Ontario Home Builder - Fall 2022

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True North

After a two-year delay, the direction is clear for Sudbury’s Louie Zagordo as OHBA’s next President

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9 One Voice

A five-point plan outlines how Ontario can expedite affordable home construction.

13 Ontario Report

The long wait is over. The OHBA Annual Conference and Awards of Distinction are set for Niagara Falls, and the time to act on housing supply is now!

17 Inside Storey Negotiating the maze of redevelopments when tenants are involved.

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57 Building Buzz

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62 Product Focus

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70 Frame of Mind

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26 Northern Exposure

Sudbury’s Louie Zagordo can’t wait to spread his presidential message

Human Resources

ON THE COVER

The pandemic may have delayed his arrival, but Louie Zagordo is raring to go as OHBA’s new President.

ohba.ca @onhomebuilder ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022 5
Contents
47 Upon Closer Inspection Drone technology is taking off. Here’s why you might need to jump on board 36
The secret to finding and retaining talent may lie in your corporate culture
COVER PHOTO: COLIN SNEYD

EDITOR

CREATIVE DIRECTOR

DIRECTOR

GRAPHIC DESIGN

Saira,

EDITOR

CONTRIBUTORS

Avi Friedman, Tracy Hanes, Alex Piccini, Luca Bucci

PHOTOGRAPHY

Sneyd

ADVERTISING

Cindy Kaye, ext. 232 cindy@laureloak.ca

PUBLISHER

Sheryl Humphreys, ext. 245

BY

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Laurel Oak Publishing laureloak.ca ohba.ca Take a photo of our QR code and sign up for digital updates and news! Ontario Home Builder is published six times per year (Winter, Early Spring, Late Spring, Summer, Fall, Awards). All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of the Publisher © 2022. For address corrections please email info@laureloak.ca or phone: (905) 333-9432. Single copy price is $5.00. Subscription Rates: Canada $14.95 + HST per year, USA $29.95 USD. Order online at http://ohba.ca/subscribe-or-buy-past-issues CANADIAN PUBLICATION MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 42011539 ISSN No. 1182-1345 The official publication of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association FALL 2022 | Vol. 38 Issue 5
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One

FIVE STEPS TO HOUSING VIABILITY

OHBA recommendations set a path for affordable, expedited home construction

LAST MONTH, the provincial government outlined its priorities in its Speech from the Throne, reiterating its commitment to increasing housing affordability— welcome news for future Ontarians.

Underscoring the return to afford ability is the need to build 1.5 million homes over the next decade. To help reach this goal for the coming genera tions, the OHBA and our partner local associations released our top policy recommendations in a five-point plan for consideration by the provincial government in its new mandate. These priorities are based on the February 2022 recommendations of the Housing Affordability Task Force (HATF) and are aimed squarely at lowering home costs and increasing housing supply for Ontario residents.

First is the need to speed up approval times for new housing. Years

of delays and approvals often mean it takes over a decade to go from dirt to door in many parts of the GTA. Years to navigate municipal approv als processes results in higher costs ultimately being passed on to newhome buyers. In fact, every year that a municipality delays an approval decision costs homebuyers an addi tional $36,000 for a typical low-rise home and an additional $26,000 for a

typical high-rise apartment.

This status quo is failing new Ontarians who want to call our province home, but cannot rely on their local city or town to have their back when it comes to approving new homes. The province can incentiv ize and encourage municipalities to meet existing standards set out in the Planning Act, cutting red tape throughout local approval processes

ohba.ca @onhomebuilder ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022 9
Voice
“EVERY YEAR THAT A MUNICIPALITY DELAYS AN APPROVAL DECISION COSTS HOMEBUYERS AN ADDITIONAL $36,000 FOR A TYPICAL LOW-RISE HOME AND AN ADDITIONAL $26,000 FOR A TYPICAL HIGH-RISE APARTMENT.”

Politics Out of Planning

FIVE- POINT PLAN

and providing better resources to the Ontario Land Tribunal, which settles planning disputes.

Second, we must make it more affordable to build homes in the prov ince by adding certainty to the costs of building, while reeling in skyrocket ing development fees that new-home buyers also eventually get stuck with.

Right now in Ontario, up to 25% of the cost of a new home is composed of fees, taxes and charges imposed by the government. Over half of these are imposed by municipal governments.

Municipal levies on new homes have increased by 300%-1,000% since 2004.

In addition, in some municipalities, new policies like Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) will add up to $60,000 per unit in hidden costs to a new homeowner. This will ultimately bring the burden of government-imposed fees and taxes to over 30% of the cost of a new home.

All of these fees are passed on to homebuyers to the benefit of local governments. Through these fees and charges, municipalities have amassed large reported surpluses. For example, in the GTA alone, these surpluses are currently in excess of $5 billion. We can add certainty to new buyers by exempting any project that include IZ units from development charges, parkland charges and Community Benefit Charges. Furthermore, imme diately freezing parkland cash-inlieu and development charges to an “inflation-plus-costs” model across all municipalities for a period of two years while a new funding model is developed to support investment in growth and communities is a must.

Third, we cannot build the sup ply that we need without the land to build it on. Housing supply and costs are highly dependent on land avail ability, and having lands designated for growth across municipalities is dwindling rapidly. Similarly, the addi tion of new housing within existing communities is severely restricted by municipal zoning. This prevents the addition of supply and drives up costs for Ontario residents. As a result, land values for serviced lots across the province have increased, and in some cases have tripled or quadru pled, adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of a new home. We can meaningfully add more land supply while preserving our natural and agricultural spaces by identifying housing as provincially significant infrastructure, requiring munici palities to allow as-of-right zoning to unlock “missing middle” housing and fixing population and growth out looks by matching them to Ministry of Finance projections.

Fourth, we must lay the ground work for future growth. Housing supply is highly dependent on critical services and transportation infrastructure. Prolonged delays of infrastructure projects, such as those experienced with the GTA West Corridor (Highway 413) and the Upper York Sewage Solution, delay and threaten the delivery of much-needed housing. The province can identify and prioritize sig nificant infrastructure projects that will support and build housing and streamline the processes involved in

bringing new infrastructure online to support growing communities.

Finally, we have to take the politics out of planning. There is a strong incentive for individual municipal councillors to get behind community opposition to growth and development, because they are elected by existing residents, not future residents. In addition, as a means to slow or block development, various designations and forums are open to misuse. This can lead to local decisions that limit the ability to add housing and commercial spaces, as was recognized by the HATF in its recommendations. Preventing abuse of the heritage preservation and designation process is a good start that the province can pursue. Prohibiting bulk listing on municipal heritage registers and ending reactive designations after an application has been filed will dramatically cut down on the abuse that penalizes future Ontarians.

Tinkering around the edges with a patchwork of tiny changes will not generate the sustainable change that Ontario needs. Our five priority actions set out forward-thinking initiatives that most critically support new housing and therefore future Ontarians who are counting on more attainable housing options. OHB

ohba.ca

@onhomebuilder10 ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022
LUCA BUCCI IS THE CEO OF THE ONTARIO HOME BUILDERS’ ASSOCIATION
1. Speed Up Approvals 2. Affordable Housing 3. Land Availability 4. Infrastructure 5. Take

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MEET YOU IN

Niagara Falls

2022 OHBA Conference brings delegates back in-person

Hosted in partnership with the Niagara Home Builders’ Association, the 2022 OHBA Conference is set for September 18-20 at Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls. Here is a sneak peek at this year’s conference.

Opening Reception

Join us as we kick off the 2022 Conference at the Opening Reception, presented by the Niagara Home Builders’ Association. Rock a ‘Canadian tuxedo’ and don your finest jewels at this “Denim & Diamonds” event overlooking the falls.

Educational Programming

There is something for everyone in our two streams of concurrent sessions on Monday, September 19. In our Builder/Renovator stream, hear from industry leaders on topics ranging from “Building Envelope” to “Updates to the National Building Code.” In our Sales/Marketing stream, hone your business skills to “Overcome the COVID Effect” and learn how to effectively use social media to market your business.

EnerQuality’s Innovation Gauntlet and Housing Innovation Lounge

New this year, industry partner EnerQuality brings innovation front and centre on Tuesday, September 20. There will be two dynamic sessions with speakers, products and services to rev up your plans for high-performance home building.

Awards of Distinction

Don’t miss out as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the OHBA Awards of Distinction (AoD). Hosted by James Cunningham, this program recognizes the creativity, innovation and talent of builders, developers, renovators, designers and marketers within our dynamic industry. This night is sure to be filled with glitz and glamour!

REGISTRATION

President’s Gala

Be transported to “A Night in Italy” as we induct our 54th President, Louie Zagordo of SLV Homes and the Sudbury & District HBA. The President’s Gala brings together former OHBA presidents, association leadership and members for a night of celebrating the association.

Space for the 2022 OHBA Conference is limited. Don’t miss out on your chance to attend!

Learn more and register at conference.ohba.ca

SPONSORSHIP

Interested in sponsoring the OHBA Conference? Contact conference@ohba.ca for more details.

ohba.ca @onhomebuilder ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022 13

Ontario Report

the affordability crisis (a lack of supply) didn’t happen by accident. Efforts from OHBA, our local associations, industry partners and housing advocates made it clear to all parties that a plan for housing in Ontario had to have strong measures to rapidly increase supply, and that demand-side solutions would not be sufficient to meaningfully address the issue.

No Time to Rest on Housing Supply

AROUND THE DINNER table, at the local pub—heck, even on the bus—no matter where you go today or who you meet, housing seems to be a topic of discussion for Ontarians. It’s often spoken about with strong opinions and significant frustration—even despair. The once vibrant and realistic dream of saving up and owning a home, particularly for young, first-time buyers, has moved further out of reach for individuals and families who want to live in Ontario.

In most cases, they are doing everything right: saving up, stretching their budget, limiting expenses and moving up the employment ladder—yet it never seems to be enough. It’s not an exaggeration to say this is a generational challenge that is locking Ontarians out of opportunity, out of the economy and out of a place to call home.

What is also evident is that housing supply is on the minds of decisionmakers. There are ideas from all levels of government as to

what we can do to build more homes, reduce costs and put the great Canadian dream of homeownership back within reach of more Ontarians. This is fundamentally a good thing, because we need elected officials bringing forward bold and innovative thinking to address a generational housing shortfall. Piecemeal solutions simply will not address the underlying challenge: an imbalance between the supply and demand for homes.

