604 921 9185
North Shore Sundeck Contractor doing Deck Business in greater Vancouver
About the owner of South Coast Sundecks & Exteriors Ltd
Author and Website Builder of southcoastsundecks.ca
  I have been 'self employed' in the construction industry since 1996. Before then I educated myself from a general laborer to an accomplished framing carpenter and exterior/interior finishing carpenter as i progressed from a brief position as foreman, framing custom homes on the North Shore and other locations in Vancouver. After quickly learning the trade craft of building houses from 'framing to finishing' as well as some commercial wood framed buildings, I decided to stimulate my interests with a more artisan approach by working for a cedar siding and exterior finishing company for a year before becoming bored and moving on to something more challenging.

  After quickly refining my exterior finishing carpentry and supervisory skills, my enthusiasm led me to a more dynamic, skilled and pivotal field of home improvement renovations where I worked for a couple of different renovation, restoration and developement companies building additions and performing kitchen & bathroom renovations with extentsive interior finishing work which once again evolved to 'foreman' position and a dynamic set of valuable skills before eventually starting my own business, Due West Carpentry & Renovations Ltd. which has been a Highly Recommended and popular carpentry and renovation company since 1996 , as well as being an established member of the BBB with an A+ Rating untill 2015 when they started offering paid advertising and we stopped paying the yearly membership fees.

  During the many years of operating Due West Carpentry & Renovations ltd. as a 'hands on the tools' contractor I have not only built numerous building additions, cedar decks, vinyl decks, custom railing systems and exterior architectural structures during the spring and summer months (Kitchen & bathroom renovations and interior finishing and millwork in the winter) but I have also undertaken quite a few large scale restoration projects which have included many rotten sundecks, rot to the homes structural sidewalls where the deck is attached and structural damage to point loads/posts and beams that can be attributed to faulty framing/building methods, improper water ingression protection techniques, poor building regulations at that time, improper ventilation scenarios and more often that not, insufficiently qualified companies/employees who are unfamiliar with basic framing, building and envelope procedures or how single family and multifamily homes have evolved in construction practice over the decades and how to effectively remedy and apply proper solutions to problematic scenarios in a cost effective and efficient manner.

 Yes It does require a particular knowledge skill set and business owner involvement to effectively implement specific and proportionate designs as well as being able to correct structural deficiencies, exterior envelope and dead air space issues, venting requirements and structural rot, as well as applying preventative methods, systems, and craftsmanship to make the final results efficiently outstanding. Furthermore most sundecks, deck & patio covers, structures and deck railing systems require proper structural implementation that has to be done right, so that it is safe and sound and doesn't negatively effect the integrity of the building or stucture. Not compromising protective exterior cladding and weather barrier or other critical components within the walls of the house like wiring and plumbing during the anchoring process is imperative aswell. Solid ground soil preperation and footing construction are equally as important and the necessity of identifying correct lumber sizing for beam and joist spans as well as implementation of seismic techniques and lateral strengthening if upgrades are required to protect against high winds, seismic activity, snow loads and people loads, extreme weather variations and general wear and tear.

  The simple fact when building with a set of plans is that most of the time the building details aren't provided because the onus is on the builder to know how to build with the B.C. Building Codes in mind and the most effective approach to implementing and integrating new work to existing structures. Reading plans is elementary, building things precisely in a timely fashion and managing obstruction issues along the way is another challenge in the dynamic enviroment of construction (far to many learn as you go Google contractors and Reality TV jockeys out there that think they are really resourceful when in fact their practices are not even acceptable by industry peers because they dont have the experience or skill set yet as a fully qualified tradesperson, builder, foreman or business manager. On the other hand there has been many occasions that i have hired fully ticketed Red seal carpenters and second and third year BCIT carpentry students that i just wouldn't trust to leave alone on any one of my projects even after providing clear instruction on how i want the results to be performed. Since i am a craftsman myself i can easily identifying talented trades people to ensure my projects are completed to the standards that my clients would expect.

  Employee performance can be a conflict for a lot of home improvement businesses. Hiring insufficient talent and knowledge to keep costs down or too many projects on the go, work ethics, mistakes and lack of experience can cause a lot of companies to cut corners in order to make money. Workmanship that doesn't last, projects taking longer than they should to complete, or the customer ends up paying more and the final results are unproportionate or just missing that something special look that the client was hoping for. I hear a lot of my industry peers complain about the problem of employees who learn a few trade secrets and decide to go work for themselves or do side work long before they have garnered enough work experience, responsibility and business knowledge which is always at the expense of an unsuspecting customer who ends up being bedazzled or distracted during their selection process by focusing on the wrong hiring criteria.

  I have also noticed over the years of fixing and observing other peoples work, the concerning and some what habitual practice of some other companies and/or employees who come across previous structural, design and workmanship deficiencies and just cover it up or add to the problem because they either don't know any better or just don't care. They may consider it either too complicated for them to deal with, not part of their scope of work, no big deal, the boss isn't around, too time constraining for their scheduling, or to inconveniencing and controversial to inform the customer or boss. Unfortunately this scenario can cause the home owner a considerable amount of unnecessary grief and financial discomfort not too far down the road including re-sale disclosure issues, municipality involvement, and home insurance validation scenarios, Or on the other hand they charge a ridiculous price to correct any unforseen deficiencies as there business model depends on it.

  It may be fair to say, We are very good at what we do and prefer to utilize many specialized techniques derived from experience and talent that will reduce maintenance, increase appearance and longevity as well as lower overall costs that our competitors don't usually concern themselves with. And wouldn't it also be nice to know that the company you hire can easily recognize and speedily solve any of the aforementioned problematic situations that most companies may overlook or spend more efforts trying to beat the competitors price because they are lacking whats really needed to get the project.

  As a home owner, If you're going to make an outdoor living space or sundeck replacement investment it may be prudent to make certain that not only are the results remarkable in appearance but the work is done right and done quickly the first time by hiring a highly knowledgeable and reputable company with service that utilizes methods, products, advice, craftsmanship and integrity that are the best in the industry in order to increase the appearance and the value of the money you spend. Well that's the way I would want it anyways. If you agree that might be a good approach for you, then give us a call to see how the South Coast Team and Associates can be of assistance.

Michael Ravenscroft

Completed BCIT Advanced Building Technolgies Course          
A history that you can depend on for remarkable results
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