It’s no secret that customers in all businesses want things to be as simple as possible. Wadih Fares has put that strategy into practice as he has grown W.M. Fares Group into single-source development of real estate throughout Nova Scotia. “Today, we have a one-stop shop for everything to do with design and the construction industry,” Fares says. “You come into our doors with an idea in hand, and we can do all of the services until I give you the key to your vision.”
In 1983, Fares started his business as a one-man operation. As a young engineer, he designed small projects, doing his own drafting and paper work; he had a vision for a company that would bring all of the disciplines that are connected to the building construction industry under one roof. The result was W.M. Fares Group, a company that started with the philosophy: “customers crave simplicity.”
“My goal was to rid my customers of the challenges and stresses of dealing with multiple consultants and contractors, and give them a much more convenient experience,” Fares says. Today his company employs a multidisciplinary team that provides a wide range of building design and project management services.
“When I started my business, the projects were simple and modest in scale,” he notes. “Today, our company is behind some of the largest and most prominent residential, commercial and hospitality projects in the province, injecting hundreds of millions of dollars in our economy and employing thousands of people in the construction industry. Two of our projects that are currently under construction are Mount Royale subdivision, a $250 million community that includes 100 single-family dwellings, 70 town houses, 20 semidetached dwellings, a church, a neighbourhood commercial plaza, 10 multi-unit residential buildings including 900 suites, a recreational field and two parks. The Trillium on South Park is a $40 million mixed-use, 22-storey condominium project in downtown Halifax.”
If a company is going to claim one-stop shopping for construction clients, it needs to stay on top of the latest innovations in the industry. To abide by that edict, Fares says W.M. Fares Group became one of the first construction companies in the province to add BIM to its capabilities about four years ago.
“The Revit Architecture Building Information Modeling program gives us the ability to design, analyze, simulate and visualize buildings,” he notes. “This helps us in optimizing building performance. Having the tools to model, study, analyze building performance, and make the necessary adjustments early in the design process — when changes are the least costly – is a tremendous advantage to our clients. These tools help us to be better informed in our decision-making.”
Fares says the Nova Scotia construction market is relatively stable considering the state of the economy. Nevertheless, W.M. Fares Group has made adjustments to the size and scope of projects it builds.
For instance, the cost of land is rising in the province, so the size of the structures on this land has had to expand to compensate. One way W.M. Fares Group has combated this trend is by accumulating as much land as possible when it becomes available. Currently, the company boasts a land stockpile that should last between five and 10 years.
“It is no longer economically feasible to build small-scale, multi-unit residential buildings; projects continue to become larger and more complex,” Fares says. “You have to save money in a very high-cost environment.”
With these strategies in place and its single-source business model, W.M. Fares Group is in an enviable position to continue growing through the downturn in the economy. Fares says he is confident that the reputation his company has in the region will carry it for years to come. “We do what we do, and we’re confident in the product we offer,” he says. “We are very fortunate to have built up a great name and reputation.
“This is a small community and we have a lot of good developers in the city. Every one of us thinks what we do is the best. However, we have been very fortunate to have built a good name and a reputation to live by.”
That attitude applies to W.M. Fares Group’s work with subcontractors in the Halifax area, as well. “We have a very good relationship with the different trades, developers and contractors in general,” Fares says.
W.M. Fares Group’s key partners include Electec Engineering, LE Cruickshanks Sheet Metal, Maritime Testing, Revma Electrical, WBLI Chartered Accountants, TD Commercial Banking and Ace Plumbing & Heating Ltd.