In the most recent provincial election, all four major parties identified a supply gap as the underlying challenge of the housing affordability crisis. This is a profound agreement on an issue impacting major life decisions for countless Ontarians who want to live, work and raise a family in our province. While the shortage may be the obvious challenge for our industry, it isn’t always as visible a problem outside of the sector. This convergence on the fundamental cause of

In Loving Memory of Pat White

Bold changes, and not half measures, are what is needed if we are going to construct the 1.5 million homes needed to restore housing affordability to Ontario. Thousands of current and future Ontarians are counting on homes that are not yet built, so it is incumbent on the Province to set the right stage for the industry to build. The costs of not doing so will vastly outweigh the required investment in new housing. If we do not start to address the supply deficit, Ontarians will face further economic pressures. Employers and jobs will leave for more affordable jurisdictions, where homes are more attainable. This would put our province at an economic disadvantage, unable to attract the talent and skills we need to thrive.

Beyond economic considerations are the social and family implications that a lack of housing supply will have. Without a dramatic increase in the number of homes in communities both big and small, many will be forced to move further away from existing residences, their friends and family.

The Doug Ford Progressive Conservatives won a strong majority mandate from voters in June. Now is the time for the provincial government to take bold steps to unleash the capacity of industry. While supply challenges won’t be fixed overnight, the sooner we start, the more opportunities Ontarians will have in the years ahead.

The Ontario we want to live in, the one we can build, is a province of opportunity, a land where we can live, work and play. Building 1.5 million new homes over the next decade is not just an aspirational goal, but a generational imperative. There is no time to rest. We agree on the problem. Let’s get down to the solutions.

OHBA is mourning the loss of longtime friend and staff member Pat White, who lost her battle with cancer in July.

Pat served the association for more than 25 years. Apart from her devoted service in the OHBA head office, the Toronto resident

was a fixture for many OHBA members at the Association’s Annual Conference and Awards, among countless other functions.We will dearly miss her smile and her warmth.

Pat is survived by her husband Ralph and son Jordan. OHB

ohba.ca
@onhomebuilder14 ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022
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GETTING A MOVE ON

Redeveloping a site can be attractive when land is scarce, but a challenge when residents are involved

TIME IS PRECIOUS. You’ve submitted the required zoning and site-plan applications and have closed on a land deal with the intention of redeveloping a site. However, there are tenants in the existing building who don’t feel they’re obliged to leave.

OHB discussed two such examples and the lessons that can be learned from such redevelopments with Joey Jamil, an associate with Robins Appleby Barristers + Solicitors, and Dakk Marrello, an independent paralegal with whom Robins Appleby regularly consults on problematic landlord-tenant files.

OHB : NOT ALL TENANT RELOCATION NEGOTIATIONS GO SMOOTHLY.

DAKK MARRELLO: “I had a case where a developer purchased an Ontario property that offered temporary lodging. Let’s call it Motel X.

Motel X had rooms that were rented by the day, with weekly and monthly discounts if the occupant stayed for longer periods of time.

“With the intention of building a fair-sized low-rise condominium building, the developer purchased Motel X with the assumption that, since the property was a motel, Ontario tenancy laws did not apply. However, this is not a black-and-white issue.

“Many developers, including the one in this scenario, have attempted to remove occupants from properties without seeking proper legal advice as a way to save time and/or money. If the removal goes well, a developer may save a few hundred dollars. But if the removal goes sideways, a developer may incur project delays, fines and legal bills totalling tens of thousands of dollars.

“The developer approached me after taking steps to remove the occupants

from their rooms. At the time I got involved, there was one occupant left who refused to leave and threatened to delay the project indefinitely.

“Assuming the occupants were not tenants seemed a fair position, given that the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) clearly states that it does not apply to hotels or motels. But this isn’t actually always the case, and a determination of whether or not a tenancy exists could take months, if not years.

“If a tenancy is in question, the Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB) is the governing body responsible for making the final determination. And the LTB is always backlogged.

“In Motel X’s case, one of their missteps was referring to the occupants as ‘residents’ in the letters they sent out, and reminding them that they would still have to pay ‘rent’ until the day they left. If a notice is being provided to occupants of temporary lodgings, it’s advisable to refer to them as guests who are paying a daily, weekly or monthly rate. But that wasn’t the case with Motel X, and copies of the letters were provided to police by the remaining occupant as a way of proving that she was a tenant, preventing her immediate removal.

“Motel X also didn’t keep records of how long each occupant was in each room. The developer purchased the property for the sole intention of developing it, and didn’t check previous records of the property. This created a problem, as the remaining occupant claimed that she had lived there for years, in the same room, and the developer could not prove otherwise.

“The lesson is that when purchasing a property, it’s helpful for the developer to know which rooms are occupied, how long they’ve been occupied by the same occupant and dates on which the occupants are scheduled to leave the property.

“From my experience, the LTB will bend over backwards to help tenants. The best action a developer can take is to separate themselves from the process of removing occupants and to be careful what they tell

ohba.ca @onhomebuilder ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022 17
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occupants—verbally and in writing.

“I’m finding these type of scenarios are becoming more common as the cost of living—and specifically the cost of rent—increases.

“In another matter I advised on, the owner of a small building had to pay the occupant $20,000 to leave, after going to the LTB on their own and losing. Paying occupants a cash settlement to leave is generally not something that is published or widely discussed.”

JOEY JAMIL: “I had a developer client that purchased a tenanted building, with the intention to demolish a large part of it and build a new condo. The developer was assigned landlord’s rights at the time of purchase. The leases were all commercial and had been this way for years, so the developer believed all tenants were commercial tenants. The landlord-developer provided eviction notices to the tenants.

“It turned out that most tenants were living in the units in addition to using them for some commercial purpose. But the vast majority moved out, pursuant to the eviction notice.

Many were unaware of their legal rights as tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act. A few stayed back in protest, filing LTB applications for compensation and other remedies, claiming, among other things, that they were being illegally evicted and that they were residential tenants.

Many LTB applications were also filed by tenants who had moved out, which they are allowed to do.

“The developer became concerned with reputational damage, as some of these tenants were going to their MPPs and media. As counsel to the developer, we had to address every LTB application individually, which became very costly for the client.

“The message is that the lease is not determinative of whether a tenant is a commercial or a residential tenant. It’s just one of the factors in determining the predominant purpose or use of the tenancy. So in negotiating the purchase of a building, the developer may want some assurances, warranties or representations regarding the leases.”

ohba.ca @onhomebuilder18 ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022
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HOW RARE ARE THESE KINDS OF MISSTEPS?

JOEY JAMIL: “It’s not uncommon to see LTB decisions concerning developer landlords who try to evict tenants outside of the Residential Tenancies Act regime. That said, in most cases, I don’t think the developers are doing so in bad faith or are looking to circumvent the law. When they buy a tenanted property and are assigned rights under contracts that state they are commercial leases, they simply don’t take the extra step of due diligence to look at the predominant purpose or use of the tenancy.”

ANY FINAL ADVICE?

JOEY JAMIL: “Never make assumptions that what may appear to be a non-residential use is actually a residential use, like a motel or a livework unit. The analysis to determine the predominant use of a unit generally doesn’t consider whether the occupancy use is lawful, but rather the actual or perceived use.

“Speak with the owner/landlord of the property to understand the use of the tenanted premises, and have a lawyer review the leases. You can also file an A1 Application to determine whether the Residential Tenancies Act applies and go before the LTB for a determination. There are also N11 forms that landlords may consider having a tenant sign when thinking about purchasing a tenanted property.”

DAKK MARRELLO: “From an email I received from police regarding Motel X, law enforcement often considers a unit to be residential if it has a kitchen and bathroom. Some hotels/motels and commercial areas have these facilities, which makes them grey areas.

“Bottom line, where there is any occupant in the building that a developer is purchasing, precautions should be taken, as contracts and agreements of purchase may not protect the developer from claims of residential tenancy and the appearance of bad faith in the eyes of the LTB. And even if the developer is correct and their contracts are valid, the delays and expense an occupant may cause can be avoided or lessened by covering all the bases in advance.”

ohba.ca @onhomebuilder ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022 19
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ohba.ca @onhomebuilder24 ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022

LOUIE ZAGORDO

Owner/President SLV Homes

BORN: July 4, 1964 — Sault Ste. Marie RESIDENCE: Sudbury WIFE: Alba (1985)

NORTHERN EXPOSURE

It’s an overcast Wednesday afternoon in July and Louie Zagordo has negotiated his way roughly 400 kms from his home in Sudbury to a downtown Toronto hotel.

“It’s almost always the same,” he says. “Three and a half hours of clear sailing, then I hit that bottleneck at the 401 and it’s the first time I’ve had to hit the brakes since leaving. Then you crawl into the city for the next 45 minutes.”

Zagordo, the Ontario Home Builders’ Association’s incoming president, has ventured into Toronto to meet with OHBA’s new CEO, Luca Bucci. Zagordo was part of the hiring committee that narrowed down executive-level prospects before selecting Bucci for the Association’s most lofty post.

Louie has temporarily stationed his white Ram 1500 Laramie on the curb directly in front of the lobby on a street loaded with construction cones and fencing, before venturing inside to inquire about his parking options. Short of another pandemic wave, it’s unlikely he will face anything quite as imposing in the coming year as what comes next. Instructed to

use the hotel’s underground garage across the street, Zagordo weaves his truck down the spiral entrance before encountering a sign that cautions of a 6’2 overhead clearance in the actual parking area. Realizing that the 6’5” height of his shiny white roof will make further progress quite impossible, he is forced to reverse his course—avoiding motorists behind—in backing all the way out of the garage.

Ironically, Zagordo had planned to buy an SUV instead. “I’d driven a pickup ever since getting into the industry—35 years. A Chevy, a Ford—I’ve probably had every make and model,” he says. “Then a year ago, I said to my wife Alba, ‘I don’t want to drive a pickup anymore. I think I’m beyond that now. I’m thinking of an SUV.’ And then Alba says, ‘If you were to come to my house in an SUV to give me an estimate, I’d see you as a businessman, not as a contractor.’ Then she shows me pictures of an SUV and pictures of a pickup truck, and says, ‘Which guy would you hire?’

“I haven’t given her the satisfaction of telling her that she was right just yet.”

