Facts about the founder…
Raised by a single mother in a low income, working-class, below the tracks neighbourhood in the “concrete jungle” of Montreal’s NDG district. A reluctant graduate of the “school of hard-knocks”, Al Barnes has been in continuous pursuit of improvement for many years – for himself, and everything surrounding him.
“Being raised on a tight budget, in an area where pretty much everyone had very little, you learn to be grateful and appreciate everything. Using The Law of Vibration correctly has had a huge impact on my life (as it can for everyone). Everything in the universe is created of energy vibrating at different frequencies (making them what they are). All the best stuff is at the highest of those frequencies, such as happiness, which stems from positivity and gratitude“, and Al is all about being happy.
Harbouring lower frequencies for many years, it hasn’t always been a smooth or easy road. He’s had more than his fair share of grief and setbacks but his decision to leave the dark side behind and become positive and faithful in that he can overcome any obstacle has made living challenging, yet magical and exciting all at the same time.
His knowledge and industry experience, the sum of 32+ years being integral to hundreds upon hundreds of projects great & small. He is a “Multipotentialite/Polymath” also known as a Renaissance man, and is a go-getter with a work ethic that is second to none.
Having an inquisitive mind and a passion for truth (and things that just work right), Al has questioned and challenged the status quo right from an early age. He has gathered a monumental amount of information in a broad range of interests through various courses, the internet and personal mentoring by astute, innovative and seasoned authorities from around the globe. No matter what his endeavor, Al thinks and delivers quality with injections of creativity, heart, mind and soul.
Positions held through professional/personal employ: Agriculturalist, Builder, Contractor, Decorator, Designer, Handyman, Inspector, Marketer, Mentor, Project Planner/Coordinator/Manager, Salesperson, Supervisor, Technician, Trainer, and CEO among numerous others.
His work has been predominantly in the fields of; Commercial & Residential – Audio/Visual and Control Systems (entertainment, access control, smart home), Alarm/Security (electronic & hardware – Intrusion, CCTV, Integrated Systems and Locksmith Services), Communications (Cellular, Telecom, Internet, Cable TV, Satellite TV, Fiber-optic), Sustainability and Off-Grid (solar/wind/water power generation, solar air/water heating, water purification/storage), Building Construction (design, foundation, framing, interior & exterior envelope, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roofing,etc), Renovation and Inspection.
Interests include many varied trades and areas of agri/aquaculture, industry, psychology, physiology, philosophy, science and technology, space and are continuously expanding.
As a handyman and service-person he has seen and dealt with almost anything you can imagine with particular regard to homes/buildings, so he knows what has been/gone wrong and how to make it right or prevent it to begin with.
With such a diversified background, Al’s had plenty of opportunity to live in, work in, study and embrace many different cultures and geographical areas, affording him great personal growth and the ability to indulge in and share many of his passions. Working for or with, encouraging and enlightening, learning from and teaching people from all walks of life.
Al successfully operated a small business as a general contractor/handyman/building inspector for over 13 years. He has since terminated it in order to establish Articulate Build Consulting (ABC), because he understands that although there is a myriad of people in the Building and Renovation Industry, there aren’t enough who possess the combination of knowledge, experience, insight and ability to advise the adventurous “do it yourselfers” or those with diverse and discerning tastes.
An entrepreneur, inventor and thinker, he is always seeking new direction, product, technology and innovation to aid him in being of even greater service and value to not only his clients, but also to the planet and all life on it.
In 2014 he lived 9 months in Belize, Central America, in an Off-Grid home. An awakening, and a priceless experience that has forever changed his way of life and his business acumen. Al quickly learned that living (and working) in a tropical and developing country was extremely different from what he was used to in Canada, and required a great deal of consideration and planning, not to mention a completely different attitude toward the planet and sustainable living.
The project/home he worked/lived in was designed by a Canadian and built by locals (he being the exception). His connection to the project originally was that of security consultant and technician. Although the plans were made well in advance, he was brought on site late in the project’s time-line as the security equipment was expensive, not replaceable locally, and sensitive to damage from construction mishaps (and like everything else – prone to theft). Soon after his arrival he discovered that the project was behind schedule, and that much of its afflictions were due to insufficient collaboration/communication between the owners, designer, and builder/contractor(s). Both minor, and major details had been ill-conceived and/or omitted altogether due to lack of knowledge/research by all parties involved.
“No profiling of the proposed dwelling, location or tenants had been performed and it was quite apparent that a firm grasp of their wants/needs was missing, forget the materials and technologies being used. A fatal combination for any project”.
