May 7, 2012

Showcase For Builders

The GVHBA’s Ovation Awards celebrate the work of Metro Vancouver builders in areas from energy efficiency to heritage restoration.


For the past two years, the Greater Vancouver Builders’ Association (GVHBA) Ovation Awards have been the highlight of the renovation builders’ industry calendar. Unlike the Georgie Awards, which honour all of the province’s residential homebuilding industry, the Ovation Awards celebrate Metro Vancouver builders, recognizing and rewarding excellence and innovation throughout the house building disciplines.

As GVHBA president and CEO Peter Simpson explains: “We wanted to showcase the fine work of builders in the Metro Vancouver area.” The finalists were chosen by a panel of their peers from outside of Metro Vancouver. The four award-winning judges include builders, renovators and designers from the Okanagan, Vancouver Island, Whistler and Seattle.

The GVHBA unveiled the crème de la crème in new home and renovation design construction during the third annual GVHBA Ovation Awards ceremony held in Vancouver on April 28. Following are seven of the 2012 Ovation Award winners.

(For the full list of winners, visit

1. The Best Accessible Renovation went to Harald Koehn Construction for its Langley country classic home, which already garnered Koehn two Georgie Awards. The renovation transformed an older 2,100-square-foot ranch house into a striking new, 4,400-square-foot home. The builder also updated the exterior with a front walkway ramp to make it accessible for the couple’s 10-year-old son Ben, who has spina bifida.

The rancher’s open floor plan features timber-frame construction, which allows the spaces to flow seamlessly from the inside out.

2. reVISION Custom Home Renovations took an average 1940s East Vancouver heritage home and transformed it into a fabulous three-storey home with roof deck. For their commitment to diverting more than 85 per cent of the waste from the landfill, the GVHBA awarded the builder the Best Sustainable Renovation award.

“Materials were carefully dismantled rather than sent to the local landfill, which would have created a huge burden on the environment,” says Todd Senft, principal owner of the company, known for its deep dedication to the environment.

3. Kitsilano’s Alder Residence took home the Best Custom Home: $500,000 – $749,999. It epitomizes environmentally responsible architecture that is both innovative and contemporary. Tobias Puga, a third-generation craftsman who founded Vancouver’s Vision Built Construction, consulted with the owners to create an open and spacious home. It features numerous green options, including thermal and noise-reducing foam insulation, reclaimed fir flooring and Plyboo cabinets and on-demand hot water and radiant heat. The result is a Built Green Platinum-rated home with an EnerGuide rating of 85.

4. Winning a peer-judged award tells a builder he has created something important and memorable. This year at the Ovation Awards, Econ Group Construction and Development did just that. The company, which has a fundamental commitment to sustainability, won Best Custom Home: $750,000-$999,999 for its energy-efficient 4,000-square-foot home overlooking Cowichan Bay.

With its juxtapositions of commercial steel and unpainted wood spans, this house is clearly exclusive within its small Island community. The interior space centres on airy open living, inviting harmony through its uncluttered simplicity.

5. It’s as if Graeme Huguet and his team at My House Design/Build Team dropped a stunning waterfront hideaway on Gambier Island smack into the middle of a forest. The 3,600-square-foot post-and-beam home captures unobstructed views of nature at its best. The home was nominated for three Ovation awards, and won for Best Custom Home: $1 Million – $2 Million.

Huguet and his team took a year to build this rural oasis, which serves as the homeowners’ primary residence. “I come to homebuilding from a different angle,” says Huguet. “I see construction as a movie set and it’s a play where I’m directing the cast and crew.”

6. Innovative and functional design describes this year’s winner of Best Townhome/Rowhome Development: 2,000 square feet and over, for The Aerie, demonstrated by the integration of a four-storey stepped and terraced building into the steeply sloping site.

The Aerie is a West Coast original, set within the natural mountain landscape and features concrete construction, extensive glass and the liberal use of heavy timber and locally quarried stone. ”The homes also offer panoramic views to Washington State over the Pacific,” says James McLean, president of West Vancouver’s British Pacific Properties. “The company has won numerous Georgie Awards but the Ovation Awards pit you against your local peers, which is really nice.”

7. What sets a Burnaby residential highrise apart from the rest? It could be its sweeping views of Central Park, its iconic architecture, expansive covered balconies, or its exceptional finishing. For those reasons and more, Boffo Developments won an Ovation award for Best Multi-Family Highrise Development for Jewel.

Founder Ottavio Boffo believes Jewel has set a new benchmark in Burnaby for luxury condominiums. Boffo was also a 2011 Georgie Awards finalist as well as a 2010 SAM Award New home winner.


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