Love for design and building
My father loved “working with his hands” and I inherited that love. The summer after I turned 13 he got my brother and I to build our first house – a mud hut (we were living in central Africa). I got my first job on a building crew in St. Catharines when I was 19 and by 29 (1985) I had my own company designing and building new homes, renovations and additions. My earliest designs remain distinctive today.
I came into construction with plenty of natural ability. Hands-on skills gave me the freedom to do things my way. This translated into design innovation. But, my love for design and building was only the beginning. Since those early days, I’ve realized the many barriers that stand in the way of homeowners who want to live in homes that fit their lives. Building a new home, an addition or a renovation is a fantastic opportunity to realize a dream and to transform the places we live into homes that work well and feel right.
Barriers to building homes that live well
THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY: Construction has become a science within my lifetime. As with all young sciences, a lot of mistakes are made. Technology is directly impacting every aspect of housing and as problems are solved, new ones are created. All of this translates into a rapidly changing building codes and a massively regulated industry. Living in an area surrounded by lakes and rivers, in Niagara we deal with agencies such as the NEC, MPCA, and the Regional Health Department. Most of these charge fees and all have regulations that are difficult to understand. On top of all this, we now live in a world where homeowners are liable if things go wrong – WSIB, Ministry of Labour, homeowner insurance, and loan insurances. It’s a maze!
SHINY AND NEW: Then, I noticed how homes and renovations are sold to us by way of features and selections. It is highly likely that if you want to build a new home you will be taken through a process where you will choose a layout, a kitchen and countertop, light fixtures, flooring and paint…all in about 4 hours.
If you go looking for how to make a change to your kitchen or bathroom you will walk into a big box store and be directed to your isle where you will find dozens of options to choose from. We have been made into consumers and our homes into a collection of consumer products. (There was a time when the guy at the hardware store knew you and your neighbours and cared about your life.)
NAVIGATING THE MAZE: Given this complexity, how can homeowners be expected to navigate this world? It seems to me that if everyone’s attention is on the quartz countertop, no one is noticing or even aware of things that make for a house that lives well, holds its value, has durability, and makes a small environmental impact.
As homeowners begin thinking about alterations to their home they are at the mercy of whoever they stumble upon. The construction industry is filled with wonderful professionals, individuals with integrity, knowledge and skills. But there is no easy way to find them.
Most building projects require more than finding a builder. There are many different players. How many on this list can be expected to think about making a house that lives well: bankers, real estate brokers, suppliers, inspectors, engineers, tradespeople, and builders. They each have their own priorities, and none of them are in a position to consider all the factors you are facing.
Designed to fill the Gap
It has taken a while for me to put this all together and I’m still learning more, but I see the gap. The Landing Company was created to fill the gap between homeowners who want to build additions, do renovations or build a new home, and a very complex and changing industry. The Landing Company provides a platform to collect and arrange all the factors that you need to consider and links them to the right solutions and professionals to fulfill your goals and build your project.
Over the years, the TLC business model has been refined to create a more seamless experience – providing a road map through every consideration, from early due-diligence through design concept development to final working drawings, all the way through the build and to the final walkthrough.
My daughter, Suzanne joined me in 2014. She has made a major contribution to that seamless experience. Suzanne is a public relations professional and communications specialists. In all likelihood, her’s will be the first voice you hear if you call TLC. Suzanne’s strength lies in her ability to hear a need, a priority, and an idea and chart a path that becomes easy to understand. You won’t be disappointed.
So if you find yourself in the maze, looking for a way to build, renovate or build an addition, consider The Landing Company, a place where every factor is considered.
– Will Klassen, Principle & Designer