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  #1  
Old 2019-10-22, 12:47 PM
milowoof milowoof is offline
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Default Urbandale Townhomes - RIVERSIDE SOUTH

Hi all,

I purchased the Urbandale Calypso model in April for Riverside South (closing June 15 2020) and am looking for others who recently bought in that neighborhood, wanting to see what your experience has been like and what you decided to upgrade!

IMO, the standards offered by Urbandale are quite nice and luxurious.. what would be considered 'upgrades' with other builders, were all 'bonus standards' and were included in our purchase price:

5 Standard Colours of Quartz in Kitchen, Ensuite & Main Bath
Tiled Ensuite Shower with Custom Glass Door
Central Air Conditioning
WiFi Garage Door Opener
Gas fireplace with tile surrounding
Laundry located on 2nd floor near bedrooms
Stunning 3 1/8” engineered hardwood flooring on ground floor living room, great room, dining room, den & hallway
9’ ceiling heights on ground floor for spacious interior living
Smooth ceilings throughout home
Elegant ceramic tiled floors in laundry room, all bathrooms and entry
Contemporary style of paneled swing passage doors
Modern LED pot lighting in lower halls, kitchen and ensuite shower and tub
Kitchen cabinet valence lighting
36” upper kitchen cabinetry allowing for extra kitchen storage
Subway tile kitchen backsplash
Double stainless steel kitchen sink complete with single lever low-flow faucet and vegetable pull-out spray
Built-in refrigerator waterline in kitchen
Contemporary pedestal sink in powder room with single handle faucet
Convenient gas rough in for stove, dryer and BBQ
Finished family room in basement
Rough-in piping in basement for future bathroom
Gas rough-in for appliances in kitchen
Gas rough-in for BBQ
Flow Thru humidifier
Central Vac rough-in


We did however, pay for the following upgrades:
  • Upgrading the underpadding (upstairs, stairs, basement, basement stairs) $1350 for the top upgrade offered (10 lb density)
  • Splitting the pantry wall to add a counter in (going from a full wall of cabinets to just uppers and lowers, adding in counter top, underlights, plugs) $500
  • Upgrading the backsplash from standard to package E $1500
  • Soft closing hinges and drawers ect throughout the kitchen $360
  • Increasing the depth of cupboards above the fridge from 12in to 24in a(to hide the gap from cupboard to fridge) and adding in a panel beside the fridge $250
  • Adding pot and pan drawers (3 drawers on the left side of the oven and 3 on the right) $342
  • Adding COVE Molding to the entire kitchen so there is no gap from the upper cabinets to the ceiling $450
  • Relocating the Over-the-range microwave from above the stove to in the island (fancy built in cabinet for the microwave in the island) $80
  • Purchasing a stainless steel chimney range-hood to put above stove $500
  • Adding 3 pendent lights above the island $250
  • Adding 2 drawers in each bathroom vanity instead of just having cabinets $250 / vanity
  • Upgrading the bathroom sinks from circular to larger rectangular ones $90
  • Upgrading the toilets from standard to taller ones $75 per toilet


Looking forward to virtually meeting some neighbors on here and hearing about your experience !

Last edited by milowoof; 2019-10-23 at 09:19 AM.
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  #2  
Old 2019-10-29, 08:08 AM
jeeva86 jeeva86 is offline
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Wow I’ve heard Urbandale is good but didn’t know they were that good! A few of their base features also apply to some of the other builders, but a good chunk of it isn’t! Congrats on the new place!
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  #3  
Old 2019-10-29, 11:15 PM
Capitano Capitano is offline
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Congrats on the purchase of your home. Just keep in mind that many of the "standard premium features" that Urbandale advertises is certainly factored into the price of their homes. There is no such thing as "free upgrades".

I find it comical when people boast about their "premium finishes". You are paying for it 100% via the base price of the home. Additionally, the size of Urbandale's standard hardwood of 3 1/8 ' is not considered premium for most builders. Premium hardwood is generally over 5 inches or mine being 5 3/4" mirage hardwood.