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After a two-year delay, Louie Zagordo looks forward to introducing himself as OHBA’s next president
N N

BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY

In speaking of Alba, Zagordo is now beaming. But in some respects, there’s always been a glow around him—literally— since he entered this world on July 4, 1964. “I was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, a border city, so we’d always go down to the waterfront of St. Mary’s River to watch the fireworks on the other side for my birthday,” he says. “The Americans always outdid the Canadians when it came to fireworks.”

Zagordo’s parents, Rosina and Antonio (Tony), emigrated to Sault Ste. Marie from the Southern Italian town of Aiello Calabro. Tony spent time at the Soo’s Weyerhaeuser Paper Mill before latching on with Algoma Steel, the prized place of employment in town.

“My dad, my uncles and father-in-law all worked there. It was a high-risk job, working in a polluted environment. But they’d be done work by 3 pm,” Louie says.

Those hours in advance of dinnertime were always put to good use, honing their building skills with projects around the house. “With help of contractor friends, my father bought a property and built a house. And then another—all while still working at Algoma,” Zagordo says. “I was getting to be 10, 11 years old, when I started going along with him and seeing the talents of all the different trades. There was certainly no such thing as a programmable mitre saw back then. Instead, there

was sandpaper and hand planers, and cutting a 45-degree angle on a mitre box with a little bottle of glue to hold the joints. It was amazing to learn that way.

“Then as time goes on, you pour a foundation, then the lumber trucks arrive and the frame comes together, the floor goes down and you start to see something develop,” Zagordo shares. “I have to credit my dad for that—dragging me along and keeping me involved, always telling me, ‘Someday you’ll have to do your own repairs.’”

Zagordo’s first official job was a departure from that environment—working in the produce department of the local Dominion grocery store in the west end of the Soo. It was a comfortable job in every sense—“air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter.”

But his heart was with the construction industry—and a new girlfriend.

“Both our dads worked at Algoma, and the plant would put on an annual late-August picnic for employees at the old Barbary Coast campground,” Louie remembers. “I saw this girl cycling past with the name ‘Alba’ on the back of her T-shirt. I called out, ‘Alba!’ She turned back, and I asked, ‘Where are you going?’”

Zagordo almost regretted not following. “We lost touch after the picnic,” he says, “but then a year later, I ran into her at the high school dance at Bawating Collegiate. We dated for about five years after that, before getting married at 21.”

By the time Zagordo graduated from Bawating, which was fortuitously a vocational school, his professional course in life was also set. “I saw tradespeople mixing and doing terrazzo, bricklayers, plumbers soldering copper, electricians.

“And then there was my mentor, Caesar Mincone, a master carpenter, who took me under his wing for many years,”

ohba.ca

@onhomebuilder28 ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022
A young Louie, with his sister Angie, and with children Vanessa and Mark and wife Alba.

TIMING

IS EVERYTHING

If you fan through the photo album of Louie and Alba Zagordo, you’ll invariably run across images of at least one of them on the golf course— possibly on vacation, but likely at Idylwylde G&CC in Sudbury, where they have been members for five years.

While Alba will now be polishing her game in semi-retirement, Louie is hoping to improve upon his 17 handicap.

But there was that one moment of perfection.

“It was about 7 pm at the par-3 17th at Idylwylde. My trusty five-iron from 155 yards—one bounce and it rolled in to the cup,” Zagordo shares.

“My sight’s getting a little blurry and I didn’t actually see the ball finish, so I said to the guys with me on the tee, ‘It probably rolled off the back.’

“I was the first one to get there— driving down into a little valley and coming up the hill and not seeing the ball, and thinking, ‘There’s no way I actually jarred it!’ But I got off the cart, casually walked down to the green and looked into the hole...and there it was.”

But timing is everything. “It was Men’s Night and there was a full house, and by the time I got there, everyone knew,” Zagordo relates. “The tradition is that if you get a hole-inone, you buy everyone a round. So they’ve got me seated at the centre table and the waitress says, ‘They’ve already started ordering.'

“My chit for the night was $610. But you know what? Now everyone remembers my hole-in-one!”

Zagordo shares. “He knew that I wanted to learn, and gave me every opportunity to do so. ‘Let me put the screw in,’ and he would step back and watch. He’d show me the tricks of the trade. In his pouch, he always carried a ball of clear wax, so I wanted one of those in my pouch too!’ So he gave me some wax. I carried it around for two weeks, having no clue what it was for. Then we’re on a job one day and I couldn’t fit the drill into a spot. So Caesar goes into his box and grabs a Robin Hood screwdriver and a two-and-a-half-inch screw, and before he’s ready to drive the screw through the wood, he reaches in and grabs his wax and runs the screw through it. Then he takes his Robbie and begins to effortlessly hand-turn this screw into the wood. And I look at him and say, ‘So that’s why we carry the wax!”

Zagordo also credits his fatherin-law, Tony, for the evolution of his

construction know-how. “Respect your elders,” Louie says. “There’s a reason for the advice they’re offering. I was taught how to make a dollar go further, simple ways of grading and levelling without expensive equipment—so many things from those who came before me.”

BUILDING A LEGACY

Zagordo took that knowledge and wisdom and built on it, in all senses—25 years’ worth—as he further entrenched himself in the region’s home building environment. But he eventually needed a little room to manoeuvre, and a legacy to fashion. In 2014, Louie became his own boss, founding SLV Homes.

ohba.ca @onhomebuilder ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022 29
Louie shares his construction passion with grandson Liam. A primary motivation for launching SLV homes was to create a legacy for future generations of the Zagordos.

Alba handled the administrative duties while a pair of labourers worked alongside Zagordo. Eight years and multiple awards later, the team numbers more than 15.

“At the inception of the company, our focus was on custom home building. It is only as time went on that we developed our skills and reputation, allowing us to expand into renovations and contracting,” Zagordo says. “And then we opened up a builder showroom. We’re one of the only builders in Sudbury to have one within their business. And we’ve also expanded our team to include an interior designer to advise clients on colour choices and finishes, and a design specialist whose 3D software allows people to walk through the home to see the details before it becomes a reality.

“Since founding SLV Homes, I’ve strived to grow the business because I have a succession plan in mind,” Zagordo says. “My son Mark is our Vice President and will carry the family name. He has two boys and my hope is that they will find a rewarding career in this field,” Louie says.

And that family is growing, with the addition of Carson Houle (who married Louie’s daughter Vanessa) as the head of SLV’s contracting division.

“I made one golden rule for both Carson and my son Mark when they each got married: ‘Whatever happens in our lives, we are always going to be a family, and every Sunday there is dinner at my house.’ And if it’s not Sunday, it’s a different night,’” Zagordo says. “When Carson joined the company, I told him the rules still applied: ‘I don’t care what we think of each other between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., you’re still having dinner Sunday night.’ I have to thank my wife for that. On Thursday morning she’s already thinking about Sunday dinner.

“Alba has been a big part of our business,” Louie says. “She is stepping back to play more of the grandmother role and a little golf. She has been a backbone for me throughout my entire career. All the times I’d go out to work and not be home until 7 or 8 o’clock at night, she took care of the kids, and she looked after the household. And she was my partner when it came time to build our own homes. ‘Let’s try this. Let’s change that.’ She learned a lot about the business. She’d probably be one of my best site supervisors if she wanted to get out there!”

Zagordo has long been a fan of the ‘Let’s try this. Let’s change that’ philosophy. The art of creation and craftsmanship and building something that will more than meet the needs

STAYING ON THE MOVE

The Zagordo clan has been a fixture in Northern Ontario for more than 60 years. But that’s not to say they haven’t gotten around a little— particularly Louie and family.

“I think we’ve moved 13 times,” he says.

Thirteen?

“We probably built 10 homes for our family—maybe six in Sault Ste. Marie and then four in Sudbury,” Louie says. “It wasn’t about moving for the sake of moving. A good opportunity would always present itself, and we always made a little money on each sale. Alba has had a lot to do with it, though, with respect to the aesthetics of our homes, from the size of the brick to the landscaping. Four or five times we’ve had people knock on the door and ask if we were interested in selling.

“At one point we even rented a semidetached from one of my competitors while building our next home!”

And the Zagordos’ current home? “It faces Ramsay Lake,” Louie says. “My front yard is what I consider civilization and the backyard is my resort.”

Sounds like a place that might do well on the market!

ohba.ca @onhomebuilder30 ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022
Clockwise from top left: With grandchildren Liam and Aiden; Christmas baking with parents Tony and Rosina; with close friends in Zagordo's wine room; and with wife Alba.

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Zagordo (top right) joined the board as 2nd V.P. at the OHBA’s 2018 Annual Conference. Clockwise from Louie are Jackie Caille, Past Presidents Rick Martins and Pierre Dufresne, CHBA Past President Nathan Stone, Michael Pozzebon, Alex Callahan and current President Bob Schickedanz.

of his clients fuels him (the SLV in his company moniker is actually an acronym for “Style Luxury Value”—three promises he makes to every customer).

“It’s why we categorize ourselves as custom builders,” he says, “because I’ve honestly never built the same house twice.”

And ‘custom’ doesn’t necessarily imply a new home, Zagordo stresses. “Many times, a client has sat at our desk wanting to build a custom home, and an hour into the meeting they say, ‘We didn’t realize the project was going to cost this much.’ And that leads us to the following conversation: ‘So where do you live? Do you like it there? Your kids are happy? Do you love your neighbours? Could I interest you in possibly putting a renovation onto your home instead?’ Then they look at each other and say, ‘We never even thought of that.’ And the next thing you know, I’m being invited to their existing house to figure out what we can do—adding 200 square feet to the second storey, 100 square feet to the rear, a garage. In the end, I’m not turning business away; I’ve just put them on a different path. And it’s so rewarding because they get everything they wanted, they’ve invested in their home, and spent a lot less money. And then we have the loyalty of those folks and great word-of-mouth marketing. And now I have other builders who will refer their clients to us if they’re looking for renovations: ‘Call SLV. Louie’s your guy.’

PASSING THE TORCH

For the next year, however, Louie will also be OHBA’s guy, as he takes the presidential reins from outgoing president Bob Schickedanz. That transition was initially on the books for 2020, but the pandemic tossed the Association’s plans into

a blender, leading to an unprecedented three-year term for Schickedanz.

“I knew what the job entailed going in,” Schickedanz says. “Certainly, by the time I got to the second year, I appreciated where our industry was at with respect to the pandemic. But it required a lot of energy to juggle things. I can’t deny that Year Three was more of a challenge than anticipated, and I put a lot into it. But, from my heart, I feel like I got a lot more out of it than I put in.”

