Author: Mike Burns

image

17 Jul Black Point | Shades of Grey

I was fortunate enough to attend a lecture by textile artist Kaffe Fassett titled 'Glorious Colour'. Reknown for his strong, bold, contrast use of colour, I was astounded by his appreciation and love of 'Grey'. 'Grey' is what Scottie and his team have seen this week at the Black Point site. Soft ocean spray, sea mist and the stunning colour choices of Cape Cod cladding by in house MRB architect really settle this build into the landscape. Almost like camouflage. While the north and west walls are clad in vertical grey, the south and east walls feature a horizontal combination of colour. LOVE IT! ...

Read More
image

15 Jul Lend a Hand | Weir building

A traditional MiqMaq fishing technique, 'Weir' fishing in Nova Scotia has been a way of life for many families for centuries past. As soon as spring weather allows countless hours of physical labour go in to build a weir . Dictated by the amazing tides of the Northumberland Strait, long posts cut from trees are driven into the exposed ocean floor. Meticulously placed and spaced in preparation for the net and brush that complete the fishing trap. When Tropical storm Arthur hit Nova Scotia last week, our dear friends saw their weir and their livelihood literally wash away with the tide. A group of friends including MRB's Smitty and Corey heard the S.O.S and headed out. House building vs. Weir building, how different could it be? With 2 daylight tides, 7am and 7pm, on Saturday the team made awesome progress rebuilding the weir and when they arrived for duty Sunday morning they were already reaping the benefits. Exhausted from a weekend of Work Hard and Play Hard, Corey headed home with 20lb of fresh caught flounder, while Smitty was emptied handed.  Next time he might check the currency of pay as he prefers NOT to eat fish! ...

Read More
image

10 Jul Clifton St | deck

As finishing work continues on the inside, there is exciting work commencing outside. In collaboration with designer Sue Sirrs 'Outside Planning and Design Studio', the team marks out the deck and puts in posts. The deck will be constructed with hemlock posts and framing, and decked with cedar, then finished with a timber stain in keeping with the buildings cladding. Sometime in the 1960's pressure (chemical) treated pine, CCA, became the choice of materials for decks and constructions exposed to the elements. 'Not only are the chemicals used in this process toxic, but overtime, it has shown that pine decking is not as durable as cedars in an outdoor environment.' The beautiful tall Hemlock posts will become support structure for a shade sail. This deck will provide the homeowner with extended living areas from inside whilst tying in the landscape outside. ...

Read More
image

08 Jul Walnut Street | renovation

Steevo and his team have started out on a new project. It will be exciting to watch progress on this renovation as the team work methodically through the home. Out with the old and in with the new. Owners will be looking forward to a new bathroom, replacement of flooring throughout the home, and fantastic updates to the kitchen. On the exterior this lovely home will retain all of it's charm with replacement of the porch on the front. While the back of the home will get quite a makeover, Cape Cod siding, new deck and entryway. ...

Read More
image

03 Jul Black Point |progress

Scottie and his team have really kept the ball rolling on this 'dream job site'. Already it's easy to imagine basking in the afternoon sun and soaking in the serenity. Windows and doors have been installed. The walls are strapped in anticipation of cladding, and decks are awaiting decking. A metal roof was choice for this build. As well as offering owners low/no future maintenance as it is extremely durable through cold winter temperatures, metal roofing ticks boxes with green building practises too. It is comprised of a high percentage of recycled materials AND 100% recyclable.  ...

Read More
image

01 Jul Clifton St | progress

Clifton St is a beehive of activity. The 'building' part is over, and the 'finishing' has began. Attention to detail is paramount and Smitty and the team draw on the finer skills of their craft with each task at hand. Corey is finishing the gorgeous contrast cedar cladding on the exterior entranceway. Inside, drywall is being hung. Not only does this enclose the structural bones of the building, but drywall also assists to increase the R-value of the finished home. Stay tuned for updates as the team lead this building down the final stretch for home! HAPPY CANADA DAY. ...

