How Well Is Your Home or Building Built?

Better building is a matter of both quality design and quality construction. 

Designers and contractors develop construction details every day but are you really getting the quality of construction that you desire? Or are you just getting the old standard, “everybody does it this way”, run of the mill details that meet the bare minimal requirements of the Building Code? Is that what you want – or would you prefer better construction?

My contractor says they meet the building code

The Canadian National Building Code and the Provincial Building Codes define the minimum requirements for construction.

Building Codes were generally created for life safety and longevity of building components and assemblies. When buildings are constructed to meet the minimal requirements of the building code, those buildings will perform adequately, however, in our opinion those buildings should be considered as entry level buildings.

When someone states that they build to meet the building code they are only building to what is minimally acceptable.

Anything less would be unacceptable 

The issues that we find throughout the construction process are that these entry level, minimum building code buildings, often experience what we refer to as the “Monday and Friday Blues”.  Maybe things didn’t quite happen as they should that day, someone got lazy and the quality of the construction suffered. Sure enough… that is where the building will fail at a later date.

We also find that some people don’t follow the installation instructions provided by the manufacturers for the products that they are installing – that is the most common cause of premature failures within those installations. 

These are good products – just installed incorrectly…

That ends up costing the homeowner more in the long term, due to failures and the cost of early material replacement. Examples of known construction issues are provided on this page.

We address common failures before construction

Over the past 34 years – we’ve seen it all. We look at the different types of construction (roof, wall, basement, etc) and consider all of the construction failures we commonly see, as well as the quality and comfort of the finished interior space, and even design for the ‘Monday and Friday Blues’, to make our buildings better and the interior spaces more comfortable.

You get what you pay for

 This additional investment pays off with fewer problems, less maintenance and more comfortable living spaces 

Better quality buildings have fewer problems and last longer.

In this section of our website, we are going to look at known failure issues within the construction process. We are also going to look at better alternatives to avoid those failures. This will all lead up to what we like to refer to as Better Building

First lets review the process of building inspection, and learn why many of these failures are not being caught during the construction process.

Classifying ‘Build Quality’ of Construction

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to determine the build quality of a home by a classification. We have entry level Recreational Vehicles (RVs), and we have entry level cars (which l more like to refer to as disposable cars, as they are so cheap). There are all kinds of entry level products out of the market. However, there really doesn’t seem to be any defined classifications for the build quality of higher end homes vs. entry level homes. Yes, many home builders may refer to entry level homes and higher end homes, but in most cases, what they are only referring to is the level of finishes within the buildings, like
  • quality of interior doors, door hardware
  • quality of plumbing faucets
  • quality of millwork
  • quality of baseboards and casing
  • quality of flooring and ceiling finishes
  • quality of lighting
Basically they are only referring to the quality of interior finishes. Or, they may include some of the exterior claddings or finishes like,
  • maybe cementitious siding or stucco vs. vinyl siding
  • added stone veneers
  • a concrete porch vs. wood porch
  • quality of decking materials, etc.
But surely my $2,000,000 house is built better than a $200,000 house? Not necessarily!  Yes, it’s bigger and has better visual finishes. The items listed above are generally all the glossy items within a home that makes the home or building look nicer. Yes, those upgrades are of better quality for those finishing components, but what about the basic bones of the building (the structure), the outer shell (the building envelope), and more specifically… how is it all put together. How is it built? At BCS, we do not consider interior finishes (as listed above) as part of the build quality of a home. They are basically just glossy lipstick. So, how do we determine the build quality for a home or building ? How do we know if we are getting an entry level shell, or a higher quality of construction?

Overcoming Known Construction Issues

  • Building and Home Inspection Shortcomings
  • Dry Basement Design
  • Foundation Moisture Protection
  • ICF Basements and Meeting the Building Code's Dampproofing Requirements
  • Wood Framing
  • OSB Sheathing vs. Plywood Sheathing
  • Insulation Details at the Floor Joist Box End
  • Windows and Doors - Not all are equal
  • PVC Deck Membrane Installations
  • Vinyl Siding Installations
  • Cementitious Siding Installation
  • Stucco Installations
  • Attic Venting
  • Imitation Stone Veneers Installations
  • Shingles - Not all shingles are equal
  • Roof Design in High Snow Area
  • Exterior hose bibs (water taps) and proper installation
  • Furnace Installations and Air Balancing the System