner. Apart from providing access to recipes, it offers live video chat functionality with multiple camera angles, a forward-facing lens so owners can call mom for cooking advice or simply catch up with friends, a cooktop-facing camera with ample task lighting and access to calendars and schedules. Apart from its 27-inch smart screen also communicating with other connected GE appliances, it takes advantage of its preferred positioning in the kitchen by providing exhaust hood ventilation. 78

ontario home builder Fall 2018

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ontario home builder Fall 2018


Product Focus Appliances Michelle Koch: “Induction is becoming more common, something people are gravitating toward because of its practical flat top and easy cleaning. And lots more cooktops—particularly induction—and wall ovens.”

“Big change here. The appliance guys are right on it, like wine fridges that have come upstairs and are as small as your microwave, or as big as your double-decker fridge. Whatever your hobby is will show up in the kitchen or the main part of the house. So now we’re seeing appliances split up into more specialized needs. There’s no law that says the fridge and freezer have to be side by side. The trend will be to modularize appliances so you can build what you want, such as induction tops mixed with one gas burner, mixed with a wok burner.”

SubZero/Wolf says convection/ steam ovens are hot, while (at right) Lockhart foresees a move away from banks of cabinets.

Jane Lockhart:

Margaret Macdonald: “More inte-

grated appliances built into the cabinetry. Minimalism is the trend. In the Toronto core, you’re looking at smaller, 24” appliances. “Convection/steam ovens are big. They utilize a dry heat (convection) as well as steam. You can use them in conjunction or independent of each other. Less cooking time, so more energy efficient. And it’s clean cooking—you get those beautiful crisp vegetables. If you’re freezing your meat and you need to defrost, on the steam setting it will rehydrate it without cooking and it’ll be like you just picked it up at the butcher. It’s not like partially cooking it from the inside out and drying it out when you try to defrost it in the microwave. “The other is induction cooking. It’s instant and precise. You’re not wasting gas or electricity. You can boil water in less than a minute, and you’re not actually heating the element; you’re heating the pot. So you won’t burn yourself on the cooking surface, which makes it safe for families with young kids and for those aging in place.” 80

ontario home builder Fall 2018


The Future

Randy Oke: “It’s

jane lockhart: “The way builders

a connected world. More outlets or charging stations in countertops and islands. People are really drawn to that. And the ability to adjust lighting, mood lighting, undercounter LED lighting.” “That’s probably the biggest deal for next generation. I think manufacturers are hoping to hit the millennials. Gen-X already have their appliances.”

Jane Lockhart:

Lighting Tania Benacquista: “Always pendant

lighting above the island.” Michelle Koch: There’s a mixing of metals, a lot more black and gold tints as well. They’re little pieces of art now, and pretty much all LED.

“Decorative, pendants. Your pot lights do the heavy lifting. Lots of undercounter LED strip lights. We hide them, though. I hate seeing lighting underneath when you’re sitting at an island, so we build a box for indirect lighting.”

and architects lay out kitchens needs to change. We have this open concept now, but all we did was take a wall down and didn’t change anything else inside the kitchen, like the way cabinets hang off the wall. If it’s an open concept, I don’t want to see this giant bank of cabinets; I want to see them as part of an armoir or integrated. That’s the next evolution. I think you’re going to see the demise of all these upper cabinets. There will be some, but they won’t be right in your face anymore. There will be more accessibility, open shelves where you can have personal items on display. If I’m living in a house, it shouldn’t be neutral.” “We have to reconsider the design of island seating too. Sometimes I look at condos where people have this amazing view they paid a lot of money for, but their island seating faces the stove!”

Jane Lockhart:

Margaret Macdonald: “It’s about efficiency, space-saving, seamless, integrated looks. A big chunk of the population are the baby boomers, and we’re seeing them downsize. But they have the money, so they won’t scrimp on quality.” OHB

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ontario home builder Fall 2018


Words to Build By

“I think of the Rolling Stones song ‘Gimme Shelter.’ That’s what we do, we supply shelter. What an exciting and rewarding endeavour— providing people with their home, their emotional refuge.” Dan Gabriele President, Marz Homes


ontario home builder Fall 2018

Liuna FP OHBA Gear 2018:Layout 1 8/3/18 10:31 PM Page 1


WE Build Communities And Careers. When a community is built from the ground up, there is no labour force on the planet, better skilled to get the job done right the first time. LiUNA members and retirees made a commitment to their careers, which means a commitment to our communities. A commitment to build the BEST schools, airports, hospitals, office buildings, pipelines, tunnels, power plants, roads, bridges, low rise and high rise housing in the country. When the work is done, LiUNA members and retirees continue to live, play and grow in their communities, with the guarantee of a pension that is also....simply the BEST! Jack Oliveira

Joseph S. Mancinelli

Business Manager


Luigi Carrozzi

Carmen Principato

Robert Petroni

Jim MacKinnon

Mike Maitland


Vice President

Recording Secretary

Executive Board Member

Executive Board Member

Ontario Provincial District Council visit today

Ontario Home Builder - Fall 2018  

Interview with incoming OHBA president, Rick Martins

Ontario Home Builder - Fall 2018  

Interview with incoming OHBA president, Rick Martins