Our Story

Who we are

Specializing in home additions and major home renovations in old Toronto neighbourhoods, Men At Work Design Build provides integrated design and engineering with professional construction services to help solve home space problems for Toronto families.

Since 1989, we have been involved in over a thousand renovation and addition projects on Toronto homes of every imaginable description, style, and budget. Our team has received numerous local, provincial and international awards and acknowledgements for outstanding design and workmanship, and for delivering exceptional customer satisfaction. With in-house design professionals, Ontario Building Code trained project managers, carpenters, and technicians with specific experience and training in renovating old houses we are uniquely qualified to help you through the complex process of a major home renovation project from start to finish.

What makes us different

A team of real experts

Our team members are highly trained experts in their respective fields. From our design and engineering staff, all specialists in residential design, to our project managers, carpenters and carefully vetted subcontractor professionals, you'll find them all to be knowledgeable, courteous, responsive and working together as a cooperative, enthusiastic team.

A dedicated project manager

One of our trained staff project managers is assigned to you during the design process and stays with you to the very end of the construction project. They're in constant communication with you every step of the way. Ready to answer your questions, help with decisions and coordinate all the other various resources and partners together to ensure your project is a success.

Organized systems

We have a sophisticated cloud-based project management system that you have access to 24/7. Project scheduling details, documents, drawings, files, photos, product information and a detailed to-do list for you are all organized, up-to-date and available to you at all times.
We provide you highly detailed monthly cost reports so you always know where you're at with project finances. No surprises!

Guaranteed completion date

As long as you meet the deadlines for decisions that we set out for you at the beginning, we guarantee we’ll complete your project on time or we’ll pay a penalty for every day we are late. It's written right into our agreement.

Insurance & Warranty

With all required insurance coverage, including $5 million general liability, auto, professional liability, builders’ risk, and WSIB, we're fully protected for your peace of mind.
We provide an exceptional four year no-nonsense warranty on everything we do. In business for nearly 30 years, you can trust that we'll be here to take care of any problems that might arise down the road.

Word-of-mouth

Most of our business comes from past customers and referrals. We’ve learned over and over again from almost three decades in business that truly satisfying our customers is the best possible marketing strategy to sustain and grow our company. If you entrust us with your project, you can be sure we will do whatever it takes to earn your valued repeat and referral business as well.

Our history

The Beginning How Hard Can It Be?

According to R.S. Means, one of the largest international publishers and authorities on the construction industry, more than 70 per cent of construction companies fail within their first 7 years in business.

Here’s a timeline of our journey since we started in 1989:

1984 A Creative Couple

Creative couple, musician Paul Gallop and artist Sherret Nosanchuk decide to move in together and build a peach coffee table. How hard can it be? They buy a drill and a saw. Now they design a pedestal dining table. It’s beautiful, but careful, lean on it and it might fall over.

In 1988 they decide to get married.

1988 A New Hobby

Dear friend and serial business-starter Malcolm Krebs inspires Paul to join him on his self-study, DIY home renovation journey. They read books (there is no internet yet) and learn about drywall, tiling, plumbing and general carpentry. How hard can it be? Paul discovers how much he likes hitting things with a sledge hammer.

1989 You Quit Your Job?

Paul & Sherret buy an 1880’s Victorian row house on Annette Street in The Toronto Junction. Needs work. How hard can it be to do it ourselves?

One Saturday afternoon Sherret is relaxing on the couch reading a book, and can’t understand why she’s having a hard time seeing the page properly. It’s a fine mist of concrete dust permeating the air. Paul is sledge hammering the basement floor, “I’ve decided to lower the basement.” It can’t be that hard to do it ourselves.

A few weeks later, Sherret’s at work (she’s working as a professional make-up artist) Paul walks in. “I’ve quit my great job at the CBC to become a professional renovator,” he announced, “How hard can it be to start our own business?”

Men At Work General Contractors is born.

1993 Things Are Getting Serious

Men At Work has been developing a reputation in Bloor West Village as the neighbourhood renovator doing kitchens, bathrooms, basements, and Paul now enlists local architect, Roy Brown, to work together with customers for home additions in the neighbourhood.

Maxwell Gallop is born.

1994 Joining BILD

Maturing as a professional renovation company Men At Work joins the Greater Toronto Home Builders Association (formally known as BILD) and becomes active on the Renovator’s Council.

Paul and Sherret explore concrete as a finishing material crafting custom fireplace and countertops themselves and then working with local specialists to fashion high-grade custom bathroom basins and kitchen counters for ever more sophisticated, bespoke projects they’re involved in.

1996 Developing Design Build

Men At Work develops an informal partnership with local architect Chris Montgomery to begin focusing more on home additions and major structural renovation projects over the next eight years. Chris provides Paul with an invaluable education in all aspects of home architecture, the Ontario Building Code and the City of Toronto zoning by-law and permit approval processes.

1997 Partnering With Enbridge

Local natural gas distributor, Enbridge, creates a program to market decks, kitchens, basements, and bathroom renovation projects to its customers, offering ‘Authorized Enbridge Contractors’ and the opportunity to finance projects through the gas company.

They recruit Men At Work as one of their vetted, trusted contractors to serve a portion of the Toronto area. Another company recruited into the program, Brayview Construction, operated by partners Jorge Rodrigues and Tyrone Nickel, merge their operation with Men At Work as limited partners, and Men At Work becomes the largest authorized contractor in the Enbridge program. Suddenly processing incoming project inquiries at the rate of more than five thousand leads per year the company must scale quickly and a large force of estimators, project managers and administrative staff are hired.

