Mono stairs catch your eye in this home built by Berkshire.
Q&A with Rick Dulat
Q: What is your approach as you begin a new project?
We build for the FEEL. Before you walk through to see the home, we want you to feel it. Feelings remain with people much longer and with greater impact than what we tell them or show them. It is important to us that every home built by Berkshire feels like it is your space. That it flows and has an optimal layout. That it feels spacious, bright and welcoming. Each of our homes should speak for itself.
That is why we place such a great emphasis on design. There are a multitude number of ways to get creative with a space. In our experience, the design aspect is where we need to explore and challenge.
We are a thoughtful, intentional builder that dissects the design and plans of the homes before stepping on the job site. We are hands-on from paper to build. Through preliminary meetings, we start to paint the picture of how the home will be used:
– Will it be for a multi-generational family (do we need a bedroom and ensuite on the main floor?)
– Will it be for a young family / pets (is the backyard large enough?)
– Will it be for rental (durable products and materials to use?)
By first understanding how the house will be used, we work together with our clients to ensure the design of the home compliments the vision and meets their needs. We do not refrain from change. If a few tweaks can result in a better fit, we will adapt.
Q: Why do you focus mostly on infill?
All of our projects over the years have been infill. Older homes are unique but missing the high-efficient systems that are better for the environment and better on the wallet. Many of the infills we have completed were homes from the 60’s that served as a place of memories for several generations. With inevitable wear and tear, we now have the opportunity to introduce new quality homes that fit the mature neighbourhood characteristics while providing home owners with benefits of today’s designs and efficient systems.
Majority of our projects are either in the community we live in, or in adjacent neighbourhoods. We live here, we know the areas, and have a vested interest to elevate our surroundings. Building in our own backyard so-to-speak, allows us an opportunity to have a hand in the gradual face-lift one home at a time.
Building infill is completely different than building in new communities. Expectations are different in terms community members who do not want disturbance or change. Requirements are different in terms of permits and mature neighbourhood overlay allowances (i.e. height restrictions, setbacks, etc). We have had a lot of exposure to the process across our infill projects. That experience allows us to pre-emptively plan, saving time and maximizing efficiency. We understand the steps involved in infill and work with our clients to walk through that effectively. We apply all learning’s and best practices in our tool belt to each project.
Infill allows us the opportunity to be part of the solution. These homes align with the City’s goal to provide housing and greater density to meet the anticipated population growth, without compromising space. We build with high efficient systems, durable materials, intentional designs and cost-effective, practical solutions in mind so that our homes stand the test of time. We pay attention to the details you don’t see because even if no one else is looking, we are looking and holding ourselves accountable.
Each project is a fresh start. Our clients are unique and so are their house plans. We do not reuse our plans as the needs of each home for a client vary vastly. We have the courage to try something new and do not shy away from the unknown. Instead we apply the same principles of asking questions, listening to recommendations and leaning on the expert advice of our dependable teams.
Q: How do you keep yourself on the cutting edge?
In this industry the landscape is ever-changing year to year. To remain relevant, we feel the company needs to be able to pivot quickly. By being open to learning, listening for shift and changes from different sources and being willing to change direction as needed, we have the ability to expand our portfolio to match the needs out there.
Berkshire is a member of Infill Development in Edmonton Association (IDEA) and Canadian Home Builder’s Association (CHBA-ER). Infact, Rick graduated from the first IDEA certification program ever held. Berkshire was also 2023 finalist for Best Infill 2,000 – 4,000 sqft.
We have expanded our partners, pushed ourselves to try new trends and grown our portfolio to include different types of products (i.e. rentals, rear garden suites or coach homes). We cannot expect to grow the business, if we do not first grow ourselves and what we offer.
Change can be a risk; veering away from the “tried-and-true”. To mitigate that risk we depend on our knowledgeable teams and partners that know their craft. We do our homework. It is incredible to have a competent team you can rely on to help bring projects to life, who shares the common goal of excellence.
For further information, call (780) 231-1465
or visit berkshirehomes.ca