Grascale Developments Inc.
Victoria, British Columbia
Gräscale was founded by me, Jake Wenaus in 2010. I grew up on a farm and learned mechanics, heavy equipment operating, and construction. We lived 40 miles from the nearest store, so we had to be resourceful and resilient. “Use what you have, make it work, and in the end, you may be surprised.” Being efficient and producing very little waste was a source of pride. I learned through mentorships, and my own diligence, and am always looking at understanding the nuances of what I am doing.
I carry that same philosophy into Gräscale. I have spent many years in this industry, in a variety of trades. I take this eclectic skill set and combine them, improving each process, from drywall, finishing, insulation, and everything in between. My parents wanted him to pick something and stick with it, but I knew I was developing a solid understanding of how they all fit together, to simplify the construction process and strip out the unnecessary steps. With this understanding I can improve how they work together and become more efficient.
When we are putting in concrete framing, we plan ahead. If we determine this one piece of wood could cause an issue five steps later, we don’t put that piece of wood in there. We forgo the standard process for the greater good, further on. Very few people in this industry have the varied skillset to do that. We are very effectively positioned between design and conceptual thinkers, and those that are applying their trade. We can translate design into a practical and tangible object, because we can speak both languages.
"The measure of a man’s character lies in his actions, absent witness."
At Gräscale, we do what is right because it is the right thing to do. This philosophy is inherent on how we provide honest value to our clients, how we treat our employees, and our trades.
The value we bring is our versatility and innovative work arounds. Many projects encounter something unforeseen, and no amount of pre-planning will eliminate all problems. If we encounter them, we solve them to meet the client’s budget and timeline.
We combine different skills into a combination to achieve a solution, much like keeping a farm combine operating out of part and gears. We do the same on a job. The ability to hobble something together, that farm boy innovation, making something work with nothing.
“How do I take the dollar you are paying me, and get as much value as possible out of that dollar?”
We recognize the constraints of our clients’ budget. We know they have a vision they are trying to attain, that does not always meet their budgets. We look at ways to squeeze more value out of the budget and have a proven record of providing a balance between design and budget.
Our reputation is important. We do not pad our budgets, which is so common in this industry. Many add profit margins into their billing, and charges management fees. This often puts projects over budget. This is short-sighted.
We stay honest, which is more valuable, with 100% transparency. We have only a 5% admin fee and 15% management fee, one of the best in the industry. This means our clients do not end up over budget or stuck in a tight spot. We would rather complete the job, then do more work for their clients, and for their neighbours, who would be impressed by our work ethic and practices.
We are very conscientious that the renovating process can be disruptive to our clients and their neighbours. We keep the neighbours who are impacted aware of what is happening, so they do not feel excluded from the process. We keep the site clean, and ensure all sub trades are professional, congenial, tidy, and keep the noise down.
Subtrades and Staff:
If a high-quality sub contactor overlooks something, we discuss so we all understand the importance of what happened. In building a long-term relationship, we have to overcome their fear that we will be that type of stereotypical contractor that hammers them on pricing or takes advantage because they overlooked something. We are not that contractor. We want to keep them coming back, so they stay in business and grow. At the same time, we protect our clients’ financial interest, so the sub trade is not taking advantage of them.