There may also have been advantages to the unusually delayed presidential handoff.

“When Joe Vaccaro stepped down as CEO, a lot of volunteers stepped up and helped out. So yes, I think it was important to make sure the Association had a level of focus and continuity that endured while we were searching for a new CEO before landing on Luca Bucci,” Schickedanz says. “The pandemic also made the level of interaction between our organization, government and stakeholders difficult in terms of Louie having a year to lead up to his role of president, to be physically at the table. So that natural handoff was missing.”

Zagordo agrees. “It gave me the time and opportunity to better understand the provincial landscape, industry leaders and stakeholders, and to fully comprehend issues we will continue to be dealing with.”

THE AGENDA

So what’s next for the association? “We are working to create a new atmosphere that focuses on acquiring talent in the skilled trades. We have to create a sustainable industry by taking

ohba.ca @onhomebuilder32 ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022

a hard look at succession planning to ensure we have the labour needed for years to come,” Zagordo says. “And we must continue to ensure that work is being done at that highest standard—and through all the proper channels.”

Zagordo has a particular appreciation—and passion—for OHBA’s value from a member standpoint.

“As a relatively young business working through the challenges of COVID, OHBA showed me I had a voice that could make a difference,” Zagordo says. “Through the power of the association, we were able to work with the government to find solutions to keep residential construction as an essential service throughout the pandemic. That allowed me to keep my guys working so we could continue to build the homes Ontarians so desperately need.”

Since signing up as a member of the Sudbury Home Builders’ Association in 2014, Zagordo has steadily worked his way up the chain, joining the OHBA Board in 2017, where he sat for two terms as 2nd V.P., before ascending to 1st V.P. in 2019.

“The association helped me create a company out of nothing,” he says. “And now, with their help, I’m about to become President, representing over 4,000 members across the province. It’s hard to express the value I’ve felt in being a member. It’s allowed me to elevate the SLV name in Sudbury and across the Ontario home building industry. It has given me the opportunity to ‘be in the room’ with the best and brightest in the industry, to share ideas to help further the residential construction industry. And as a remote Northern Ontario builder, I’ve had the chance to learn from professionals across the province that I may not have been able to work with otherwise. It opens up a provincial network of connections for you—suppliers, trades, industry partners, municipalities.”

Little wonder that redefining the value of membership

is a key piece of Zagordo’s agenda. “The association is only as strong as its base,” he notes. “When you look at our 27 locals, the vast majority are made up of 50 to 150 members. I don’t just want to keep them intact; I want to help grow those bases. It’s incredibly important for me to meet every one of these locals during my term. To share the stories from Northern Ontario, to share my own stories of what I’ve learned and how important membership in the OHBA has been in my life and for my company.”

Zagordo confidant Jack Marandola has seen Louie in action. “As president of the Sudbury Association and V.P. of the OHBA, Louie participated in a number of international housing tours with OHBA to examine how other countries are implementing new building techniques,” Marandola says. “He loves expanding his knowledge base—growing and learning and getting different perspectives to see if it’s a fit for what he or others are doing back home. He really wants to find the best solution for everyone involved.”

“I’ve seen him interacting with his crew on jobsites, and he is the first to pick up a rake and chip in to help get the job done,” says Carson’s father, Kirby Houle. “I’ve seen Louie’s commitment to delivering a quality product, and his efforts to pass on his compassion and knowledge.”

The latter fire burns bright inside Zagordo. “I’ve learned and benefitted from so many people. I’m now at the stage of my life where I want to do the same, to give back. Whether we’re hiring labourers or skilled people, I want to share what I’ve learned—it’s not some secret.

“And I tend to be pretty determined when it comes to getting things done,” Zagordo assures. “That’s kind of my motto. When the answer is no, I’m the guy who says there has to be a way that we can find a solution or find an alternative.”

Even if it’s a parking garage with a 6’2” ceiling. OHB

ohba.ca @onhomebuilder34 ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022
At the podium during OHBA's previous Annual Conference, and at the President's Gala with Past President Rick Martins (left) and Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark.

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Corporate culture can play a pivotal role in staff recruitment and retention

ohba.ca @onhomebuilder36 ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022

hen a sale is made on behalf of one of their builder/developer clients, a bell at TCS Marketing Systems in Toronto is rung to celebrate the team’s accomplishment. In summer, office staff at Reid’s Heritage Homes in Guelph start their weekends at 1:30 p.m. on Fridays and are paid for the full day. When two Dunpar Homes employees recently welcomed infants, a company-wide lunch was held to welcome the ‘Dunpar babies.’ At Ottawabased Minto, work ers have embraced an employee recognition program where they earn points towards goods and services.

These are just a few components of cor porate culture that have helped these companies successfully attract and retain workers.

“Even without the labour shortage, corporate culture is the most effective business tool we can have,” says Jo-Ann Taylor, V.P. of Human Resources at the Minto Group. “With no people, there is no business. We want a culture where people feel moti vated, want to be here, feel gratitude and appreciation. Corporate culture is at the heart of it.”

When Ron McMillan joined Reid’s Heritage Homes as president three years ago, he was amazed at how easy it was to attract talent to the company, which has approximately 100 employees. “This is well known as a great place to work and has a reputation for treating people right,” McMillan says. “Talk to

Wany recruiter in the business—it’s so easy to find people who want to work here.”

And stay there. Several employ ees at Reid’s have had a lengthy tenure with the company, including one who just celebrated a 40-year award, another a 30-year and two 25-year honourees.

Fair compensation is certainly important to any hires, says Taylor. Potential hires may also gravitate to companies that offer benefits and RRSP matching. However, Taylor says even if the compensation is great, employ ees won’t stay if the work culture is poor.

During a career in the industry that spans more than 25 years, Mark Cohen, managing partner of TCS Marketing Systems, worked for powerhouse developers including Bramalea Ltd. and Concord Adex Developments,

we’ve done a great job getting the right people in the right posi tion. Culture filters down. We’ve really done a great job in getting superb leaders.”

The message must be supported by a company’s mission statement and business strategy. Reid’s, for example, cites its values as kind ness, respect and compassion. TCS highlights a commitment to teamwork and compassion in its vision. Minto has what it calls its ESG commitment, with the pillars of environmental impact, com munity impact (social) and busi ness resilience (governance). Each pillar covers a myriad of things the company does. Social, for example, covers employees and engagement with the community.

Sustainable construction has long been among the core values at Minto, and Taylor says it has helped to attract employees.

“I think this is especially important to the younger generation and is definitely part of what differentiates us.”

as well as family-run businesses Tribute Communities and Menkes Developments. That valuable insight into corporate culture has filtered down to his own business, a boutique firm with 20 people.

“Bramalea was a remarkable place to work,” Cohen recalls. “It was a big company with 2,000 employees but with a small-company mentality. It was conveyed to us how important customers were, that they were to be viewed as people, not transactions.”

Bramalea realized that valuing workers went hand-in-hand with valuing clients, Cohen notes. “The focus on people was extraordinary. I learned the importance of people and saw that successful people empower others.”

“The right people are your best asset,” agrees McMillan. “I think

Here are some ways these companies and others have built a positive culture.

Employer certifications/recognition

Minto, with 1,300 employees in Canada and the U.S. in home building and property management divisions plus trades, boasts Workhuman Certification, designating it as a company committed to providing an environment where its people are valued and their specific needs considered.

Workhuman covers eight key areas: environmental and social stewardship, purpose-driven work, employee appreciation, work-life harmony, inclusive cul ture of diversity, fair pay, psychological safety and privacy.

“That certification differenti ates us as an employer,” says

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"The right people are your best asset."

Dunpar Homes' activities for its empoyees have included paint nights and axe-throwing. Below, they join staff from Dunpar's John Zanini Foundation at the Second Annual Kelly Marie Atyeo Memorial Holiday Toy Drive, in support of the Salvation Army’s Toy Mountain. The drive was named in honour of Dunpar homeowner Joshua Fick’s late wife. Each year the company sets up donation boxes at its head office and other locations, where staff and homeowners can donate to the cause.

participates. It’s one way to ensure what people need to be focusing on.”

Although TCS has just 20 employees, it offers financial incentives to its staff for jobs well done. “They understand it’s a partnership for all of us,” says Cohen.

“A number of people are rewarded when something happens; not just those in the sales centre. If we can overachieve, we share the wealth.”

Taylor. “Many companies look at recog nitions such as Top 100 Employers, but that looks more at the operational side, such as how much pension contribution they make, when benefits kick in, etc. That doesn’t address the culture side, which is everything, and how you make a workplace human-centric.”

Mattamy Homes recently was named as one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers for the fourth year in a row in a competi tion open to any employer of any size with a head office or principal place of business in the GTA. Top Employers competitions (regional and national) are run by Mediacorp Canada Inc., publisher of employment periodicals. Winners are selected on criteria such as work atmosphere, benefits and training/skills development. Among the reasons for

Mattamy’s selection were its support for new parents, with maternity and parental leave top-up payments (and the option to extend leave into an unpaid leave of absence) and an employee homeowner ship program that offers a cash payment of up to 4.5% (up to $40,000) for the pur chase of a company-built home.

Reid’s Heritage Homes, meanwhile, was named one of Canada’s Top Small and Medium Employers 2021 in a competition also run by Mediacorp.

Rewards and recognition for employees Minto has an annual bonus plan tied to its long-term goals. Taylor says bonuses often only go to executives, but at Minto “every single employee

Companies with positive cultures also recognize employee service milestones. Reid’s Heritage provides perks such as an extra week of holidays or monetary rewards for long-term workers (from five years and up, in five-year increments). Minto’s long-term employees of 10 years (and then in five-year increments afterward) are treated to a celebratory lunch with the leadership team and the Greenberg family, Minto’s found ers and owners. Their longest-standing employee, Dennis McTavish, was hon oured for 45 years of service last fall.

Through Minto’s BRAVO! program, employees and managers can nominate individuals or teams for recognition. The levels range from High Five to Standing Ovation (higher levels need manager and vice-president approval), and nomi nees received points they can collect and redeem for gift cards, electronics, travel, etc. The program has been very successful since it was launched in 2016, with more than 80% of employees receiving recogni tion. Those with the most BRAVO! points at the end of the year are nominated for the annual Greenberg Awards, which are tied into the core values of achievement, courage, innovation and partnership.

