Reprinted with permission from Business Peace Cariboo
by Mark MacDonald
PRINCE GEORGE – Quality over quantity.
That’s the goal of Riverbend Construction and Renovations Ltd., and judging by the company’s performance in this year’s Prince George Builders’ Asso-ciation Awards, they’re achieving their targets.
Owners George Hein and Shad Marshall are pleased that their company won a major 2006 Northern BC Housing Award for Best Single Family Detached Home 1,200-1,400 square feet, for a residence they built on Rebelo Street.
“We were proud to receive the award,” says Marshall. “We owe much of the credit to the good working relationships with our clients and our sub-trades and suppliers on this project.
It was a crowning achievement for the company, which started in a lunch-room conversation between Hein and Marshall.
“We were talking about the rising demand for good contractors and the shortage of trades to fill the gap,” recalls Hein. “It seemed a good time to think about being an owner rather than an employee.
“The idea of being able to in-vest our own visions and work ethics into a company was ap-pealing.”
After more than 19 years each in the industry working on a wide range of project types, Hein and Marshall each had plenty of work experience behind them.
That included setting up logging camps, home renova-tions, retro-fi tting houses for the handicapped, building custom homes and complex concrete formwork at the University of Northern British Columbia.
“We felt confident that we could help fill the trades gap and offer a quality service to our native city,” says Marshall.
In the first year of operation, Community Futures Development Corporation was instrumental in providing financial and business support. A business plan with annual goals for Riverbend’s growth was created with CFDC’s help.
The company incorporated at the end of November, 2004, and managed to exceed their goals by the end of their first year. The complimentary skill sets of George and Shad, as well as their wives who share the office work, have provided for a solid foundation for the company.
“From the outset Riverbend’s focus has been on quality workmanship and customer satisfaction,” says Hein. “Work projects center around residential construction and renovations with some jobs in the light industrial sector.
Custom homes are built with care and accuracy.
“We both work closely with clients to ensure that the home or renovation is what the customers want or envision, and to help them make energy-efficient decisions throughout the building process,” says Marshall.
Being a smaller company helps ensure good quality control, because at least one experienced carpenter can be onsite for the entire project.
“We believe that investing time to do a job right the first time instead of re-doing poor work later is always more efficient in the long-run,” notes Hein.
The Riverbend owners believe building a quality home goes beyond building to a set of plans. It also entails a relationship with the customer, working closely with them so that they are satisfied with the project’s outcome.
“We know that building a house or embarking on a renovation is a large and sometimes stressful project,” says Marshall. “Our hope is to help make the experience as painless as possible for our clients.
Both Hein and Marshall say it has been an advantage to have worked in the Prince George area for so long prior to starting the business.
They brought along previously-established good relationships with other local suppliers and trades that do the kind of quality work and provide the kinds of quality products River-bend standards demand.
“Having access to these good sub-trades suppliers has been invaluable to Riverbend’s success thus far,” says Hein.