THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATION AND A TRANSPARENT CLIENT EXPERIENCE

THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATION AND A TRANSPARENT CLIENT EXPERIENCE

Transparency and open communication are two essential factors that must be present in order for a large scale project to run efficiently and for the client to have a positive experience. It’s even more imperative when it comes to developing a home design and build project, when there are many variables on the table. In order to ensure a smooth and productive process, client-builder transparency and communication is key. Here are just a few reasons you should make sure your home builder places a large emphasis on client transparency.

SENSUS DESIGN AND BUILD FEATURED AS ONE OF 30 HOME BUILDERS SHAPING ONTARIO'S COMMUNITIES!

SENSUS DESIGN AND BUILD FEATURED AS ONE OF 30 HOME BUILDERS SHAPING ONTARIO'S COMMUNITIES!

Congrats to everyone on our team as well as our industry partners for helping us make this list!  We have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to complete a wide range of very unique custom home projects over the pat few years. We look forward to continuing to design and develop luxury custom homes, renovations, and additions using our transparent structure and smartphone app! 

IN PRAISE OF VICTORIAN ROW-HOUSES; THE UNSUNG HEROUS OF THE SUSTAINABLE URBAN HOUSING MARKET- FEATURED IN SUSTAINABLE BUILDING & DESIGN MAGAZINE!

IN PRAISE OF VICTORIAN ROW-HOUSES; THE UNSUNG HEROUS OF THE SUSTAINABLE URBAN HOUSING MARKET-FEATURED IN SUSTAINABLE BUILDING & DESIGN MAGAZINE!

Semi-­detached homes were once the dominant style of urban dwelling in Canadian cities and continue to make up most of the housing stock in older neighbourhoods. Though their specific styles vary with the region and era, they all share a core design typology that has quietly endured the past century, even while changing construction methods and development patterns have supposedly rendered them obsolete.

SENSUS DESIGN & BUILD’S HOLIDAY FOOD DRIVE IN SUPPORT OF DAILY BREAD FOOD BANK

SENSUS DESIGN & BUILD’S HOLIDAY FOOD DRIVE IN SUPPORT OF DAILY BREAD FOOD BANK

Sensus Design & Build is pleased to announce that we will be running a food drive in support of the Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank this holiday season. We encourage everyone in our community to join us, November 20 at the Toronto Christmas Market, in the fight against hunger.

BARRIER-FREE DESIGN FEASIBILITY STUDY

Design for barrier-free living is seldom a high priority for custom homebuyers in Toronto. Young owners rarely consider their future accessibility requirements, especially if they are healthy and still able to easily walk up stairs, out of tubs, over porches, and around typical household impediments. Other obstacles include the perceived downsides of accessible design, its effect on square footage, and possible limitations it may impose on their ideal home design. 

THESE HOME UPGRADES ARE YOUR BEST RETURN ON INVESTMENT- FEATURED IN NEW HOME AND CONDO GUIDE MAGAZINE!

Renovating your home is, without doubt, an endeavour undertaken with the intention of producing a higher standard of living for yourself and/or family. This process is always an exhilarating and creative one that allows you to customize your living space into exactly what you dreamed of.

      HOW TO START WITH THE RIGHT ARCHITECT  Architecture is a complicated profession to say the least. Not only does an architect have to create a timeless design, but they have to achieve this goal while ensuring the functionality of the space for the clients based on their lifestyle, know the specifications and limitations of the materials used in the structure they are designing, and know the environmental and geographical characteristics of the area they are designing the home in. This may seem like a daunting task and, rightfully so, as it takes years to acquire the skills and capabilities needed to create and successfully construct a beautifully designed home. As a result of these factors, many architects feel entitled to charging high service fee's (up to 15% of construction costs) that can significantly reduce your return on investment. Regardless of this fact, there are several more areas of the architectural design process that consumers must be aware of along with the possibility of price gouging.   Throughout the architectural design process you want to ensure that you are well informed of your respective obligations, rights, and expectations. This process is usually most effectively accomplished by conducting a thorough review of:    • The Scope of the architectural services    • The projected time period for the work to be completed    • The final amount for the architectural design fees    • The method of payment for the architectural design fees   Once this step is complete, request a written contract from your architect outlining all of the above terms after they have been agreed upon. A general template for these documents can be found on the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada website (www.raic.org). Throughout this process your architect of choice should keep in mind the cost to build the structure you have developed along side them, the time it will take to construct it, and the quality and the level of detail the drawings need to possess in order to ensure a smooth construction process. You also want to confirm that the architect of choice has experience with the common geographical characteristics of the area that the property is located. In addition to this you, as the property owner, are responsible for hiring investigative sub-consultants including:    • Land Surveyors    • Geotechnical Engineers    • Environmental Analysts    • Hydrologists    • Civil Engineers    • Landscape Architects    • Interior Designers    These sub-consultants bring special expertise to the project and can greatly benefit both the design and functionality of the space. Its best to work with a firm who provides all of these services under one umbrella in order to ensure a smooth design process for clients without leaving them to source these consultants themselves.  Also ensure that your architect provides clients with problem solving services, feasibility studies, high quality 3D graphic rendering, and project management services.  Selecting the right architect is the difference between the functional, aesthetic, and financial success or failure of your project. Your architect can provide you with some great ideas and solutions while keeping your best interests in mind by ensuring a quality build. It is for this reason that you should choose and architect who's work you admire, and who you feel most comfortable with.

