Mercury Contracting has extensive experience in energy-efficient residential window retrofit projects in Vancouver and throughout the Lower Mainland.
For decades before our current focus in commercial tenant improvements, the leaders of Mercury engaged in green residential renovations, with a specialization in house-as-a-system building concepts.
When looking at the strata residential low-rise window retrofit market in Vancouver, we noticed that the customer service levels were sub-par. We recognized an opportunity for us to fill the gap and improve the standard.
Strata projects can be quite difficult from a logistical standpoint. You need to work with a strata committee in charge of a particular project, made up of just a fraction of the total number of residents. Although it can be tempting to view the relationship as solely being between the contractor and the strata council, we choose to view it as a relationship with each resident. After all, we work in each of their homes, and each resident has the right to be treated respectfully and fairly from a quality of work and a communication standpoint.
Our success as a company and sense of fulfilment depends on the overall happiness of the individual owners within a strata complex.
Due to this complexity, we believe the keys to success are:
• Thoughtful, well-planned communication
• Detailed project planning
• Effective implementation of our plans
These are all areas we excel at, thanks in part to our experience in commercial tenant improvement. Managing the complex coordination involved in restaurant construction and other tenant improvement projects has increased our ability to control the coordination and communication required to do strata work effectively. This is an area where many other contractors lack the experience to complete a project efficiently to the expectations of all parties.
We are currently performing a window retrofit project in Richmond, British Columbia. Over the next year, we will be replacing approximately 1,000 low-efficiency aluminum windows from the 1980s with highly efficient vinyl windows. All of the residents will be able to remain at home during the project.
Every building has unique characteristics, both from a resident’s perspective and a building construction perspective. The structure we are working on has a stucco exterior. Since the framing is covered by the stucco on the outside and drywall inside, we didn’t know what we would see concerning the framing assembly until we started the project.
For this type of project to be successful, we need to have an open, responsive line of communication with both the strata committee and the building envelope engineer who provides consultation and additional direction on this project.
Our job is to install the specifications of that engineer, who holds the overall liability in work taking place on-site.
Although the work involved with replacing the windows is very detailed, we believe it to be the easiest part of the project.
Most companies get it wrong because of their lack of planning and coordination and an overall failure in proper communication.
Accurate, timely communication is essential in this type of project. This building has 78 different suites, so 78 different individuals and their families need to be informed and involved through the year-long process.
We also need to maintain effective communication with the strata council members, who are volunteering their time on behalf of their fellow residents.
The contractor selected by the strata council for this project has a huge responsibility. The on-site and off-site staff need to consist of the right professionals. The project must happen within the intended timeframe and cannot exceed the budget allocated.
All too often, contractors submit low bids for these types of contracts, knowing that strata councils often accept the low bid. They obtain the customer's commitment and then add “Change of Work” orders, so the original budget is much lower than the project's final cost.
Our goal at Mercury Contracting is to get the details correct initially and execute the project correctly over the specified period, without significant increases in the budget.
Are you a part of a strata council or a building envelope group looking for a contracting partner to help execute your strata building retrofit projects?
If so, we would love the opportunity to discuss how our process can make what would otherwise be a stressful project as enjoyable and successful as possible.