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Guelph builder earns national recognition

Evolve Builders Group is known nationally as a green builder

There aren’t many builders like Guelph’s Evolve Builders Group in Ontario.

The renowned green building, renovation, and design company builds and renovates for energy super-efficiency, and is a pioneer in elegant straw bale homes that utilize sustainable materials, leading-edge systems, and ethical practices.  

President Ben Polley said demand for what Evolve Builders does has increased by about 50 per cent in recent years. Because they’re expert at what they do, and because they’re unique, that demand has been coming from areas of the province that are increasingly further from the Guelph home base.

Canadian Contractor magazine recently named Evolve Builders a bronze medal winner in the national Outstanding Renovator and Custom Homebuilder competition.

Evolve was the only nonconventional builder awarded this year, and placed near the top of the competition ahead of 30 short-listed contestants nationwide.

“I don’t tend to be very self-congratulatory, but I need to do it on behalf of the business,” said Polley, speaking of the award, and of the dedicated team that made it possible. “It did feel good, and it felt good in particular because we were up against a lot of substantially larger, and all conventional contractors, and yet we managed to stand out.”

The juried competition judged companies on criteria like marketplace influence, business growth, honesty and integrity, customer satisfaction, and financial resilience, among others.

Polley sees the award as a confirmation of Evolve’s own corporate values, and on its ability to deliver cost-effective work in collaboration with its customers.

He said one of the reasons his company was acknowledged was because it has virtually no staff turnover, something that is fairly unusual in the industry.

As well, its unconventional management structure also stood out. It allows everyone in the crew an opportunity to make decisions and be in charge of some aspect of a project.

“As a result, we get a lot more bottom-up, or grassroots suggestions that help make the work go more smoothly,” Polley added.

The award also acknowledged the academic and pre-commercial research the company has supported on things like grey-water recycling. Evolve has a national reputation for building and renovating for the highest achievable level of energy efficiency.

Evolve’s win will be featured in the January issue of Canadian Contractor. An article will highlight a recently completed retrofit and interior remodeling of a century-home on Aberdeen Street in Guelph. The work has made the historic home ultra-efficient.

New projects are coming in at a steady pace, including requests in areas that are beyond the normal commute time for crews, Polley said.

“There are few other companies like ours in Ontario, and people have been asking for us to work further afield,” he said.

Polley is trying to confine the work to a reasonable distance from Guelph so that everyone has time to spend with their family at the end of the day, “and have a life on top of work.” An hour commute is reasonable.

Evolve Builders Group has been operating for over 16 years. It has 18 full-time staff operating from Guelph and remote offices near Harriston and Muskoka.

For more information on the company visit its website, or find it on Facebook   


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Rob O'Flanagan

About the Author: Rob O'Flanagan

Rob O’Flanagan has been a newspaper reporter, photojournalist and columnist for over twenty years. He has won numerous Ontario Newspaper Awards and a National Newspaper Award.
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