Subway tile backsplash is fairly vanilla and not a premium backsplash. Smooth ceilings on my 3300+ sq ft home on the 2nd floor only cost $800 for the 2nd floor as the main already had it. Double bowl stainless steel sink is also not that great as higherend kitchen sinks are single bowls undermount.

Keep in mind you are also paying through your nose for that finished rec room and fridge water line.. All to say is that yes you have a overall great builder but dont loose sight that nothing is free and all those so called premium finishes are factored in your base price.
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Old 2019-10-30, 02:52 PM
wri wri is offline
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Correct. The purchase price has included all of "standard premium features" advertised. For me, few of which are not "premium features" actually, like the backsplash mentioned, that is totally dependent on the individual tastes, and the humidifier, which I don't like. The most important thing for me is the quality of the built home. I had the bad experience with Urbandale on this.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Capitano View Post
Congrats on the purchase of your home. Just keep in mind that many of the "standard premium features" that Urbandale advertises is certainly factored into the price of their homes. There is no such thing as "free upgrades".

I find it comical when people boast about their "premium finishes". You are paying for it 100% via the base price of the home. Additionally, the size of Urbandale's standard hardwood of 3 1/8 ' is not considered premium for most builders. Premium hardwood is generally over 5 inches or mine being 5 3/4" mirage hardwood.

Subway tile backsplash is fairly vanilla and not a premium backsplash. Smooth ceilings on my 3300+ sq ft home on the 2nd floor only cost $800 for the 2nd floor as the main already had it. Double bowl stainless steel sink is also not that great as higherend kitchen sinks are single bowls undermount.

Keep in mind you are also paying through your nose for that finished rec room and fridge water line.. All to say is that yes you have a overall great builder but dont loose sight that nothing is free and all those so called premium finishes are factored in your base price.
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Old 2019-10-30, 03:28 PM
Capitano Capitano is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wri View Post
Correct. The purchase price has included all of "standard premium features" advertised. For me, few of which are not "premium features" actually, like the backsplash mentioned, that is totally dependent on the individual tastes, and the humidifier, which I don't like. The most important thing for me is the quality of the built home. I had the bad experience with Urbandale on this.

Absolutely, also another point to keep in mind is that many of the builder's utilize the same trades & suppliers. To this point, a Minto or Mattamy can be just as structurally sound quality wise than a Urbandale or Uniform. You hear more negative reviews for larger builders as they build several hundred homes per year than smaller builders such as Urbandale. People inherently will post a negative review than take the time to write a positive one for the most part.

Professionally, I work in commercial banking for a major FI that funds the vast majority of builders housing developments in Ottawa. Believe me when I say, virtually ALL builders use the same trades. Case in point, the people pouring your Urbandale foundation are the same as the ones doing the Mattamy lots. My rental is a Mattamy and the framing was impeccable, very well done. The framers contract for Mattamy, Minto, Richcraft and Cardel to name a few...

Lastly, a given builder may also be better in one part of town than another depending on the trade partners they have as well.

Last edited by Capitano; 2019-10-30 at 03:38 PM. Reason: Spelling
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  #6  
Old 2019-11-01, 03:52 PM
uki uki is offline
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I generally agree that the benefits of the purported premium builders can be overstated. However, I also believe that there can be real differences between the builders.

1. Despite of them sharing the same labor pool, there are still tenured long-term staff with each builder that can have substantial impact on the overall quality of the build, and the experience of living in them. For example, site supervisors can definitely make a difference in quality as they monitor the progress of the constructions and how closely the specs are being followed in a particular site. The people in warranty department can also make a difference in terms of how pleasant your whole owning experience will be, because buying new houses I've learned is not only about the mistakes (because they will all make them), but also about how they'll deal with them. In fact, I would even go as far as saying that the management culture of the company could also potentially make a difference in terms of how smooth your repair/warranty request will get processed. BTW this also explains why there can be quality differences between different sites/projects from the same builder.

