Pressure washing before painting

Summer Clean Up

Getting Your Home Ready For Summer

Winter has come and gone, spring is on it’s way out and we are making room for summer! With that, it’s time to un-do your winter weather proofing and prepare your home for longer, hotter and dryer days ahead.

Take advantage of the nicer weather and the longer days to complete your list of home improvements and maintenance.

PLAN AHEAD! Know exactly what you want to get yourself into ahead of time. Taking on too many tasks can lead to longer and harder projects than anticipated, leaving no room to get your other projects checked off the list.

Start power washing! Clean off the residue that winter left behind, focusing on your driveway, patios and decks.

Clean your siding. Different types of siding require different methods of cleaning, and it’s important to find the right one for your home. All siding should be cleaned yearly to extend the life and durability, and make the repairs where necessary. By leaving damaged siding, you are at risk for winter weather causing a lot more damage down the road!

Repair doors and windows. Have you considered replacing your doors and windows with a more energy efficient alternative? Making effective changes will lengthen the life of your home and save you money where it matters.

Look for cracks in your foundation. Tour your home and inspect for cracks, if you find anything ensure you repair it ahead of time

Beat the heat. Is your air conditioning system doing its job? Get ahead of the rush by testing all of your HVAC systems before the heats gets to you first! Stay on top of maintenance requirements.

Prepare for PESTS. Summer is here and the animals are back! Protect your home against unwanted guests by keeping your yard tidy and monitoring for pests that show up unannounced. Different products are designed to protect different areas of your home, so make sure you are using the correct ones!

Conducting regular maintenance will not only give life to your home, but you may even see an increase in property value. Who doesn’t want that!

5 Tips for Successful Commercial Renovation in Vancouver

So, you’re considering a commercial renovation in Vancouver for your workspace. Whether it’s a minor cosmetic update, a redistribution of space for a more productive and efficient environment, or a sleek overhaul, keeping the below tips in mind will help you be satisfied with the work when it’s all said and done. Read on for things you can do to ensure your project is a great success.

  1.  Stay realistic

Every Vancouver office has some boundaries to contend with, whether it’s difficulties getting planning permission for a commercial renovation, budgetary constraints, or having less space than you’d like to play with. Staying realistic with your renovation goals is always a good piece of advice to follow, as it’s likely to contribute to a more effective result when the work is complete. Focus on the goals that are feasible, then plan for future updates down the line, if needed.

  1.  Plan, plan, plan

The more detailed the plan the better when it comes to commercial renovation in Vancouver. Lay out your ideas and aims to your Vancouver architect and contractor, and then take into account the feedback they provide to you, bearing in mind their experience in this area. After that, readjust and discuss until you’ve arrived at a design you are happy with. The more preparation you have for your project the better, so be clear and keep expectations transparent, as much as possible.

  1.  Have some contingency funds

Large projects can be vulnerable to going over time and over budget, as unexpected problems get in the way of work. Having a contingency fund to cover any extra expenses that pop up will protect you from unwanted surprises. Hoping for the best and planning for the worst is always a good rule of thumb. 

  1.  Sell what you don’t need

If you’re planning on getting rid of items that will no longer fit the décor, why not consider selling them for some extra cash? Using your entrepreneurial skills to turn what you already have into the workspace of your dreams will make it easier on the company’s pocket.

  1.  Augment your strengths

Consider the strengths of your commercial space and leverage them to be part of your renovation plans. Maybe you are happy with the lighting, the layout, or the furniture – if so, keep these aspects, and build on them to add to a working environment you can be truly proud to call yours.

Everything You Need to Know about Open Plan Homes

As renovation contractors in West Vancouver, we get asked all the time about our open plan home designs. Questions like “What are their benefits?”, “How do they work?”, and “When did the idea first originate?” are some of the top queries. So, to satisfy any curiosity about one of our most popular home updates, read on for all you need to know about open plan designs.


