At the recent online gala event, 37 builders and designers were awarded 55 HAVAN Awards, streamed live from an award finalist’s home.
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Presented by The Homebuilders Association Vancouver
As the Homebuilders Association Vancouver (HAVAN) reflects on its 12th awards season, the organization’s CEO Ron Rapp says members and 2021’s finalists and winners, along with next year’s finalists and winners, will feature and be remembered for the extraordinary work that was done under the most challenging circumstances during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Held annually, the HAVAN Awards for Housing Excellence recognize new-home construction, renovation and design in Metro Vancouver and 37 builders and designers were awarded 55 HAVAN Awards at the recent (April 30) gala event, streamed live from an award finalist’s home in West Vancouver. This is the second year the event was held online due to pandemic-related restrictions.
“It was astonishing to see the resilience of our members and the swift actions they took to cope with COVID-19 and respond to the historic upswing in demand that defied all expectations. It was also great to see member companies and stakeholders from all construction sectors pull together to share information and support each other to ensure everyone could continue working and contributing to the economy and community,” says Rapp noting the residential construction sector represents billions of dollars in wages and investment value for the region.
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“HAVAN did a great job – talk about being resilient! How do you do a major award ceremony when you can’t invite anybody [to an in-person event]! They did a great job under trying circumstances, but everyone is looking forward to getting back to normal next year with an in-person gala – it’s a fun night, a great opportunity to talk to people in the industry, and we all look forward to it,” says Kent Sillars, president of one of the gala’s multiple-award winners, Vesta Properties.
Vesta Properties collected a total of four wins, including two Grand HAVAN Awards: Best Residential Community: Single-Family (Latimer Heights), and Single-Family Home Builder of the Year, plus two additional awards for Best Single-Family Detached Home (Production): 2,400 S.F. and Over for The Wellington at Latimer Heights, and Best Single-Family Detached Home Development (Production): More than 10 Units for Latimer Heights Single Family Lane Homes.
Reflecting on Latimer Heights, the Langley project that secured the Grand HAVAN honours for Vesta Properties, Sillars believes showing how the single-family homes fit into the master-planned community, the scale of the 75-acre development itself and how the residential, office and commercial/retail space are integrated, were the factors that contributed to winning the awards.
“The Latimer Heights single-family homes are part of a bigger story, and that story is now fairly unique – there are not a lot of master-planned communities, and this is the largest one now in the Fraser Valley,” says Sillars.
“When you get awards – especially considering the tough challenges society is dealing with – it gives everybody – the onsite crews, consultants, suppliers and office staff – something to celebrate and rally around,” says Sillars. “It’s like a nice slap on the back.”
Infinity Properties also had reason to celebrate with four awards, including two Grand HAVAN Awards: Best Residential Community: Multi-Family (Wilder Crossing), and Multi-Family Home Builder of the Year, plus awards for Best Outdoor Living Space: Single-Family Production or Multi-Family, and Best Multi-Family Amenity Space, both for Wilder Crossing.
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Infinity Properties president Tim Bontkes says he is especially proud of the two Grand HAVAN Awards.
“It establishes us as one of the best, and we’re really proud of that,” he says, noting the challenges of getting a project through all the planning and approval processes and culminating in an award-winning project is especially rewarding.
“As a company, we are growing and continuing to improve what we’re doing and step up our game and especially for new employees to see these tangible wins – it’s really exciting for everyone,” says Bontkes.
Post pandemic, he anticipates increasing demand for homes in the Fraser Valley that are well designed and support a live- and work-from-home lifestyle.
“We have always tried to have as much desk or office space as possible, but now we are working even harder to have defined spaces for working from home,” he says, adding the location of projects to adjacent amenities, such as connecting to local trail systems, is more important than ever. “People want to know they can get outdoors and go for a walk.”
Graeme Huguet and his team at My House Design Build Team were finalists in 14 categories. They took home four awards, including Grand HAVAN Award for Residential Renovator of the Year, plus Best Bathroom Renovation: $35,000 and Over, Best Townhouse/Condominium Renovation: Under $250,000, and Best Renovation: Under $200,000 for Sunlit+Kits.
The wins are a huge morale boost, especially at a time when many people are working away from the office, says Huguet.
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“It shows us and our clients that our peers looked at us and found us a consistent, dependable, reliable company,” he says. “In spite of the difficulties caused by the pandemic, we have been able to maintain that consistency in what we do and how we deliver [services] to our clients every day, every year, not just in one year.”
