Business View Magazine | November 2020

70 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 2020 grow, and improve, and expand our services.” Today, that team consists of 15 full-time employees, including designers, architectural technologists, estimators, interior designers, as well as many subcontractors. Together, they help steer a complete homebuilding package from design through to completion. Even though the Gilbert + Burke head office is in Lindsay where the business started, in today’s virtual world that just means it’s where the computers are. The company has crews working out of several other areas in cottage country. Depending on the year, the firm averages 60 percent newbuilds vs 40 percent renovations. According to co-owner Cathy Burke, “As far as the project process, typically, a person will contact us about an idea they have and they need to know what’s available to them, and a ballpark budget of what they might be looking at. Perhaps they already have a property – maybe it’s heritage, maybe they just bought it – or maybe they don’t even have a property yet. So, our sales staff talks to them, and often goes to the property, after which we discuss a plan and a quote depending on their choices and finishes. If it fits what they had in mind, we enter into a project development plan with them, and then we take it from the idea stage through to the ready-to-build stage. And then we build it.” Working in cottage country, the rocky terrain and water access can pose difficulties. Gilbert + Burke has done many island projects that necessitate use of the company barge and extra, unforeseen labor. Cathy notes, “You have to get the material to a dock and load it onto the barge. On one particular project on Lake Muskoka, we had to offload it from the barge, load it onto a 4x4 ATV with a trailer, and then haul it up a steep rock hill to the building site. And then offload it again. So that was a challenge. Another project involved a client who had bought an existing cottage on a very steep, 45-degree incline that was also boat access. They wanted to add a lower level under the existing level and, of course, we ran into rock. So then, we had to blast the rock underneath the existing cottage. There are a lot of safe techniques to accomplish that but it’s still a challenge.”