The Pros and Cons

In Vancouver, renovation contractors will always advise clients on the benefits and drawbacks before making a decision. Some of the top points to consider include:


Light is shared, creating a bright, airy home. It’s easy to move between rooms, with no doors and walls in the way. Open plan is ideal for entertaining and spending quality time with family. It also increases resale value of a home, since it’s a desirable, modern design that buyers want.


Renovation contractors in West Vancouver might suggest opting for better insulation, as heating and cooling can be more difficult in a large space. Another downside is with shared light, comes shared sound. And finally, load-bearing beams are usually more expensive than walls.

The History

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, people began to have more control over how their homes worked: central heating meant they were less reliant on fireplaces, and new construction materials were starting to be introduced. The boxy, many-roomed homes of the Victorian era were disliked by architect Frank Lloyd-Wright, who designed open plan, Prairie-style houses that made better use of space, and even expanded to porches on the exterior.

This innovation inspired many up-and-comers to take a fresh look at how a modern home should be laid out.For example, what we would now call decking in BC, is one of the tactics renovation contractors in West Vancouver use for expanding a home’s liveable space.

The Mechanics

Concrete is now a popular material for renovation contractors, both in Vancouver and around the world. In the 1920s however, this was a very new kind of building material. Because of its sturdy disposition, concrete made it easier to construct load-bearing walls that defied the time’s conventions.

The introduction of heavy-duty beams furthered the possibilities for connecting kitchens, living rooms, and dining rooms. Competition for space was high, so to make the most of the space available, open plan designs were an excellent solution. From there, open plan designs have expanded to connecting every corner of a home, sharing light and space generously as we still aim to do today.

Home Renovations in North Vancouver: Get the House of Your Dreams

We all have unique wants and desires for what amenities our home will offer, how the kitchen or bathroom is laid out, how the windows were set up, and how separate the dining room will be. Getting home renovations in North Vancouver is more common than many people think, and many buyers will even purchase a house knowing that they’ll be changing a few things in short order.

Your Home Renovations Should Meet Your Needs

In North Vancouver, a common request for home renovations is to add a bit of extra light, and since houses in North Vancouver are sometimes a little old, they do occasionally need an update to increase the amount of natural light they get. After all, in one of the rainiest places in Canada, we’re always vying for a little extra sunshine to brighten up our lives. Many companies will work alongside an architect or with a preferred partner to make sure that, should you decide you want some extra light, the windows are energy efficient, well-placed, and won’t compromise the integrity of your structure.

Another common modernization that is completed in North Vancouver during home renovations is simply to increase floor space in general. Some people add extra stories to their property, create home theatre rooms, or even just change the outside cladding. Many people also remove partition walls in order to open up the space and give themselves bigger living areas. No matter what change you are looking for, there is always a way to show off your unique personality.

Start Your Home Renovations in North Vancouver

At Barrett Group Custom Builders, we understand that you want things done your way. You have needs that are unique to your family and lifestyle, and that is why you both require and deserve a custom design. Whether you’ve been living in the house for years and it’s finally time to have the kitchen just the way you want it, or you’re moving in soon and want some changes done before you come, contact our team today to learn about your options. We will work directly with your architect or one of our partners to make sure all necessary recommendations and changes are made during the home renovation process. When your work is complete, all of your friends will be in awe of your home renovations and you will be the envy of all North Vancouver.

5 Hot Tips from Home Renovation Contractors in Vancouver

The success of your home renovation in Vancouver will depend on choosing experienced, reliable, and skilled contractors, but there are also a handful of productive things you can do to make sure the project runs smoothly. Because good home renovation contractors want to provide you with the highest quality, most efficient service possible in Vancouver, we’ve compiled a short but effective list of tips, with actions you can take for a seamless home revamp.


1. Always work with a design plan

Starting out without a set plan can result in negative effects inbloating the scope of the work. Do your best to settle on decisions and share them with your architect, contractors, and any other relevant parties before the work starts. Not only will this help guide your Vancouver home renovation contractors, it will catch issues before building is in progress.