After contacting the owners (who had full knowledge of his background in various related industries) with the details, Al was immediately entrusted to oversee the project to its completion. It was a daunting task to say the least, but with determination and perseverance the job was done.
Al has to date, conversed at length with more than 40 North Americans who have built in Belize, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago who recounted horror stories about their building/renovation projects. He visited over 25 homes during his time in Belize and was quite surprised at the poor designs and lack of foresight in the builds. From his personal calculations, 75% had presumed that their designer/builder (both Local and North American) would know (and take care of) everything; but most had failed miserably. Many were “taken” by their contractors/subcontractors, quite a few being charged 100% or more than the originally agreed upon price (although most ranged from 40-75% more), and the finished product left much to be desired. Some “lost their shirts” altogether due to overages and lacking immediate financing (or time) to complete the work required before Mother Nature wreaked havoc on the existing unfinished structures, not to mention acquiring health and relationship issues related to the ill-fated projects.
He has personally witnessed dozens of projects sitting on vacant lots with “For Sale” signs, concrete structures crumbling due to the salty air rusting/corroding the inner steel skeleton (due to unprotected, porous cement) and untreated wooden structures collapsing from rot and termite infestation. Regardless of the fact that local labor is cheap and that there are plenty of raw materials available, the process of tearing down and re-building (or selling the property with a half-finished, decaying structure) can be quite expensive (not to mention time consuming).
Nowadays there are more and more North American and European builders available and things are looking up, but many still aren’t up to snuff on issues dealing with tropical building customs/techniques, materials and technologies, and most projects still suffer from “Island time”. Some home-owners have even had to deal with lengthy disputes when purchasing land, because numerous real-estate firms claimed title to identical properties that had laid dormant for years. Without a doubt, the governments in many developing countries seem to have difficulty keeping accurate records of property ownership.
“The onus is definitely on the owners to do their own extensive research and/or outsource the work to experienced, competent consultants or builders and have them collaborate with everyone involved.”
Al is a huge proponent of Sustainable Living, the Eco-friendly, low carbon footprint lifestyle (although he’s not always been that way) and every year he does more to reduce his negative impact on the planet, the source of what we need to survive.
His many years in the North American Construction Industry has only furthered his belief that North Americans (in particular) are very wasteful. Far too many times for his liking he would tear apart areas of peoples’ homes/workplace (often in perfectly good working order/condition) because someone didn’t like the style/color/age of something or just because they wanted to “keep up with the Jones’s”. Load after load after load of perfectly good materials destroyed and taken to the landfill, “occasionally some was recycled, but not near often enough”. “Energy and resources are wasted at an incredible rate, driving big engine vehicles when one could walk, lighting up entire homes (inside and out) when there is nobody home” he says. “Clearing natural ecosystems (which require next to no maintenance/water) to put in grass (which requires incredible amounts of maintenance/water) leaving little or no place for displaced creatures. It’s sad, and it’s not sustainable“.
Having visited and lived in a few developing countries, Al has seen how North American habits are rubbing off on their cultures, and how the beautiful, vibrant and natural lands are quickly being raped, pillaged & polluted.
“We travel to these locations to enjoy the climate, breathe the clean air and stand in awe of the natural beauty, yet we are quick to demand that the native peoples adapt to our wants/needs so that we may be comfortable during our stay, destroying nature and their culture in the process, changing their ways of life and the sustainable habits which have been around for hundreds of thousands of years“. Our technology rarely makes better lives; more often than not it pollutes, expends resources, decimates species and lengthens our lifespans so that we can overpopulate and continue the circle of destruction at an exponential rate”.
Al’s decision to switch to a more sustainable lifestyle and to guide/assist others to follow suit stems from the need to help our (all) species to survive. It is also (for him) a return to a more simple, less stressed, and healthier life.
“Do yourself and generations to come a favour, build (if not live) sustainable, it will slow the process of destruction to the planet that may (if we continue with our current poor trends) eventually bring an end to humanity as we know it”.
Let Al and ABC help you to fulfill your goals to build better, live better, and enjoy a happier and more sustainable life.
Products, innovations, techniques, facts, stories, insight and information.
“A place to learn about Sustainable Living and Building while following two people’s journey as they make the transition from life in the city – to life in the country. A couple who are getting back to basics, raising crops and livestock, becoming part of a community and leaving a much smaller carbon footprint on the planet”.