VictorEric Premium Homes has a long and well-established presence in Vancouver, having been incorporated in 1997. In 2008 it expanded from being a design-only firm to a design-build firm in order to ensure that the company’s design vision would be implemented correctly, and that its clients would ultimately receive a premium product and a stress-free, seamless design-build experience. Today the firm has grown to 42 team members and offers a full range of design-build services, including building, interior, and landscape design, and construction management. VictorEric builds on average 12 to 15 custom homes a year and designs another 15.
“We are pushing for excellence in everything we do,” says Eric Lee, the firm’s owner, “which is why Passive House makes so much sense for us.” Once introduced to Passive House, Lee immediately appreciated its performance advantages. He got certified as a Passive House designer and put several key staff members through the designer and trade trainings. Always one to pursue further education, he recently traveled to Switzerland with a site supervisor to participate in an airtightness training put on by SIGA.
When his firm’s first Passive House custom home was sealed up enough to complete a very successful airtightness testing, Lee hosted an open house and seminar to demonstrate the benefits of air sealing. The event was packed, with hundreds of people in attendance. “The city of Vancouver sent its inspectors and plan checkers,” says Lee, adding that inspectors from surrounding cities also showed up.
In addition to supporting community education, Lee also prioritizes in-house staff development, subsidizing education and trainings, and listening to and learning from his employees. “Our company culture drives innovation, and that is our key differentiating factor,” Lee explains. “We are always asking ourselves, How can we do this better?” We create amazing . . . is the company tagline, and that motto applies equally to design expectations and client and staff experiences. VictorEric has twice been recognized as one of British Columbia’s Top Five Best Employers.
Leading the charge on Passive House fits neatly with Lee’s interests and also responds to the concerns of many of his firm’s team members, especially the younger ones, who are passionate about green initiatives. Lee has assembled an in-house Passive House construction team that consists of two site supervisors and three skilled carpenters. “They love what they do and are picky and meticulous about their work,” says Lee.
That combination of passion and skills is critical to implementing Passive House design. Understanding just how valuable this expertise is, Lee is once again enlarging VictorEric’s scope to include taking on construction roles for architectural firms designing Passive House buildings. With this step Lee is guiding his firm closer to achieving his overarching vision: Make all of his firm’s builds meet Passive House targets—or at least very high-performance approximations—long before the city of Vancouver mandates zero emissions buildings by 2030.