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Events and team-building

While many firms typically hold annual summer barbecues and Christmas par ties, the special ones go beyond that to keep employees engaged with each other and management. Cohen recently hosted his entire staff at his cottage for a ‘Fun in the Sun Day’ of socializing and relaxing.

Dunpar Homes, with about 50 employees, holds team-building events on a regular basis, with escape rooms, paint nights and axe-throwing, to name a few. “We believe in hard work, but it’s important to get together outside of work to have some fun and enjoy each other’s company,” says Jennifer Bahk, V.P. of Accounting for Dunpar Homes and the John Zanini Foundation, founded by Dunpar’s president.

During the early days of the pandemic

when many were working from home, Tridel employees from all departments participated in virtual monthly trivia. And as construction site workers were deemed essential and had to stay on the job, the Tridel Take Action team part nered with Feed the Frontlines TO to deliver lunches to those employees.

Reid’s Heritage, for its part, holds bi-weekly meetings in a big, open, comfortable space, where members of different teams—e.g. warranty and development—get together to introduce each other and talk about their roles. Such cross-department interaction is a tenet of the company. Its office work ers can also sign up for a bi-weekly site tour to view progress on new builds and to talk with the workers there. “It’s always a challenge to connect the office

to the site, but the tours bring everyone together,” McMillan says. “The worst thing in any company is to have silos.”

Inclusion, diversity and engagement

Listening to employee feedback— and acting upon it—is paramount to corporate culture, our experts say. Workplaces that are inclusive and diverse, some with employee committees devoted to promoting those goals, are par for the course.

Minto has an annual employee engagement survey, plus asks for feedback regularly on other issues. Reid’s features a corporate culture council. TCS’s Cohen regularly asks his employees for their views and opinions.

“We all work well together and it’s inclusive and respectful here. It’s a very open organization,” echoes Dunpar’s Bahk, who joined the organization last year.

In November 2020, Tridel launched a Built for Respect campaign to tackle racism in the construction industry after several nooses were found at Toronto construction sites. The cam paign, developed by Tridel and Deltera, its construction division, focused on diversity, equity and inclusion and formed a steering committee made up of employees at all levels and from all teams. ElllisDon, Local 183 of LiUNA, the Residential Construction Council of Ontario and BILD all partnered on the campaign.

Training and development

Onkar Dhillon has worked with Mark Cohen for more than two decades, starting as a computer technician when he was a student, and is now TCS’s V.P. of Operations. “I’m fortunate in that I’ve worked for Mark since I was 17, and I’m 39 now. He has an ability to grow and breathe life into us. That’s corporate culture. When we look at new talent, we want to know who you are, what your objectives are, the impact you wish to make.”

Cohen sensed the then-teen had more to offer than his computer skills and wanted to draw out his personality and other talents. “Onkar became

ohba.ca @onhomebuilder40 ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022
Clockwise from top: Minto volunteers packing food at Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank; toasting an employee team event and stepping up for the Run for Women.
"My managers have supported every opportunity I've expressed interest in."

extraordinary and has transformed into my right arm and part of the personality at TCS,” Cohen says. “If you don’t give people a shot, you’ll never know.”

Reid’s Heritage, Minto and Dunpar are among companies that offer training and development on the job or provide funds for employees to take courses and attend seminars. Reid’s provides up to $750 a year—sometimes more. They also do internal postings of jobs to give employees the first opportunity and provide employees with a fee if they recommend someone who is hired.

“We definitely encourage mentorship. We want to build from within, and our leaders and managers are all trained to coach and bring their team up,” says McMillan. “We want superstars and we want to build the career of those who stay with us.”

“I’m a firm believer that learning never stops,” says Dunpar’s Bahk. “We encourage employees to take

Heritage offers flexible work options.

“A lot of companies get lots of feedback, but the key is to act,” says McMillan. Employees have to be in the office from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but other than that, they can choose when they want to work to complete their daily eight hours. This is especially beneficial to workers who have to drop off or pick up children at school.

“People appreciate that. We don’t get into the hourly thing and watching the clock. Hire the right people and you don’t have to worry about that,” says McMillan.

From the May long weekend until after Labour Day, Reid’s has also adopted summer hours, so office employees can leave on Fridays at 1:30 p.m. without losing any pay or having to make up the time. The company is exploring how to offer on-site workers an equivalent perk, as summer is peak construction season.

The pandemic also inspired a new Dunpar employee program with a focus on mental, emotional and physical wellbeing through programs such as yoga or meditation classes or purchases of fitness equipment. These are not typically covered by insurance plans, so Dunpar will reimburse employees for a portion of such expenses.

Giving back

courses and there are opportunities for advancement within the group.”

Flexible hours and hybrid workplaces

When the pandemic forced most of its staff to work remotely from home, Minto used the time to completely re-design its Ottawa office to support a hybrid work model. The company listened to employee feedback about their concerns about touching shared surfaces. As a result, the workplace is touchless—for instance, doors open at the wave of a hand.

Minto office employees can also determine when they want to work from home or in the office. Taylor says they need to be in the office for meetings or to brainstorm with a team, but for many other tasks, such as creating reports, they are free to work from home.

Based upon feedback from its corpo rate culture council and others, Reid’s

Contributing to the neighbourhoods where they operate, though, remains a particularly powerful incentive for many.

“For me, it's very important,” says Bahk. “It makes the personnel proud to be part of a company that gives back. We want to make a meaningful impact in the communities where we live and work. Many of us at Dunpar have chil dren and it’s important for us to support our youth.” Dunpar is closely aligned with the John Zanini Foundation, which primarily supports initiatives for at-risk youngsters and postsecondary education for students in Etobicoke.

The company and its employees also partnered with homeowner Joshua Fick to create the annual Kelly Marie Atyeo Holiday Toy Drive, named in honour of Fick’s late wife. Before Kelly Marie’s death, she had started a Christmas toy drive to donate items to children in need. Dunpar places boxes in its head office and other locations where employees and clients can drop off toys that are donated

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@onhomebuilder42 ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022
Reid’s has been active in looking after its own, from site visits to pizza parties and a summer BBQ.

TCS Marketing Systems Managing Partner Mark Cohen (back row, centre) learned to appreciate the importance of employees in previous posts with major Ontario builders, and offers financial incentives to its entire staff for jobs well done. The company's V.P. of Operations, Onkar Dhillon (back row, right), is among the loyal staff. He started working with Cohen at age 17 and is still with him, now in an executive capacity, at age 39.

to the Salvation Army’s Toy Mountain.

Each year, Reid’s hosts the Annual Orin Reid Memorial Golf Tournament, held in honour of the company’s late founder. It annually raises $100,000 that is donated to hospitals in communities where Reid’s is building. This year’s donation will benefit mental health. Previously, employees have also come together for Take a Ride for MacKids, a fundraiser for the McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation held on Reid’s headquarters property, with carnival rides, attractions and heavy equip ment for families to enjoy.

Minto, meanwhile, has a charitable foundation that supports multiple organizations. As well, its employees volunteer for causes such as Run for the Cure and Habitat for Humanity builds.

TCS and its team support several charitable organizations, and Cohen and Dhillon have used their volunteer his tory to shape their corporate culture— Cohen has extensive involvement with amateur hockey and Dhillon in soccer, including as a coach for the University of Guelph women’s soccer team.

“It helped us create a certain playing field as a healthy place for people to work,” says Cohen. “The volunteer positions we took are extremely intense. We learned some lessons from minor sports and about how to run a business, how to nurture people and let them shine.”

Testimonials

And how do the employees themselves feel? Katie Miller joined Reid’s Heritage Homes a little more than a year ago as a sales coordinator. She previously worked for a gym, as a real estate agent and for building industry contractors. Miller had been living in Guelph for eight years and knew of Reid’s through the real estate world. Aware of the company’s good reputation as a builder and employer, she applied when she saw a posting for her current role.

“I feel incredibly trusted and empowered to do my job,” Miller beams. “I am treated as a person not just an employee. I am made to feel that I am an important part of the team and that what I do matters.”

Miller appreciates the flexibility in hours, as it allows her the freedom to bring her six-year-old son to school, or pick him up when need be. “There is the understanding here that people have lives outside of work and it’s nice not to have to feel guilty to take care of those things.”

She also finds the weekly meetings between employees of various depart ments enlightening. “It’s been absolutely amazing to find out the ins and outs of other people’s roles and getting a better understanding of who does what,” says Miller, who has also participated in the

site tours and appreciates seeing the home she has sold to people come to life.

Reid’s commitment to charity and volunteerism also matters to Miller, who volunteered to help organize the company golf tournament shortly after she came aboard, and who regularly joins employees to volunteer for other causes.

Nicole Chapman had no prior industry experience when she was hired as a summer student by Minto six years ago, but has had the opportunity to work in various departments and advance to more senior roles. She currently works in Customer Experience, and says the Minto Learning Centre has played a major role in her success.

“Having an in-house team dedicated to enhancing the employee experience through educational opportunities and having courses tailored to our industry and business is incredibly beneficial and has taught me numerous new skills,” says Chapman, who appre ciates the company values that are ingrained in her daily work, including the BRAVO! program that recognizes employee achievements.

“My managers and leadership have sup ported every opportunity I’ve expressed interest in,” Chapman says. “Every day is different and you never know what excit ing new projects or opportunities will present themselves.”

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UPON CLOSER INSPECTION

SITE INSPECTIONS, security, a marketing video, ground mapping, perhaps the need for a high-definition image from a single moment in time. There’s a skyful of reasons to employ a drone for cutting-edge imagery and scanning these days, but you’ll have to be light on your feet—or perhaps even fly—to keep up with the latest technology.

“Drones are evolving at an astonishing pace,” says Multivista Program Director Ryan Holmes, whose company is a global leader in construction documentation.

“The biggest change is the emergence of more capable drones in smaller packages, along with more sophisticated software for automated flight applications programs

that provide more information and value to builders and developers. But larger aircraft have also been getting attention, with greater capacity, better electronics and redundancies for safety and reliability.”

The added advantage of that improved safety element means reduced liability, notes Misha Herschorn, founder and head

ohba.ca @onhomebuilder ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022 47
Drones and high-res cameras have gone next-level in construction imagery and data collection
First Class Drones shows the future view from the top floor at Forma Condos in Toronto.

pilot of OHBA member First Class Drones.

“The biggest piece of recent technology might be the parachute system, which attaches to the drone and allows for safe and legal flights over people. This is how we’re able to shoot in populated areas like downtown Toronto. It has revolutionized our business and made our flights 100 times safer, which is obviously important to our developer and builder clients.

