“Workversary”- 5 Things I’ve Learned Working at Kawartha Lakes Construction

This past month marked my 3rd year working at Kawartha Lakes Construction and in the world of custom builds and renovations. Growing up, my Dad built two of our homes on his own so I had a first row view of the myriad of factors, the hard work and the planning that goes into building a new home. Construction wasn’t completely foreign to me but I still had MUCH to learn when I walked through the KLC doors 3 years ago. I remember one particular meeting where a couple of my colleagues were discussing how a current project’s staircase design would turn out…I snuck a side glance at one of our designers sitting next to me and muttered “someone wants fur on their stairs? Weird!” He burst out laughing and enlightened me that they were talking about F-I-R fir, not animal fur. Cue red face!

As with any industry, the home building & renovations realm has it’s own unique language and I experienced a definite learning curve when I started at KLC. To celebrate my “workversary”, I wanted to share some of the quirkier terms that are commonplace in our day to day that I’ve added to my vocabulary during my time at KLC.

Building Home
Clearly, I was a huge help in getting our family’s cabin built.
My family’s cozy cabin that took my parent’s 4 years of hard work to bring to reality!

 1) Subs: We’re not talking lunch options when we ask which subs are at a job. Short for subcontractors or subtrades, “subs” refers to the amazing network of professionals we work with to deliver our projects, from excavating to electricians to drywallers and beyond. I’ve gotten to know dozens of new faces over the last couple years and have learned that when it comes to building & renos, it truly takes a village. KLC is fortunate to have strong relationships with a wide range of talented local professionals that share our commitment to quality that are an essential ingredient to our success.

2) Autopsy: A bit of a grim term, in KLC world when one of our team performs an autopsy, they are looking back at a completed project and analyzing items such as hours of labour and materials costs. This not only allows us to see where we can improve but also helps keep our statistics accurate for future estimates. No dead bodies involved. 🙂

3) Parging: The first time I encountered this term, I was sure my colleague had typo’d the word purging. Nope, no typo! Parging is the thin coat of plaster/mortar applied to the above grade portion of foundation to leave a smoother, more refined surface. Its role is essentially decorative but it does also acts as a barrier against inclement weather. Now ya know!

4) SIPs: We have a seemingly endless array of acronyms that get tossed around the office on a daily basis, but SIPs is one of my favourites. You would hope it had something to do with wine and a dock, but alas, this is not the reality. SIPs stands for structural insulated panels. SIPs are made up of an insulating foam core sandwiched between two structural boards. They can be used for many different applications, such as exterior walls, roofing, flooring and foundation systems. SIPs are manufactured under factory-controlled conditions and can be fabricated to fit nearly any building design. The result is a high performance building system that is extremely strong, energy efficient and cost effective.

5) Design/Build: I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t utter these words but when I began at KLC, I was unfamiliar with this the term and furthermore, unfamiliar with the different approaches to planning a substantial project. Put simply, Design/Build is a one-stop shop, frequently describing our services as taking clients “from concept to completion”. Compared to the traditional design-bid approach, where an architect creates plans and then a homeowner is left to bid them out to various contractors, Design/Build is an “under one roof” approach to creating functional solutions, whether you are building a new cottage or remodeling your kitchen. Granted, I am now pretty biased, but it truly is the most seamless, comprehensive method to designing a project that is going to fulfill the function, form and budget of your envisioned project.

There you have it! Some insight into the lingo of the home building world that I have come to know and love. There’s no doubt that working in this industry provides the opportunity to learn something new every day, which makes it pretty easy to love coming in to work every day.