Read More
South Street

26 Jun South St | complete

Steevo and his team have finished up their work on the South St home this week. Before the paint goes on and the house looks like new again, the photos below show just how much was involved in repairing the damage caused by water penetration. -Stripping the house back to reveal all the affected components; -Removing the damaged materials; and finally following MRB strict procedure; -Putting it all back together. Due to its unique properties, in life water is our best friend, but in building, it is our enemy! ...

Read More
image

23 Jun MRB Speedsquares | Play On!

'Hockey night in Canada's Play On! is the largest participatory sports festival in Canada', so of course, we were there to be part of it! There was hype and excitement leading up to the weekend, and by the time the team convened at the MRB woodshop for a Friday night beer, the whole city was abuzz. This weekend was the opportunity for anyone to showcase the skills they spent a lifetime mastering. Who can't recall a childhood street hockey tale? Saturday morning came, and so did the rain. The MRB Speedsquares hit the ground and a convincing first game win of 7-1 set the tone for what was to come. Despite the rain, the team continued to dominate, and with game scores of, 13-2, 6-2, 8-2, 4-1, they were ready for finals. Somehow, amidst the excitement...

Read More

12 Jun Thermalwise |energy efficient building

As you know, innovative technologies and energy efficiency are priority to us. R-2000 is an industry standard introduced by Natural Resource Canada to promote energy efficiency and environmental responsibility in home construction. This week we had a series of tests performed by 'Thermalwise' on our Clifton St build. These tests are performed to produce a score.Airtightness testing is conducted by using fans to induce pressure differentials across a buildings air barrier system. We were excited to watch the testing process and even more excited to hear how we rated. So you can compare: New house with typical batt insulation average score 3.5 R-2000 house average score 1.5 Our Clifton St preliminary score 1.09! This test has been performed prior to installation of drywall to allow us to easily access any potential problem areas (air leakage) that may show up. On completion of this build, our standard of excellence at less than 1 should be easily met. Phenomonal! ...

Read More
image

10 Jun Lobster | support local business

Wherever you go, when people hear you live in Nova Scotia, an immediate topic of conversation is Atlantic Lobsters. I hosted an international visitor last week. Played 'tour guide' around our stunning province and of course finished up her visit with a feast of local Lobster! At less than $5/lb, it's more affordable than any meat. There's no growth hormones, and it's nutritional value is awesome! (Without the melted butter!) But best of all, it's fresh. Most lobster vendors around the city claim it's caught the same day. As we support local business in the building industry, we should all make an effort to support our local lobster fisherman. After all, eating is everyone's industry! ...

Read More
image

05 Jun South Street | Repair

The owners of this south end home called upon MRB when they discovered water damage and rotting shingles after a renovation that had been done a few years prior. Steevo and his team found that although the previous contractor had used Tyvek and Tuck tape when sealing the joins, there were no proper flashing installed leaving the water no where to go. Hence, the rot. In addition to installing additional flashing to promote drainage, the team (following MRB procedure), also repaired the corner boards and window trims before replacing the shingle cladding. This job is an example of why we invest in procedures. Prevention is always better than cure! ...

Read More
image

03 Jun Black Point | Framing

Beautiful bright sunshine has been a great motivation for Scottie and the team to get to work on the Black Point build. 'Its a dream job site!' Working on a site like this with it's stunning panoramic views and amazing backdrop commands immediate and ongoing respect for how this home is going to settle in the landscape. While the building commences, excavation work continues to create the final grade of the land. The sequence of photos demonstrate the pace of progress over just one week. ...

Read More
MRB Contracting, halifax nova scotia, contractor, builder,

29 May A worthwhile Investment

Investment- 'is time, energy, or matter spent in the hope of future benefits actualized within a specified date or time frame.' With each opportunity of a new build the investment feels equally ours, until we hand you the keys and it becomes yours! Time- from conception of a project we invest hours ensuring we understand your requirements and needs. We strive to achieve the highest standards of craftsmanship are maintained while deadlines are met. Energy- stop by a work site to get some idea of the energy that we use to build your home! Kinetic energy of the team is just one form. Matter- with our expertise we will guide you through the vast choices of local, reclaimed, environmentally efficient and sensitive, building products available and suitable for your build. We invest because we want you TO LOVE IT. ...