2. Sharing the same contractors doesn't mean that the materials that go into your houses will be the same. For example, Urbandale offers exterior insulation on their foundation, copper piping, and triple-pane windows for their houses. Mattamy might contract the same companies for the work, but definitely aren't ordering the same parts.
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Old 2019-11-01, 04:16 PM
Capitano Capitano is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uki View Post
I generally agree that the benefits of the purported premium builders can be overstated. However, I also believe that there can be real differences between the builders.

1. Despite of them sharing the same labor pool, there are still tenured long-term staff with each builder that can have substantial impact on the overall quality of the build, and the experience of living in them. For example, site supervisors can definitely make a difference in quality as they monitor the progress of the constructions and how closely the specs are being followed in a particular site. The people in warranty department can also make a difference in terms of how pleasant your whole owning experience will be, because buying new houses I've learned is not only about the mistakes (because they will all make them), but also about how they'll deal with them. In fact, I would even go as far as saying that the management culture of the company could also potentially make a difference in terms of how smooth your repair/warranty request will get processed. BTW this also explains why there can be quality differences between different sites/projects from the same builder.

2. Sharing the same contractors doesn't mean that the materials that go into your houses will be the same. For example, Urbandale offers exterior insulation on their foundation, copper piping, and triple-pane windows for their houses. Mattamy might contract the same companies for the work, but definitely aren't ordering the same parts.
Yes, I agree to a certain point with both arguments that you raise. Again I am speaking as someone who works closely with the residential housing industry, as my FI (employer) literally bankrolls most of their operations along with other major FIs... The point that you raised about long tenured staff is moot at best, as I can find a dedicated senior staff from each organization/builder.

In terms of management, I can assure you that larger builders don't gross into the hundreds of millions by accident. These are well run oiled machines that operate on a strict command structure. Again this is not opinion as I deal with these people on a regular basis.

As someone who owns both a home from a "premium builder" to a rental from a mass-production builder, the quality of the finishes are for the most part fairly similar if they are in the same range of finish (i.e. a fair comparison) with some caveats as you eluded to. To this point, my colleague has a Minto, and I can tell you that the level of finishes in his home are extremely high. Yes, these finishes are also offered by Urbandale but my colleague's home more likely cost him less than the Urbandale comparative model with the same type of upgrades as well as level of finish.

For you point on copper piping, most builders including custom ones are certainly going away from it due to its corrosive nature.. Furthermore, Mattamy's framing lumber, plumbing, HVAC venting, electrical parts are all the same as most builders... Again speaking from experience and from having family members who a) own a framing company that contracts to builders in the city, b) a relative who works for a "premium builder" and c) myself who helps finance all of these subdivisions..

The difference in "parts" as you so eloquently stated is noticeable depending on the level of finish the homeowner decides to select, and or dependent on the builder's standard features. At the end of the day, the most important factor that leads to significant deficiencies in homes is the lack of quality control from on-site staff such as super's and their respective rank & file labourers. Moreover, the city's shortage of inspectors further makes this problem worse. The above-mentioned lack of quality control is a glaring issue for all builder's in this city including the small to medium sized ones such as Urbandale, Cardel, Uniform etc. They are no different than the larger builders in this regard. Demand is outstripping the local labour force output capacity, which leads to the non-sense new homeowners are encountering (see Tarion's inherent conflicts of interest) as many of the builder's senior exec sit on its board including Urbandale..

Last edited by Capitano; 2019-11-01 at 04:30 PM.
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  #8  
Old 2019-11-02, 07:35 PM
JCC JCC is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capitano View Post
Yes, I agree to a certain point with both arguments that you raise. Again I am speaking as someone who works closely with the residential housing industry, as my FI (employer) literally bankrolls most of their operations along with other major FIs... The point that you raised about long tenured staff is moot at best, as I can find a dedicated senior staff from each organization/builder.

In terms of management, I can assure you that larger builders don't gross into the hundreds of millions by accident. These are well run oiled machines that operate on a strict command structure. Again this is not opinion as I deal with these people on a regular basis.

