Keeping up on the latest innovations in the construction industry is something clients of builders perhaps expect of the contractors and companies they hire to do residential and commercial jobs.
Hundreds of those individuals, representing trades of all kinds and companies small to large from Greater Victoria and the Lower Island, were on hand at Eagle Ridge Arena checking out the latest and greatest tools, applications and more at a vendor fair staged last week by Slegg Building Materials.
It was a chance to listen to presentations, have conversations with manufacturers’ reps and pick their brains about challenges they’ve encountered on the jobsite.
“It’s nice to get out and just casually walk around, have a good look and ask questions that your salesman usually can’t answer for you and get it directly from the manufacturer, said Peter Yoon, whose Nanaimo company, Mainframe Construction, does foundation and framing work.
“I’m happy to see all the suppliers are listening to us and adapting their products for what we’ve encountered in the field,” he added.
With the construction industry extremely busy on the West Shore and the rest of the south Island, the need to stay connected with the people doing the building is critical, said Steve Nichols, Slegg’s Langford-based marketing manager.
Inviting 65 vendors to spotlight new products for trades professionals – not to mention providing a hearty lunch and beverages – is a way to not only thank them for their business but help keep them abreast of new technologies, he said.
“Our bread and butter for Slegg Building Materials is the professional contractor, so that’s primarily what we’re trying to give back to the community; we’re trying promote local businesses, local growth, local construction.”
Visitors to the fair, most of whom dropped by in between jobs or on their lunch breaks, could be seen wandering the aisles with goodie bags and other items handed out by the vendors. While the swag was appreciated, the product knowledge was perhaps more so.
At the Milwaukee Electric Tools booth, visitors heard about a new product line called One-Key, a cloud-based program that enables the operator to program a power tool to specific requirements. Milwaukee’s IC Field sales director, Glen Visser, said the technology is the next innovation from a 92-year-old company that built its reputation creating tools for electricians and plumbers and has moved from corded products to a mostly cordless product line.
“We’ve seen a lot of eyes widen when they realize the ability to take technology that we all carry in our pockets and have for a number of years,” he said. “To now be able to have an impact on how we deliver more efficiency on the jobsite, guys are having their ‘a-ha moment.’”
Builders in fence and deck businesses were interested to hear more about an environmentally friendly brand of pressure-treated wood that has revolutionized the industry since arriving in Ontario about four years ago and has been marketed on the Island by Slegg’s since January.
Micro-Pro Sienna remains rather new to many builders, said Brad Burmeister of Timber Specialties, which markets the preservative in Canada. “This is the first year out, so there’s a lot of tire-kicking,” he said of the reactions at the show. “The questions are, ‘what is it?’”
Jay Secord, whose company, CanWel, pre-treats the lumber before selling it to the building supply company, said the market is gradually changing to where end users are asking for more of a natural look for structures like fences and decks, rather than staining them after the fact.
“A couple of common questions being asked today are ‘what will this do to my fasteners?’” he said. With the solvents removed, the product has proven to be non-corrosive to fasteners, he added, making it a good long-term option.
While Secord said Slegg’s has “hit it out of the park” by successfully marketing MicroPro Sienna, Nichols said the renaming of his company reflects its expansion into many other product lines.
“Part of the reason we changed our name from Slegg Lumber to Slegg Building Materials is because we’ve moved far past the lumber industry,” he said. “Today we’re showcasing everything that we have as far as building materials goes. It’s everything that a builder needs from the ground up.”
Q: WHAT SHOULD I THINK ABOUT BEFORE DOING A HOME RENOVATION JOB?
Don’t buy cheap materials, you often get what you pay for and this could cost you more down the line. If you can’t afford to do the renovation, consider waiting.
Always use the proper tools. Even when there may appear to be a work around, or a similar tool may appear to be a stop-gap solution, using the wrong tool for the job can not only cause harm to the tool and the job, it can cause harm to you.
Be careful to consider your choices and don’t get sucked into what may be vogue or trendy right now. Consider choices that fit with the rest of the home and that will stand the test of time.
Do your homework. Do as much research as possible before you think about touching your house. The old adage of ‘measure twice, cut once,’ always applies. Spending time in the planning process will save you both time and money during the renovations.
Last but not least, don’t forget about safety. The most important tools you have may be the least expensive to buy. Protect your eyes with goggles, your ears with ear plugs, hands with gloves and feet with a pair of boots.
GREATER VICTORIA MARKET UPDATE » MONTH TO DATE JUNE 20/16 COURTESY VICTORIA REAL ESTATE BOARD
» 725/910 — NET UNCONDITIONAL SALES / TOTAL, JUNE 2015
» 853/1,346 — NEW LISTINGS / TOTAL, JUNE 2015
» 2,340/4,003 — ACTIVE RESIDENTIAL LISTINGS / TOTAL, JUNE 2015