Underslab Preparation

Introducing Our Video Series – New Homes Built Right

A Sonbuilt home is a well built home, even in the places you don’t see.

Today we are discussing underslab preparation.  We’ve put clear crush rock under the footings and the slab of this new home. Prior to placing the footings, we sloped the excavation to one corner where the water will drain away from the foundation.

By doing this, the water will drain away from the under the slab and from under the footings.  The result – the footings won’t be sitting in water.

Fixed Price or Cost Plus?

“What’s the difference between a fixed price agreement and a cost plus agreement?”

We are frequently asked this question.

Fixed Price Agreements

Our Construction Agreements are typically based on a “fixed price”, which means we set the total cost of building your new home prior to construction.  In our Agreement, we show the total cost to build, but not the breakdown of the various levels of construction.  This gives customers the comfort of knowing the final price of their new home.  The cost we quote you to build will be the final cost, unless you change your mind.  If you do, we will carefully cost out the change and let you know what the cost of the change will be before we proceed with a Change Work Order.  If no changes are made throughout the construction process, your cost to build remains the same.

Cost Plus Agreements

If a customer desires the flexibility of decision making and feels a number of changes could take place during the construction process, we also offer a “cost plus” Construction Agreement.  This method is far more detailed than a fixed price budget and will itemize various levels of the construction process.  The cost to build your home is based on our actual costs for building plus our management fee.  Throughout the construction of your home you will be updated regularly on the actual budget numbers and will play a large role in budget decisions.

We are happy to accommodate both types of Agreements and will help you determine which will suit you best.

Relax with Healthy Indoor Air Quality

Is Your Home Making You Sick?

Have you ever wondered if your home is making you sick?  Did you know that the air in the average home is more polluted than the air outside? There has been a strong push in the last few decades to build homes more airtight to conserve on energy.  However, if the home cannot breathe the air will become stagnant.

Poor indoor air quality has been linked to a multitude of conditions including:

  • Eye, nose, throat and skin irritation
  • Respiratory tract infections: bronchitis, pneumonia, and ear infections
  • Increased severity and frequency of asthma episodes
  • Dizziness, fatigue and lethargy
  • Digestive problems
  • Damage to liver, kidneys, and central nervous system
  • Chronic health conditions including heart disease, cancer and infertility

Healthy Indoor Air Quality with an HRV

Ventilation is needed to ensure healthy indoor air quality.  As homes in Canada become more airtight, the need to ventilate the home increases to ensure the health of you and your family.

An HRV, or heat recovery ventilator, will remove stale air from a home and replace it with fresh air.  Not only will an HRV help maintain a healthy indoor living environment, it will also help keep energy bills down.

In the process of removing stale air from a home, an HRV will use the heat from the indoor air to reheat the incoming outdoor air.  Heat recovery ventilators typically have heat recovery efficiencies of 60% to 80%.  Maintaining an hrv is important and should be done regularly.

hrv
A Typical HRV System

An hrv ensures the delivery, distribution and circulation of healthy fresh outdoor air throughout the house.  It will control indoor air humidity levels to prevent moisture problems such as condensation on windows and mold growth.

Owing a healthy home can literally change your life and the lives of your family.

Contact us today for more information.

Holmes Approved Homes Builder

For Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley

We’re proud to say that Sonbuilt Custom Homes has been chosen by Mike Holmes as the Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley exclusive Holmes Approved Homes builder.

Partnering with Mike Holmes

Our clients know that a Sonbuilt home is comfortable, well built, durable, and designed to last. Now our approach has been validated by Canada’s most-trusted contractor, Mike Holmes. Through his HOLMES Approved Homes Program, Mike is partnering with industry-leading builders to ensure buyers get a home that’s built to his standards.

Protecting Your Investment

According to Mike Holmes, “Buying a home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make. The HOLMES Approved Homes Program is about protecting that investment and building it right the first time.”

Holmes Approved Certification

Homes certified under the HOLMES Approved Homes Program receive a certificate along with the inspection report and a label on the electrical panel to verify the home. When it comes time to sell your Holmes Approved Home, certificates are fully transferable to the new owner, providing you with a unique selling feature!

Chilliwack Custom Home Update

We are excited to be getting ready for drywall on our Chilliwack custom home.

Healthy Home Design

This two story home, designed by Sonbuilt Custom Homes, is for a young family with fun, active children!  It is being built to the R-2000 Standard featuring durability, healthy indoor air quality, and comfort.  For more information on the certified homes we build, click here.

Mike Holmes Approved Home

This Chilliwack home is a Mike Holmes Approved Home.  The custom home will undergo a series of home inspections, including onsite field reviews by approved Mike Holmes Inspectors, providing our client with a transparent record of the quality and value that exists behind the walls.

Built Above Building Code Standard

Local municipal inspectors provide inspections ensuring the minimum building code is being met.  A Mike Holmes inspector will be looking for proof that we are following through with our promise to build a custom home that exceeds the building code.

Be sure to visit our websiteFacebook, or Instagram page for updates!

Move to the Fraser Valley!

Considering a move to the Fraser Valley in British Columbia?

The Fraser Valley is becoming a popular home for many families who wish to live outside of the big city, yet remain close to many shopping options, entertainment venues, boutique-style wineries, locally grown produce, and recreational experiences.

There is a growing interest among many families to relocate to the Fraser Valley.  Improved transportation from Vancouver to the Valley has significantly changed the commute times.  As well, housing is generally more affordable in the Fraser Valley than in Vancouver.

Are you considering a new home in the Fraser Valley?  Be sure to visit our website and contact us today.  We would love to chat!

Abbotsford District Career Programs

Employer Award

Employer Award!