1998 HGTV

HGTV Canada is launching around this time and local production company REO has developed several programs including Let’s Build, Kitchens & Bathrooms, and Pools, Patios & Decks for the network. Paul and his partners are invited to feature their projects on these programs and become regular guest TV personalities. More than 50 Men At Work projects are featured on the programs giving wider recognition to the Men At Work name.

The company is involved in a variety of interesting projects including construction of the largest deck in Canada on top of the Globe and Mail building in downtown Toronto.

Robyn Gallop is born.

1999 A Boutique Renovator

The Enbridge renovation program suffers various problems and begins to wind down.

Though the past two years have been a fantastic whirlwind experience, broadening the Men At Work name, completing hundreds of projects and developing a huge network of contacts and associates, favouring pursuit of quality over volume Paul and Sherret decide to buy out the partners and return to having full control of Men At Work as a smaller, service-focused operation.

2000 Studies In Architecture

Men At Work continues to define itself as a boutique, premium design-build renovator, specializing in older Toronto neighbourhood homes. Sherret begins to take a more active role in the company supporting customers with interior design and decorating consultations.

Recognized now as a longstanding, trustworthy, experienced member of the Toronto home renovation community the company is being invited to participate in more exotic projects with numerous prominent Toronto architects and designers including Donald Schmitt, Ian MacDonald, Neil Ironside, Mark Sterling, Catherine Friis, Connie Braemer, Daniel Leonard, Linda Boorman, Andrea Kantelberg, Brian Williams, Jay Hodgins and many others.

The opportunities to work with and learn from these creative professionals provides inspiration to Paul and Sherret to further their study and exploration of residential design and architecture locally and through extensive international travel.

2001 Founding Renomark

BILD creates the Renomark program to help consumers to distinguish professional renovators in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Men At Work is one of the founding Renomark contractors.

2004 In-house Designer

Keith O’Brien, a BCIN accredited designer with a masters of architecture from the University of Toronto and extensive specialized expertise in single family home design joins the Men At Work team and the company takes another step towards integrated, in-house design build services.

 

2006 Love It or List It Connection

Approached by other production companies interested in Paul’s expertise and experience in earlier HGTV productions, he declines the opportunities in favour of continuing to focus on developing the business. He introduces an outstanding pair of carpenters actively involved in many Men At Work projects to the production company seeking on-air personalities for new programs. Eddie Richardson and Fergus McLaren go on to become the on-air carpenters for the hit show Love It Or List It. Many other Men At Work team members participate regularly in the show as well.

2010 Project Management Website

Men At Work adopts cloud-based project management system allowing customers to login 24/7 for access to all information about their projects, substantially improving the customer communication experience.

2011 Joining Remodelers Advantage

Men At Work becomes a member of Maryland-based Remodelers Advantage roundtables to join North America’s elite home renovation contractor business training organization. With now more than 20 years of direct experience in the Toronto home renovation market, Paul and Sherret decide to leverage their experience and brand goodwill into a next-generation, long term vision for the company. Adopting best practices in all aspects of the operation, with a major emphasis on training, Men At Work begins investing heavily in recruiting and coaching a team of exceptional, passionate, educated younger construction professionals, including customer-focused project managers to help deliver the kind of personalized, attentive service that Paul has been known for personally, to a wider base of customers.

2012 Renovator of the Year!

BILD Renomark recognizes Men At Work with prestigious Renovator of The Year award for outstanding customer service and for significant contributions to the industry.

Max Gallop, now a university business major with strong analytical and technology skills starts to take an active role in researching and implementing business and technology systems to streamline operations for the company.

2013 In-house Interior Specialist

Men At Work commits to bringing another full-time designer on board to provide more comprehensive focus on interior finishes and detailing. Talented young designer, Natalie Venalainen joins the team.

2016 In-house Engineer

In just a three year period the company claims more than a dozen local, provincial and international design awards and nominations and is also nominated again two years in a row for the BILD Renovator of the year award. Customer satisfaction ratings are higher than ever. Volume has increased more than 200 per cent and the team continues to learn and grow. The design team has been joined now with a full-time professional engineer, Ben Torkan, to help improve capacity, expedite the permit approval process and aid the project managers with prompt support for site issues and inspections.

The long overdue step is finally taken to officially change the name of the corporation from Men At Work General Contractors to Men At Work Design Build.

2017 BILD/Renomark Renovator of the year, AGAIN!

Recognized yet again by BILD/Renomark as the Toronto Renovator of the Year, and receiving awards for best renovation in two categories as well as another award for best kitchen from the Ontario chapter of the NKBA, the momentum continues for Men At Work. With great new additions to our design and production departments our team continues to grow, learn and improve every day. We’re proud of how far we’ve come, but we look to the future with excitement and determination to keep raising the bar, to be the absolute best design-build renovator in Toronto.

How Hard Can It Be?

The Beginning

A Creative Couple

1984

A New Hobby

1988

You Quit Your Job?

1989

Things Are Getting Serious

1993

Joining BILD

1994

Developing Design Build

1996

Partnering With Enbridge

1997

HGTV

1998

A Boutique Renovator

1999

Studies In Architecture

2000

Founding Renomark

2001

In-house Designer

2004

Love It or List It Connection

2006

Project Management Website

2010

Joining Remodelers Advantage

2011

Renovator of the Year!

2012

In-house Interior Specialist

2013

In-house Engineer

2016

BILD/Renomark Renovator of the year, AGAIN!

2017

Accreditations & Professional Associations

(Click icons for more info)