Cumberland-Based Builder Makes Its Way In Construction Industry By Focusing On Custom Builds
CUMBERLAND – When considering a name for his construction company, Silas Straathof thought long and hard before settling on Facet Custom Builders.
“Facet” is a symbol that reflects on multiple aspects of the company. I’m really happy with the name. “They cast light and catch the eye,” he says. “Without facets, a gem is but a rock, and Facet Custom Builders cuts and polishes the many faces of our every work.
“There’s many faces in our company and they all shine. We’re refined, transparent, and we’re always trying to take a ‘precious stone’ and add qualities to it to make it eye-catching and attractive.”
Facet Custom Builders builds custom homes, carriage houses, additions and renovations. They also offer custom carpentry for interior finishing, timber work, siding and exterior finishes Straathof, a Journeyman Carpenter, Contractor and Head of Operations, enlists a team of highly skilled sub-contractors from throughout the Comox Valley to help with each project.
“We are a team of hardworking, talented craftsmen,” he says. “We believe in doing a job right the first time. We are organized, reliable and accountable, and we communicate well and ensure our customers are comfortable with the project throughout its course.
“We love building. We pay attention to details because they are important to us, and we believe they are what separates the ordinary from the exceptional. We are creative problem solvers, both in the course of construction, and in realizing unique design. Our motto is ‘building your vision, leading you home.’ It’s all about our clients. And it’s our privilege to bring their vision to light.”
Straathof started the company just over six years ago.
“I was a freelance carpenter working on custom homes on Denman Island, lead by a bespoke designer. ” he recalls, adding that with a young family came a desire to “up his game” and take his career to the next level, he knew it was time to start his own business.
He chose to focus on the Comox Valley. He was born in Lund, north of Powell River on the Sunshine Coast, grew up in Victoria and lived in Vancouver for a number of years before returning to the Island.
“I’ve done the full circle of the Georgia Strait,” he says, adding he recognized that the Island offered a better lifestyle than the lower mainland.
Straathof’s construction background was almost exclusively in custom homes.
“When starting the company, I was hoping to do the same thing, but of course as a new company, you have to first build a reputation. “ I think we’ve been pretty fortunate with our clients and the calibre of houses we’ve been able to build as a young company.”
Facet Custom Builders homes are often recognized by their high end natural wood finishing.
“We will do as much woodwork as our clients want,” he says. “We have a talented team” I’m most inspired by the West Coast style, and its wood elements. The company commits to brainstorming with clients to come up with individual ideas for each project that enables them to realize their vision for their dream home.
“For every project we build a 3-D model version of the home to help our clients visualize the details and finishes. ” he notes. “It is one of our company’s unique features.
“It’s one thing for someone to have an idea, but another to actually model it in 3-D. It’s quite incredible, being able to go through it with each client and apply different features and colour schemes they like. When we arrive at a look that everyone likes, we then dimension all of the work and deliver it to our carpenters on site. ”
Facet Custom Builders constructs many different sizes and shapes of homes, including tiny homes (sometimes called carriage homes) – those of under 1,000 square feet. Straathof says they’ve built several of those in recent years, as they are popular to individuals looking to reinvest in their property.
Custom homes remains the company’s staple.
“I enjoy the adventure in custom home building” “Custom homes will always be as unique as our clients, and our clients are always asking for different things,” he notes. “Each client has a different idea or vision for their home, so we do our best to listen to what they’re saying and use our knowledge to get them just what they want, if not better.”
Straathof believes owners will have a special sense of pride about their homes, which he sees as the most important goal. .
“A custom home is most often the investment of a lifetime, so it really needs to be comfortable and a reflection of their character. Our hope is always that the owner has the really strong feeling that it’s their dream home and they love it.”
Straathof has noticed there is a lot of interest for radiant heating in homes.
“It’s a great way to heat a home, it’s very comfortable, and the challenge with it is typically limited to a natural gas boiler. ,” he observes. “We’re currently searching for a way to run radiant homes with a heat pump, because I feel that’s the best way to economically heat a home.”
While Straathof is a journeyman himself, he doesn’t work on the tools any more, as he manages the company, which employs up to 15 people, including the carpenters, project managers and administrative team.
“I miss the tools sometimes, but there’s just so much to do. There’s never a dull moment,” he says. “We’re always seeing ways we can create new tools at the management level, or tools that will help get our clients more, or give them better information to help them with decisions. I’ve always been passionate about the industry, but now I’m building management tools.”
Straathof is proud of the fact Facet Custom Builders features a true family feeling.
“I feel like we’re all family members,” he states. “That is one resounding characteristic of the company. Some people build their companies based on demand, but I’ve built the company based on the quality of the people. When someone comes along with high quality character and talent, I bring them into the company and find work for them.
“Often, we say here that it’s a ‘people first’ company. We have a great workplace culture and everyone is friendly and cohesive. I think being that way makes it a better company, and I thrive on creating a really good work environment and being a good employer.”
The owner finds inspiration not just from clients and their ideas, but from the members of the Facet team, with their talents and capabilities.
“When you start a company there can be a tendency to think you do things the best way, but I’ve found that I’ve really enjoyed watching our people do great things,” he says. “When clients really put their faith in you, you get inspired and that builds confidence, and that goes both ways. As a builder, you have to keep your clients confident the whole time, and when that happens it compounds and resonates, and you end up with an excellent result.”
There are several aspects of the company that Straathof believes sets it apart.
“The trust and confidence with our clients is the foundation on which we build our homes,” he notes. “Recognize that our clients and their confidence is the most important part of the project is really key.
“It’s easy to focus on the house and building the house, but it’s really about the client, and I measure the success of the project through the strength of those relationships,” he adds. “We take exceptional care for our clients and their interests, and in how we operate the company. Our character and talent is how we’ve built this company, and that’s probably the comment we get most often from our clients: About the strength of our people and our workmanship.
“We’re constantly reviewing and refining our process. And, of course, working collaboratively with each clients, which is made easier through cohesive systems within the company, including Co-Construct management software that produces specifications for each home.”
Process is also very important.
“We recognize that probably half of the energy that goes into a home is in the planning stages,” Straathof observes. “That’s why we’ve invested a lot in our systems, processes and technology. In that investment, our goal is, to early on, bring our clients’ design, specifications and the budget into alignment. . In order to do that, we’re heavy on communication and we use Co-Construct, a collaborative software for project managing. “We’re constantly reviewing and refining our processes with every project to make them the best they can be and deliver the best customer experience.“