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.

Custom Home Builders Make West Vancouver Home

Having a unique home or property is anyone’s dream. This is where custom home building comes in; you can have everything designed exactly as you need or want it, with little tweaks here and there. Whether you’re designing your own home, or you’re an investor that is building a development project to sell, you’ll want the house to be absolutely perfect in every way. Finding a custom home builder in West Vancouver can be a challenge, but once you find the right fit, it’s like a dream come true.

What to Look For in a Construction Contractor

 There will be a few things that you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re looking for a custom home builder in West Vancouver. This will ensure that you find a qualified and trustworthy builder that will meet your needs.

  • Look for certifications and awards. Well-known home building companies will be acknowledged in their community, and will likely have been present there for at least a decade.
  • Find a team that will work with your team – and make you part of theirs. Many companies will get your plans and get to work. That’s not what you want – you want someone who will consult with you on a regular basis, and bring you into the process. After all, you might change your mind as work begins, and it is important that you have the option to give input and feedback about your new house.
  • Make sure your custom home builders give you a new home warranty. If your construction company doesn’t have one, it either means that they’re cocky and think too well of their work, or that they’re trying to get out of fixing things later. Either option isn’t good. You want someone who will come and fix your property when there’s an issue.

Find a Custom Home Builder in West Vancouver 

At Barrett Group Custom Builders, we understand that if you’re getting a home built, you want it done your way. After all, you have a unique family situation and lifestyle, and that is why you’re after a custom build in the first place. Our team of licensed new home builders has been in the business since 2004 and are known for consistently delivering quality, beautiful houses to our customers. When we work with you, we want you to be part of our team.

Whether you’re having a house built for the first time, or you’ve lived in several custom homes, contact our team to learn about your options. We always work directly with your hired team or consult with one of our trusted partners before we begin planning, and we will get your input every step of the way. Why? Because you come home to your house every single day and you should be able to love it.  That is why our renovation services are also tailored to meet your needs, not based on what we think you need. We provide both commercial and residential renovation services, as well as custom home building services. We offer new build warranties for all our developments.

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.

3 Home Renovations to Try in Vancouver


Deciding on the right home renovations in Vancouver isn’t always easy. Although there is often a vision in mind, those who own older buildings don’t always know whether their ideal home is possible. By choosing experienced custom home builders, clients have the opportunity to discuss their options and gain a better understanding of the feasibility of their goals with professionals, who will make every effort to ensure they happen. Read on for 3 ideas for very achievable home renovations in Vancouver that will change your home, and your lifestyle, dramatically.

An Open Floor Plan

We all want more space in our homes, and often the best way to achieve that is by converting to an open plan interior. Walls can create little boxy rooms, so it can be difficult to experience the full amount of space a property has to offer.

Professionals of home renovations in Vancouver can engineer the updates without affecting the integrity of a home, by using hidden support beams that will bolster the structure in the place of walls. This allows more light to enter, as well as giving the illusion of much more space. A wonderful way to make a living area more contemporary, an open floor plan is perfect for smaller and bigger homes alike.

A Garden Redesign

No matter now nice your interiors are, the first impression your home makes on visitors is the exterior, so having an elegant garden makes all the difference. More than that, a cluttered, unwelcoming garden doesn’t make anyone want to go out and enjoy the sunshine when the summer comes around. There are so many options with a home renovation of your Vancouver garden, like adding new decking, constructing a tasteful outdoor fire pit, augmenting pathways, water features, and greenery, or even tastefully giving yourself more privacy.

Bathroom Updates

Though not a whole-home update, bathrooms are one of the rooms in a house that come with more permanent fixtures, and so can feel a little bit old even when the rest of the house looks new. While the living room, bedroom, and even kitchen furniture can be replaced without too much hassle, bathrooms are trickier to revamp. Bathroom home renovations in Vancouver can give a heritage home a new lease of life. By adjusting the layout, expanding the size, adding new fittings, and even selecting extra luxuries, such as radiant floor heating, your living space will feel completely updated afterward.

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.

The Barrett Group – The Vancouver Home Builder You Need to Work With

The trend in recent years is for property buyers in Vancouver to purchase tear-downs, and then rebuild. This means buying a property with a home that is old-fashioned, and likely not in good condition or taking good advantage of the plot on which it is built, then demolishing the structure and building a new home, or homes on the site.