“Something else new are FPV (First Person View) drones,” Herschorn says. “You essentially fly them using a headset, allowing you to view things through their eyes. It enables you to fly in really tight spaces and to get non-traditional

For Jamie Reford, the head of business development at Volatus Aerospace, the most exciting advancements of this young decade may actually have come on the software and data management side. “Traditionally, we’ve been able to generate really cool 3D models, but a lot of our clients weren’t up to speed—in terms of their own software platforms or internal skillsets—to be able to digest and use the information that we were providing,” says Reford. “Now, through the advent of streaming and lightweight cloud infrastructure, we can basically upload a model via an online portal, and they can do all the analysis they

Map Quest

Lighter, more advanced payloads, meanwhile, are making for amazingly detailed mapping capabilities, Holmes notes. “A global shutter camera on an RTK drone, used in conjunction with accurate ground control points laid out on site and combined with software from companies like Agtek, now provides great value in tracking earthwork. This enables a con tractor/builder/developer to have a better understanding of the site conditions and progress by showing them where the current conditions are with respect to the final design surface. You can also deter mine how many truckloads of material

Ontario Drone Solutions' work ranges from the detection of electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) to same-day viewing of fly-throughs to monitoring site deliveries and more.

“You essentially fly them using a headset, allowing you to view things through their eyes.”
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Volatus Aerospace's notes its LiDAR can classify tree canopy layers for environmental impact purposes, but it may also be the the most accurate technology for spatial data collection.

this, as well as from the ability to make small adjustments to the final grade.”

The ROI opportunities are numerous, Holmes indicates. “It’s also a great tool for seeking estimates for roofing with custom reports, monitoring general progress, providing marketing material in the form of still shots, interactive panoramas, video and maps, as well as troubleshooting through inspections that would otherwise require a lift or scaffolding to obtain access to the views necessary.”

“Companies want to see how fast the job is getting done,” says Ontario Drone Solutions owner Daniel Wallis. “‘Did the soil get delivered? How much tiling do we need?’ It saves a lot of time, but it’s also a check for the future: ‘Did I really need all that much soil and that many tiles?’”

Sharing that oversight via the cloud provides builders and operations managers with the luxury of viewing their projects from afar—be it on a progressive basis through bi-weekly drone fly-throughs or the current status of the site. “Instead of you having to drive out to the site, I can go in for one flight, safely fly overtop people without being intrusive to anyone on the ground, and then you can press ‘play’ and do a virtual walk-through,” says Wallis.

Sometimes a drone is the only

solution. “We were hired to help with the detection of electromagnetic (EMF) frequencies for a residential project in June,” Wallis says. “We’ve been providing sensor integration services for roughly two years. When homes, condos or apartments are going to be built near existing power lines, EMF frequency measurements are needed to ensure there is no risk of exposure. We enable a building biologist and electromagnetic radiation specialist to obtain accurate measurements from heights while recording the exact GPS location. Rather than be limited to a boom truck or ground-based measurements, clients will use our service to ensure they’re getting the most precise EMF frequency measurements, while keeping boots on the ground, as they ascend beyond the height of the power lines.”

Even custom builders and renovators

are making use of drone technology, notes Reford. “Let’s say you’re doing a partial retrofit and want to keep the existing frame or want to extract quick and accurate plans from a structure, especially if it’s an older building and you don’t have up-to-date digitized documentation. We can generate a digital twin, which you can then use to extract your measurements. It’s also a single source of truth—once you document the site digitally, you have that in a particular condition in perpetuity.

LIABILITY INSURANCE

Such data can prove invaluable with respect to liability issues. “I recently had a forensic engineer in Toronto who needed to recreate an accident scene,” Wallis shares. “With my drones we were able to capture the necessary data and preserve it—and get it to him the same day.”

ohba.ca @onhomebuilder50 ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022
“[LiDAR]shines as a method of data collection and generating really accurate topographical surveys."

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HGTV HOST & REAL ESTATE EXPERT

Sometimes, however, it’s a case of digging into the archives—and they can be extensive for a company such as Multivista, where hi-res image captures for a client can potentially number into the tens of thousands—each one mapped to an exact location so that users can go back in time to see varying moments in construction. Trades can also leverage as-built imagery to troubleshoot and solve issues.

“We have been involved in that area for nearly 20 years,” says Holmes. “As much as it’s important to know that the right detail was captured at the right time, it only holds value if you know exactly where to find it and are able to access it in a matter of seconds when you need it. I’ve been on site many times and seen, in real time, general contractors using our images to find electrical outlets, valves and even speaker wiring—from behind drywall and even tile—that were assumed to not have been installed.

“I got a phone call from a developer who said that one of the images in our very first shoot of their condominium build was worth more than our entire photography contract, as it instantly settled a dispute that both a neighbour and the city had raised while trying to blame the developer for some pavement and concrete cracking,” Holmes adds. “In that case we were able to verify that the damage had been done prior to any site mobilization. This very same thing has happened a number of times on custom home builds too.”

REALLY HIGH TECH

What you can’t see with the naked eye, however, is where drone-carried tech might be expanding the fastest.

“For example, thermal sensors have become more widely available for evaluating building envelope conditions, assessing insulation, leaks and in looking for water intrusion,” Holmes notes. “They’ve even been used successfully to find water leaks from underground piping. I expect this technology to play a significant role as more governments push towards regulations and codes to achieve net-zero buildings.”

Volatus, which works with a combination of mid-rise and highrise condo builders, as well as subdevelopments, is as cutting-edge a company as there is in this realm, from detecting gas leaks to using advanced photogrammetry software to generate geo-referenced, high-res textured reality meshes for projects at any scale.

And then there’s LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), the most efficient and arguably the most accurate technology used for spatial data collection. Using laser pulses to generate returns from millions of points, LiDAR sensors create detailed 3D models of ground, vegetation and infrastructural conditions.

“We get a lot of traction generating 3D models for heritage applications, where companies are looking to do all the restoration work or generate a BIM

(Building Information Modelling) model of an existing structure before they go in and do refabrications or additions," Reford says. “If they're building a condo podium on top of the old facade, for example, we can generate really highquality resolution 3D models that feed nicely into the existing BIM software.

“LiDAR shines as a method of data collection and generating really accurate topographical surveys for subdevelopments and converting greenfield or brownfield sites into housing areas,” Reford adds. “We can fly LiDAR over an entire site and classify tree canopy layers for environmental impact purposes. We generate topography for cut-fill volume assessments and grading considerations. And when you get into the built form, that’s where photogrammetry comes

52 ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022
“With my drones we were able to capture the necessary data and preserve it—and get it to him the same day.”
Multivista notes that lighter, more advanced drone payloads are making for stunningly detailed mapping capabilities.

into play. We can either generate pointcloud models (a 3D model based upon a set of data points in space) or textured mesh models that are really refined. In the colourized models, you’re able to capture really finite details and generate a visually compelling result.”

Volatus recently employed its photogrammetry and LiDAR to search for Dutch Elm disease in Winnipeg. Reford would like to see developers use the technology more often to avoid environmental damage of another sort.

“There are many instances where an unfinished subdevelopment has been completely flooded out, and you’re left there scratching your head, wondering, ‘Why was it even built here in the first place? And if so, why weren’t the proper pieces of infrastructure installed to mitigate the flood risk?’’’ Reford says. “Frankly it’s often just because of the lack of understanding of the overall site conditions. And that’s where LiDAR comes into play—to really drill down and extract very, very accurate data in terms of what the site conditions actually are.

“There are constraints to any technology, and photogrammetry and LiDAR are no different,” Reford admits. “For example, both struggle with reflective surfaces, whether it’s windows or water. Generally speaking, those end up showing as voids in the model. So you have to account for how to mitigate for those deficiencies in your data collection.”

DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME

It’s one of the reasons why Reford and others caution against residential construction industry folks attempting to do drone work in-house or contract unproven drone companies. Even navigating the necessary certifications and training is somewhat of an obstacle course for builders.

“The first justifications for using our services is to avoid the significant expense of purchasing and maintaining up-to-date unmanned aircraft systems, along with all the fees that go along with them for the required aviation insurance, software for flight apps, processing, data management and data sharing,” Multivista’s Holmes says. “The second reason is the need to have trained remote pilots on staff that are both qualified to capture relevant data safely and legally. And merely being certified with your Transport Canada Advanced Remote Pilot Certificate doesn’t mean you are qualified as an operator, especially in the complex environments we are presented with in construction.

Also, most operations in construction require both a remote pilot and a trained visual observer (VO) to operate legally as well as safely—both in the air and on the ground.

“We speak to a lot of people in construction contracting, and developing and engineering spaces who have drones in-house and are using them actively, but do not have the proper certifications or insurance coverage,” echoes Reford. “Those are two important caveats.”

Using expert operators results in better data, Reford says. “We are able to fly in complex operating environments due to the fact that we’ve built a program in a manner that emulates an airline— following rigid safety compliance metrics and pilot checklists, etc. That translates into consistent, high-quality data. Because if you have garbage data coming into your pipeline, the resulting deliverables are going to be useless for the client.”

As attractive deliverables go, however, First Class Drones holds the edge when it comes to pure aesthetics. The company is looking to occupy the traditionally quiet winter months with the burgeoning DVS (Drone Video Systems) category, whereby they would help train and equip clients with drone solutions that are customized to their needs.

But First Class’s specialty is a throwback to the marketing advantages early drones provided—unique, jawdropping imagery.

“We’re the highest priced for what we do, but also the highest quality,” says Herschorn. “A lot of people call themselves drone videographers. We’re drone cinematographers. We have a different eye. We’re trying to move into TV, bringing extreme cinematic footage to the real estate world that has never been seen before.

“Drone footage is becoming the norm,” Herschorn says. “For it not to be the norm, you have to be different—to provide footage that makes people go, ‘Holy cow!’”

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@onhomebuilder54 ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022
OHB
A Volatus M300 drone conducts a construction survey. At right, a scan shows property lines across a topographical map.

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Building Buzz

BUILDING FUTURE LEADERS

Training Ontario partners with Crestcom to provide unique approach to elite development

The Professional Home Builders Institute (known as Training Ontario in this province) has partnered with Crestcom to offer an industry-leading program for leaders and managers looking to excel in their careers.