HOW TO START WITH THE RIGHT ARCHITECT

Architecture is a complicated profession to say the least. Not only does an architect have to create a timeless design, but they have to achieve this goal while ensuring the functionality of the space for the clients based on their lifestyle, know the specifications and limitations of the materials used in the structure they are designing, and know the environmental and geographical characteristics of the area they are designing the home in

THE F WORD: FINANCING- FEATURED IN HOME DECOR & RENOVATIONS MAGAZINE!

Thinking about building a home or renovating your existing home? Overwhelmed by the abundance of financing options available to fund your project? The odds are that you are experiencing the same confusion and anxiety that thousands of Canadians experience each year when looking to complete a home customization project.

MAKE YOUR CONDO YOUR OWN- FEATURED IN HOME DECOR & RENOVATIONS MAGAZINE!

We’re living in the midst of the condominium boom in Toronto and the surrounding area. It has caused many young professionals to consider the idea of becoming real estate owners. Most are using condos as their opportunity into an aggressive market as a result of their manageable price and amenities. As the principal of Sensus Design & Build (sensusdesignandbuild.ca) we have worked with numerous clients in these condos who don’t want to settle for builder finishes and standard quality, they want to upgrade beyond builder upgrades, add their own style and truly make their condo their own.

      DESIGN AND BUILD FIRMS; A BETTER WAY TO DO BUSINESS.  Watching the vision of your dream home materialize before your eyes and the enthusiasm it provokes is second to none. It’s only natural when you consider that clients who choose to build a new home, renovate or restore their existing structure, or add to what they love have a vision and worked tirelessly to reach the opportunity to achieve it. Unfortunately, more often than not, your vision can be lost when the building process becomes overcomplicated. This outcome does not occur because of the inherent nature of the business—it is merely the result of poor project planning and execution.   The complication I am referring to arises at the first course of action for anyone who is looking to build a new home or remodel their current home through a custom home builder. When using the traditional "over-the-wall" system, you will generally complete the following steps:    1) Contract an architect to design the home.   2) Hire a general contractor or project management consultant who will see the construction of the home through.   3) Contract the services of an interior designer to help you achieve your final style goals.   When you start to consider that you are dealing with three separate corporations who are only responsible for one portion of your new custom home or remodelling project, the situation can quickly become overwhelming. This compartmentalization of work results in a client struggling to collaborate with three different teams who inevitably have contentious relationships with one another. This adverse consequence of outsourcing can be attributed to each service provider's risk minimization tactics, putting them in a position where they become leery of communication with the other two teams. The hesitation that is caused by this over-the-wall method increases the risk of project failure considerably, as clients now have to walk a fine line when choosing these three service providers to ensure project success. Failure to do so can result in (translate to) a lack of completeness or functionality of what is often times the largest investment of the client’s financial life.   In order to avoid the complications of the over-the-wall method, more and more people are choosing to contract the services of a design and build firm. In this scenario, you are not contracting the services of three or more separate service providers. Instead, you are able to employ one contract entity to meet all of your needs for the project. This design and construction delivery method has grown approximately 40% over the past 15 years, making it one of the most significant trends in the industry today. The driving force behind this growth are the numerous benefits to choosing a design and build firm for your project, including:    Increased Responsibility for the Firm -  Design and build firms provide both architecture/engineering and construction services under the same contract. Therefore, the design and build firm is in control of the project and has a handle on all of its intricacies and unique specifications from the preliminary design phase. Increased project involvement translates to design and build firms having no chance for blame deflection by pushing unreasonable risk burdens on one of the other two parties, a likely scenario when using the over-the-wall method. The design-builder then has the same goal as you—to work together to achieve project success. That way, when challenges are encountered, everyone will roll up their sleeves and push forward toward a solution.    Total Accountability-  Although this may sound the same as increased responsibility, total accountability comes from a larger scale perspective of success. The design-builder is accountable for the overall project success including the creation of a timeless design, a smooth construction process, and a project that meets your financial goals without compromising quality. This multi-faceted approach adds inherent efficiency to the project. The design-builder is able to plan all three aspects in relation to one another instead of blindly working alongside separate contracted service providers. This method reduces miscommunication where the largest risk of it is present.    Professional Expertise-  Design and build firms are experts in both the design and construction fields, reducing the chance for items to fall between the cracks. The owners are licensed architects with formal training. They also have professional experience in construction, cost estimation, and project management in order to employ tactics to successfully schedule and, if needed, fast track a project. There is a tremendous advantage to working with architects who have the ability to think like general contractors and vice versa in order to visualize the project completion goals.   