Q&A with Kevin Kaila, Director of Construction

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What is your role at Hungerford Properties?

As Director of Construction, I work as an integral part of the Senior Management Team to acquire, plan, develop and dispose of real estate assets across Western Canada. As part of the Development team, I manage active construction projects & work closely with other departments in providing leadership and guidance around project management, budgets, construction costs, design, schedules and risk mitigation. The diverse range of projects that Hungerford manages requires us to build strategic alliances with key partners in the consulting, general contracting and trade industries, especially when venturing into new markets. A secondary part of my role involves active engagement with development/construction professionals across all provinces.

What are the type of projects you are working on?

Hungerford Properties is very diversified in the types of projects we work on. Current ground up development projects that I am involved in consist of a 7-storey mixed use residential building (The LINK); a multi-story industrial/auto storage building (Trove), 152 townhouse project (Hazelwood) & several other projects that are in various stages of the entitlement process looking to break ground in 2019/2020.

What is your favourite part of your job?

The favourite part of my job is working closely with our project teams to provide guidance and support on the construction management process. When project teams are going through a challenge, I allow project leads to work through problems & figure out ways of overcoming the obstacles; I find this is the best way for people to develop in their careers and feel valued. It is also fun to celebrate the small victories.

What is it like working on the Development team?

The Development Department is a highly effective and collaborative group. The size of the team is projected to grow to 15 people by the end of 2019. I am proud to work alongside such hard-working individuals who constantly give their best effort to produce quality results. I enjoy the comradery and support, and that it sometimes feels like a second family.

What makes Hungerford different from other developers?

Hungerford manages a significantly large portfolio of assets, considering it is a family run business. HP operates under a private equity fund model, which requires a high standard of compliance and professional conduct when making decisions on behalf of our investors. It is very exciting to be a part of so many diverse assets and projects ranging in size and complexity from residential, commercial, industrial and retail, which allows us to be open-minded to all opportunities that drive toward highest and best use of a development site. We foster a culture of high performance with expertise in many sectors from Acquisitions, Asset Management, Property Management, Leasing, Development, Sales and Marketing, and Finance. We partner with class leaders in construction, consulting, and JV with partners who are aligned with our values.

What is the project you are most proud of?

The one project that I have been most closely involved with is The LINK. This project is a mixed-use building consisting of seniors social housing, market rental housing and commercial retail at grade. At 7 stories, it is considered a “high” building from a code perspective and was fairly complex when compared to a typical concrete and wood frame structure. The biggest challenge of this project was the construction procurement phase, which was completed during a time of extreme market escalation that posed several risks to the development certainty. We anticipate achieving substantial completion in Q4-2019 and are very excited about delivering this asset to market. Overall it is a betterment to the community of East Vancouver and will help to fill a much-needed rental demand within the City of Vancouver.

What are for you, the right qualities to work in Development?

I think some of the key qualities to work in Development are as follows:

  • Well organized to manage critical deadlines.
  • Good communication and the ability to lead a team of people.
  • Composed nature in stressful situations.
  • Adaptable to program changes and able to maneuver through various stakeholder input.

The number one quality in my opinion is common sense, if you can simplify complex issues and make decisions in a clear and well thought out manner then you can be successful in DEV.

Tell us about one of the Hungerford Properties' value and how you are living it?

Having been born and raised in Vancouver, I have seen the vast growth of the local landscape and appreciate how intimate the local development industry really is. I have built my reputation based on family values, which have taught me that we are defined by our actions. Relationships are one of the values that I live regularly in my day to day business, and over the years I have been fortunate enough to foster many strong relationships across the development industry. When conducting business, I always try to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to ensure goals are aligned and objectives are carried out with a high degree of integrity. Working at Hungerford has also allowed me to focus on internal relationships with other departments to collectively make strategic business decisions, while maintaining a focus on our strong sense of community and social responsibility.

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