Read More
image

27 May Clifton St | more concrete

The preparations for pouring concrete were traditionally over when the foundation of a house was complete. Modern day application of concrete has seen this versatile composite building material, become second only to naturally occurring water as most commonly used component in all infrastructure. Modern architect design and application sees the use of concrete extend well into the later stages of this build at Clifton St.  Smitty and the team set out and prepared the second floor spaces- bedrooms and bathrooms for Fridays pour. After careful monitoring to retain ideal moisture levels over the weekend, Monday the team cut control joints in the slab work for a perfect finish. ...

Read More
Bluenose Marathon

22 May Runners and Royals

This Victoria Day long weekend made Halifax buzz with excitement. Who could ask for a better start to the weekend than the beautiful sunshine that we had on Friday. A huge congratulations to our project foreman Scott Billard on his fantastic effort in his 1/2 marathon run on Sunday. Scott crossed the line in 40th place in a field of over 2000 starters. Awesome! And to finish the weekend, royal followers were out to catch a glimpse of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall 'Camilla' enjoying Halifax and the weekend festivities. ...

Read More
image

20 May Black Point | update

After finishing up his work on the extension at Wilson Blvd, foreman Scott Billard and his team have been busy getting the new project at Black Point out of the ground. Foundations have been stripped, the removal of forms to allow the concrete to cure properly, and waterproofed in preparation for the backfill. The piers you see are for the deck that will wrap around two sides of the house. ...

Read More
image

15 May Clifton St | Dream Home

The progress at Clifton St this week has been phenomonal. It started with the basement concrete pour early Monday morning and by Wednesday afternoon the team are fast making this Nova Scotian Dream Home a reality! The walls are being clad with a pre finished product from Cape Cod. 'This product joins traditional value with advanced technology. The top quality finish is applied under strict factory conditions resulting in a maximum protection uniform finish that cannot be achieved with field applied paint'. As you can see in the pictures below, aesthetically speaking, this modern design, is really going to blend nicely with its period built neighbours. ...

Read More
MRB Millwork

13 May Wilson Blvd | millwork

With Scottie and his team's work on the exterior all but complete, Tom from the woodshop has moved in. The new extension is being fitted with custom crafted cabinetry and millwork right from the MRB woodshop. The pantry doors have been fitted with zero protrusion hinges allowing the internal drawers to glide open unobstructed. The stunning kitchen peninsula dividing the new addition is flooded with daylight from doors and skylight above. This project is shaping up to be amazing, stay tuned for photos on completion!...

Read More
image

08 May Clifton St | Basement

Clifton Street has been a hive of activity. Not only are all the windows in place and cladding progressing well, but the team have managed to fit in preparations for the basement slab! After the plumbing and electrical had been roughed in and as specified by the architect the process was step by step: 1. Basement is filled with tamped gravel to 2 inches below the footings 2. A 2 inch layer of rigid foam, gaps filled with foam and joins sealed with Tuck Tape 3. A complete covering of PERMINATOR, a 15 Mil Underslab Vapor Barrier/Retarder that extends up the height of each wall 4. Second layer of rigid foam, this time 1 inch, again gaps filled with foam and joins sealed with Tuck Tape 5. Finally, the steel mesh in readiness for the concrete pour Each of the steps is an investment in the overall success of the build. Ensuring its environmental impact is minimal and comfort for the homeowner optimal. ...

Read More
image

06 May Clifton St | Windows

There was excitement in the air for the much anticipated arrival of the Clifton Street windows. The team were on site early to unload the 28 Accurate Dorwin Triple pane fibreglass windows. In keeping with MRB philosophy, these windows are incredibly energy efficient and offer substantially low U- values. They commenced work immediately, meticulously installing several of the windows following the MRB window installation procedures as we detailed in a previous blog post. As each window is installed the team are able to move forward with the exterior finish of cladding. While there are many steps in this installation process, each plays a vital role in the functionality of the final build. As usual, Smitty and the team practice their craftsmanship and attention to every detail. ...

Read More