“It’s just the right thing to do.” A heartfelt dialogue with builder BeHaus and their commitment to community in Edmonton.
In an industry where success can sometimes seem synonymous with profits and bottom lines, there are those remarkable businesses that remind us that true success goes beyond financial gain. We recently chatted with Gerard Baert, the President and visionary behind BeHaus Builds Ltd. A home builder with a heart as big as the homes he creates, he left us with a feeling of inspiration and admiration that lingered long after our conversation.
It's a story of more than bricks and lumber; it’s a tale of building not only exceptional houses but also stronger communities; and it’s a testament to the power of compassion and generosity in a business world.
An Introduction to BeHaus Builds
BeHaus Builds is an Alberta-based home builder owned by Gerard Baert, offering mid to upper-range homes in handpicked communities. Their focus is on crafting distinctive, high-quality homes to create a recognizable product in some of Edmonton’s most desirable mature neighbourhoods such as Parkview, Valleyview, Crestwood, Laurier Heights, and Glenora. They work in partnership with Mike Werner, Partner and General Contractor of Wernerhaus, on each project.
What sets the BeHaus and Wernerhaus team apart is their meticulous approach to every aspect of the home construction process. Rather than racing to maximize output, they take the time to carefully select the ideal location in communities where a particular need is unmet. Their focus is on premium family homes in areas that promote walkability, top-notch schooling, and sought-after amenities.
Where Our Story Begins
BeHaus’ commitment to quality and community extends far past the homes they build right into the way they do business and ultimately how Gerard leads his life. Let’s venture back to July of 2022…
Russia had invaded Ukraine and thousands of refugee families fled for their safety, seeking refuge in cities like Edmonton. BeHaus had just purchased a vacant home awaiting demolition in Crestwood and through that saw an opportunity to positively impact someone’s life. Knowing there was an influx of Ukrainians seeking refuge, Gerard reached out to his personal network to see if they knew of a newcomer family in need.
It Takes a Village
Through their realtor work the Holland’s had made connections with several Ukrainian families in need of housing and were pleased to introduce Gerard to the perfect fit. BeHaus, in a heartwarming display of goodwill, provided the young couple with a family home in Crestwood at a significantly reduced rental rate of $500 per month. This act not only provided them with shelter but also instilled a profound sense of pride in their newfound home.
When asked about the motivation behind his gesture, Gerard spoke to the sensibility that resides within us all. “There were people in need and we had something we could give. It’s as simple as that.”
He notes how heartwarming it was to witness his and Mike's networks unite to make a difference for this family. As news of the gesture spread, the duo's personal circles rallied together to donate furniture, clothing, and other essentials to aid with a seamless transition for the young couple during a challenging period in their lives.
“It goes to show that a lot of people think this way.” So many of us share a compassionate outlook. BeHaus had the resources to provide a major product like housing but everyone they engaged with contributed within their means. “There was a high need – and there continues to be a high need – and we had a solution. It was a no brainer,” said Gerard.
An Ongoing Commitment to Community
The Crestwood home is set for demolition in Spring 2024 and Gerard and Mike have (and will continue) to provide it as temporary housing until that happens. The initial occupants have moved out on their own accord, putting down roots in another Edmontonian community as they establish themselves here in the city.
Gerard and Mike have since opened their doors to another Ukrainian family and, more recently, an evacuee from the Northwest Territories wildfire. Their aim is clear: to show those facing adversity that they are not alone in this city. They have a community here eager and willing to extend a helping hand.
The BeHaus Builds Philosophy
Gerard and Mike’s gesture of providing temporary housing is in complete alignment with BeHaus Builds and Wernerhaus' overall philosophy and deep-rooted commitment to community.
Their dedication to quality and community is woven into every facet of their work. From meticulously selecting properties that genuinely warrant demolition and investing in premium design to their collaboration with like-minded tradespeople and partners, the team ensures that all of their actions align with their company principles.
“We *feel good* about everything we’re doing,” says Gerard, "and it’s a fortunate place to be in our lives.”
14103 91A Avenue
Holland and Associates is honoured to have worked with BeHaus Builds and Wernerhaus as the listing agent for a project in Parkview that just recently completed construction.
It’s a remarkable four bedroom family home where meticulous craftsmanship is evident in every facet of the property, starting with its curbside appeal. The exterior is timeless, boasting intricate brickwork and captivating architectural lines highlighting the home's unique character.
Inside they collaborated with Brenda Brix of AMR Design and focused on purposeful design elements throughout. They chose oversized windows rather than a doorway off the great room to provide greater flexibility with furniture placement. The kitchen island intentionally lacks a prep sink, creating a space for genuine social interaction, to transcend its utilitarian purpose.
Beyond this, the house features a hidden vinyl listening room reminiscent of a speakeasy with a concealed passage integrated into the wall paneling. Architectural highlights like dramatic vaults and beam work add to the home's visual appeal. A stylishly thin stucco fireplace flanked by cabinetry graces the living space. A temperature-controlled wine wall serves as a focal point, and a detached three-car garage with an added bonus room enhances the property's functionality.
Holland and Associates assisted with this project from its inception, providing Gerard and Mike with insights into the specific needs and desires of the Parkview community. We are pleased to announce that this home has already sold to lucky homeowners who moved in just in time to spend the holidays in their new home.
When asked if he has any closing comments Gerard reflected on the significance of their brand name, BeHaus, which translates to “Be home.” To him, this is more than a marketing slogan. It’s about building houses that allow for people to truly feel at home; houses that seamlessly integrate into the fabric of the community and feel like they belong.
“I’m 62 years old. Over time you understand that giving has far more satisfaction than getting. The gain on being able to do something for somebody. It feels pretty good.”Posted by Kerri-lyn Holland on