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    • Blue Skies

      May 02, 2020
      It's all blue skies and clear sailing at one of our current projects in MacArthur Heights.

      After pushing hard through some nasty weather in the winter and spring in order to start and finish this lovely view home on time, we now find ourselves on schedule and on budget.

      Our staff and subtrades are learning on the fly how to maintain appropriate distancing on the jobsite, which generally means having only one subtrade crew in the home working at any one time. Both of our mechanical crews (plumbing and HVAC) have had their respective turns for rough-ins, leaving only our electricians to do their work. That's expected to begin this week, and insulation and drywall will then follow shortly after.

      Our clients have been entirely engaged and have worked hard to complete many time-sensitive finishing choices. That's incredibly important, as it gives us the lead time we need during this pandemic to ensure products are onsite as required.

      Below are a couple of photos that show off the privileged lakeview location. We'll take great pride in showing you more photos of this stunning home as it moves through the next stages of construction.



    • A Clear Choice

      April 20, 2020

      One hallmark of modern fine custom home building is a luxurious bathroom and, in particular, a custom heavy glass enclosure and door that complements the beautiful tile and marble choices available. Nothing speaks to quality more than exceptional frameless glasswork that has clearly been individually customized for the specific application.

      These types of shower enclosures are almost always included in a Copper Island Fine Home. And when we need this type of glasswork, we invariably turn to one of our valued sub-trades—master craftsman Michael Lindblad, owner of Copper Cove Glass & Aluminum.

      Michael has almost 25 years experience in the industry. He and his father Ron were the original owners of Salmon Arm Window & Door. In 2012, after the company was sold, Michael took his hard won knowledge and Red Seal certification and opened Copper Cove Glass & Aluminum. He specializes in both commercial and residential windows and doors, mirrors, glass shelving, glass and aluminum deck railings, custom showers, and more.

      Below are some photos of two bathrooms we recently completed as part of an extensive renovation on the North Shore. The project consisted of an upper floor addition to an existing home, and the style and available space clearly required custom glass enclosures. When it came time to add the glass, we simply handed off the entire job to Michael. As you can see, he performed his usual magic, creating flawless enclosures of 10mm glass that are at once elegant, functional and easy to clean.

      Needless to say, the owners are clearly impressed with their stunning new bathrooms!

      You can learn more about Michael and Copper Cove Glass & Aluminum at www.coppercoveglass.com.

    • Putting On the Polish!

      April 14, 2020


      The photo above was taken last week at our first ever project in Sicamous—a resort home on the shores of Mara Lake, with RV storage and laundry facilities on the lower level. The lower level slab is now beautifully polished, and the entire building is now a week ahead of schedule. Our thanks to the hard work of our framers Gary Benna and Ryan Allen, and excavator contractor Mike Whitehead, for toughing it out through the winter conditions.

      Roofing has been completed, and underground plumbing was completed prior to slab placement. That leaves us ready for our framing inspection by the North Okanagan Regional District.

      Cabinets have laid out for trades on sub-floor, and we’re getting ready for mechanical rough-ins for heating and plumbing. When that’s wrapped up, our electrical sub-trades will wire the entire structure in preparation for insulation and drywall.

      As with all of our projects underway during this pandemic, we are maintaining strict hygiene on the site and appropriate distancing between our staff and trades.

      Our client is currently onsite enjoying the progress and confirming colours and finishes with our interior designer.

      If we can continue to make this type of progress, we’ll be in good shape to finish the job and allow the home to be entered into the rental pool for the summer.

    • Learning on the Fly

      April 08, 2020

      We’re quickly learning to build in our “new normal” of ultra-hygienic workplace safety practices and social distancing at all of our current projects, including this lakeview stunner on Eagle Bay Road.

      The project is entirely on schedule, thanks to the diligence of project manager Dean Friesen and the willingness of our crews to maintain their distancing onsite. That makes our clients, who have recently returned from the USA and are just finishing two weeks self-isolation, extremely happy.

