Friday, 30 March 2007

Wo-Built Inc’s Home Base

I know what I am going to say is a gross generalization, but I believe that every business needs a strong home base. And for us, Wo-Built Inc, since we are a design and build construction company, home base consists of a geographic area in the west end of Toronto (High Park, Bloor West Village, The Junction, The Malta Village and Roncesvalles).

Why is a home base important to us? After all our business development area is Greater Toronto and beyond. Well, it has a lot to do with our attitude. We want to give back to the community. We feel that every business is part of a community and cannot exist in a vacuum. Businesses in an area can leverage each others strengths and build together a vibrant and thriving community. We even feel that we have an obligation to work within a community and should try as much as possible to support that community.

Why Toronto West? I guess, it comes down to that we like the area and that we were welcomed with open arms. Of course, the area also has great potential for our business, which is a great bonus, but most of all we feel that we can make a positive contribution to the area. We hope that our chosen home base will like us as well.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc

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Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Design & Build Part 2: So, Is Design and Build the Solution?

Image: MS Office
Keywords: architects, blueprints, construction, contractors, developers
Is Design & Build the solution to traditional construction woes? Well it does have its advantages. First, to be clear... Design & Build means that the designer is also the general contractor who 'does' the project. Being a one-stop offering, it maximizes time efficiency, reduces changes and cost over runs. The contractor is involved from the beginning, provides the initially cost estimates, establishes project budget constraints, hires the designers or architects and is responsible for the cost planning and construction. That last point is important... it means that they don't increase the prices in mid-project, manage the project scope so they delivery on-time and on-budget and don't leave the project for another until the job is done.

Less stress, less time, certainly, but less money as well? To contrast the two, the beauty of the traditional process is that we feel we have a choice once the bids are out. We can shop and compare. Right? Not really. Quotes are usually provided with a degree of latitude so that pricing is not exact even the project goes off perfectly without any changes or snags along the way. As soon as we change or add things or if any problems come along, the price goes up in amounts that are often substantial. Also, we may not agree with the hourly billing rates and are almost always surprised by how long it takes to make and do any changes. The result of this is more cost over run. And, most annoyingly, some less reputable contractors seem to take an age to do what seem to be really simple things or they don’t come back for days or weeks when they have committed they would. This is because they are working on multiple projects for multiple clients by multiple designers - every one gets stretched a little, but the paying customer most. So many people have been at the receiving end of that phenomenon and this is mostly because their understanding with the builder exlcuded: a fixed end date, milestones of completed project chunks, measurement and reporting requirements for what's done and still outstanding. Design and Build contractors do this because it’s in their best interest to finish a job as quickly as possible so they can get client sign off and move on and setting clear and visible targets is one way they manage the process.

That sounds reassuring, but how will we know if a Design & Build contractor is pricing accurately.

Click here for the next instalment.
This article was contributed by Ari Berman, a Management Consultant from Toronto, Canada, with a specialization in operations and process change. He has helped companies spanning aircraft builders to soda drink manufacturers to increase their value - finding and improving important details that never got attended to in past. His work in the construction industry includes overseeing commercial construction projects in retail shopping malls across Canada. He can be reached at 647-235-8181 or via e-mail on

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Thursday, 22 March 2007

Unique Spaces - Is your home really you? - Part One

Photographer: Roberto Anguita Escribano, copyright.
Used with permission from

Do you know how much Canadians spent on home renovations last year? A whopping 32 Billion dollars!! We live in a time where we want our homes to be our castles, and proof of this lies in the fact that there are a glut of home design, makeover and do-it-yourself shows on TV. It’s no surprise when we all watch the same shows, read the same publications and shop at the same stores and as a result we see homes looking the same without the unique mark of homeowners.

So how can one add more uniqueness to one’s castle?

The first step for those seeking professional design services, interview builders, contractors, designers and decorators who will focus on you – your dreams for yourself and family, who you are as people, things you enjoy doing so your home screams you!

What are some of the ways which can express these qualities?

We can do it decoration by using art, collections, photos or colours that we love and are personal to us.

Know how you would love your house to feel when you step inside.

Is it loving, comfortable, social, fun, energizing or comfortable?

Are there certain environments that you want to use as inspiration in your home?

Some examples are the beach, urban, pastoral, country, high tech or ethnic.

What energizers will enhance your home?

Is it running water, crystals, shells, plants, mirrors, light scents or sounds?

We can even go deeper than this. The question to ask is who are the home owners at heart?

Read more in "Part 2 Unique Spaces – Is your home really you?"

Ayanna McAlmont is a Home and Life Guide based in Oakville, Ontario. In her company Blue Door Solutions, she guides homeowners to have homes which reflect who they are at heart. She says ”when your inner world changes, the outer world will change to reflect who the person has become.” Visit her at or contact her on
copyright Ayanna McAlmont Blue Door Solutions 2007 Articles can be used only with permission by the author

Further article by Ayanna McAlmont: Home Staging -A Case Study for Success

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