Crestcom is a trusted leadership training partner for firms ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 enter prises. Over the past 30+ years, Crestcom’s accredited and award-win ning leadership development programs have impacted more than 1 million executives in over 60 countries world wide. Crestcom’s unique approach develops managers into leaders using a proprietary training process that emphasizes measured development, effective implementation and ultimate accountability. The process creates con sistent and sustained behaviour change in participants and a quantifiable ROI for the client organizations they serve.

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TECHNOLOGY

MY DESIGN STUDIO HELPS DECORATE A HOME—VIRTUALLY

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, My Design Studio is now helping decorate clients’ homes without ever needing to visit the company’s Woodbridge offices.

After several years of innovation and growth in the multi-residential build ing industry, but seeing few suitable or affordable virtual-design options in the market, My Design Studio decided to develop its own software. The resulting

virtual decor centre, launched last year, is an affordable software solution for current and prospective clients.

The portal will provide builders/ developers with a digital solution to improve operational efficiencies and time spent at a decor centre, says My Design Studio founder Yasmine Goodwin. “Our software was developed to make an impact in our industry. Our AI-driven platform provides sales analytics, prepares your purchase orders and tallies up a running cost and mortgage impact for your purchasers so that they are more pre pared for their appointments. It’s been proven that homebuyers typically spend 10-15% more when they can preview their selections digitally.”

ohba.ca @onhomebuilder ONTARIO HOME BUILDER FALL 2022 57

ENERGY EFFICIENCY

BACK-TO-BACK ENERGY STAR AWARDS FOR JELD-WEN

Jeld-Wen of Canada was again named the Energy Star Manufacturer of the Year in the Windows and Doors category for 2022.

The Energy Star Canada Awards recognize organizations that have made outstanding contributions to protecting the environment through superior energy achievements. Jeld-Wen’s victory marked its second straight Manufacturer of the Year title and sixth overall in the past decade, bringing their total Energy Star Award count to nine.

“As an industry leader, the Jeld-Wen team makes quality and innovative thinking its top priority,” said Robert Conway, Jeld-Wen of Canada V.P. and general manager. “We are grateful to be recognized for our efforts and focus on energy efficiency, but our best work is still ahead of us. We are really excited about the future and the products we plan to bring to the market.”

In early 2020, the company demon strated its commitment to energy efficiency by launching “Keep Outside Out,” a comprehensive educational campaign designed to inform con sumers on the benefits of energyefficient windows.

“Our goal is to make it easy for our customers to understand stackable rebates and their potential annual cost savings,” noted Jeff Pigeon, JeldWen of Canada’s senior product line manager.

In 2021, the company continued to evolve its education campaign by add ing calculators for energy efficiency and by aggregating Canadian window and door rebate program information. This year’s plans include more

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information and tools to support con sumers in their efforts to fully lever age available rebate programs in Canada, including the Greener Homes Grant, a new federal grant program that rewards homeowners looking to renovate, with up to $5,000 in rebates. The rebates are accessible when con sumers work with their contractor or installation professional and choose window and door products that meet specific energy efficiency criteria, like those offered under Jeld-Wen’s Northern Tri-Pane Collection.

ECONOMY

DREAM OF HOMEOWNERSHIP IS SLIPPING, NEW SURVEY SAYS

Despite rising mortgage rates and cooling real estate sales that could potentially improve housing afford ability, a recent survey from financial technology platform Finder.com has found that 29% (or roughly 9 million) Canadians over the age of 18 have either given up on the homeowner ship dream or resigned themselves to being “forever renters.”

According to Finder survey data, 16% of Canadians aged 18+ said they were no longer interested in home ownership in 2022—a whopping 60% increase from when the same question was posed two and a half years ago. This would mean that nearly two million more Canadians are now saying ‘no thanks’ to home ownership. Further, another 13% said they expected to rent for the rest of their lives.

Breaking down the numbers, Canadians between the ages of 35 and 44 felt the most hopeless about home ownership, with 18% confessing they’ll rent forever. More women (17%) now report no interest in home ownership, up from 9% in 2019.

Interestingly, Generation Z’ers and younger millennials (those aged between 18 and 34) were least inter ested in homeownership, with 9% opt ing not to buy a home and 12% assum ing they’ll rent forever.

SECURING WHAT MATTERS.

TEMPORARY FENCE, SAFETY ACCESSORIES, AND PRIVACY SCREEN. 7 LOCATIONS ACROSS ONTARIO TO SERVE YOU. www.moduloc.ca

The Ultimate Kitchen WorkStation

The Galley represents a whole new category of kitchen appliances. A complete culinary system where one can prepare, cook, serve, entertain, and clean all in one central and convenient place. The kitchen is even more functional and ergonomic with the Workstation near cooking. This evolutionary kitchen work line concept is much more efficient than the traditional work triangle layout. Simply put, The Galley System is A Better Way®

To learn more about the Galley visit www.ela.ca

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Let our brick do the work.

Brick offers so many inherent benefits to homeowners, including better energy efficiency and virtually zero maintenance. And beyond all that, brick maintains its good looks for life.

Canada Brick delivers on-trend colour options and a range of personality-rich finishes to help you and homeowners create dream homes that generations will enjoy.

DESIGN

COSENTINO LAUNCHES C-TOP DESIGN PROGRAM FOR PROS

Cosentino Group, a global leader in producing and distributing innovative and sustainable surfaces, has launched its first-ever loyalty program and inspirational hub for design and architecture pros: C-TOP Design.

Using different offline and online tools, the program offers a variety of initiatives to support designers, interior designers and interior architects through all stages of project planning.

The resource includes exclusive first access to select colours, sample requests with a 48-hour delivery window, mood board creation, and technical information on Silestone, Dekton or Sensa by Cosentino surfaces.

C-TOP Design also offers a unique platform for professionals to generate visibility for their finished work, with the ability to submit your own projects for promotion on several channels.

All professionals who register on the platform will receive a ‘Creative Box,’ designed exclusively for them, contain ing colour swatches, samples of the latest products and an ‘Inspiration Book’ featuring real projects using a variety of Cosentino surfaces.

TECHNOLOGY

LOSANI HOMES SIGNS ON WITH CRM PROVIDER

To respond to the rapidly changing and growing Canadian real estate market, Losani Homes has enlisted ApostleTech, an Arizona-based customer relations

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CAESARSTONE MAKES A CONNECTION

Caesarstone has created the CS Connect platform to help strengthen support for retail partners seeking its high quality quartz surfaces. This first-of-its-kind integrated online estimator and tool makes selling countertops, back splashes, bathroom vanities, etc. easier and more profitable than ever before.

Connecting customers and designers from inspiration to installation, the process takes just minutes and provides a consumer with transparent pricing within a detailed quote, including material, fabrication and installation costs. Simply input the desired measurements, colours, edge details and other ancillary items, and the system does the work from there.

The platform manages the project from start to finish, enabling retailers to see the status of projects at any given point. Workmanship is guaranteed via the Caesarstone certified fabricator network. OHB

Lighting the Way You Live

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The right residential lighting can provide comfort, enhance security and show off your home’s best assets. Top residential lighting solutions from North America’s top lighting brands Visit acuitybrands.ca

AWARDS OF DISTINCTION

Join us as we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the OHBA Awards of Distinction (AoD) Program!

Recognizing the creativity, innovation and talent of land developers, builders, renovators, designers and marketers with the Ontario residential construction industry.

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2022 FALLSVIEW CASINO RESORT, NIAGARA FALLS

SEATING IS LIMITED - ORDER TICKETS NOW AT WWW.CONFERENCE.OHBA.CA

Product Focus

Ideas for Builders & Renovators

MORE WITH LESS Quality kitchen products with efficiency in mind

BE IT IN A 500-square-foot condo or a sprawling chef-inspired kitchen, homeowners are increasingly looking to up their game—and efficiency—when it comes to food prep and cleanup. From multi-disciplinary workstations to multi-function faucets, more products are being intro duced that allow your clients to personalize their workspaces, while keeping the mess—and steps travelled—to the absolute minimum.

A leader in the less-is-more category remains the Kompakt Kitchen from Porter & Charles, which has just received an update, notes EuroLine Appliances’ Brandon Rawson.

Designed in Canada and equipped with sleek European appliances, it’s fabulously functional and ideal for saving both space and energy.

Upgrades to the unit, which covers six- or eight-foot lengths, include a new speed oven (an all-in-one microwave/grill/convection unit), a new fridge/freezer, new dishwasher and a brand new washer/dryer combo (in the eight-foot Kompakt Kitchen model). It also features a two-burner induction cooktop with lighting and fan overhead, as well as plenty of storage. An array of cabinet and quartz countertop finishes, meanwhile, make it extremely

FAST, HOT, SAFE

Induction cooking P. 68

The Kompakt Kitchen from Porter & Charles is getting an upgrade on multiple fronts.

designer-friendly.

On the other end of the scale is Euro-Line’s The Galley. Manufactured in the U.S. and an ideal fit for anything from a renovation to custom home and condo, this is highend territory for clients who value clean lines, personalized design and maximum efficiency. The designs feature three tiers of serving and cutting boards, drying racks and other culinary tools that easily slide above and below each other to accommodate everything from meal preparation to entertaining and cleanup duties—without ever leaving the same space.

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The Galley is the Transformers’ version of kitchen preparation and presentation, featuring three tiers of serving and cutting boards, serving boards, drying racks and other culinary tools.

DIVIDE AND CONQUER

With The Galley, you can chop, strain and mix, while easily and ergonomi cally preparing a meal—and then efficiently transition to cooking to a nearby cooktop. Then you can quickly and conveniently transform it into a serving station or set out drinks and hors d’oeuvres to create an entertain ing surface. The mess, meanwhile, is easily contained within The Galley, the setup of which also allows for continual cleaning throughout every stage. (A separate WashStation can also be added nearby to easily isolate the mess.)

There’s a variety of models and configurations, with lengths from two to seven feet and custom lengths available. There are also accompanying Galley Dressers, a bespoke luxury kitchen furniture line specifically designed for the Workstation, as well as the custom faucet and accessory line. The Galley Tap features a pullout hand spray that extends far enough to cater to the length of your Galley unit and can serve as pot filler for an adjacent cooktop.

“The idea is that instead of the traditional triangle arrangement in the kitchen, you now have this efficient linear design, with all your utensils in one spot, and a lot less moving around,” says Showroom Manager Susan Barclay from Euro-Line’s Oakville location. “You’re not wasting a space just for a sink—it also becomes a multifaceted prep station. And it’s all very high-quality with a lifetime guarantee for all the accessories.”

