OUR BLOG

MRB Contracting, modern architeture, framing, Kingsburg Nova Scotia
It’s a house! : Kingsurg 1

Indeed it is a house. The guys have finished framing the exterior of the home and finally we can get a sense of its shape.     This of course, is only the beginning. The exterior must be water proofed and clad with a modern finish. Then there's the roof, windows, doors, electric, plumbing...

KIngsburg, MRB Contracting, modern architecture
Kingsburg 1 & 2 updates: Oct 11th

After the long Thanksgiving weekend it was time to get back down to Kingsburg. Both projects are moving along nicely. The guys have sheeted the walls and part of the roof on Kingsburg 1. Today the rafters were installed. The place will be completely framed in a few days. The shot above is from the field. If you go back three weeks in our build timeline you'll notice a big difference. This is a closer photo from the same direction. The room on the right side of the photo will offer the homeowners a gorgeous ocean view. Below you can see the big beam the spans the length of the house. You can also see that some of the hangers for the rafters have been installed at the top of the roof line. A view from inside looking out towards the ocean. This photo was taken just outside the kitchen area of the home. The living room will be fitted with big windows -giving the residents the feeling of being outside. Below is the profile of the home as seen from Beach Hill Road. Bossman Smitty takes a moment after lunch to review the progress. It's been cold and rainy the last few days hence the...

MRB Woodshop
Wow. What a week.

What a great week we've had. From North End Halifax, to Halifax's West End, and down to Kingsburg, the team has been making great strides. Andrew and Ricardo finished installing the Cape Cod siding on our North End project. This 1890's home has had a massive makeover. North End Halifax has been undergoing urban renewal in recent years and we're happy to modernize the movement.     In Kingsburg, Nova Scotia, Smitty, Scott and Rob have been busy building walls at Kingsburg  1. These two photos hardly do justice to their progress. It's a good thing that the framing is moving along, October is here and soon the wind will turn cold. Those walls will come in handy as the guys move inside to work.   And finally,  a peek into a cool new project that Tom's  been working on in the Wood Shop. Here Tom is leveling the bottom row of custom crafted Baltic Burch cabinets that make up a small part of an updated living room in Halifax's West End. We'd tell you more about it but we like surprises.   ...

MRB Contracting, Kingsburg, framing, modern homes
Kingsburg 1: Framing begins

Rain can definitely stall outdoor projects at this time of year. And with the flooding that's been happening in parts of the Province it's clear that we've had plenty of it. And yet at MRB Contracting rain is not a deterrent to getting things done. The guys have been busy with beginning the framing at Kingsburg 1.   [caption id="attachment_1126" align="aligncenter" width="510"] ...

MRB Coontracting, exterior finish, cladding, siding, Halifax North End, urban renewal
Cape Cod siding on James Street

The team split up this week to cover a calender full of projects. While a few of the guys went down to Kingsburg to begin framing Kingsburg 1, some remained in Halifax to finish up the exterior of the James Street project. For cladding we chose Cape Cod finished wood siding. It's a locally sourced product that not only provides the long wearing benefits of wood siding, but also gives the house a beautiful facade. [caption id="attachment_1058" align="alignleft" width="510"] We've had a few people stop by and ask about the lattice. We use lattice to provide air movement behind the siding. We also use tar paper for its water wicking and breathability characteristics. The two work in tandem to keep water out and to allow airflow to dissipate any moisture that may enter.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1060" align="alignleft" width="510"] A table saw, compound miter saw, and a builders level are essential tools for this project. [/caption] [caption id="attachment_1059" align="alignleft" width="510"] Moving steadily from the bottom on up, Andrew lines up another board and drives a stainless colour-matched nail to anchor it.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1062" align="alignleft" width="510"] Halfway up and we're closer to finishing up one side. Check in with us often for photos of the completed...

MRB Contracting, custom fabrication, Halifax NS, team,
MacGyver Moments

Rob needed to make an octagon from 10mm rebar stock for a big concrete pier.   He started by creating a diagram.   Then he channeled MacGyver, and with role of Tuck tape and an Olfa knife he set to work.   And Rob's MacGyver Moment is a success. ...

