Canada's largest builder of condominium homes was recently named 2019 Ontario Home Builder of the Year by the Ontario Home Builders' Association. This is the fourth time that Tridel has won the award, which highlights an OHBA member company that demonstrates excellence within their business, industry and community.
Jim Ritchie, executive vice president of Tridel, says that among so many good players in the industry, they’ve been in the condominium space the longest, so they try to show leadership through being committed to what they do in terms of their focus on their consumer and the product that they design and build.
Tridel is the largest certified LEED-certified hi-rise developer in Canada, with more than 20% of the commercial certified LEED multi-unit residential buildings. They started their push for sustainability 15 years ago, when it wasn’t on the radar of too many consumers or other builders.
“We discovered very quickly that sustainability means different things to consumers, but if you're concerned about operating cost, well, our building will perform better. If you want the building to be quieter, and to be healthier, a sustainable building can do that. If you're just happy that things were being much more efficient, and were better to the environment, well, we hit that one, too,” Ritchie said.
Building code challenges continue to change, and the industry needs to continue to adapt quickly. Ritchie says that Tridel will continue to work with municipal and provincial entities to discuss ways that ideas can be applied and all parties can continue moving forward. More and more builders are incorporating sustainable elements into their design, and although the landscape may seem different now than it was in the 90s, some things haven’t changed all that much.
“The technology continues to evolve . . . it's just being smart in how you design right from right from the beginning, and certainly, it's a better product for the consumer,” he said, adding that Tridel will continue pushing the envelope for project management teams to see the value of things that might cost a little more or to try new products in the marketplace. “There’s a long way to go, that’s for sure."
The developer also continues to expand SMART living features, such as digital door locks, smartphone-controlled thermostats, automatic licence-plate recognition for parking garage entry, automated parcel delivery and smart locker system, and advanced WiFi in every suite that’s treated as a utility. Their Ten York community was the first to incorporate Tridel Connect, a suite of SMART home technology in the living spaces and common elements, and they now have a protocol that they’re using and applying to most of their other new buildings that are coming to market.
It’s all about leveraging technology and innovation to make life simpler for the resident, Ritchie said, but it has to continue to evolve. The solutions that they’ve currently put in place aren’t the finish line; they’re just another stop on the way.
“Everyone talks about prop tech and in a way, we're dealing with it through innovation at Tridel, which has always been a core value,” he said. “You have to have innovation as part of what you do, and make it important. You just can't rely on doing the same thing over and over again,” Ritchie said.
Tridel has several high-profile communities making headlines these days, including: Tridel at the Well, a multi-million square-foot mixed-use project in downtown Toronto that includes an office building and retail space that will be owned by Allied and RioCan, three purpose-built rental buildings, and three Tridel condos; Edenbridge, a more “boutique” condominium in Etobicoke; and Chateau Auberge on the Park, the third and final phase of Auberge on the Park master-planned community.
Tridel is also known for its holistic support of employee's philanthropic efforts and community initiatives. Last year, through Tridel's W.I.S.E CSR program, over 120 Tridel employees participated in 35 charitable events. In addition, Tridel's charitable foundation BOLT, founded in 2009, has raised over $3.1 million for construction career youth engagement programs and has given out 342 scholarships.
"It's with great appreciation of the OHBA and what this award stands for that Tridel accepts this prestigious award. When Tridel puts our name on a new community or initiative it comes with an understanding that we've done all we can to deliver above and beyond expectations," Ritchie said. "Our relentless commitment to our customers, employees and community is what drives us. You could say this Award of Distinction is a testament to those groups and their ability to push us. We feel a deep responsibility to live up to the standards of this award and the people and communities we serve."
In addition to winning the OHBA 2019 Builder of the Year Award, Tridel’s Aqualuna at Bayside project, a joint-effort between Hines and Tridel and designed by the renowned Danish architecture firm 3XN, was also recognized by the OHBA with a Project of the Year, High or Mid-Rise and High-Rise Building Awards of Distinction.