An interesting look at one of Calgary’s premier residential construction companies – for whom the base standard aims to be a full head higher than the competition.
If WestView Builders were to be known for but one thing, it would be their philosophy of giving the customer much more for the base price that they could ever expect. This vein of customer delight flows through every single-family home that the company has built around Calgary – whether it’s 1500 sq.ft. or 3500 sq. ft.
Building in select locations across urban and rural Calgary, this builder creates more than just homes – they create communities that are not merely collections of identical houses but, rather, diverse ecologies that co-exist in perfect harmony. In their own words, “Our philosophy is that we want to do things that are innovative, we want to do things that are creative, and we want to make great communities and great homes.”
Providing a wide range of floor plan and elevation options to every potential homeowner is the method by which WestView fosters individuality and the level of uniqueness that every homebuyer seeks to achieve.
The company is built on the firm foundations of satisfied owners – their most valuable assets. WestView believes in going after the best land development opportunities that present themselves, and creating communities within communities that the key stakeholders can be proud of.
A BRIEF LOOK BACK
Starting in High River in 2004, the company has built a reputation of its own – brick by brick. The High River projects led to others, such as those in Edmonton, Cochrane and Okotoks, with each new region being opened up by invitation into the community. During this time the climate was right for the construction industry, and WestView rapidly made its mark with its much-lauded design capabilities. The dynamite combination of “including more for the base price” and having interior designer Kim Chapman at the helm of a design team that works directly with customers, has put WestView in a unique and enviable position among its peers.
RECOGNITION IN THE INDUSTRY
As for accolades, WestView has won numerous prestigious awards in the CHBA for several years since 2005, and most recently has been featured as a finalist in 2012 for the CHBA best single-family home in the $575,000 to $750,000 range – for the Arlington show home.
THE PHILOSOPHY – THE PEOPLE
One of the mainstays that make this company unique is that rather than fostering a corporate environment that operates from the top down, this company empowers its employees and values their individual ideas, giving them the ownership, responsibility and control they need to do their jobs effectively. According to Jerry Trgina – Marketing Manager, “people are the strength of the company. [We] rely on our people from the service, to construction, to office management.” A closer look shows that the underlying commonality is that everyone is aligned with the principles of creating homes that build the reputation of the company as a family-focused builder willing to pay great attention to small details that make all the difference to a homeowner. “There are a lot of things we do in our houses to make it a comfortable home environment for families like larger kitchens with our breakfast bars and play centres in our basements.”
THE X FACTOR
Rick Vars – Construction Manager, is directly involved in working with the trade partners on a daily basis. “The relationships we build with our trade partners are one of the single most important things in the production department. We work in such a dynamic and sometimes volatile industry where things change almost daily, from products, building practice, market trends and client expectations. A good relationship between builder and vendor is critical in order to meet these challenges together.”
We all know that a builder can talk about their value for quality and craftsmanship all day long; but where the rubber meets the road is where the trade partners take on that same mandate of the highest levels of professionalism. WestView only work with the best and the company takes this commitment seriously ensuring that “relentless quality control” is part of daily operations. When dealing with trade partners it is agreed throughout the industry that good communication is paramount. Rick and his team adopt this ideal to the fullest extent and are thankful of their long standing relationships with their trade partners. He goes on to say, “…each of our trades are especially important for us to achieve a true “team” environment, everyone on the team must do their part and each part is important.”
The last 18 months have shown strong growth, with key additions to its staff, such as an experienced construction manager, a service coordinator and more supporting construction personnel. The new staff adds value to the customer in terms of being able to communicate with the company that’s building their dream home.
The company has started several new projects in Westside Calgary, notably the Aspen Summit community, which boasts elite homes in the $700,000+ category.
WestView has also started Red Door Homes, a spin-off brand with a different approach to design and sales. Red Door is promoted as “surprisingly affordable”, with “value engineered” into homes for first-time buyers. To make it simpler, they have created a “Lifestyle Package” that comes with five options for pre-designed upgrades. To make the deal that much sweeter, the company throws in the 1st upgrade option as inclusive, which means upgrades in flooring, granite kitchen enhancements, a technology package and green building benefits.
The future looks bright for this young and energetic company headed by a community stalwart whose founding principles have been effectively infused into the family of staff. WestView is constantly on the lookout for great development opportunities and land acquisition deals, which means that they are squarely focused on meeting their capital requirements and forging strong bonds with developers. They predict that 2012 will be their “biggest year so far” and are currently averaging between 60 and 100 homes per year.
Echoing the words of Johannes Van Leenan are the decisions that go into choosing each location and building each home to be a unique brick that their reputation is built with: “As a home builder you have to pick your market – right product- right price – right location.”