Frequently Asked Questions

I have an East Kootenay building project in mind. Can you take it from start to finish for me?

Our experience and expertise includes new construction, renovation and heritage restoration, both residential and commercial. We’ll manage your project and take you through each relevant step: design; planning; budgeting; building; custom finishing and celebrating!

What about unusual design or unique construction? Challenging locations?

If your potential building site is steep and/or angulated or your design ambitious, we’ll welcome the challenge. We know the terrain. We know the climate. We know local requirements. We have a skilled crew and strong working relationships with a wide range of professionals and bureaucrats.

As pictures are worth a thousand words, we invite you to look at our Project Gallery. It should convince you we are not afraid to think and work outside of the box.

What major factors influence building costs?

Rural construction can be more expensive than building in towns like Sparwood or Fernie. This is primarily due to the cost of providing water, power and sewer services.

Renovations typically cost more than comparable new construction. The reasons include demolition and removal, complexities of tying into existing structures, plus unforeseen surprises. Two common examples are mold and asbestos needing removal.

Finally, project costs are largely determined by the finishes you chose. Exterior cladding, window/doors, interior floors, trim, counters, cabinetry and bathroom design/finishes all vary widely in cost and quality. The more you can tell us up front about your vision, the more accurate we can be when developing your building project budget.

Why would I choose LWE over a one- or two-man show?

Often, the appeal of working with a very small company is the personal connection. You talk directly to the person who will do most of the work.

With LWE, you'll enjoy the same communication with added benefits:

  • A dedicated project manager, who will work with you from beginning to end.
  • In-house design and drafting, for quick review of your ideas and changes.
  • Greater human resources, ensuring efficient completion and backup should a key person get sick or hurt.
  • Project oversight by company owners, Steve Whelan and Ian Larsen.

We're confident you'll find our company just the right size. We'll know you and value your business, plus we have the breadth and depth to deliver on our promises.

I want to hire you. How do we formalize our agreement and responsibilities?

Great! We'll prepare a contract called a 'Construction Management Agreement'. This document outlines roles for both of us – a shared understanding of what is your responsibility and our responsibility is critical to a building project’s success.

The Construction Management Agreement also identifies the deposit and future payment terms. Your deposit is used to secure trades and ensure building supplies are available when required; this helps immensely with project timelines.

What time of year should we start?

LWE works 12 months of the year. During the winter, we concentrate on indoor renovations and custom finishing. Winter is also the best time to work on the design, planning and budgeting stages of building projects with outdoor component.

For a new construction or major renovations we like to start in the spring. We do take on new building projects during the summer with a goal of being weather proof by the time winter arrives.

When you are thinking start dates, keep in mind the value of a good plan. Allowing enough time for this stage in the process helps enormously once construction starts.

I want to make a change to something after it's built. Can I?

Absolutely! We'll confirm what you want in writing and provide you with a cost estimate. We want you to be 100% happy with the end result.

Say I'm not happy with something you've done. How do we address it?

Our goal is to avoid this situation; be proactive. We start by ensuring you develop a good working rapport with one of our Project Managers. They’ll work with you to identify and solve potential issues before they happen.

That said, client satisfaction and quality control are very important to us. If you are not happy, we’ll always fix it as efficiently as possible. Again, the more details we hammer out in the Plan stage of your project, the less this becomes a factor.

How long have you been building in the East Kootenays?

LWE’s founders, Ian Larsen and Steve Whelan, have been building in Fernie since 1993. LWE as a company has been actively building in Fernie and the surrounding area since 1998. You’ll find completed LWE projects across the entire Elk Valley, slope side at Fernie Alpine Resort, in BC’s South Country and on the shores of the Koocanusa.

Are you professionally accredited? Are you current with new technologies?

LWE’s company principals are certified Journeyman Carpenters. Our crew includes a strong mix of Journeyman as well as Apprentice Carpenters.

LWE are members in good standing with the Canadian Home Builders Association. As well, we are certified by the Built Green Society of Canada.

We regularly bring new technologies into our daily practice while keeping an eye on the quality that comes from old world craftsmanship. We balance environmental benefits, like energy and water savings initiatives, with cost and longevity. Our goal is to build to stand the test of time.

Further to that, LWE is a Registered Builder with the BC Homeowners Protection Office. This ensures you receive a 10 year warranty, backed by the provincial government, upon completion of any new home construction project.

Built Green British Columbia 2-5-10 year warranty Canadian Home Builders' Association Best of houzz 2015 Design