      The photos below give you some idea of the progress. The basement framing is complete (note the engineered LVL stair stringers for ultimate strength and silence). Upstairs, the cabinet layouts are complete and rough-in plumbing has commenced. Our HVAC contractor has measured and is manufacturing custom ducting as this is being written. And our electrical walk-through is also complete, with rough-ins scheduled to take place as soon as HVAC and plumbing are finished.

      The fireplace has been ordered and will be installed as soon as it arrives onsite.

      All of this means that we’ll soon be ready for insulation and drywall, and our crews are standing by to complete that work the moment rough-ins are finished.

      Outside, we’ve already started preparing for trim and HardiPlank siding installation.

      We’re pleased to report that all of our crews—staff and subcontractors—are remaining positive as we adjust to the realities of building during a pandemic. We’re also pleased to see that the BC government is allowing residential construction to continue at this difficult time, for several reasons. Many of our clients have sold homes in other locations and made firm plans to be in their new homes by a specific date, and if weren’t able to complete their homes, these clients would experience significant hardships finding alternate arrangements. We’re also happy to play a role in keeping our local economy viable and our own staff and contractors gainfully employed.

      Our thanks to our clients, and all of the professionals we employ or contract, for their flexibility and efforts. Sunnier days are ahead!

    • North Shore Wrapup

      April 03, 2020

      One of our winter projects, a whole house renovation and top floor addition on the beach in Anglemont, is wrapping up on schedule, despite a rough winter.

      Below are a couple of photos of the exquisite cottage exterior finishing that entirely complements the rustic yet modern finishings inside this spectacular home. It's a charming and timeless combination of siding, shakes and rock.

      As with all of our projects currently underway or finishing, we've paid careful attention to keeping everyone involved safe during this pandemic. Our thanks to our employees and trades who have worked so hard on this project for the past six months. And of course, our sincere thanks to our clients for their trust in us, and their own hard work to help us bring it to completion.

    • Distance Building During COVID-19

      March 29, 2020

      Here at CIFH, we’re doing everything possible to continue building for our current clients during this extremely difficult time—and finding ways to keep the new home aspirations of new and future clients viable and alive.

      As you may know, the BC government is allowing residential and commercial construction to proceed, providing strict safety protocols are followed (you can read more about COVID-19 and construction in BC at https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020EMBC0002-000542). For CIFH, this means we are cautiously and responsibly proceeding with current projects, emphasizing safety and health for our clients, our employees and our sub-trades, and doing our part to contain the spread of the virus and flatten the infection curve.

      The reality is that many of our clients, past and present, have relocated--or are in the process of doing so--from other parts of the province or other provinces (and sometimes even other countries). This means we’ve acquired a great deal of expertise when it comes to interacting with our clients remotely or virtually before and during the construction process. We’re building on our remote or distance building expertise in light of this pandemic, augmenting procedures and employing new technologies as we move forward.

      What this means for current clients is that we can continue to comprehensively involve you in the building process without compromising our collective safety—we are moving your projects forward without giving up our ability to involve you in every aspect of the construction process.

      But what if you’ve been planning to build your Shuswap dream home in 2020 or beyond? Well, we’re confident that we can use the same virtual tools and approaches to get your project out of the ground as well. Trying to predict the end date of this pandemic would be senseless and pointless, but based on the expert scientific forecasts we’ve been seeing, it seems likely there will be some kind of partial or full resolution. That may leave us all in an environment of pent-up demand for new home construction.

      At the very least, it might be a prudent idea for anyone with a definite building timeline to at least proceed with the planning, selection, and pricing processes that precede ground-breaking.