MRB Contracting, Kingsburg, Halifax, Nova Scotia
Kingsburg 1: Beams

And the work continues on Kingsburg 1. The beams connecting the concrete piers to the ICF walls went up last week. There's hardly a nearby place to get a cup of coffee around the job site. If anything we are self reliant. Where in the world is Kingsburg anyway? Kingsburg is a coastal community located about 130 kilometers from Halifax. Like many other coastal towns, fishing was a primary source of income for residents for many decades. With the decline of the Atlantic fisheries, the town has changed demographically. With two beaches, three lakes, and hiking trails, it has become a summer vacation spot. We are fortunate to work in such a pictureque location. Scott isn't taking it for granted as he inspects his beam installation. ...

MRB Contracting, concrete
Kingsburg 2: what there are 2?

What we didn't tell you? It's true. We've been commissioned to build two homes on adjoining lots. And although the early photos of the foundation work may look similar, the two homes are completely different on the outside. Both foundations feature ICF walls and Form-A-Drain technology. Both are modern homes - designed by architects specifically for each client. Both overlook the majestic North Atlantic. [caption id="attachment_970" align="aligncenter" width="510"] The quintessential MACK Truck concrete mixer in a red and yellow colorway.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_974" align="aligncenter" width="510"] It's not quite like looking down the barrel of a gun. But anyone at the end of this slide feels a sense of urgency to get the job done.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_971" align="aligncenter" width="510"] Caption contest photo. Comments are open.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_975" align="aligncenter" width="510"] Who says you can't push a loaded wheel barrel with style?[/caption] [caption id="attachment_973" align="aligncenter" width="510"] Scott moves material while Andrew and Rob deliberate about some final details.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_976" align="aligncenter" width="510"] The boys take the time to screed the concrete to get it level. This step is key in ensuring that the ICF walls, and everything else that goes above for that matter, remains level and true.[/caption] Wow. There is a lot happening down in Kingsburg. Stay tuned as we...

MRB Wood shop, MRB Contracting, MRB Team
Meanwhile -On James Street…

We are a diverse lot. And so it is that we have multiple projects on the go. This week while part of the team was down in Kingsburg, some of the boys stayed in Halifax to work on the James Street renovation. We installed new windows, exterior trim, and flashing. We also installed two beautiful black doors on the front of the home. This project is coming along nicely and we can't wait to see the finished exterior. But you'll have to wait. [caption id="attachment_950" align="aligncenter" width="510"] Andrew is installing flashing above the trim to protect it from water damage.[/caption] The brushed aluminum door handles needed a little trimming to properly match the new look. A fine metal file and some elbow grease finished off the job. The mix of traditional and modern minimalist elements on this home are quite unique to the neighborhood. Of course there's great work going down in Halifax even when most of the Team is away. Tom is always creating amazing things in the Wood Shop. Whether it be custom kitchen cabinetry, or in this case a series of chairs commissioned by a local furniture designer, Tom's saws are buzzing and his clamps clamped at all times. [caption id="attachment_947"...

MRB Contracting, Kingsburg, concrete forms
Kingsburg 1: cured concrete & waterproofing

[caption id="attachment_921" align="aligncenter" width="510"] At the moment it's hard to see much. But not for long![/caption] The team returned to Kingsburg 1 to find soggy ground but no damage from Hurricane Leslie. So we set to work on removing the bracing from the ICF walls that we'd installed before pouring concrete. [caption id="attachment_919" align="aligncenter" width="510"] Rob likes working with concrete. He was looking forward to removing the forms to see what the piers looked like.[/caption] Just another day at the MRB office - building modern living in timeless viewscapes. [caption id="attachment_918" align="aligncenter" width="510"] Rob removed the bottom two thirds of each form -leaving the top sections braced. This will help the piers remain stable while we back fill the holes to the finished grade.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_920" align="aligncenter" width="510"] Here's a close up of the wood grain left on a concrete pier after the plywood form was removed.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_917" align="aligncenter" width="510"] The exterior of the ICF is waterproofed -first a membrane which seals the walls from the top down to the outer edge of the footing.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_922" align="aligncenter" width="510"] The second and final layer of waterproofing is a semi-rigid plastic sheeting called dimple board. The dimpled surface allows air flow between the two barriers. [/caption] [caption...

