Community-minded, community builders

Dan Scuka of Scuka Enterprises Ltd is as busy this year as he has ever been. Considering the turbulence the economy has flown through in the past 18 months, this design, management and construction company from British Columbia, Canada, really stands out as having navigated itself successfully.
So what is the secret to Scuka’s success? “Our comparative advantage is the thoroughness of our process,” says Dan Scuka, President.  “We do not do much competitive work; most of it is negotiated. Ninety per cent of our work is from repeat clients or referrals. With it being a family business, an advantage is being built on values of hard work, dedication and integrity.”

The medium-sized construction company specialises in multi-family and commercial projects, varying between 25 and 40 employees. Having been in business for 25 years, Scuka is now the sole owner, having purchased the remaining shares from his father in 1991.

Scuka has carved out a niche for itself in doing a lot of work with government housing, a sector that is more sheltered from the vissitudes of the global market than most. Scuka elaborates, saying the company has done everything from warehouses, to schools, to medical facilities, offices, seniors’ homes, condos, apartments and townhouses when the market exists.

Currently, Scuka is involved in several ongoing projects, including two apartments (one 72-unit, one 58-unit), eight smaller single-level senior housing projects spread throughout British Columbia, as well as a fire hall addition. “While we work strictly do buildings, we do all different types of them,” smiles Scuka.

2010 has been a year of great innovations for Scuka, who have tailored their projects towards a greener, more environmentally conscious product, resulting in a new focus for the company. “We have completed the LEED requirements to do government housing and have adopted some of the principles for green building through that process. Government housing is now a focus for the company because there is very little other work. We have been doing government housing for the last 15 years and now, because there has been some economic stimulus funding provided, a portion of it was dedicated strictly toward seniors’ housing. We got involved in that market and the timing worked out well when the market dropped and basically fell off the map.”

The goal now for Scuka is land development.  “We want to continue with our government housing initiatives,” he says, continuing that he aims to do in-house projects with the objection of gaining a specialty niche market.  Additionally, this year we hope to also see Scuka expand into medium-rise construction.

Supplying a need

“We see a big need for affordable housing,” says Scuka, purveying the real estate landscape. He is right; even though the market has stalled, the prices have not come to be affordable for a lot of people. “With this in mind, all housing proposals we are considering are not luxury homes. We consider houses in the affordable range within single family, apartments, entry level, with creative financing for first-time home buyers, etc.”

All this is accomplished by Scuka by providing a complete turn-key package from concept to move-in, keeping the clients and stakeholders informed throughout the process. Scuka has a unique system of communication in place to distribute that readily available information. “We want to continue with social/government housing. We want to build affordable market housing that is non-government funded and we want to continue with land development when the market allows it in the future,” he says.

Clients agree that the way Scuka differentiates itself, by default more than by design, from its competition by being a more community-minded company, rather than bottom-line minded. “We are looking at the clients’ needs and how we can fulfill those needs,” says Scuka. “We want to make sure the customer knows what they are getting so there are no surprises. They are getting what they want which is quality. All our processes along the way help us to reach that goal.”