South Park Design Build helps its clients through every important decision of their residential projects in the Greater Toronto Area.
SINCE ITS FOUNDING IN 2000, South Park Design Build of Toronto has prided itself on being all things to all of its clients – from start to finish of every project it takes on. That still rings true today for founder and President Eric Adelman and partner and Director of Operations Matt Brooks, who guide South Park Design Build’s mission to serve clients the best way possible.
“South Park takes full ownership of being at all times the client’s caretaker of ideas, finances and people,” Brooks says. “Having said this, attention to detail is likely the single most important differentiator for us. Having the patience to strive for these little details at each and every opportunity adds up to a paramount difference in overall quality.”
Adelman launched South Park Design Build in 2000 after being inundated with requests for renovations after flipping homes on his own for the previous 15 years. In his 30-year career, Adelman has managed his project portfolio with a collaborative team of the most proficient and skilled craftspeople.
“The results speak for themselves – the highest caliber of work, happy tradespeople and thrilled clients,” Brooks says.
Growing through Partnerships
Brooks joined South Park in 2006, and he and Adelman have streamlined operations and built a strong and efficient company that focuses on communication, client desires, cost analysis and design excellence. Since its founding as a one-man operation, South Park has grown its network of subcontractors, craftspeople, suppliers and designers to over 100 organizations.
“These strong ties and relationships have helped South Park excel in the residential construction world,” Brooks says.
One of the mandates Adelman and Brooks strive for daily is clear communication. Aside from the obvious importance of communicating clearly and effectively with clients, communication is equally important between the trades, suppliers, designers and other stakeholders who must all work collaboratively toward the delivery of a successful project, according to Brooks.
“We try very hard to maintain honest and open dialogue with all our subs,” Brooks says. “This also makes for a well-defined scope of work for each sub so there are rarely discrepancies with respect to budget versus scope.
“Fostering these types of relationships also spreads amongst the various subs, which helps build strong team dynamics as opposed to a group of individuals working beside each other,” Brooks adds. “South Park crews run as one band of trades united.”
Brooks says this unity reduces mistakes because the subcontractors are familiar with each other and their work and know what needs to be communicated at transition points from one trade to another.
These days, South Park is answering the demand for eco and green building materials and techniques from its clients. The company has completed numerous projects in this manner, including the first LEED Platinum- certified residential building in the Greater Toronto Area.
The Yonge and St. Clair residence in Toronto earned LEED Platinum certification in 2012 after architect William Dewson designed the structure.
According to Green Building & Sustainable Strategies magazine, the home is filled with natural light as the back wall of each floor is nearly all glass. The envelope of the building is at near-Passivhaus standards. The home relies on a geothermal system with six 180-foot-deep wells, and 25 bifacial panels work with a white roof to generate 7 kilowatts of electricity.
South Park regularly uses sustainable practices and materials in its projects, such as radon mitigation, VOC-free paints and stains, formaldehyde-free millwork, and water consumption and quality control systems.
From the Beginning
For one of South Park’s current projects, a repeat client asked the company to help them with the purchase of their new home. After the purchase, Adelman helped the couple make realistic decisions for upgrades.
“It was important to understand the ‘blue sky’ possibilities versus the ROI when it came to developing design ideas,” Adelman says. “At the end of the day, the question was, ‘What could the market bear with the layout and upgrades on this house?’
“My background in real estate development and a recent MBA helped round out the design decisions with financial clarity,” Adelman adds.
In order to help clients determine what is best for their home, South Park relies on a framework budget set up at the outset of every project.
This often includes a detailed, 10-page document that lists everything that may be encountered on a project and identifies placeholder budgets and assumptions that clarify gray areas and details that need to be flushed out with additional drawings.
This process was key in developing the mudroom/garage addition and rear landscape plan for these repeat clients, according to Brooks.
“We will provide the client and design with schedules of finishes with attendant timelines,” Brooks says. “Financial spreadsheets and project scheduling get discussed weekly as the multitude of moving parts breathes life into this energized operation.”
In the future, South Park Design Build envisions evolving and refining the same strategies that have brought the company so much success in its 16 years of business.
“In five years, we hope to have developed a broader network of revenue streams and partnerships,” Brooks says. “We will also have developed and documented our systems which will seamlessly allow us to bring in new key players.
“Lastly, we will have been at the leading edge of innovation with respect to environmental building practices and successfully absorbed and mastered leading design ideas,” Brooks adds. “Our collaborations in leading-edge innovation and environmental building practices will position the company as a knowledgeable partner in Canada’s continually evolving culture, economy and building industry.”