      Virtual or distance building tools we’re already employing or augmenting include video-conferencing (or online meetings) with multiple participants—for example, clients, our design and estimating staff, suppliers and sub-trades. As well, we have long been using Corecon, the industry-leading comprehensive cloud-based construction management software suite designed for the construction industry, which allows virtual, real-time contract administration, materials procurement, time-tracking, correspondence, document control, quality control, scheduling and external team collaboration.

      We’re also excited to be developing a sophisticated, yet easy-to-use online, interactive estimating and best practice recommendation tool. This will utilize video conferencing with clients and allow us to walk them through an interactive spreadsheet, changing and selecting options in real time. The goal is for clients to easily see at a glance various building scenarios and their costs, promote discussion, and allow clients to make well-informed decisions. The spreadsheet will be dynamic, in that most options and choices will have links to give clients the ability to look and learn more about the various options.

      Additionally there will be online selection sheets that can be filled in by the clients simply by clicking in a box, and this will result in real-time changes and updates, allowing CIFH to almost instantly request quotes for materials and labour from our trusted trades and suppliers.

      The reality for many of us is that, due to social distancing, we are all finding ourselves with a lot more time on our hands these days. If you’ve been planning on building in the Shuswap, we’d like to suggest that a great use of some of your spare time would be moving forward with the planning stages of your project. Here at CIFH, we have the tools, technologies and expertise to move forward with you, safely and efficiently, using our distance or virtual capabilities.

    • Addressing Covid-19

      March 18, 2020

      The Shuswap is known for its tranquility and slow pace of life that's not often interrupted by large world events. But the Covid-19 virus knows no boundaries, and no one is immune from the threat, including those in our community. That's why we're taking steps to do our part when it comes to flattening the curve and minimizing the impact.

      First and foremost, we want to be responsible in the way we manage our business, which means doing whatever we can to ensure everyone we work with remains healthy.

      We also want to manage the risk of any delays or inability to source materials for our clients. We are working with our trade network in order to be proactive in this regard and, although there may be things which occur outside of our control, we will strive to minimize any potential disruption to you and your project.

      We are taking the following measures and precautions to make sure we are protecting our clients, employees and trades’ health:

      ● Eliminate non-essential large gatherings.
      ● Take advantage of remote meetings whenever possible.
      ● Educate our staff on personal hygiene measures by frequently washing hands thoroughly, as well as using hand sanitizer and disinfecting our offices and work sites regularly.
      ● Communicate with our trades to ensure they are following good hygiene guidelines.
      ● Ensure that any employee returning from outside Canada self-quarantines for 14 days.
      ● Stop all non-essential travel of employees for the foreseeable future.
      ● Monitor government guidelines in preparation for further action if required.

      In addition, for all our Valued Clients we will:

      ● Identify and communicate any potential risks and impacts as we become aware of them.
      ● Plan further ahead than normal to seek to minimize risks, such as product availability.
      ● Increase the use of video conferencing and other online systems to reduce the need for in-person meetings.
      ● Be available to discuss any client concerns.
      ● Increase our communication with sub-trades to ensure we are working with them for maximum protection and efficiency.

      We value your feedback in these unusual times, so please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns. In the meantime, we will be taking every precaution to manage this situation to the best of our abilities. We do take this situation very seriously and the health of our clients, employees and sub-trades is extremely important to us. We are also very aware of the local communities we work in and wish to ensure we do our part in protecting the people who live here too.

      Stay safe and well,

      Greg Vistisen, President and CEO
      Marcus Picton, General Manager

      On behalf of the Copper Island Fine Homes Team.

    • That's a ton of steel!

      March 13, 2020

      Actually, it's probably a lot more than just one ton.

      As we’ve grown our company, we’ve built our capacity to work farther afield. Below are some photos of our first-ever project in Sicamous. It involves removing an existing garage foundation and replacing it with a larger foundation and rental cabin, with RV storage and laundry facilities below. Our client is a businessman from Calgary who sought us out after having heard about our reputation and quality workmanship.

