2013 GOHBA Housing Design Awards

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            Gala celebrates excellence as members honoured for their contributions and achievements

Ottawa Construction News staff writer

Environment, innovation and design creativity set the stage for the 2013 Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association Housing Design Awards, including architect Chris Simmonds’ possible record-breaking win of nine awards, including the Ottawa Citizen Peoples’ Choice Award for the Zen Barn custom home in New Edinburgh.

RND Construction president Roy Nandram, who collaborated with Simmonds on the Zen project, also received the Colonel Boss Award for outstanding dedication and service to the GOHBA.

The awards were presented at an Oct. 5 Ottawa Convention Centre gala and were selected from among 147 entries in 38 categories.

Nandram has contributed extensively to the GOHBA’s Renovators’ Council and has chaired the association’s building innovation committee since 2010.

“I’m a little surprised to win it,” he told the Ottawa Citizen after receiving the award.  “The organization is recognizing my efforts.  It’s a real honour.”

RND Construction collaborated with Simmonds on three of the architect’s winning designs, and tied for first with the renovation of a 1980s home.

Simmonds, meanwhile, added the latest group of trophies to his growing collection – he has won several awards through both the GOHBA annual competition and the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) Awards of Distinction over the past several years.

“It’s a bit overwhelming,” Simmonds said after he and two tables of staff and clients went to the stage after he won the evening’s final award. “We’re happy for our clients; they got great houses,” he told the Citizen.  “That’s what architecture is all about.”

The Zen Barn has a LEED Platinum for Homes certification. In addition to the Peoples’ Choice Award, it received recognition as the winner for custom homes 2,400 sq. ft. or less and as green custom home of the year. The home’s orientation provides passive solar exposure and will use 46 per cent less energy than average.

The 2,300 sq. ft. home blends well into the old neighbourhood.  Project architect Rick Sheen told a reporter that the “house combines green and modernism.”

“It means modernism is really coming to the fore in a conservative town,” Simmonds was quoted as saying in a published report. “It’s not that big a home – it’s very liveable.”

While Nandram and Simmonds dominated the awards, they were not the only individuals and businesses who received well-deserved recognition.

Merkley Supply received the Fred Nielsen Award, presented annually to the company that has made an outstanding and lasting contribution to the association and housing industry.  Meanwhile, PMA Brethour Realty Group received the Enbridge Hall of Fame Award, recognizing the company’s long-term association contributions.

Sandy Hill Construction, led by John Wenuk and his wife, Cathy, received the Renovator of the Year Award. “This is fantastic,” he told the Citizen.  “I think the award’s really on the shoulders of all my colleagues, my renovation colleagues, because they are a great group of people and they have inspired us to do what we’ve done.”

Several other builders won several awards. Notably, Minto Communities Inc. received awards in two tract builder categories and the Green Development of the Year Award.

Tartan Homes Corporation collected awards in three tract housing categories, along with one for production kitchens, while Roca Homes won both the housing development of the year and condominium unit categories (with Barry J. Hobin Architects Inc.) and also in the housing details and custom kitchen categories.

Housing design awards committee chair Linda Oliveri thanked her “dream team” of “12 dedicated, creative and hard-working committee members who volunteered their time to put together” the gala.

Judges included Luc Crawford, Sandra Gibbons, Chris Hewett, Shawn J. Lawrence and Iona Teodorescu.

The Ottawa Citizen was the presenting sponsor.  Gold sponsors were Merkley Supply Ltd. (cocktail reception) and Direct Energy Home Services (dinner).

Silver sponsors included: Enbridge (post-gala reception, JVL Photography (photography), Sears Commercial (decor and lighting) and Rheem (screens).  Bronze sponsors were: Redmond/Williams (red carpet) and UCIT online security (stage). Design sponsor was Avenue Design Group.

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