As someone who owns both a home from a "premium builder" to a rental from a mass-production builder, the quality of the finishes are for the most part fairly similar if they are in the same range of finish (i.e. a fair comparison) with some caveats as you eluded to. To this point, my colleague has a Minto, and I can tell you that the level of finishes in his home are extremely high. Yes, these finishes are also offered by Urbandale but my colleague's home more likely cost him less than the Urbandale comparative model with the same type of upgrades as well as level of finish.

For you point on copper piping, most builders including custom ones are certainly going away from it due to its corrosive nature.. Furthermore, Mattamy's framing lumber, plumbing, HVAC venting, electrical parts are all the same as most builders... Again speaking from experience and from having family members who a) own a framing company that contracts to builders in the city, b) a relative who works for a "premium builder" and c) myself who helps finance all of these subdivisions..

The difference in "parts" as you so eloquently stated is noticeable depending on the level of finish the homeowner decides to select, and or dependent on the builder's standard features. At the end of the day, the most important factor that leads to significant deficiencies in homes is the lack of quality control from on-site staff such as super's and their respective rank & file labourers. Moreover, the city's shortage of inspectors further makes this problem worse. The above-mentioned lack of quality control is a glaring issue for all builder's in this city including the small to medium sized ones such as Urbandale, Cardel, Uniform etc. They are no different than the larger builders in this regard. Demand is outstripping the local labour force output capacity, which leads to the non-sense new homeowners are encountering (see Tarion's inherent conflicts of interest) as many of the builder's senior exec sit on its board including Urbandale..
Right...you bankrolling a big builder tells you exactly who they work with, who gets how much money, the exact specifications of the lumber they buy...yeah, no. I used to work for a bank, used to manage some of these accounts. They donít share their proprietary information with anyone, theyíd give broad information to the banks. **This is an edit:** Just spoke to a friend who is in the finance/accounting side of Minto. She said 'When we go to the bank for funding (if we go to the bank for funding (because they don't always, it depends on the size of the project)), we give them categories, for example "Permitting", "Architectural & Engineering Services", "Lumber", "Contractors".'

Also, youíre missing a big thing: intellectual property and engineering. Trades are not engineers, and the engineering and architecture behind the houses are often different companies, and companies have their IP.

Iíll continue to call your stuff out now... copper piping corrosion rates are INCREDIBLY low in cities that have municipal water systems like Ottawa does. Corrosion on copper piping usually comes from poorly treated water in city waters not the case, or bad installs. Copper piping is more efficient, in that you need a half inch copper pipe to do the same thing a 3/4 inch or full inch plastic pipe does. Donít forget about the micro plastics that come off of plastic piping and how horrible they are for you.

Oh look at that, a quick google search proved you wrong on same suppliers too. Urbandale uses Harding for HVAC. Minto and Mattamy use ambassador.

Urbandale puts Tamper Resistant and GFI Plugs at every outlet, nobody else does.

Last edited by JCC; 2019-11-04 at 10:21 AM.
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  #9  
Old 2019-11-02, 11:29 PM
TheBaron TheBaron is offline
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Hi! I also purchased a Calypso in Riverside South (closing October 2020). I've only had the structural meeting so far. Changes are minimal. I decided not to upgrade the stairs to hardwood. I also opted to choose the ensuite bathroom with shower only (no Roman tub) as it adds an extra 3 feet to the bedroom.
I wish Urbandale had a model home for the Calypso, but alas they don't so I've had to rely on the virtual tour video. Excited to see how it all turns out!
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Old 2019-11-03, 04:42 PM
haivi haivi is offline
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Site supervisor is what make the difference. The foreman that worked on my home call his work as "baby sitting". Obviously the contractors gonna try to finish the work as soon as possible without much regard to the quality. It's the foreman who makes sure they don't get away from that. There are builders even smaller than Urbandale & HN. The family owned builders care about their product and their reputation, and tends to deliver superior quality. Mine was one of them; unfortunately they no longer build houses any more.
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