Building a home can seem like a very daunting task, but with the right team, it can actually be a very rewarding experience. Choosing the right Vancouver home builder is key in achieving your dream home in British Columbia. After all, everything else is already here in the city of Vancouver, and its surrounding Metro region. We have the mountains, which provide a beautiful backdrop, as well as a wealth of outdoor activities, and the same can be said for our beaches. We also have excellent schools, universities, and community facilities. Not to mention the great bars, restaurants, and shopping on offer in the city and the suburbs.

At Barrett Group Custom Builders, there are many things we pride ourselves on, which have led to us being a preferred Vancouver home builder in the region.


One of the most important things a Vancouver home builder can offer a client is excellent communication. We like to keep our clients involved in every step of the home building process. At the end of the project, the client will be living in the home, so it is a priority for us that they know what goes on when it is being built. When you choose us as your Vancouver home builder, you will always know exactly what is going on.


The team that we have working here at Barrett Group are experts in their field. From our project managers, to our framers, we have the best people in the industry on hand for you. Our contractors have been meticulously trained and have many years of experience as Vancouver home builders, and can offer vision and unique ideas, as well as good, old-fashioned, quality craftsmanship.

If you are looking to build your dream home in Vancouver, we are the people that you need to talk to. Call us for a consultation and we will break down the steps and costs. You can trust us with all your home building needs, from the design to the build, and to create your ultimate dream home in Vancouver.

Let There Be Light by Susan Semenak

From Vancouver HOME magazine, Winter

Built like a stack of rectangular glass boxes set atop one another, this Pemberton Heights house seems to glow from within. “It’s just a simple house that is lovely to be in,” says Ed Berwick, the Vancouver architect who worked on the project with Barrett Group Custom Builders.

His first mission, in a city that’s often cloudy and grey, was to create a space that would be perennially bright and cheery. “I had to grab all the light I could,” Berwick says. He didn’t just harness the light though; he made it move throughout the house by introducing glass walls, oversized windows and doors, and lustrous white surfaces.

A skylight pierces the roof above the kitchen, as does another upstairs in the master bathroom, flooding both rooms with natural light. On the main floor, outsized doors open the full length of the southern-exposure wall, washing the open kitchen, living room and dining room with light.

Joel Barrett, of Barrett Group Custom Builders, says the homeowners – a couple who work in the film industry – wanted an, open, contemporary-style house for themselves and their two children. To achieve the look, Barrett says, they used a limited range of colours and materials. Polished pale grey concrete floors run uninterrupted throughout the house. Built-in white-oak furniture in almost every room minimizes the need for freestanding furniture.

“We customized each of the children’s bedrooms with built-in desks, beds and closets. And there is custom millwork in the master bedroom closet and in the ensuite bath,” Barrett says.

In the kitchen, a 16-foot-long waterfall island offers plenty of space for working and eating, with seating for six. Behind it, there’s a set of opaque glass doors that slide open to reveal a wall of open shelves housing small appliances and kitchen gear. “When you are cooking, you slide the doors open so that everything you need is at hand,” says Berwick. “But then when guests arrive or when you don’t want to see the mess, you slide the doors closed.”

Upstairs in the master bathroom, the curbless shower is at the same elevation as the floor. It is lined with extra-large panels of the same white granite used in the kitchen. Its dramatic vertical veins, like strokes of an artist’s brush, bring the raw beauty of natural stone to an otherwise minimal space. The only place where the dark side was allowed to win was in the basement. One of the owners is a cinematographer who wanted a studio-quality home theatre where he and his wife could work and entertain.

The basement accounts for more than half of the house’s square footage, so there was plenty of room to create an impressive home theatre. It features six luxurious seats, a 10-foot-wide screen and state-of-the-art acoustics. At the rear is an alcove where the owner has set up his editing equipment.

And just in case someone gets a hankering for a finger of Scotch, there’s a glassed-in room right next door to the theatre, where the owner, a whiskey aficionado, keeps his extensive Scotch collection.

Back outdoors, Berwick capitalized on every ray of sunshine Vancouver gets. Generous overhangs are his signature and he has used them to full advantage. He designed the second floor to cantilever out over the patio area, providing a sheltered space for barbecuing, entertaining and eating, regardless of the weather. “We get a lot of days in summer here when it is rainy but the temperature is a pleasant 20 degrees C. It would be a shame not to be able to take advantage of them,” he says.

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.