This week we have the pleasure of featuring Chris Barry and Oliver Logue, owners of Black Fox Builders. “Oliver brings an aspect to our company that most home building companies lack, i.e. experience as a project manager and his P. Eng degree from UNB Fredericton.” “As for me,” he writes, “I bring a wide array of experience in the construction and renovation space.” This is where their story begins.
CanWel: What is the history of your company?
Chris Barry: Black Fox Builders was founded in the spring of 2018. Oliver Logue and I operate the business. In 2009, I graduated from the Business program from NBCC Saint John, and then from the Carpenters Training Center in 2011. Over the next three years, I did my apprenticeship. Then, I received my journeyperson national accreditation in 2015 and started my own company. Fast forward to 2018. With the wealth of knowledge and experience contributed by Oliver, our team became well diversified to take on any task ahead of us.
We use many subcontractors and have an amazing team of four people who are very passionate about building. We will be adding two or three more positions for the 2021 building season. Entering our third building season, we continue to grow. We are adding more subcontractors to fill the gaps and take over some tasks to enable us to take on more projects. We focus on new home construction in the Greater Saint John region in New Brunswick. We specialize in garages and decks.
What services do you offer?
We offer the total package as a General Contractor. We take on the entire project: we coordinate all the permits, sub trades and our own team to complete the project from start to finish.
Can you tell us about one of your favourite projects and why?
To narrow down my choice to only one project is difficult. As we grow, every project seems to evolve and get bigger and better. We are constantly learning and adapting to the process. If I had to narrow it down to one project that comes to mind, it would be our “Pine” job. We started by removing all the old decking and railing system, keeping the existing frame. The framing was still in good shape and just needed some minor code upgrades. Then, we covered the joists with protective tape to cover old nail holes and to limit water penetration to ensure that the frame would last even longer.
After putting down all the composite decking, we finished the deck off with a Century Aluminum Railings system consisting of beautiful white metal posts and rails, as well as a combination of white metal spindles and glass. The glass was key in that case because of the gorgeous water views we have here in our region with multiple river systems leading into the Bay of Fundy. The “Pine” job was no exception.
Why do you work with . . .?
We use quite a bit of the extensive list of products CanWel provides, but for the purpose of this question, we will be highlighting the Century Aluminum Railings system. We have installed a few different variations of this system dozens of times. Usually a combination of spindles and glass, but sometimes all the same type.
We have also started doing more railings with the Scenic collection that eliminates the top and bottom rails to provide a better view. With the views that our region and beautiful province have to offer, why not? These systems are so easy to use and make the building of these projects a lot smoother.
What warranty do you offer on your work or the products?
We stand by our workmanship. Our number one concern is customer satisfaction. If a customer is unhappy, we will do what we can to make it right. We also use the Atlantic Home Warranty program on all of our new home construction projects. It protects the homeowner who buys a new house.
How do you approach each project?
Generally, we get a feel for what the customer is looking for and then suggest a couple of features. At the end of the day, the customer has to be happy with the project, so all final decisions are theirs to make. We will simply make some recommendations that would improve the project based on their budget. We always build in accordance with the building code, so it comes down to the esthetics.
What trends do see in the future for your industry?
In our region, we are seeing many new houses pop up. There is a lot of interest from people in Ontario looking to move to New Brunswick. We are also seeing more and more apartment complexes going up in the city, yet the supply of houses is still quite low. It is an exciting time to be a home builder.
Do you have a favourite building accessory product you like to use and what is it?
We love adding Fusion Stone Veneer features to our building projects. It adds an extra layer of depth to make any project pop. We also obviously like to upgrade railings with our Century railing systems as opposed to standard wooden rail systems.
Is there a product you really want to try?
Maybe just doing more extensive projects with current products. Would love to try out MoistureShield Composite Decking and see about working with it going forward. Of course, if there is a new product launch in the near future by CanWel, we would be excited to use it on one of our projects.
Do you have a product you use that you just can’t build without?
It would have to be the MicroPro Sienna Treated Wood. Every beautiful deck needs a solid base!
How do you find out about new products?
We have a solid partnership with Kent Building Supplies who service Atlantic Canada.
Contractors often receive swag from manufacturers and suppliers. What’s your favourite swag?
Tools! Who doesn’t love seeing new tools show up on the jobsite? We are also still waiting for our CanWel pack (wink, wink). All joking aside, it probably has to be pencils. Every jobsite has that one person who shows up at work with no pencils and leaves with everybody else’s.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Get paid for the work you do.” We constantly train our staff, and research new products and ways to build. Collectively, our ownership team has spent a decade in institutional training to do the job today. On the job, we are always learning and striving to be better. If it takes us an hour to do something, it’s because we spent a decade figuring out how to do it in an hour.
Who is your main building materials supplier?
Kent Building Supplies.
What social media channels do you use?
CanWel would like to thank Chris Barry for taking the time to share these projects and insights with us. In the meantime, stayed tuned for our next Contractor’s Corner. Follow us on social to find out when our next feature will be posted.
If you’re a contractor and want to be featured in an upcoming Contractor’s Corner blog post, message us and we’ll send you the details. If you’d like to share your photos of your latest project with us on Instagram, tag us @canwelbuildingmaterials with #canwelpros