After speaking with many people who have renovated and built new homes the number one piece of advice I have gotten is to pick the right team of architects, builders, engineers and tradespeople to work with. People that you can trust, like, have a lot experience, strong references and a similar vision for what we want to build.
Being an analytical person I started by preparing a matrix with my criteria for evaluating each of a short-list of the different consultants to work with. For our architect my criteria was:
- Do we like the design of the previous homes they’ve designed
- Do they have Passive House or Green Building Experience
- Strength of the references
- Experience of the firm and depth of the team
- Is there a personality fit…do we like them
- Design Fees
- Expected cost to build the home
- Are they a recognized firm
After interviewing 3 excellent firms and meeting with several of their previous clients we selected Battersby Howat http://www.battersbyhowat.com/ and have been working with David Battersby, Heather Howat and Bettina Balcaen over the past year. They are amazing at what they do, fun to work with and we love the design they have come up with. While Battersby had never designed a Passive House they had similar values to us around sustainable design, had take the Passive House course and we could tell were really enthusiastic to work with us our project,
We went through a similar approach with builders and selected Naikoon http://www.naikooncontracting.com/ after discovering that we knew 5 different people who have used Joe Geluch and his team and all gave outstanding references. We have been working with Naikoon for the past few months as we prepare the site and work towards getting our building permit. I have liked their strong project management skills and open communication.
We selected Marcel Studer from http://www.econgroup.ca/ as our Passive House Consultant who is very experienced on Passive House having designed, built and consulted on many Passive House projects and teaches the Passive House course in Vancouver.
Thanks to Stuart Hood from the Integral Group http://www.integralgroup.com/ who has been advising me on the design of the mechanical and HVAC system.
I also decided to hire Haron Douglas who is a Quantity Surveyor to prepare a detailed estimate of what the estimated total project cost will be and was very pleased with his work.
We have been speaking with Stefan Schneider from http://www.cutmytimber.com/ who specializes in prefab wall and floor assemblies.
Unfortuantely have had to make one change with one of the consultants hired part way through the project but I felt that if we were not satisfied with the work at this point in the project it was best to deal with this early and switch now before it further impacts the schedule and costs later. A point to note is that this was the one consultant that I didn’t meet prior to hiring them which in hindsight was a mistake.
We are extremely happy with the team we have assembled and are all experts in their field, have been easy to work with and are like minded in the Vision we have for our Passive House.