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Amsted Design-Build named 2020 provincial renovator of the year

Ottawa’s Amsted Design-Build has been named 2020 provincial renovator of the year at the Ontario Home Builders’ Association Awards of Distinction, setting a new record by winning the sought-after trophy for the fourth time since the category was introduced in 2014.

It’s a back-to-back win for Amsted, which took home the trophy last year. The company is also an award-winner at the national and local levels, including eight wins for renovator of the year with the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association.

“I was speechless,” says Amsted’s president and co-owner Steve Barkhouse of the provincial win, which was announced at a recent virtual event. “I was really overwhelmed. After all we have been through this year, to be recognized for the way in which we handled the adversity and to be given a pat on the back for the efforts we made with our community, industry and team, all while keeping our clients at the forefront. There was nothing I could say.”

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A turnaround and sunshine

Amsted’s business achievements in the face of COVID-19 helped the company win the award, according to the association. The firm, which was established in 1989, saw sales leads wither to just to one to three a week in the early days of the pandemic, but within six weeks those leads shot up to an all-time high of over 30.

Even so, it’s been a struggle for all renovators over the past several months as they’ve faced everything from materials shortages to cumbersome safety protocols during the pandemic.

Winning the award was a “ray of sunshine” in a long, dark year, says Barkhouse. “To win when the going is good is wonderful. To win when things are really tough and there is no road map is deeply satisfying.”

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Recognitions and getting a renovation done

In keeping with his 30 years of involvement with the local home builders’ association, including twice serving as president, Barkhouse praises Ottawa’s renovation sector. He says while Ottawa can seem small, isolated and less sophisticated than southern Ontario, this award shows the local renovation industry is strong, sophisticated and a leader.

He’s also quick to acknowledge the Amsted team. “They fought through adversity, overcame daily personal and business challenges, exuded our core values throughout, and pulled together like great teams do. This is their award and they deserve it.”

When it comes to getting a renovation done during the pandemic, Barkhouse says to be extra-vigilant in hiring a contractor.

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“I think now, more than ever, it is important to work with a professional. There are always risks when you don’t but, now with COVID, people really shouldn’t take the risk of working with a company that is not professional and following all protocols.”

Minto also snaps up an award

Minto Communities, which operates in several cities but is headquartered in Ottawa, won the Social Media Campaign trophy for its Ottawa brand campaign. Minto is a past winner at the awards, including Green Builder of the Year.

This year’s awards saw winners in 42 categories. Ottawa fielded finalists in nine categories, including OakWood and RND Construction, both of which are former Awards of Distinction winners.

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About the Author

Patrick Langston All Things Home Ottawa homes

Patrick Langston

Patrick Langston is the co-founder of All Things Home Inc. and a veteran journalist. He has written widely about the Ottawa housing industry since 2008.

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