Celebrating members’ achievements: Rinaldi Homes and Empire Communities win top awards

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STAFF WRITER
The GTA Construction Report Special Feature

Every 18 months the Niagara Home Builders’ Association (NHBA) celebrates members’ achievements through its Awards of Excellence. Winners are selected in the categories of new home construction, home renovation, sales and marketing and community development. This year top awards went to Rinaldi Homes, named Builder of the Year, and Empire Communities in the Excellence in Green category.

NHBA president Chuck McShane says the awards recognize and celebrate members’ accomplishments and showcase their products. “The one thing common to all of the categories and winners is the quality of workmanship demonstrated.”

Winners are determined by a panel of anonymous judges who review submissions online. This, says McShane, allows for feedback from judges who best represent the industry, not just people who might be local to Niagara.

“We believe Niagara has, by far, the best builders and best trades in the province,” he says. “Our members come together to work together, they leave their egos at the door for the benefit of the industry and these awards are a great way to bring attention to that.”

Top Builder – Rinaldi Homes

A media release announcing the winner says Rinaldi’s “ongoing communication with customers throughout the entire construction process, weekly meetings with construction and sales teams, incorporating new products and improving building practices” have been key to its success.

Danielle Rinaldi, marketing and new development co-ordinator, says: “It is great to be recognized for our hard work, dedication, and quality. We are very proud of our team’s accomplishments, and the work that we do.”

She says the award reiterates the third generation family owned company’s commitment not only to the customer, but also the community, the industry, design and construction quality. This year the company took part in several initiatives including the Heart and Stroke Big Bike Ride, and the Playhouse Competition for the Kristen French Centre and Victims Niagara.

The awards also serve to reinforce to clients that they are getting a high quality home by a reputable builder. “They know they are partnering with someone who cares for what will be one of the biggest investments of their lives.”

She says Rinaldi Homes builds award winning designed homes in architecturally controlled communities with quality craftsmanship that the company is proud to put its name on.

“We were among the first Niagara based homebuilders approved by Mike Holmes to build Holmes Approved Homes,” she said. With the trusted contractor and television host’s stamp of approval, homeowners have further assurance that they have bought a well-built home, she said. All Holmes Approved Homes are built with specific building products, installation methods and building practices to ensure enhanced durability, energy efficiency, fire, moisture and mould resistance, sound protection and higher indoor air quality.

“I’m proud to have Rinaldi on board and part of my HOLMES Approved Homes Program,” stated Mike Holmes. “They caught my attention, and it looks like they caught the attention of a few other people, too! I’m not surprised they won the Builder of the Year Award. They’re pros and they know how to build it right. That’s why I asked them to become a partner builder. Congratulations! When you work hard it pays off, and it shows every single time. Everybody wins when you build it right.”

Rinaldi says the company is honoured to be respected in the construction industry, especially in Niagara. “We have been working with and alongside many members of the NHBA for so long; being recognized with the top award really lets us know that we are on the right track.”

Excellence in Green – Empire Communities

A release announcing the Excellence in Green winner notes that each “Empire Community is master planned to ensure the best lifestyle for its homeowners: pedestrian friendly streets, parks and access to trails and recreational opportunities, incorporating sustainable design principles, planning for sustainable energy sources, and considering the environmental impact of any new site.”

“Empire strives to build sustainably and to reduce construction waste; disposing of hazardous materials safely; designing for durability; and continually adopting new practices to reduce waste production.”

Empire Communities vice president Sue MacKay says Empire works hard to deliver ENERGY STAR qualified homes. “Our homeowners can rest easy knowing that their homes are 20 per cent more energy efficient than those built to minimum building code requirements,” she said. “With only 32 per cent of all homes in Ontario built to ENERGY STAR qualified standards we are proud to be recognized for our high standard of green building efforts.”

In March 2015, Empire partnered with Mike Holmes and his HOLMES Approved Homes Program for all of its lowrise communities in Ontario including Imagine in Niagara.

MacKay says it is always meaningful to be recognized by peers, especially in this case for an award with such significance for Empire. Since 2007, she says, Empire has made a commitment to creating healthier, sustainable, and more energy efficient homes and has enrolled more than 4,000 homes in the program. “Being green is a buzz word in the building industry however what it means to Empire is intrinsic to our corporate values.”

She says being green by building ENERGY STAR homes means that Empire provides homeowners with energy savings every month and peace of mind that they are doing their part to lessen their family’s carbon footprint.

An Empire ENERGY STAR home means stricter air leakage requirements, higher insulation values, energy efficient windows and doors, high efficient two-stage furnaces, high efficiency hot water tanks with drain water heat recovery pipes, Energy Recovery Ventilation for continuous fresh air and efficient bathroom fans, which she says also makes homes more comfortable and less costly.

Empire began as a land development company in 1986 with land acquisitions in southwestern Ontario. In 1993 Empire Communities was founded by two families with a passion for homebuilding driven by the desire to provide quality affordable homes to families. “This initial passion has evolved over time to where we are today with more than 10,000 homes built in Ontario and an additional 20,000 homes to come over the next 10 to 15 years,” says MacKay.

“Although we have grown as a company that same passion to pioneer inspiring new communities and build exceptional homes and communities of enduring value hasn’t changed.”

The NHBA 2015 award winners
Here is the complete list:
Architectural Design
Most Outstanding Production Built Home (One storey):
Premium Building Group Modesto
Most Outstanding Production Built Home (Two storeys up to 2,500 sq. ft.):
Forest Park Homes Kinsale I
Most Outstanding Production Built Home (Two storeys 2,501 sq. ft. and over):
Mountainview Homes Aura
Most Outstanding Condo/Townhome up to 1,500 sq. ft.:
Rinaldi Homes The Benner Residence
Most Outstanding Condo/Townhome over 1,500 sq. ft.:
Premium Building Group Reserve
Most Outstanding Custom Home value under $500,000:
DRT Custom Homes The Weston
Most Outstanding Custom Home $500,000 – $750,000:
Premium Building Group Modified Hush
Most Outstanding Custom Home $750,000 – $1 million:
Pym & Cooper Custom Homes Niagara on the Lake Charmer
Most Outstanding Custom Estate Home over $1 million:
Pym & Cooper Custom Homes Martindale Retreat
Home Renovation
Most Outstanding Home Renovation up to $250,000:
Homes By Hendriks View from the Bench
Most Outstanding Home Renovation over $500,001:
Pym & Cooper Custom Home Niagara Falls Elegance
Most Outstanding Kitchen Renovation:
Mountainview Homes Flannery Lane
Most Outstanding Bathroom Renovation:
Homes By Hendriks Hillside Bathroom Reno
Room Design
Most Outstanding New Home Kitchen – Production:
Premium Building Group Winter Duet
Most Outstanding New Home Kitchen – Custom:
Lucchetta Homes Ltd Old World Kitchen
Most Outstanding New Home Bathroom – Production:
Silvergate Homes Jacob’s Landing Ensuite
Most Outstanding New Home Bathroom – Custom:
Premium Building Group Spa Escape
Most Outstanding Finished Basement:
Lucchetta Homes Ltd Hunter’s Pointe Model
Marketing
Best Print Ad Campaign:
Mountainview Homes — His Metropolis
Best Social Media:
Mountainview Homes Mountainview — Social Butterfly
Best Website:
Silvergate Homes — silvergatehomes.com
Best New Home Showroom or Sales Centre:
Empire Communities Imagine
Best Interior Decorating – Model Home/Suite:
Kenmore Homes Hampton Model Home

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