It was an honour this afternoon to receive the Employer Award from the Abbotsford School District.

Sonbuilt Custom Homes values apprentices who want to become certified tradespeople.  The District Career Program in Abbotsford offers students a variety of career and technical training while completing their regular high school courses.  Students can choose from a variety of trades, technical and/or university transition programs.

We appreciate the opportunity to work with students who intend to become certified carpenters.  Thank you Abbotsford!  We are thrilled to receive this award!

Main Level Living in a Rancher

Designing a home for main level living makes practical sense as we transition into the empty nest years.  A well designed rancher will accommodate many years of comfort and ensures a safe living environment in the event mobility needs change.

Why Build a Rancher?

We are frequently asked to build ranchers – homes in which every day living can take place all on the main level.  Our homes typically include generous kitchen spaces for entertaining guests, a master bedroom and spacious ensuite, and a well-equipped laundry room with lots of storage.  These rooms are often all on one level along with other spaces usually found on a main level.  All of your everyday living can be done without needing to use stairs.

My Story

Ranchers became uniquely special to me as I watched my father-in-law transition in his later years from a strong, vibrant individual, to someone who struggled to walk and care for himself adequately.  He desperately wished to live at home.  I am fortunate that he was able to spend his final year of life in his home that did have the space and design necessary to support his changing his mobility needs.  The experience of assisting my aging father reinforced in my mind the importance of designing homes to suit current and future needs.

If you are considering a rancher, a beautiful, well designed home that supports one level living and an active lifestyle at the same time, give us a call at (604) 626-4688 or contact us through our website.

Be sure to check out Our Portfolio page to see some of the ranchers we have designed and built.  And finally, visit our Aging in Place webpage!

Thanks for reading!

Building Science – What is It?

Defining Building Science

In the past, designers and builders considered each aspect of a home – foundation, walls, windows, roof, plumbing, electrical, all the parts that make up the home – individually.  Today, we know all aspects of a home work together as a system to create a comfortable, durable, healthy living environment.  Balance all these components together and your home will be far more energy efficient than a home in which these aspects are not working together in harmony.

The study of homes as a system is called Building Science. 

Your home interacts with the surrounding environment and those who live in your home.  The following components have an effect on the overall system:

  • Outdoor temperature, wind, rain, air quality, and dust
  • Everyone living in the home, including pets
  • The materials that make up the envelope of the home like the foundation, exterior walls, windows, roof, and floors
  • Interior aspects that remain fixed in the home
  • Appliances, equipment, and furniture
  • The mechanical and electrical system, ventilation and heating, plumbing and electrical components

Each component will affect the overall performance of your home in terms of energy efficiency, durability, and longevity.   When the systems in your home are not working together, the overall health of your family could be compromised through poor indoor air quality, mold growth, and poor ventilation.

Think about your current home.  Do you see any concerns? 

  • Condensation on windows
  • Rotting windowsills
  • Damaged drywall
  • Bubbled or flaking paint
  • Musty smell
  • Mould on walls
  • Mouldy drapes, carpets or furniture
  • Mould in closets

Think About This

Building to the standard BC Building Code is not enough to ensure your home is a healthy place for you and your family.  It is the minimum standard, but by no means a healthy standard.

If you are considering building a new home, ensure your builder is well qualified to build a healthy home.  This is probably going to be the biggest investment of your life.  Make it a healthy one!

For more information on healthy living environments, download a copy of “Moisture and Air Guide”, by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Council.

A Langley Home Teardown

Tear Down and Build New

As housing prices continue to rise in the Fraser Valley and the cost of land increases, there is growing interest among homeowners to tear down the home they currently live in and build a new home on the same land.  A common question when thinking about tearing down the home you currently live in – is this a good idea or not?

Identifying a Teardown

Older homes with structural issues, homes with outdated kitchens or limited bathrooms, and homes that incur increasingly high energy bills are often identified as homes to demolition.  Structural concerns can be expensive to repair and frequently these repairs do not add extensively to the value of the home were you to consider selling.  Whole house renovations involving changing room sizes, updating finishes, and adding more rooms can be expensive.  There are times when demolishing the home and building new may not be that much more than a renovation.

How Do I Decide Between a Renovation and a Teardown?

Sometimes the cost to repair an older home is just not worth it.  An abundance of mold, a damaged foundation, extensive rot in the structure – problems can lead to surprisingly expensive repair costs.  Unhealthy indoor air, hazardous older materials, wet basements. These concerns need to be addressed to ensure the home is safe to live in.

Does the home need new windows, updated electrical wiring, and a new roof?  Does the existing layout make sense for your family or would a renovation include extensive floorplan changes?  Demolishing the home and building new may be the best option if the cost of a renovation is high.

What Is the Cost to Tear down a Home?

Tearing down a home can vary in cost.  Prices can depend on the size of the home, the location of the site, and what hazardous materials are found in the home.

What Permits Do I Need?

Your local municipality will be able to determine what permits are needed for your specific home.  Every home is different and each municipality has its own requirements before a demolition can be done.

What is a Hazmat Report?

Worksafe BC will require a “Hazardous Materials” report before a teardown can begin.  This report will identify what hazardous materials are in the home.  Some materials may need to be removed prior to demolition.

How Much Will a Hazmat Report Cost?

Depending on the size and age of the home, a hazmat report can start at around $500.

How Long Will a Demolition Take?

A home can be torn down in just a few days once reports and permits are in place.

If you like your neighbours and want to keep your kids in the same school but find that your home just isn’t suitable for your changing needs, consider tearing down your home and building a new one.  I’m sure you have many questions and we’d like to help answer them.  Contact us today.  We are happy to chat!