Durabuilt Windows & Doors
Sometimes companies need a push in another direction to realise their full potential. Change could mean new ownership, restructuring or rebranding—anything that brings in fresh perspective and revitalization. For Durabuilt Windows & Doors, something new was exactly what the company needed.
Located in Edmonton, Durabuilt was originally founded in 1988. For seven years, the company remained stagnant and couldn’t seem to get out of its rut. In 1995, everything changed when the Sunner family moved to Alberta from England and purchased the company from the original owners.
“Initially, it started as a partnership,” says Harry Sunner, Vice President. “But our family soon became the sole owners and operators in 1997. Since then, we have expanded the business, market share and brand equity by about 28 to 38 per cent for every consecutive year. In fact, Durabuilt is now the largest privately owned company in the window and door business across Alberta—if not western Canada.”
Harry is not exaggerating. When the Sunner family came onto the scene, the company had about 10 employees that worked in a 10,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Today, Durabuilt employs more than 450 people who work in a 180,000-square-foot state-of-the art production facility that is situated on 12 acres of land (just in case they need to expand again). This manufacturing facility is comprised of over $12 million-worth of cutting-edge technologies, including sophisticated robotics, advanced welding equipment, an integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ER P) computer system and top-of-the-line CNC machines from around the world.
The Sunner family maintains their enthusiasm about the strength of the business, as well as the family. As a father and son team, the Sunners recognise they have something special. “My father, Joe Sunner—who remains the President of Durabuilt— has been an entrepreneur since 1968,” says Harry. “As a hard-working veteran with a never-quit attitude, Joe has been successful in several business ventures. As for myself, I have been a follower in his footsteps since the age of 14, working parallel with a mission to succeed in a family-owned business venture. Together, we had one goal: “work hard and never quit”. Together with his life experience and motivation, along with my vision and energy, we make a great team!”
Made to order
To give a better idea of what Durabuilt does, they create custom window and door solutions for the new home, renovation and semi-commercial market. As a direct manufacturer, the company innovates and creates PVC and PVC-aluminum hybrid windows, which are more durable and energy-efficient than their aluminum and wood predecessors. Durabuilt is also a distributor of exterior door systems.
Many businesses are just starting to transition into more environmentally sustainable offerings. Durabuilt, however, was an industry leader, incorporating new materials in 1988. They have continued, year after year, to develop innovative products and design, the Hybridex and Tribridex systems, two of the first hybrid solutions to be brought to the western market. Initially changing the landscape as a premium estate window system, these products are now being seen in both home renovations and new home construction.
The Hybridex 910, in particular, has been featured in several high-profile commercial projects across western Canada, including The Icon, which is set to be the largest all-residential building in the Edmonton capital region.
Innovation and customization are how Durabuilt sets itself apart from the competition. As a rule, the company never turns down complex, large-scale window designs; in fact, customers are encouraged to be creative and think outside the box. If it means taking on smaller, one-off projects, Durabuilt is happy to oblige, because the company understands that building relationships leads to lasting partnerships.
An evolving industry
What used to be seen as mere fixtures to be opened and closed for functionality have evolved into some of the most important elements of a house. For starters, a tight building envelope relies on properly fitted and sealed windows and doors for comfort and energy efficiency. Air leakage means drafts and overcompensation from heating and cooling systems.
It’s not just building experts that are advocating energy-efficient windows and doors; residential consumers are becoming more concerned with the environment and are willing to make the wiser investment. In fact, Durabuilt’s role has become more consultative; as a result, the company strives to hire subject matter experts such as building professionals and industry leading sales personnel.
This shift in perspective has meant that compliance with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and Energy Star is more important than ever in the sales process. Durabuilt is a CSA-Certified manufacturer, which means the company is subject to regular product- performance audits, in addition to the ones performed at their existing onsite testing facility. These stringent requirements ensure every product is built to last and perform at its maximum potential. Because of these standards, Durabuilt has also helped some of their commercial building partners achieve LEED ® certification by providing energy-efficient qualifying products.
Work hard, work together
The Sunners understand that business is fluid and they are happy to adapt with the ever-changing industry. Having said that, the family is committed to the same core values they have had since they purchased the company in 1995.
“Our priorities may change from year to year, but our philosophy remains the same,” states Harry. “You have to work hard and work together. In fact, our entire staff is the lifeblood of this organization. We are truly gifted with talented people who strive and own the success of Durabuilt with us.”
Everyone on the management team has expertise in their own areas, such as financing, management, operations. “In our core values, we strive for customer commitment and have created a company-wide culture of dedication, integrity and hard work,” says Amar Randhawa, General Manager, who has been a key component and a talented leader with the Sunners since 1995. “I thank our President, Joe Sunner, who has mentored and taught me great business and personal discipline over the years. We can never give up any challenge when his blessing is around us,” Randhawa says.
If you ask the Sunners about the future of Durabuilt, they are confident that they will see continued success. “Five years from now, we would like to be known for world-class business practices and own a brand that is recognised across Canada and internationally,” says Harry. “Consumers will demand a Durabuilt product in every new construction or renovation project, whether it is direct or through their dealer and builder channels.”