Increased Client Collaboration-  Employing a design-builder to complete a project implies that the clients often want to play an active role throughout the development of their home customization journey. Design-builders are able to provide a smooth, enjoyable and exciting experience for clients while allowing them to interactively share their thoughts and requests at every step of the way. Clients also benefit from the increased material knowledge that design-builders acquire from the architectural design and construction management experience they possess. Clients in this position have limitless possibilities for the finishing selections of their custom home or remodelling project at their disposal, making the design experience much more fulfilling.    Increased Quality and Economic Efficiency-  The removal of a conflict of interest to complete only one part of a project without care about its relation to the others motivates design- builders to maximize economic efficiency, and the quality of the build. Cost savings often ensues from this situation as construction time is reduced by avoiding rework after mistakes have been made. The design-builder can avoid this because they are heavily involved in the development and growth of the project design.  This fact also translates to an increased level of quality and craftsmanship as certain complicated design features that would usually be overlooked can be properly planned for and completed.    Reduced Project Completion Time-  Design-builders are able to start the construction planning phase sooner since they are involved in the project from its conception. These firms are also able to acquire partial permits for the work, allowing clients to start construction earlier. This fact reduces the stress of seasonal limitations on construction start dates that standard custom home builders using the over-the-wall method experience. Project completion time is also reduced by design-builders through the elimination of the tendering/bidding phase that many architects employ in hopes of putting their clients in contact with a reputable builder.   As you can see, the key to successfully implementing a custom home or remodelling project is having a thorough plan and being well prepared for the construction phase. The design and build process allows everyone, including you as the client, to be a part of your project’s success through a smooth and well-designed regiment. This outcome can only be achieved by dealing with one contract entity that has the ability to see the project from all angles. For more information about the design and build process, or if you have any questions for us about your current project, you can give us a call at 416-931-1422, visit our website at  www.sensusdesignbuild.ca , or follow us on Facebook and Houzz! Our team can help you turn your dream, into your home! 

DESIGN AND BUILD FIRMS; A BETTER WAY TO DO BUSINESS.  

Watching the vision of your dream home materialize before your eyes and the enthusiasm it provokes is second to none. It’s only natural when you consider that clients who choose to build a new home, renovate or restore their existing structure, or add to what they love has a vision and worked tirelessly to reach the opportunity to achieve it. Unfortunately, more often than not, your vision can be lost when the building process becomes overcomplicated. This outcome does not occur because of the inherent nature of the business—it is merely the result of poor the planning and execution of the project.

      QUALITY; A BUILDERS TOP PRIORITY.     
  
 
  
    
  
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    With the Toronto and surrounding area housing market booming, many people are choosing to build a new custom home or remodel their existing home. The reason is often that properties, after the project is complete, will yield an equity increase large enough to justify the investment.    This sounds like an easy money making plan, but one of the biggest problems with taking on a home customization project is that many builders lack the ability to maintain high quality standards while providing their services to clients. This isn’t a hard scenario to visualize as the construction industry requires a high degree of planning and coordination in order to achieve the right results.  Unfortunately, the risks of a lack of quality control can cause a reduced resale value as a result of an apparent lack of craftsmanship.  Problems can also start at a much earlier phase if the builder relies heavily on their contracted tradesmen to manage quality for their respective portion of the build. The result of negligence toward this fact on the part of the custom home builder or renovator puts customers at risk of experiencing significant monetary damages. These damages can include defects in structural integrity of the foundation (exemplified in the photo at the top of the page), Ontario building code violations, health and safety violations, water penetration through the basement or foundation, water penetration through the building envelope, structural defects, electrical defects, plumbing defects, HVAC defects, and exterior cladding defects if the project is not meticulously managed throughout all phases.    Many clients may also be caught off guard to hear that the custom home builder or renovator they contracted will not repair the damages in many scenarios, attributing the problems to a lack of due diligence on the client, or simply claiming bankruptcy. This news often results in a legal battle between the client and the contracted party, who has far more money and legal contracting capabilities, ending in a fruitless attempt to receive compensation.    There are several ways that you can avoid a troublesome scenario like the one explained above. You must ensure that you choose a builder who prides themselves on their warranty and after build service. For example at my firm, we ensure that a standard 200 item inspection is carried out and documented throughout the course of 7 project stages including demolition and excavation, foundation, framing, mechanical rough installation, insulation and drywall installation, trim and finishing, and landscaping. You can also ensure that you are choosing to contract a builder that is Tarion Certified, a mandatory warranty service that protects new home buyers in Ontario from a wide range of risks through extensive one, two, and seven year warranty packages. We also provide clients with a five year warranty to make sure that they are happy with the final product for years to come. Without a commitment to a warranty standard like this, clients could be left out in the cold with no one on their side to correct the problems they experience.    For more information about the building process or to ask any questions about your current project, give us a call at 416-931-1422! You visit also visit our website at  www.sensusdesignbuild.ca , or follow us on Facebook and Houzz. Our team can turn your dream, into your home!  

