This sponsored content article first appeared in print in the March 2020 issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.
Choosing a homebuilder is a hard decision, especially in Revelstoke where investing in new build can come with many issues. We often hear about how a build has exceeded the estimated cost by nearly double, or how the construction team has suddenly left the job site for weeks, causing excessive delays. But it does not have to be this way. And yes, it is still possible to build an energy-efficient home for under $400,000 in Revelstoke, as SUMMIT Construction has just proved with their most recent build.
Simon Gagnon is the owner of SUMMIT Construction, a Revelstoke-based construction company that’s been operating since 2018. Simon was driven by a profound motivation for changing the way people see the construction industry when he started SUMMIT Construction. Having worked in the trades for the past six years in Revelstoke, he knew he had a challenge on his hands. He wanted to build high efficiency homes for the community, sourcing material as locally as he could and encouraging helping local businesses. Simon has achieved this by going back to the roots of fine craftsmanship.
SUMMIT Construction’s first clients approached Simon with a bi-generational project. They wanted to build a home in Arrow Heights and were seeking some advice. The clients originally planned to earn their owner-builder’s license and build the home themselves, but after much discussion around coffees and beers, they hired SUMMIT Construction as the general contractor for the project, a decision they did not regret. Even though the clients had plenty of experience with new builds, they realized the value of the construction company’s expertise.
“It is all those steps which must be anticipated in order to create an efficient process, avoid mistakes and provide the top-quality final product that Simon has given us. There are so many things we would have not thought of on our own,” said clients J-F and Michel Bigras.
This first SUMMIT Construction home was finished in eight months. Located in Arrow Heights, it features three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms and a garage with a full suite above it. The total cost of this build was way below the industry average.
“This is when we realized a super-efficient project could be affordable,” Simon said.
Starting their second year of operation in February 2019, SUMMIT Construction had already lined up a second residential build to start the following May. This time, the owners were seeking a budget home under $390,000 and no other contractor in town was willing to commit to this. Simon, who has been a member of the Revelstoke community since 2012, understood that this was an ongoing issue here and has done everything possible to help the clients achieve their goals.
This second build by SUMMIT Construction was completed within six months, reaching the step-four standards according to the BC Energy Step Code. By choosing a more traditional building style, SUMMIT Construction built a proper family home with three spacious bedrooms and two bathrooms.
The myth that a building under 400 thousand dollars is not achievable in Revelstoke has been officially debunked, but we asked Simon how the cheapest build can be achieved without compromising quality and square footage. The first step, according to him, is to exchange ideas with your general contractor before going ahead with any professional architect drawing. The general contractor will often be the best starting point for a construction project.
“It is way easier to build a house around a budget than it is to fit a budget around existing plan,” Gagnon says.
The contractor will take every significant element into consideration as inside finishing selection, siding material, built shapes and land-related challenges. All those will greatly influence the overall price and are often the reasons stated for going over budget.
Another way of lowering costs is to source materials locally. Even though this might seem counterintuitive, sourcing locally means more flexibility, better customer service, less time spent on project management and lower handling and delivery costs. It also reduces the risk of delays and improves planning.
“We have very good relationships with the local tradespeople and suppliers,” Gagnon says. “They know that when we settle on a specific time frame, we will be on time. They organize themselves to be on time too so the project can keep going.”
Finally, planning ahead in order to have inspectors when they’re needed is a crucial step in avoiding unnecessary delays, which usually translate into extra costs. We all know that navigating the maze of the city permits and inspections can be challenging, but this becomes easier with a solid team behind you.
SUMMIT Construction is a small team of four employees in the winter and up to six in the summer. Simon strives to help people get a top-quality home reflecting their needs and capacities. Each project is a collaborative process with the homeowner, who more often than not ends up in forging a strong bond with the team. A new homebuilder can be dedicated to your project and deliver it on time and on budget. You simply need to find the right one!
To learn more about SUMMIT Construction, visit them at www.revelstokesummitconstruction.com