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Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Check out our shiny new website!

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We are pleased to announce the fresh redesign of our new website. Our initial site was set up 4 years ago, when we were just getting started, so we had to rely on a lot of stock photography. Now that we are more established, we have plenty of great shots and videos of our staff in action, and we used those to brighten up the new site. Please check it out for yourself!

We are a young, dynamic and we are growing. We are local. We are Vancouver.
And we love Instagram! In fact, we are hoping to feature one of the most exciting Instagram feed in Vancouver, showcasing a unique perspective of our beautiful city, taken by our staff on the various jobs they are working on.

We hope you enjoy exploring the new site, that you find what you need &
share it with your people. Please let us know what you think here.

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New Post-Construction Video & Pictures

2014 was a busy year for our post-construction crew. They worked on several projects for Ledcor, Bosa, Axiom and Polygon, to name but a few. Our in-house videographer extraordinaire, Rob, has put together a short demo video, explaining our procedures.

We are excited to share the video and the “Best of“, hand-picked from all our construction site pictures from last year. Enjoy!

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Why we LOVE Sovereign: Metrotown’s Newest, Highest Landmark building

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At Black Tie we are proud to take part in working with the latest exciting projects, especially when they are forecasted to become B.C. landmarks!  Here’s the latest project feature we’d love to share with you.  Currently we are working on the post construction clean on Sovereign by Bosa.

Built by one of our favorite, highly reputable construction companies – Bosa Construction, it is  located on Kingsway and Willingdon Avenue in Burnaby B.C.

“Rising a majestic 500-feet into the Metrotown skyline, Sovereign boasts 202 luxury residences, 169 guest rooms and over 100,000 square feet of prime retail space. Destined to become a B.C. landmark, Sovereign heralds a new era of sophistication and style at the gateway to Metrotown.”

DSC_3772edProject Details

Location: Burnaby, BC

Homes: 202

Retail: 100,000 sf

Hotel: 169 rooms

Height: 45 floors, 511 Ft

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Being one of the tallest towers in the Lower Mainland, Sovereign poses some interesting technical challenges for our crew. Being outside of the height allowed by Worksafe BC for rope access work, we have to use suspended scaffolds (swing stages) to gain access to the glass. Once the building is completed and occupied, a permanent system will be installed by Tractel to allow maintenance crews access to the exterior of the building.

Sovereign_DavidThe hotel portion, located in the bottom part of the building, will need to be ready for occupancy before the residential portion of the building. Therefore, our team has been hard at work, using rope access and aerial lifts to clean the lower 5 levels of the tower. Meanwhile, the crew working on the top portion of the tower is following closely behind the painters, giving the windows and balconies their final clean.

We are proud to work in partnership with our good friends at White Knight Janitorial, and to be part of this landmark project.

 

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If you would like to receive a free, no-obligation estimate, or see one of YOUR projects featured on this page, please click here.

 

 

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Black Tie Photo Contest Announcement

“A day in the life of a window washer”

Last week, our valued team at Black Tie submitted their pictures collected over the year from previous jobsites.  The results were breathtaking.  It was a difficult choice … but as a team, we voted on the top three pictures in ranking order. Below are the results. 

Hang tight  to your seats if you suffer from Acrophobia!

#1 Window Cleaner’s Perspective

Photo Credit: Rob Baril

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#2 – Boy’s Hanging Out

Photo Credit: Rob Baril

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#3 – Everything is going to be alright

Photo Credit: Philip Walter

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There were so many stunning photos to choose from that it was a challenge to narrow down the best ones.

To view the top picks, please click here for our latest photo album: Top Picks from Black Tie Team Photo Contest & please click : “Like” while you’re there!

Viewing these photos was such a pleasant experience that we’re already looking forward to next year’s contest!  

“A picture is worth a thousand words.”

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Who said we had a bad summer???

Well, in typical Vancouver fashion, the (somewhat) warm long sunny days have made way to the dreary gray and rainy weather we are used to, since we have to live with it for about 7 to 8 months every year. This past summer was especially hard to let go of, since it arrived so late. What that meant for a start-up window cleaning and exterior maintenance business like ours, was a lot of self-doubt and uncertainty. Sure, I have done this before and am used to the highs and lows, but June fell so far below our projections that I actually wondered if things were ever going to pick up! Lesson learned: even if the budget has been set, people are not going to push for work to be done until they feel the time is right (meaning until the sun is shining and the weather is warm). Talking to other people in the industry, I quickly realized that we were all in the same boat. Our anxiety was short-lived and a warm July made up for the slow June and the overspill into August almost made up for the abysmal early summer.

What surprised me the most about this first season with Black Tie, was the variety of requests we got. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise when you are the new kid on the block: most property managers have their preferred suppliers and have good ongoing relationships with them. One way of getting our foot in the proverbial door was to take on all the unpleasant challenging projects that were left behind by the regular window cleaning crews.

For instance, we were asked to quote on washing the stucco on a four story residential building that was too tall to be accessed by ladders and would require the use of a boom lift. Unfortunately, the way the power lines were positioned, it required for Hydro to cover them up. Cost of getting lines covered, not including any cleaning? $15,000. Needless to say, council was not eager to spend the money and nothing had been cleaned on the building since it construction in 2008. After getting the information from the property manager, I wasn’t really hopeful that I would be able to come up with a cost-effective solution. I did, however, take the time to visit the site and meet with one of the strata council members. To my astonishment, none of the previous bidders had taken the time to have a look at the roof. When they were told that there were no certified roof anchors, they simply decided that the building should be approached from the ground up, when in reality, each top floor suite had a roof top structure that could be harnessed, providing structural anchors throughout the whole surface of the roof. We were able to get the whole building cleaned for a fraction of the cost of covering power lines, much to council’s pleasure!

Another bid involved power washing of a metal roof as well as exterior walls and window cleaning on a four story residential complex located above busy commercial units. Again, a job that nightmares are made of: street closures, boom lift rental, sidewalk closure, retail unit owners unhappy that they are inconvenienced by work being done for their residential neighbours, and the list goes on. To top things off, council didn’t have a clear scope of work defined, so several visits to the site were required in order to determine exactly what needed to be done and what could wait, in order to work within their budget constraints. Again, persistence paid off and my willingness to keep going back, answer questions and amend my quote as needed landed us a sizable project, which kept four of our crew members busy for almost a month.

Lesson taken from this? Always be willing to go the extra mile and always have your client’s best interests at heart, no matter how busy you are. Now that we have taken on the hard jobs that no one wanted to bother with, we have established good relationships with these property managers and now get a chance at quoting other (hopefully easier) projects in their portfolio for the next summer season.

In mid-July, I received an interesting call from a property manager I had briefly met at a networking event the week before: he asked me if I could do a building for a set price that had been previously approved by the strata council. I had a look at the twenty-four story tower and determined that the price I was offered was actually higher than what I would’ve charged, so I offered a few extras such as interior cleaning of common area glass and got the contract. Turns out that the contract had been awarded to a competitor but when the contractor in question called to schedule the job, he used such foul language (dropping the F bomb several times), that the property manager decided not to do business with him.

These odd requests added to several post-construction cleaning projects managed to make our first season a raging success and allowed us to plant the seeds needed to cultivate long-lasting relationships with our growing customer base.

Here are a few pictures of some of the key projects we have been working on over the last few months. Should you have any questions or comments, please drop us a line using the contact form that can be found in the “Contact” section of our site.

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