The RDC Fine Homes Story
Our Origin Story
The origin story of RDC Fine Homes could ONLY happen in a rugged mountain town like Whistler, where you need talent, resilience, ambition—and a bit of luck to succeed.
Since 1993, RDC Fine Homes has specialized in constructing and renovating sustainable high-performance homes. Bob Deeks, the owner/president of RDC (Robert Deeks Construction) Fine Homes, came to Whistler after graduating from university and a brief career wearing a suit and tie.
Here’s the RDC story in Bob’s own words.
I was lucky in my 1st few Whistler summers to work for one of the best custom home builders and got a taste of what it was like. During the recession of the early nineties, custom home construction dried up, and I went on to work doing renovations. In the spring of 1993, a job I had doing hotel renovations the previous year fell through when the boss suddenly left town. Just as I was starting to look for a new job, I got a call from the hotel property manager we had worked for the previous year who needed someone to do a few projects, all of a sudden, RDC was born.
For the better part of two years, with the help of a few friends who knew how to swing a hammer, we went from one job to the next, doing mostly hotel maintenance, renovation and repair jobs.
Deeks’ construction future in Whistler’s took a big step forward by purchasing a lot in a new subdivision called Millers Pond, offered through Intrawest, the owners of Blackcomb Mountain.
The lots were half the price of those offered at the new golf subdivision, Nicklaus North, and I had a colleague, a fellow ski coach at the Blackcomb Ski Club, who suggested we build a spec house. My team and I did all the foundation, framing, siding, drywall, flooring and finishing, and even installing the kitchen except for the plumbing and electrical.
As an owner builder, I wasn’t paying myself, and I’m not exactly sure how I managed to pay all the bills that summer! We put the house up for sale that fall, getting a quick sale, and although the profit probably only worked out to a wage of about $15 an hour, I now knew what it took to build a house on my own, I could say I was a home builder.
Commitment to Building Green
I joined the Canadian Home Builders Association of British Columbia in 2003 and started taking courses to improve my project management, construction, and business skills. As a result, I learned about building high-performance, energy-efficient homes and was introduced to the idea of home certification through the Built Green Program (I sat on the Built Green Board from 2007-2010).
In 2006, a client came to us looking for a major home renovation, and he was very interested in building to the Built Green Certification standard. The home was transformed in terms of architecture and performance: we lifted the house off its original wood foundation, poured a new concrete foundation, added a full basement and stripped it back to the studs. We not only upgraded all the finishes but also reduced energy use by over 50% - The home received a Built Green Gold Certification (the highest at the time). We thought this was a pretty good effort for our 1st try!
I just went by that house (the Toad Hollow project) earlier this summer, and it still looks great 15 years later.
Toad Hollow 2006 Renovation
The home ultimately won two provincial Canadian Home Builder Association Georgie Awards and really started RDC on our journey to becoming a leader in high-performance homes. We realized then that we could become an industry leader.”
Deeks is the first to admit that meeting the standards for third-party certification (Built Green, Energy Star for New Homes™, Passive House Institute accreditation and the CHBA’s Net Zero Home™ and Net Zero Ready Home) is not easy. Over the years, the RDC Team has worked hard to develop cost-effective strategies to meet and exceed both the certification requirements and the highest steps of the new BC Energy Step Code.
Trusting the Process
Custom homes and renovations are complex projects. Indeed, no other consumer purchase or investment faces such intricate processes with the potential for consumer conflict.
In the past, homeowners would work with designers on creating their homes and, once the design and engineering were complete, reach out to a few builders for costing, often hiring the builder with the lowest bid. While the very best builders may have successfully delivered a quality home within budget, this is unfortunately not always the case. Many projects were (and still are today) notoriously over budget and finished late. Our industry, unfortunately, developed a less than enviable reputation.
Healthy Homes, Happy Families
The Team at RDC felt they could do better and, over the years, have developed an integrated approach to work with the client and their designers to work through the design process together, ensuring the home meets both the client’s design and budget expectations. This strategy is known today as Integrated Design Process (or Integrated Project Delivery). As Bob notes…
We want to engage with our client, understand their goals and expectations and establish a relationship of trust early on, maybe even before they’ve purchased a lot. We’ll work with them to find design professionals, work with them through the design process and map out a high-level budget at an early design stage to ensure the design and budget outcomes are aligned. This way, we can avoid sticker shock after the clients have completed the design of a home they have now fallen in love with. Additionally, the design should include all finishes and the important details required for construction, bringing more certainty to the final cost.
With 20-plus years of experience building high-performance homes, RDC Fine Homes is a trusted partner in making clients’ dreams a reality.
We have been early, if not first adopters, of a lot of the new building technology.
Our homes simply work better, live better and last better. They’re uniformly comfortable in winter and summer, have the best indoor air quality, are durable and above all, energy efficient.
There will be a lot of pressure on smaller homebuilders when the province moves to Step 3 of the BC Energy STEP Code for new homes in 2023. Although British Columbia is a leader in Canada with new home builder licensing requirements and mandatory continuing education, moving to a performance-based energy code will prove challenging for many builders in the first few years.
Having completed many homes at Step 3 or higher, RDC is uniquely positioned to keep ahead of the curve by providing the most comfortable, healthy, high-performing, low-energy homes at a cost-effective price.
In a world where the climate is changing, and extreme weather events are becoming the norm, the construction industry is faced with the challenge of reducing not only the carbon emissions from everyday home operations but also the embodied carbon in the materials and processes used in construction. As a leader in building energy-efficient homes, our next challenge will be to analyze and reduce the overall carbon in our process by selecting the right low-carbon materials, reducing waste, and creating more efficient construction practices. By doing this, we hope to ensure future generations can enjoy the playground we are lucky enough to call home.