While he initially began his career as a teacher, Larry Clay decided to pursue work in the home building industry in the 1990s. In 2004, he founded family-run Clay Construction with the goal of providing high-quality custom homes to clients. Since then, the company has been committed to exhibiting great service, knowledge, professionalism and safety. Clay Construction currently operates mainly within Metro Vancouver, and has about eight internal staff in their employ; Larry loves passing his building knowledge to the next generation One of his employees is his son who works as a project manager and head carpenter, while another works as an apprentice carpenter. His daughter-in-law also works with the company as its office administrator.
Clay Construction is a fully custom luxury home builder but also tackles major renovations and commercial tenant improvements. They are B.C.’s first master builder, so “experience and competency” is guaranteed to be brought to each build. The company also strives to promote healthy, energy efficient cost-plus building and utilize technology to provide full transparency. “As cost-plus builders, we educate our homeowners on the value of sustainable building practises,” says Clay. “We promote high performance building techniques and materials that are healthy and sustainable, ensuring our homes never compromise quality, but instead are healthy, efficient, comfortable and durable. We stay up-to-date with building trends, cutting-edge building technologies and sustainable practices to offer our clients the opportunity to build a healthy, comfortable, efficient and durable home that they can afford.”
Currently, Clay believes that the “most pressing” issue facing the industry today is its lack of qualified subtrades. It is because of this issue that a lot of “unscrupulous and inexperienced” contractors are getting away with extremely poor quality in both their work and business practices. In addition to this major issue, there is an “underground economy” within the industry that involves the use of cash payments without a paper trail. Ultimately, Clay says that this particular practice “will hurt the homeowner who has no recourse for lack of quality or existence of liens on property.” However, at Clay Construction, he recommends getting everything in writing including budgets, contracts, change orders schedules and specifications.
The building process has a variety of stages at Clay Construction, including firstly designing the home and completing a preliminary budget all before applying for permits and beginning construction, and eventually welcoming clients into their new homes. The design journey starts with a questionnaire to help determine top priorities for the design of the home. The building process includes meeting on-site with the project manager in order to ensure home quality, customer vision, and budget. Once the finished product becomes their home, they receive a flashdrive including information on contractors hired to build the home, pictures, user manuals and operating manual for equipment in the home.
Many of the projects they deliver exhibit high-performance building techniques such as insulated concrete forms (ICF), exterior rigid insulation, exterior air barriers and blower door tests. They also assist clients throughout the zoning and permitting process for each project. As a result of their commitment to great work, the company has received a variety of awards, including Grand Georgie Awards for Best Custom Home Builder and Most Satisfied Cleints of all Custom builders in BC. National VisitAble Housing’s First Place Award for Single Family Detached Homes; a Fortis B.C. Efficiency in Action Award for Custom Home Builder of the Year; and the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association’s (GVHBA) Member of the Year for 2015.