As the winner of the Grand HAVAN Award for Residential Renovator of the Year for the second consecutive year, Huguet’s advice for people considering a reno is: Start now, even if you’re only thinking of starting in one or two years. “Understand what kind of team you’re going to work with – get that established and start that relationship,” he says, pointing out that renovations take more time than people expect.
Secondly, he suggests being open to ideas and hearing what a professional in the industry has to offer; and thirdly, realize the importance of functionality. “It’s most important to change the function, not just how it looks,” he says, pointing to examples such as energy efficiency, better air quality and improved layout.
Nick Bray Architecture Ltd. with Project Mint Developments also collected four awards, including Best Non-Certified High-Performance Home: New or Renovated; Excellence in Building Science Innovation in Residential Construction, Best Custom Home: $1 Million – Under $1.5 Million, and Best New Kitchen: Under $50,000 for Passive House – A Narrow Perspective.
Nick Bray, principal architect at Nick Bray Architecture, says it was a huge honour for the architectural firm to be shortlisted, let alone to win in these categories. “It has further inspired us to push the envelope with our design and sustainable building practices,” he says.
The award-winning home was built on a long and narrow urban lot in East Vancouver considered by many to be unbuildable, says Bray. The intention was to prove that a Passive House could be built on a small, challenging urban site, and to rethink and test typical housing design and technology, using new and innovative products throughout, says Bray.
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Meeting Passive House standards was also an educational opportunity for the architecture firm, construction team and local construction industry, and promotion of sustainable construction, says Bray of the home where he now lives with his young family.
“As part of the wider environmental sustainability strategy, the building was designed to last 100 years; not impressive by European standards, but rare in North America,” says Bray.
The award for the Best Certified High-Performance Home: New or Renovated is one of three awards the Barrett Group Custom Builders took home this year – the others are the coveted Grand HAVAN Custom Home Builder of the Year Award, and Best Custom Home: $2 Million – Under $3 Million for “All Decked Out.”
“All Decked Out,” the West Coast modern home that garnered the awards for the North Vancouver builder, is a three-level, 5,000 square foot Built Green Platinum Certified home with an Energuide rating of 89, says company director Joel Barrett.
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The home has an 11-kilowatt solar panel system on the roof that connects to the grid and sells any additional power generated that the home doesn’t use back to BC Hydro.
Barrett says it also stores some of the power these panels produce in four Tesla PowerWalls that could power the house during a power failure.
“The pandemic has shown people the value in their homes and has emphasized the areas they want to improve and change,” says Barrett, noting increased interest in home renovations.
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Sarah Gallop named as the first winner of a new category, the Grand HAVAN Interior Designer of the Year
As a prominent member of the local design community, Sarah Gallop has received many awards for her work, but at this year’s HAVAN Awards for Housing Excellence online gala, she celebrated a significant achievement when she was named as the first winner of a new category, the Grand HAVAN Interior Designer of the Year.
“Winning the first-ever Designer of the Year means a lot to us,” says Gallop, who has advocated for increased representation of design firms within HAVAN and supported founding the organization’s Designers Council.
“We are extremely grateful that HAVAN has been so inclusive and supportive of designers’ input on the outcome of projects over the years,” she says. “Design is what drives the ‘what you see’ in a home, so it’s important for designers to have the support and resources that will ultimately allow them to create better homes.”
Reflecting on the range of work she tackles, Gallop says significant renos are her favourite assignment.
“Designing a big renovation where the house is unrecognizable at the end is really challenging. It is honestly way harder to do this well than designing a new home. But then again, designing a home from an empty lot to toss pillows is also pretty fantastic!”
Sarah Gallop Design also won Best Custom Home: $3 Million and Over with builder Versa Homes (Langley), Best Renovation: $400,000 – $699,999 with Best Builders (Delta) for Belle Vue, and Best Character Home Renovation with builder MKL Custom Homes Ltd. (Vancouver) for An Oldie But A Goodie.
For the complete list of winners visit havan.ca.
Virtually tour 16 Homes on the 27th annual HAVAN Parade of Homes
HAVAN presents its first virtual Parade of Homes from June 5 to 13. Many of the homes featured in this year’s Parade have recently been recognized at the HAVAN Awards. The event showcases new condos, townhome and character home renovations, a modern farmhouse, a custom built home with a central open courtyard, a traditional 10,000 square-feet castle and a modern beachside high-performance home. Visit havan.ca/parade-of-homes to register and preview the complete list of homes.
This story was produced by Content Works as a result of the Homebuilders Association Vancouver’s interest in the subject. The Homebuilders Association Vancouver was not given the opportunity to put restrictions on the content or review it before publication.