2. Stick to the plan as much as possible

Once you’ve landed on the right decisions for you, try as best you can to avoid changing things around. As renovation milestones are completed, you’ll find any unforeseen alterations are likely to result in delays in the schedule, as well as pricing increases. Rest assured there will usually be some changes, but keeping those to a minimum is ideal.

3. Keep a journal

Logging a journal before, during, and after work is carried out is an effective way to keep track of important dates and milestones. By having all the details written down and saved together, you’ll find it easier to keep on top of everything.

4. Have a contingency fund

As much as home renovation contractors in Vancouver might wish it, home improvement projects aren’t always easy to cost down to the cent. When entering into work, it is always recommended to have a contingency fund, in case any issue arise and additional funds are needed to make changes. Of course, this is just a safety net, which hopefully won’t have to be touched, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

5. Facilitate the workers

Home renovations in Vancouver are always smoother when contractors are able to go about their work with as little disturbance as possible. You can support your contractors by making sure they have all of the important information they need, and as little distraction as possible in creating your dream home.

Vancouver Home Kitchens

How To Hire A Contractor

Hiring the right professionals to renovate or build a house can be daunting. Hiring the wrong one can have devastating consequences. But how do you find the right contractor? Vancouver Home asked Joel Barrett, director/owner of Barrett Group Custom Builders, for his advice.

Question: Joel, is it advisable to choose a contractor based on pricing or budget?
Answer: Generally speaking, pricing seems to be one of the main deciding factors for most homeowners when choosing a General Contractor. But it shouldn’t be. A referred contractor that you trust is a far better match in the long run.

Cost is extremely important; in the past I’ve seen numerous clients pick builders based on low cost alone and, nine out of ten times, this leads to disappointment and cost overruns for the client. It is always wise to get multiple quotes and then spend the time to compare them. More often than not you won’t be comparing “apples to apples.” A great example is when you hear someone say that they went way over budget on their project but didn’t make any changes or additions to the original plans. This isn’t a case of being over budget; it’s a case of not having the correct budget to begin with.

The contractor should be given time to tender the pricing for sub trades and estimate the costs of materials and labour for the project. This process should provide a more accurate budget based upon the plans and specifications that were provided to the contractor. Remember, the more detailed that the budget appears should indicate that more care and effort has gone into the development of an accurate budget. It is at this stage that the homeowner can see if the contractor is, in fact, including everything that the homeowner is expecting – by comparing the accuracy and details of the various proposals.

Q: What steps can I take to check on a contractor’s past work?
A: While client references are always a great start. I also recommend checking in with a Contractors suppliers and trades. This can reveal a lot about the Contractor and how they do business.

Q: What recourse do I have if I choose the wrong contractor?
A: Insuring a proper contract is in place prior to the project beginning is a great start. The contract should provide guidelines for recourse – on both sides. Depending on how far along in the project, it can be very difficult to get another contractor in to replace the first one. Many contractors do not want to step in to clean up another contractor’s mess. That being said, doing your homework and hiring the right GC in the beginning will save you a world of problems and headache.

Q: What qualifications should my contractor have and how can I find out if s/he is fully qualified?
A: There are many things that can be confirmed that show the contractor is indeed qualified: is the contractor a member of a credible home building association, is the company up to date with their WorkSafe insurance, is the contractor licensed to build new homes through a regulated and monitored provincial licensing association, and does the company have liability insurance? A contractor that is a member of these various associations and groups will, very likely, will have gone through various vetting processes to be part of the association or even qualify as a new home builder. BGCB is a member of GVHBA, CHBA, BC Housing and WorkSafe BC, carries liability insurance and provides access to new home warranty packages.

Q: How does insurance work in the hiring of contractors?
A: When beginning any project, from a renovation to a new home, I would highly recommend discussing your project in detail with your insurance provider prior to starting. There are numerous options for insurance including “course of construction insurance,” “wrap up liability” policies and many more. New Home Warranty policies (2-5-10) are available on new builds only.

