Friday, September 30, 2011


“We are a small company that’s thinks big!” says Elsmer Rankin, the owner and hands-on manager of Quality Electric since founding it in 1998. When he says that he means that he sees the big picture with the general contractor AND the client, is on top of new technology and knows his building code cold. From Phoenix’s perspective, it is rare to find a small residential electrical contractor with the sophistication, scheduling and communication skills and just plain great demeanor that Elsmer has.
“Because of our approach to the schedule, which is the tightest in the market, Rankin’s team has had to work shoulder to shoulder with the AC, plumbing, and sheetrock subs right from the get-go. His guys are team players and all of them contribute to a clean, safe and coordinated worksite” said Ian Haughton, the Phoenix Showhome Project Coordinator.

Elsmer Rankin double checking works completed by his crew

Getting Quality Electric involved early in the design stage, working with the client, Icon and Jeffery Woods from MJW Services has been a real benefit, as he understands the rationale behind many of the decisions and also is keenly aware of the client’s requirements. With the homeowner making many of his own decorative selections the team from Quality has shown great flexibility in adjusting some of the small post-design changes required in the field without any of the “change-orders” that plague other residential projects. “Hey, everyone is working together here – there will always be adjustments to make, and with the planning that went into this, they are really no big deal” Elmer added.
Quality guy. Quality company.

Quality’s Sunny pulling wire to the main electrical panels in the garage. Everything runs back to the gas-fired backup generator that will fully service the home in an outage.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


As we are now counting the opening in weeks rather than months it is time to see what Tami Scott from Icon and Sherrill Bushfield from Woods are doing as they eye the finish line.  After a thorough review of all the finishes they have selected, and a double check that everything has been ordered and is on the way, we sat down to talk about the collaboration: “It has been great to work with Sherrill”, said Tami, “she has such extensive international project experience, a keen eye and she strives for a consistent style line throughout the home, which has always been important to me. That professionalism has made the partnership really quite easy. Combined with a client that knows what they want and are ready to trust us in areas where they need guidance, we have had a smooth transition in making selections for the home” From Sherrill’s perspective, “The clean, functional and defined style of the house makes for a perfect interior design pallet. When there is nothing to “fix” and the architect is open minded and collaborative it is a joy to help to complete the design vision of a beautiful house. It really helps when the house is great to start with” she added.

Tami (left) and Sherrill walk through the home’s finishes with Brad Watts, the homeowner. The design team has even selected fabrics for the dining room chairs and other soft furnishings in the home.

The two talked at length about the process and their common vision for the right way to approach a residential project like this. “We both like to tour the client through homes with some different styles and color pallets to gauge reaction” said Tami. “When we have a feel for what the client likes then we tend to work from the floors up, building in the layers as we move through the home.” Many cues for the rest of the home are taken from the kitchen, its style, its coloring and its texturing – “there must be a consistency in the rest of the house that ties back to the key family spaces” added Sherrill. “It is critical to bring the client’s tastes to the project – even if the client has limited experience you must find a way to identify the hot buttons, the things that create excitement for the client. If it is done right it is magic and makes the work of the architect completely come to life!” she said.

Tami and Sherrill have combined their talents to select all the home’s, flooring, surfaces, wall colors and finishes, furnishings, fabrics and window treatments.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


For such a rich subject (to about ½ of 1% of the world!) we will contribute just a couple of notes. Phoenix is quite well known for the quality of its drywall work and a large reason for that is the work that goes into making sure that the studwork to which the sheetrock is attached is perfect before the hanging begins. We always make sure that we have a carpenter on hand to make small adjustments to the framing, to add additional bracing where required and to punch in any nail work that is likely to cause bumps.

The ceiling of the Master Bedroom is a five-panel shape that must be perfect! Note the protection to the windows – care and attention every step of the way.

Different types of drywall are also used in different applications within the home, with mould and moisture resistant board used in the wet areas and fire resistant board in others.

Note the transition from regular drywall above to the moisture resistant sheetrock in the wet areas of the Master Bathroom.

One of the final quality points that we insist on is the use of the No-Coat Structural Laminate Drywall Corner System on all outside drywall corners, the areas that otherwise take a beating from furniture moving, kid traffic and general wear and tear. It is the best system we have ever found and you can learn more by visiting a short and quite interesting video on the product which is linked by clicking this url:

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


The last two weeks have been inspection weeks as the various government inspectors have been through the home approving the plumbing, electrical, roof and pool rough-ins. You can see that Phoenix has also finished installing the windows and that the exterior elements of the home site are taking better shape. With approvals in place we can now move into the interior finishes phase of the home, with the drywall for the walls and ceilings already underway. Paul’s Metal Roofing is also installing soffit trims as we begin the roof finishes.

We have been using Paul’s Metal Roofing for the past few years because he is one of those hands-on owners – out to the site himself every day to monitor progress and quality.

Paul illustrates the various folds that are part of creating a quality section of standing seam roof.

The material, which locally will be either aluminum or galvalume, comes in various gauges (material thickness) from .26 ga to .40 ga with the .40 ga aluminum, which we are using here, being the highest quality. The paint type used is also very important to the life of the roof – we are using a Kynar 500, a fluoropolymer resin based paint product renowned for its durability and corrosion resistance, but be aware that other products are out there and the price and performance differences can be quite dramatic. Also be conscious that darker colors, while sometimes more dramatic, will attract more heat to the roof and will as a result break down and fade more quickly than reflective colors like white, cream or grey.
Another area where large quality differences can be apparent is in the spacing of the vertical ribs of the roof:

The local standard spacing is 16” between ribs, but if solar panels or other equipment are to be installed on the roof - who is not looking at this seriously these days - consider opting for 12” between ribs for greater structural strength. Also make sure that metals in affixed applications are compatible with the roofing material as corrosion can occur otherwise.

So you can see from this review that standing seam roofs can vary greatly in terms of quality, and therefore durability, and can not be judged upon price alone. It is important to know what specific product you are buying, exactly who is installing it and what warranties are available with the product and provider you have selected!