MRB Contracting, Kingsburg NS, modern home, ICF walls, concrete forms
Kingsburg 1: Preparing for Leslie/ concrete work

[caption id="attachment_884" align="aligncenter" width="510"] Thursday Sep 6th forecast[/caption] We are in the midst of Atlantic  hurricane season. Hurricanes tend to dissipate or veer off before they reach the Maritimes. But it's not always the case and being prepared is part of being a Maritimer. And so it was that we found ourselves staring down a giant red blob heading our way. By Thursday, most weather forecasters were sure we'd get a "direct hit." Without wasting any time the team worked hard to get the ICF walls in place and braced for concrete. The ICF walls create the foundation for the front of the home. The rest of the home rests on 9 concrete piers. We fabricated  concrete forms for the piers and erected and braced them for concrete. The concrete and pump trucks arrived in the nick of time. By days end our project was ready for whatever Leslie had to offer. [caption id="attachment_888" align="aligncenter" width="510"] Smitty and Scott debriefing on the installation technique[/caption] [caption id="attachment_896" align="aligncenter" width="510"] This photo shows the ICF wall and 9 piers braced and ready for concrete.[/caption] It's hard to imagine what the house will look like at this point. So stay tuned for more. This week we will be...

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Kingsburg 1: building a foundation

The Kingsburg 1 project is off to a great start. With clear sunny skies the team laid out foundation footings and poured the concrete before day's end. For this project we used a technology called Form-a-drain. What is Form-a-drain? Form-a-Drain forms precise foundation footings, with an ideally located foundation drainage system above the bottom of the footing and below the foundation wall. The system allows for simple adaptation to function as an effective means for radon reduction since it forms a complete loop around the foundation. Not only do the building blocks provide drainage, but they also reduce our use of building materials by combining concrete forms and drainage into one step. Effectively, this system is lower impact and has a longer lifecycle than traditional methods. [caption id="attachment_850" align="aligncenter" width="510"] Rob and Scott laying out the footings.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_855" align="aligncenter" width="510"] Drainage leading the water towards the sea.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_911" align="aligncenter" width="380"] Smitty and Burns taking care of business.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_912" align="aligncenter" width="510"] All done and ready for the ICF wall installation[/caption] And did we mention the view? This will be our office for the next few months. We can't wait to show you how it develops. ...

side view
Sawhorses

The almighty sawhorse. Backbone for umpteen projects. Perhaps you can tell the skill of a craftsman by the sawhorses he builds. Here we have Andrew building 8 in a row for our Kingsburg projects. [caption id="attachment_836" align="aligncenter" width="510"] Compound angles and counter sunk screws.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_837" align="aligncenter" width="510"] 2 screws should do it and construction adhesive.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_832" align="aligncenter" width="510"] Lightweight, stack-able and versatile. What else do you want from a sawhorse?[/caption]...

mrb contracting, concrete forms
Kingsburg Projects: Day 1

There are custom homes and then there are CUSTOM homes. Yesterday we began work on one of two homes we'll be building in Kingsburg, Nova Scotia. One-off homes require a lot of custom fabrication by our team -like creating custom square concrete forms and steel reinforcement for the footers and pillars.[gallery link="file"] We'll be documenting these two homes over the next few months. Stay tuned....

MRB Contracting, demolition, Halifax builders
We get dirty

Our project manager Smitty doesn't mind getting dirty on demolition days. He's a master carpenter and he'll give you a belly ache from laughter....

IMG_6598
Friday in the woodshop

Table saws whirring and band saw buzzing -our man Tom keeps things exciting in the wood shop. From custom cabinets to designer chairs, there's always something in the clamps. A stack of Baltic Burch plywood means that there's lots to do. ...

weave
Shingle weaving

This North End Halifax home features cedar shingles on the corners of the structure masterfully installed by our carpenter Scott. We are combining contemporary elements with traditional accents. More project photos to come....

Fox Point model
Fox Point scale model

The completed Fox Point can be seen on Our Work portfolio section. This beautiful scale model lives in our office....

Oxford-Street_12.07.19-8
Oxford St. outdoors

Our client wanted a new front entry and two story rear deck. We took some photos after completing the construction. Completed project photos featuring the custom lighting will be up on our portfolio section soon. Photos by Omar Gandhi...