Building Healthier, Building Better

Eastforest Homes

It is our most treasured asset and one of the safest investments on the planet. It rests in a community that we’ll call home, where memories will be our own and dreams become realities. Choosing the best in the home building industry requires diligence in decision making.

Since 1988, Eastforest Homes Limited, headquartered in Kitchener, Ontario, has known that reputation speaks volumes in the new residential construction industry. With its highly skilled tradespeople, Eastforest Homes ensures that a house becomes a home. The company’s attention to customer service and quality workmanship has earned Eastforest Homes the recognition of being one of the best in the business.

“The importance of word of mouth in this industry is unlike any other,” says Darlene Fraser, Eastforest Homes’ Sales and Marketing Manager. “Skill is everything, and word travels quickly. One happy home owner will tell four or five friends about what a wonderful experience they had.”

Indeed, it is a unique skill set passed down through generations of family craftsmen that has enabled Eastforest Homes to build over 6000 homes in communities in southwestern Ontario including the Kitchener, Waterloo, London and Simcoe areas. The firm’s specialties include condominiums, townhomes, octominiums and single detached homes. “We specialize in building new homes and have a custom home division which will do some renovations,” says Darlene. “However, we don’t promote renovations… that’s just not our area of expertise.”

With a staff of over 160, Eastforest Homes’ dedication to quality, value and certainly customer individuality, has enabled the company to raise the bar for itself and to “try to be a leader in the industry, not a follower,” says Darlene. “You build to experience what sells, what doesn’t sell, what people are asking for… we work with individuals to accommodate their desires. It’s each individual’s personal preference.”

Dreaming it True

Eastforest Homes offers an innovative approach to homebuilding with its Design Studio and Presentation Centre located in Kitchener. Unlike other home builders who offer interior finishes after a home purchase, Eastforest Homes offers these options before purchase, allowing clients to see their visions through to fruition. The team’s experienced design consultants will introduce a new home purchaser to a showcase of interior design selections tailored to his or her individual lifestyle and preferences.

The Design Studio showcases only the best brands that will complement and add value to a new home, including cabinetry, carpet, flooring and lighting. This award winning studio is continually updated to represent product changes and lifestyle trends. The selection of products will determine how a home will be built, so it’s important that customers are satisfied with their choices, as changes can be costly and oftentimes not possible. Costs for selected added features may be included in the mortgage. Eastforest Homes’ Design Studio and Presentation Centre is a complete, one stop customized approach to creating the home of your dreams.

Learning through Discovery

Eastforest Homes believes that one way to market energy efficient homes and to generate consumer interest is by demonstration. To this end, the firm’s Discovery Home in Kitchener acts as an educational centre, highlighting how being environmentally friendly during construction saves money in the long term.

Cutaways in walls and ceilings allow visitors to comprehend insulation and framing methods, such as finger-jointed lumber that reduces wood waste and the injection of additional foam insulation that eliminates the need for vapour barrier. As well, Eastforest Homes will be participating in the Optimum Home Program which involves “constructing with new and innovative ideas, materials, products and techniques to try out new things,” explains Darlene. Another educational tool, the Optimum Discovery Home will feature displays and Plexiglas cut-outs to show visitors behind the scenes construction features such as drywall and floor joists. A glass wall looking in to the furnace room explains what HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilation) is and how it works.

In order to achieve an EnerGuide rating, homes undergo the blower door test – a home is sealed off and tested for air tightness. Both Eastforest’s Optimum Home and a hybrid received the blower door test at the framing stage which is “unheard of,” says Darlene.

Considering that the test is normally conducted after drywalling, “Both of these homes passed and exceeded the normal requirements for a home that’s drywalled. So the systems that we’re putting in place are systems that will be adopted,” adds Darlene. “We’re working with a number of industry consultants and experts on this. We do whatever we can to be a leader in the community with respect to new ideas and products.” Eastforest’s Optimum Discovery Home will be completed in November 2013.

Environmental Awareness

Eastforest Homes believes in respecting the environment in all aspects of new home construction. The company has been an Energy Star® builder since 2008, and new homeowners have confidence in knowing they have a quality built home by tradesmen building to the highest of standards.

Darlene shares that the Building Code in Ontario changed last year and the Energy Star® Program changed in January 2013. Many home builders opted to stay with the previous program, which will be recognized for an additional two years. But, “We jumped on the bandwagon,” she says. “We’re one of the first builders in Ontario to sign up for the new program, so all of our homes are now being built to the Next Generation Energy Star® Program, which is included in the price.”

Customers do appreciate an Energy Star® built home and its associated long term savings but Darlene cautions that, “We as builders have to do a better job at promoting it… You have to find a happy medium between progress for the community and protecting the environment for the individual, both at the same time.”

Giving Back to the Community

Eastforest Homes is an active long term contributor to the communities in which it builds. The company participates in a number of programs and donates to a number of organizations such as its $1 million donation, over the next ten years, to Conestoga College in Kitchener. “[The donation] is toward the program they have there that is encouraging young people to get involved in the construction industry,” says Darlene.

She also shares that Eastforest Homes will be opening a new site in London, Ontario. At a recent reception, the company purchased 150 trees from ReForest London and gave everyone in attendance a tree to plant. ReForest London, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to the enrichment of human and environmental health through the planting of trees within the community. “London is going through a reforest program,” she says. “They’re trying to encourage people to plant a million trees over the next year or so.”

As well, Eastforest Homes has volunteered to provide assistance to My Sisters’ Place, also in London. The facility provides a supportive, safe community for women facing homelessness and offers programs to address such issues as addiction, abuse and poverty. With expansion plans, the facility will be installing an elevator and finishing attic space for medical facilities. “Eastforest Homes has volunteered to provide manpower and time to doing construction for them,” says Darlene. “We’re brand new to London; but we don’t want to just come in, sell and leave. We want to be part of the community.”

As the recipient of numerous awards, Eastforest Homes Limited remains consistent in its vision to be seen as one of the best in new home construction in southwestern Ontario. Through research, technological innovation and professional development, the company strives to meet and exceed customer expectations.

“In southwestern Ontario there’s a lot of land to be developed. We have very good relationships with many of the developers. We’re familiar with the housing styles and types,” concludes Darlene. “We want to be the best in where we are and what we do. Not necessarily the biggest, but definitely the best.”

May 29, 2020, 3:01 AM EDT