      We’ve been busy this week forming up in preparation to pour foundation walls. Included in our structural engineering review was a requirement to add substantially more 15 mm rebar in both the enlarged back wall footings and foundation wall. Our structural engineer has site visited and inspected the installation, and given us a pass with flying colours.

      The pour is taking place today, and due to the cold temperatures expected this weekend, we’ll be hoarding with insulated tarps and monitoring curing via our onsite probes.

      Looking ahead on this project, we’ll be doing our best to find time savings in the construction schedule, as our client is hoping to have the cabin in their rental pool for the summer.

    • Focus On Finishing

      March 07, 2020

      As we wrap up one of our winter projects on the North Shore, the focus is squarely on the exquisite finishing.

      The challenge with the project, which is a major update of an existing waterfront home, was to modernize while retaining just enough of the original rustic Shuswap cabin feel. We think the owners have nailed it with their design, and we also think our staff and trades have done an incredible job executing the work.

      The rustic fireplace (top left photo below) is simply beautiful. Our thanks to stonemason Gunnar Keuris of North Shuswap Masonry for the effort. The final result will be amazing.

      Meanwhile, a shoutout as well to our tilesetter, Cory Closson. His work on the custom, framed-in-place showers (top right) is a pleasure to see—particularly how well he has tied in the tile with the quartz onlays on some of the surfaces. We’re really looking forward to seeing the finished product once the shower glass has been installed.

      And finally, the tongue and groove panelling on the ceilings (bottom photo), including in the new upper floor loft, is a refreshing, old-world change to the modern home ceilings we typically do in drywall. Our own carpenters, Chuck Beaton and Tim Lukashuk, are to be commended for their craftsmanship on the ceilings, and for the beamwork and other exquisite joinery throughout the home.

      We’ll look forward to posting more photos when the entire job is completed later this month.

    • Meet Our New GM

      March 04, 2020

      We’re so pleased to introduce our new General Manager, Marcus Picton.

      Marcus joins us after a highly-successful 20 year career in construction management—ten years of which was in his native UK, with the last ten years spent in Calgary. From 2001 to 2011, he was the Managing Director of Finwood Custom Log and Timber Frame Buildings in Cambridge, where he oversaw virtually all aspects of the sale, design and construction of custom log homes, holiday cabins, custom wood sporting facilities and commercial retail structures. In 2011, he emigrated to Canada, where he’s been General Manager at Corefront Custom Homes and Renovations in Calgary. All of this combined to make him the ideal candidate to a take on the position of Copper Island Fine Homes General Manager, a position that we created in response to our increased management workload brought by 15 years of successful expansion.

      In his new position, Marcus will have varied responsibilities covering most aspects of our business, including general management and planning, day-to-day operations, human resources, and sales and marketing. He’ll report directly to Greg Vistisen, President and Owner.

      “My family and I have been very much looking forward to relocating to Blind Bay in the Shuswap area,” says Marcus. “The opportunity for me to be part of the team at Copper Island Fine Homes is very exciting and a new chapter in my life I really relish. As General Manager there will be many responsibilities and challenges, but I believe my past experience will stand me in very good stead with this. Having managed well over 400 custom new build and renovation projects has taught me a lot of invaluable lessons but also that you always need to be prepared to think on your feet. I look forward to working with Greg and the team, in pushing the company to new heights and accomplishing great things together.”

      Currently, Marcus is getting up to speed with all Copper Island’s systems, policies and procedures. Clients and trades can expect to see more of him beginning in June, when he and his family relocate permanently here.

      “My wife, daughter, son and I are really looking forward to settling in the Blind Bay area,” he says. “We all love the outdoors and being active, so having the lake, hiking, biking and so much more on our doorstep will be awesome. We fully intend to immerse ourselves in the Shuswap lifestyle and enjoy the beauty this area offers. We are actively looking for a home here and can’t wait to get settled down and start exploring.”

      Please join us in warmly welcoming Marcus and his family to our area—and to our company.