Although the price point is more on the premium side, it has not deterred sales. “It has really taken off,” says Barclay. “We’ve had people come in here to look at a fridge or other appliances, who have already done their kitchens. Then they see The Galley display and turn around and cancel their previous order and get this instead.

SINK OR SWIM

In the pursuit of more efficient kitchen spaces, sinks are front and centre, notes Reka Kevsehi, Director of Sales at Vogt Industries.

“Our kitchen faucets feature 360-degree rotation for extended

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Moen’s Pre-Rinse Spring Galley faucet with retractable pulldown hose is ideal for compact kitchens. At right, Moen’s Smart Faucet can be used hands-free.
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Vogt Industries’ Drava Collection comes with an eye-catching crisscross water stream system. Its Contemporary Series of stainless steel sinks, meanwhile, features off-centre drains, allowing for more functional space below the sink.

range, a pullout hose with an integrated swivel built into them for easy manoeuverability, dual-spray function (from aerated flow to spray), magnetic docking and an ergonomic lever that is ADA-compliant, Kevsehi highlights. “For tight spaces near a wall, the lever only tilts a quarter-inch back, so that you don’t have to worry about it hitting the wall.

“One of our most popular collections, Drava, features a Mikado ‘criss-cross’ water stream element. Not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye, this feature also helps you save water (at .35 gpm max) without compromising comfort. Its grid-like spray pattern is formed by individual jets that create a powerful stream while still being gentle on the hands.”

While a rounded 10 mm radius offers a modern aesthetic, Vogt’s easy-clean stainless steel sinks add a practical element with respect to the positioning of their drain holes—positioned in the centre but offset to the rear, thereby allowing for more storage space underneath the kitchen cabinet, since the plumbing is not in the middle.

“Our add-on accessories take

functionality to the next level,” Kevsehi says. “Our Canadian-made cutting boards, such as our Cherry and Walnut combination, are designed to fit seamlessly within the width of your sink, maximizing countertop space. Pot fillers are another accessory that homeowners with small counter spaces love because it eliminates the need to transfer pots into the sink. With one simple motion of a pot filler, which has a wide-angle reach, cooking becomes that much easier. Our roller mat (a multi-purpose space-saving accessory that fits in the width of the kitchen sink) is often used for airdrying cutlery and produce, or used as a placemat to rest your hot pots, and can be rolled up and put away when done. Our bottom grids not only protect the sink from damage, but can be also used for drying purposes. Last but not least, our water filter faucets eliminate the use of plastic bottles.

“All these small features have a huge impact on the overall user experience, and have been carefully considered when designing our products— creating a more efficient workspace from conception to delivery.”

SPRAY-ON

Moen has also been making waves with new faucet models. Its new PreRinse Spring Galley faucets bring added functionality and fresh style, while maintaining a low profile—ideal for compact kitchens.

Available in three styles and six finishes, the fixtures all feature unique spring details often seen in a commercial kitchen, while offering the flexibility required for residential use. The retractable pulldown hose provides increased reachability, extends effortlessly and docks securely.

The faucets also feature a multifunction spray wand that’s easy to manoeuvre and allows users to adjust the water flow from an aerated stream for everyday kitchen cleanup to a powerful rinse for heavy-duty cleaning.

“No matter if you have cabinets above the sink or you don’t want to block a window view, you can still get a chef’s kitchen at home (thanks to the low-profile design),” says Rachel Zyra, Kitchen Product Manager at Moen.

Available in Moen’s exclusive Spot Resist finish, which resists fingerprints

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and water spots, the faucets feature the Duralock Quick Connect System for a secure, hassle-free, tool-free installation. All products also feature Moen’s lifetime limited warranty.

If your client is looking for a more hands-off approach, Moen has introduced its Smart Faucet with Motion Control. Leveraging what the company calls “best-in-class smart water technology” and touted as “the only faucet you never have to touch,” the new product has bumped up user efficiency thanks to a host of features that include the ability to choose from hot, warm or cold water with a simple swipe of the hand over the sensor. Voice-activated capabilities include dispensing precise temperatures and measurements of water (from two tablespoons up to 15 gallons) so you get exactly what you need, while usercustomized presets allow for common commands, such as filling the dog bowl or coffee pot. There’s even a “wash hands” command, where the water

turns on, then pauses for 20 seconds while a user scrubs their hands; thus encouraging more complete handwashing while saving water.

Additionally, consumers’ water usage can be monitored and communicated through the smartphone app to help homeowners understand their daily consumption so they can make changes, if they like, to improve their water footprint.

The enhanced touchless technology is so intuitive that Moen includes two styles without a handle—as there’s no need to ever touch the faucet to operate it—for a high-design, minimalist appearance.

THIS MARKET’S HEATING UP

Another high-feature product cater ing to today’s on-the-go customer is the induction cooktop, notes TA Appliances’ Jenna Kressler. Induction technology transfers heat directly to cookware, bypassing the cooking

surface, enabling the cooktop to respond more quickly to temperature changes for more precise cooking.

“You get a rapid boil, and in general cooks food faster, it’s better for indoor air quality, it’s more energy efficient compared to electric stovetops and gas, and it’s easy to clean, since nothing will get caked on.”

Another huge attraction is the safety aspect—especially with multiple people moving around small spaces. “It only gets hot when you have a pot/pan on the burner, which makes it perfect for young families,” Kressler notes.

Two great options are TA Appliances’ Frigidaire’s Professional 36” Built-In Induction Cooktop and its Electrolux 30” and 36” built-in models.

This Frigidaire features a SpacePro bridge element that allows you to cook separate dishes at once, or combine elements to match the size of the pan. It also offers the PowerPlus induction technology that enables you to boil water in less than two minutes and promises the speed, control and consistency of gas without requiring an expensive remodel to convert a kitchen from electric to gas.

Electrolux, meanwhile, boasts a number of features itself, among them the Power Slide, in which the pan with a finished item can be slid to the back burner and the cooktop will automatically adjust to keep food warm and ready to serve. The precise temperature control function allows for the creation of a perfect berry reduction or slow-simmered Marinara without scorching. Unlike other induction cooktops, Electrolux notes that it uses a sensor to continuously measure pan temperature, automatically adjusting the heat to ensure your pan maintains the temperature you set from start to finish.

Specialty foods like crepes and paninis are also looked after with Electrolux’s own bridge feature that connects two cooking elements for even heat, even with larger pans or griddles. And dinner parties are more effortless with the Serve Warm Mode to keep dishes at the perfect temperature for family and friends to serve themselves.

And any option that requires less kitchen space is always welcome.

ohba.ca

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Frigidaire’s Professional 36” Built-In Induction Cooktop promises the speed, control and consistency of gas. Electrolux’s Induction Cooktop employs a sensor to continuously measure pan temperature.
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STORING STUFF

Challenging convention when it comes to finding extra space

TRADITIONALLY, THE DESIGN of storage in homes has considered it as part of a room’s space. A closet, for example, will be built as part of a bedroom’s existing area. In other spaces, the occupant will place free-standing storage cabinets they’ve bought or have them custom-made to fit a specific spot.

A new concept in storage design and fabrication, though, fits the occupants with their storage needs at concep tion or the sale phase. A catalogue of different storage modules can provide a range of sizes and designs to accommo date, among other things, a TV, library, pantry and home office. In the process of purchasing a home, the buyer will choose the number of storage items, their configuration and preferred loca tion within their new home.

In prefabricated modular production, the storage elements can be assembled in the plant and transported to the site, with the chosen storage elements ready for occupancy. This process guarantees that a buyer will select and pay only for the components they need and can afford, while choosing the preferred materials and colours. To maximize the storage potential, shelves, drawers, baskets and rods can be used to allow occupants to accommodate an entire wardrobe, often eliminating the need

for an additional armoire or chest of drawers, saving space and money.

Innovation in computer program ming and digital manufacturing are facilitating the process. Some large cabinetmakers already allow the buyer to adjust their choices according to their budget and need. Orders can be trans ferred from a sales centre to the factory floor for a just-in-time delivery.

There has also been innovation in furniture partitions. Using storage or shelving systems to divide spaces reduces the need for interior partition walls. Additionally, furniture partitions help make small spaces feel larger by blurring boundaries between rooms, allowing the eye to see beyond them, preventing a boxed-in feeling.

Consider 3500 Millimetre House by AGo Architects in Jakarta, Indonesia, which was designed for the architect’s family. Named for its width (3.5m (11.5ft) wide, it’s also just seven metres in length. With only three storeys to fit all family home functions, finding space for storage was an issue. But by deter mining what they needed rather than wanted, the firm was able to design a comfortable home for a family of three.

The master bedroom is on the ground floor along with social spaces, while the son’s bedroom and play area benefit

from higher views. Although the house has distinct floors, there are additional levels between them that blur the divisions, creating one cohesive space throughout. The staggered levels allow for a double-height living area, creat ing a spacious atmosphere. The home’s facade is a screen of perforated steel and polycarbonate, filtering the sun light that reaches in. Behind the facade is a space that feels neither indoor nor outdoor. Plants grown in this transition space connect it with the exterior, while bringing nature into the home.

Many walls have been eliminated, with storage integrated into dividers and stairs. The kitchen island contains two-sided cabinets and cupboards above. The living area offers built-in storage beneath the wooden ‘floor’ surrounding the sofa. The TV console and additional storage are nestled into the stairs. The son’s bed is raised above a study space, with more shelves tucked behind stairs—al l of it reducing clutter.

This plug-in storage system has transformed the narrow 3500 Millimetre House into a spacious, efficient experience.

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Avi Friedman IS AN ARCHITECT, PROFESSOR, AUTHOR AND SOCIAL OBSERVER. AVI.FRIEDMAN@MCGILL.CA
Frame of Mind
evolve evolvehomeservices.ca It’s time to evolve the home services industry Red Carpet Service from Start to FinishBoutique Offerings on a Grand ScaleExceptional Homeowner Experience Patrick Thomson Associate Director Builder Division GTA C: 647.888.9417 E: patrick@evolvehs.com Marcus Butters Associate Director Builder Division Southwest C: 647.212.4731 E: marcus@evolvehs.com Nicholas Eccles Associate Director Builder Division GTA C: 416.989.2362 E: nicholas@evolvehs.com Feddie Osman Associate Director Builder Division Eastern Ontario & Ottawa Region C: 613.277.6565 E: feddie@evolvehs.com
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