QUALITY; A BUILDERS TOP PRIORITY.

With the Toronto and surrounding area housing market booming, many people are choosing to build a new custom home or remodel their existing home. The reason is often that properties, after the project is complete, will yield an equity increase large enough to justify the investment. This sounds like an easy money making plan, but one of the biggest problems with taking on a home customization project is that many builders lack the ability to maintain high quality standards while providing their services to clients.

      TORONTO RESIDENTS OPT FOR HOME CUSTOMIZATION PROJECTS IN THE WAKE OF A REAL ESTATE BOOM!  In a time where bidding wars are rampant, condominiums are built faster than you can count them, and the average un-renovated bungalow in scarborough can fetch up to six hundred thousand dollars, it becomes obvious that the Toronto Real Estate market is growing at an unprecedentedly fast rate.  This fact will either entice or scare potential buyers and sellers depending on their view of what they think will happen next. So, how strong is the Toronto real estate market and how does it fair in comparison to luxury real estate markets around the world?   In a recent study by Christies International Real Estate of 80 of the worlds top luxury real estate markets, Toronto was ranked the hottest. This is well deserved considering the 37% growth it experienced year over year. In recent studies done by the Toronto Real Estate Board, the average selling price of all combined housing in Toronto grew an astonishing 10% in March year over year, 10% in April year over year, and 11%  in May year over year. In addition to this the Home Price Index (HPI) Benchmark grew by 7.9%, 8.4%, and 8.9% respectively, fuelled by the sale of luxury homes.   As a result of this recent growth, affording a high end large scale renovation or addition, or building a new home in place of your existing structure is more affordable than ever. Homeowners can leverage against the steady equity they gain on their investment month by month, providing them with an unforeseen opportunity to profit in the Toronto real estate market. In light of this, more and more homeowners plan to use the undertaking of a home customization project as an investment and source of secondary passive income. This is a great plan but, unfortunately, project success lies in the hands of the builder as they control quality and cost management. Often times "professionals" will charge you a rate based on a percentage of construction costs, putting them in a situation where it is in their favour to make your project more expensive.  This conflict of interest can dramatically reduce your profit margins, achieving the opposite of the homeowners original goal by increasing debt. To avoid this, ensure you choose a builder who will charge you a fixed rate management fee.   Our service allows clients to use any material, product, or design idea that they please in order to meet their financial goals without up-selling or hidden charges. Once the construction phase has started, we do site walkthroughs with the client at every step to ensure their satisfaction. We also allow you to be in control of your build with our project management app which allows clients to see information about all aspects of their project including various cost tracking tools. Be careful of who you choose to let into your home customization experience and ensure that all costs and processes that are unclear to you are explained in depth beforehand. If you are experiencing a scenario similar to the one described above feel free to call us with any questions or concerns you may have at 4169311422. You can also follow us on facebook and houzz.  We always look forward to hearing about your home customization journey and to making it a positive one! 

TORONTO RESIDENTS OPT FOR HOME CUSTOMIZATION PROJECTS IN THE WAKE OF A REAL ESTATE BOOM!

In a time where bidding wars are rampant, condominiums are built faster than you can count them, and the average un-renovated bungalow in scarborough can fetch up to $600,000.00, it becomes obvious that the Toronto Real Estate market is growing at an unprecedentedly fast rate.  This fact will either entice or scare potential buyers and sellers depending on their view of what they think will happen next. So how strong is the Toronto real estate market and how does it fair in comparison to luxury real estate markets around the world?