A steady, deliberate approach to sustainable building
Citta Group’s solid foundations encourage ongoing innovation
With the new millennium, forecasted concerns over computer bugs, financial chaos, and even drinking water shortages were alleviated. Back then, geopolitical events and natural disasters directly and indirectly contributed to the global energy crisis, while the demand for fossil fuels increased, and public and private sectors pushed for the development of environmentally friendly technology.
While technological innovations continued to progress, builders were faced with many of the same challenges the industry faces today—labour shortages, regulatory changes, rising costs, and more. Today, innovations related to sustainable building practices, alongside the industry’s commitment to building better, are enabling the building sector to move forward. Without progressive builders who Built Green affectionately refer to as mavericks, this progress would not be possible.
For some of these builders, there’s a confluence of factors which result in a defining moment that changes the trajectory of a business; for others, the clarity comes from a series of factors over time. And for Città Group, their journey was steady and deliberate. “The move to building sustainably definitely involved a learning curve, but we embraced this,” says Mike Dalton, Vice-President at Città Construction.
Reflecting on this time, Dalton cites some key projects that influenced their way of thinking. One of those key projects was their work on a straw bale, solar-assisted house in 1998. Another of those projects was their use of reused timber from a hanger blown down in a storm around the same time, which was integrated into one of their builds. “These projects really kick-started our thinking. From there, we got the bug—we wanted to challenge the status quo!”
Under the leadership of Bill Patterson, president and CEO, their adoption was a deliberate, slow process to ensure time was taken to think through, learn, and understand how they would approach sustainable building. For years, the Città Group has accepted and believed that sustainability and protection of the environment is a vitally important business issue and a crucial element of sound business practice.
There is a recognition that a high performance home can be achieved if enough money is invested into the build; however, an experienced builder can keep it affordable. Being fiscally prudent and building a better, more sustainable home remains a top priority at Città. This becomes increasingly important as code changes continue. Staying ahead of regulations is necessary, both to remain ready and as a point of differentiation—for Citta, part of their strategy has been to voluntarily participate in Built Green’s programs which take a holistic approach to sustainability.
“Bill gave us the time we needed to consider our material usage, to learn about new methodologies, to better understand the impacts our builds have on natural resources, to augment current processes and procedures into our operation, and to nurture and cultivate a culture that integrates and rewards sustainable approaches across the company,” says Dalton. With a strong foundation in building science, the team has the confidence and passion to continue learning and innovate sustainably.
From there, the Città Group went on to be one of the earliest adopters of BUILT GREEN® in British Columbia and remains one of the leading builders in the Victoria area who have received home certification through Built Green Canada. Since 2010, Bill Patterson has been on the organization’s Board of Directors—currently as the Vice-Chair, as well as sitting on the Technical Standards Committee over the last four years. And in 2016, the Construction Achievements and Renovations of Excellence (CARE) Awards through the Victoria Residential Builders Association awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award, for his “strong contributions to heritage preservation and creating affordable, sustainable housing.” Beyond this, the company has been named finalist and winner of countless awards, including the national SAM Awards through the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, the Georgie Awards through the Canadian Home Builders Association British Columbia, Annual Commercial Building Awards through the Victoria Real Estate Board, the Urban Revitalization Award of Merit from Downtown Research & Development Centre, New York for Design, and their work has been profiled in publications including the Homes & Living magazine.
Whether preserving natural resources or preserving heritage buildings, their commitment is not new. Since Bill Patterson founded Città Construction, the company has left its imprint on many areas of Victoria and in the minds of hundreds of satisfied clients. In the mid-eighties, many of what are today’s landmarks in Victoria’s Old Town were derelict buildings destined for demolition. By joining forces with various prominent individuals, including the late Michael Williams, Città was able to aid in saving these buildings and the heritage of the community. For this work, Città Group received numerous recognitions from the Hallmark Society for its Heritage work and design in Old Town Victoria.
More recently, the Citta Group worked on an infill project on Yale Street in Oak Bay. Their proposal took a holistic approach, which considered both the site as well as the community. Priority was given to protecting the mature Garry oak trees on the site—part of a tree canopy considered one of the great assets of the Oak Bay community; improving the safety and aesthetics of a an important pedestrian/bicycle pathway in the community; and rebuilding a play area for the preschool behind the properties. The approach is in keeping with the company’s commitment to superior design, immaculate execution, and the preservation of natural resources.
Città Group is currently working on the much-needed affordable housing complex for seniors, Mount Douglas Manor in Saanich. They were approached to do the build by the Mount Douglas Seniors Housing Society, which is backed by the Anglican Diocese of B.C. The project is well underway with completion slated for June 2019 and is enrolled for BUILT GREEN® certification.
Città Construction was founded in 1985 by veteran designer, project manager and President, Bill Patterson. Over the years, Città Construction has grown to include Città Interiors, Città Millwork, and a development division, which now make up what is known as Cittá Group. The company provides commercial and residential development services on Vancouver Island.