Q: What is the process of getting a project from the design stage to fruition once a contractor has been chosen?
A: If the client has completed the design phase, which should include all of the architect’s plans, structural engineering and specifications for the project as well as the proper building permits from the municipality of the build, the contractor can then provide a detailed budget as well as a proposed schedule for project. The process to completion is a team effort; the client, the architect and the contractor should be able to communicate effectively and cooperatively so that important milestones, that were outlined the schedule, are met and the contractor can fulfill the promises of that schedule. The scope and size of the project will have an affect on the time required for the overall project as well as each and every task that is listed in the schedule. There are many tasks that have predecessors and cannot be started until that task is completed. It is the contractor’s role to effectively schedule all of the tasks and trades according to the schedule.

Depending on the scope of the project you will likely need an interior designer, architect, various engineers and potential consultants. This can be a daunting process for most so Ideally you retain a builder that can walk you through this process step by step and refer the right people for the project. Some builders offer a build/design package which can be quite convenient. Another route is to approach the architect/designer first and once they have created your design/plans then you can tender this to numerous builders for budgeting.

BG Logo

Barrett Group Custom Builders Commits to “Building Green”

Benefits of the program for a homeowner

Through the program, Built Green Canada builders offer healthier, more durable, comfortable homes with a lower environmental impact than code-built homes. Further, the program allows homeowners choices as to which green features they want.

Features are focused on energy efficiency, indoor air quality, resource use and overall environmental impact. Homeowners can work with their builder to choose from a series of options. These include options in energy efficiency (furnaces and air conditioners, windows, appliances [Energy Star], etc.); electrical efficiency (Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) and Light-Emitting Diode (LED) to timers and motion sensors to whole home automation; water efficiency (water saving toilets to low-flow showers and faucets to xeriscaping); and more.

BUILT GREEN® certified homes offer cost savings:

•  A home built in the Built Green Canada program should save a minimum of approximately 10% in annual utility bills compared to a code-built home. Cumulatively, the savings can be substantial. Better efficiency means long-term savings with water, electricity, and gas bills.

•  Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Genworth Financial mortgage insurance rebates are available for BUILT GREEN® homes.

•  BUILT GREEN® certified homes offer the benefit of longer-term durability through the efficient use of building materials and processes. This means a longer life for the home with lower maintenance costs.

•  Durability options can range from engineered lumber that resists warping to extremely durable exterior features such as 30-year shingles; this means fewer home renovations are necessary.

•  Consumers who purchase a BUILT GREEN® certified home will benefit from an increase in market and resale value. Canadian Home Builder’s Association’s recent research has shown homes with green certification sell for close to 10% more on average than homes without green certification. Further, there are many jurisdictions in Canada where an energy assessment is necessary before a home is sold—saving the homeowner approximately $300 – $500 depending on location.

BUILT GREEN® certified homes are more comfortable:

•  There is a significant reduction of drafts and cold spots, due to the program’s attention to the home’s air tightness (all certified homes must have blower door tests performed by Energy Advisors).

•  Noise transmission is greatly reduced, due to triple-paned windows, increased insulation, and air tightness.

•  Ventilation and indoor air quality are two important sections in the BUILT GREEN® checklist, and homeowners breathe easier because of it. For all the home’s inhabitants, this means less stress on the respiratory and immune systems, and for those who suffer from ailments like asthma, the focus on improved air quality can become quite important and result in a much more comfortable home life.

•  Proper ventilation also results in a reduced cleaning necessity: ventilation systems pull stale air and particles in the air (dust, etc.) out of the home, replacing these with fresh, clean air.

Barrett Group Custom Builders Wins TWO GVHBA 2016 Ovation Awards

OA16_Winner_LogoThe GVHBA Ovation Awards recognize excellence in new-home construction, renovation, and design in Metro Vancouver, and is an important program that connects consumers with local businesses who are committed to creating world-class housing in our region. Your dedication, craftsmanship, and business acumen raises the bar of professionalism in the residential construction industry, and we are proud to call you a GVHBA member.

Best New Kitchen: $100,000 and over

Residential Renovator of the Year: Small Volume