the things we make, make us

halifax builders

what we do

We are located in Nova Scotia, in North End Halifax and specialize in new construction and renovations. Our service philosophy embodies the highest standards of craftsmanship, construction innovation and project management. Our design philosophy blends modern urban design with extensive knowledge of traditional methods.

We work with some of Halifax’s leading architects and developers, and over the years have become an established firm. Our dedicated team and trusted subtrades ensure that we offer the highest standards.

It’s your project and we would like for you to be involved from start to finish. It’s important that we understand your requirements and your wishes while providing you the opportunity to decide if we are right fit for you. We can visit a current job site to show you our high standard of craftsmanship, as well as introduce you to our team. Building or renovating your home is a big deal and we want YOU to LOVE it!

Our story begins with a long family history in carpentry. Company frontman Mike Burns learned the craft of carpentry from his grandfather. He honed his skills under the mentorship of a master craftsman in Halifax’s North End. Years later MRB Contracting was born, a company comprised of dedicated individuals who are passionate about their craft. From framing to finish work, and from concrete to cabinetry, the team has a catalogue of skills to rival any project.

MRB Contracting Inc. | team photo

We love modern architecture. Its simplicity and clean lines are difficult to pull off with nothing to hide behind. We like the challenge of perfecting the raw and genuine feel that minimalist design can offer. Most of what we do is architecturally designed – one off projects that require us to do custom fabrication. Our work in renovating old homes in Halifax has given us the experience of the more traditional design elements and period architecture found in the area.

Innovative technologies and energy efficiency are a priority for us.

• Utilize highly efficient Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) construction
• Superinsulation to dramatically reduce heat loss
• Passive home heating
• Source local materials as much as possible
• Use of reclaimed materials when appropriate
• Certified in green roof construction and design

We do everything from site development and planning to finish work. We can incorporate unique elements to any project including custom cabinets, counter tops, flooring, and furniture.

2458 James Street | Halifax

Our space is located in the North End of Halifax. Built nearly 120 years ago in the Halifax Row House style -it’s defined by flat profiles on all sides. Our friend and colleague Architect Omar Gandhi designed our new look. The interior of our home office was completely renovated and includes concrete floors, modern minimalist Baltic Birch cabinets with exposed edge grain, concrete countertops, and sleek office desk. The cabinetry and furniture were crafted in-house by MRB Woodshop. Stainless steel, aluminum and raw steel accent the woodwork to complete the modern design elements.

The exterior was also given a facelift. We retained the beauty of traditional cedar shingles and modernized the exterior using various elements like steel and aluminum accents. Large windows were added to brighten the open concept spaces. Our office is an excellent space to host client meetings and showcase our work. The end product is a place we are proud to call ours.


The MRB Woodshop produces furniture designed and built in-house. Below are some of our offerings. Please contact our office at 902.455.3202 if you are interested in purchasing a table.

THE CUNARD | $1400
This one is made from rough sawn pine, walnut inlays and end pieces, and welded aluminum legs. It's finished with matte polyurethane for long lasting wear. It measures 78 x 40 inches. The legs and pine were locally sourced. The table was designed and built in-house.
An artist with a painfully scrutinizing eye for fit and finish along with a registered architect and residential developer that has directly managed the creation of over 1500 homes squarely qualified us demanding clients. In addition, living in Vancouver meant that we would be building remotely. This set up our two main criteria for selecting the builder of our dream cottage: 1. Someone we could trust implicitly as we couldn't be there. 2. Someone that was capable of digitally communicating every detail of the progress on the site, every day. 3. Someone that really understood modern architecture and the attention to detail. We investigated nine builders, interviewed four, then narrowed it down to two to provide initial proposals with their thoughts on budget and timeline. Ultimately we settled on MRB and we are very glad that we did. MRB completely delivered on our expectations with respect to communication that included almost daily photographs, e-mails, and precise budgeting/invoicing. Through this detailed communication and the ongoing dialogue through the many design iterations and budget adjustments MRB ultimately delivered on our first criteria; trust. With respect to attention to detail every aspect of the build was scrutinized by MRB. The natural wood siding on our cottage would make any fine furniture builder envious, the joinery is nothing short of exquisite. MRB will not be the least expensive builder that you will be able to hire. However we can honestly say that you would be hard-pressed to find a builder that will pay closer attention to the details and deliver the quality and ultimately give you the value for your money that MRB will. It has been my experience that a home that is well built the first time, by passionate individuals that stand behind their work and are in it for the long haul is worth more than a few dollars you may think you are saving by going with the cheapest bidder. The individuals that we dealt with from Smitty on the site, Lindsay in the office, Tom in the Shop and Mike guiding the ship were all an absolute joy to deal with and we have an ongoing friendship that really is ultimate testament to a successful project. We still get compliments from our new neighbours along the lines of  "we miss those polite young men that built your cottage" or " I have never seen such a ridiculously tidy construction site". At the end of the day we are looking forward to the possibility of future endeavours with Mike and his crew and a lifetime of visits from our friends at MRB to our Kingsburg cottage.
Kevin and Jodi , The Shoebox
We've been beyond thrilled with Mike. With respect to the quality of his work, his attention to detail and craftsmanship are amazing. It is like he is building his own cottage. MRB's perfectionism is seen in every inch and corner of our cottage. As a businessman, Mike has been a true pleasure to work with. His professionalism, level-headedness, responsibility and dependability is impressive. He takes pride in his work and in his company and provides a level of service and commitment that I think is unparalleled. His energy and enthusiasm are contagious and can also be seen in those who are working for him. With respect to quoting of costs - Mike has been pretty much dead on. Our final price is higher than our quote - BUT this was due to changes and decisions that Rick and I made, and that Mike fully discussed with us. Through any job there are changes and decisions that are made that add to the scope of the work that will very probably result in additional costs. Mike, with the assistance of Builder Trend, and Lindsay, was on top of every cost and fully transparent with respect to budget. We also worked closely with an architect, which I think made a world of difference... Mike's timeline has been slightly off (approximately a month). Part of this was the result of Rick and me making changes to the plans, part was the result of building through the winter, and part may have been due to scheduling subs and building in Lunenburg. We never had any concern that the team was not working - in fact on at least two occasions when we stopped in on the weekend to check things out, Mike and/or workers were unexpectedly on site working. Given the finished product - an extra month has been worth it. We never felt like the work was being rushed or that there were other jobs that were more important. I do credit our architect for much of how special our cottage is, but there is no question in my mind that MRB provided us with a product that no other team would have provided. Knowing what we now know, if we were doing it all again, we wouldn't even bother with quotes from another company -if we have any future projects MRB and Chad Jamieson (our architect) will be contacted first. My only concern is that shortly down the road, Mike will be so swamped with work that he won't have time to fit us in...  
Erica and Rick Baker ,
Mike Burns and the MRB Contracting team completed the renovation on my lower floor and installed a bathroom and heated tile floor. They did an amazing job. My renovation was completely taken care of for me, including all permits and inspections. I was kept up-to-date on all construction progress and costs on-line, so that I could check-in regularly to see what was accomplished and what was planned. I was impressed with the quality of the workmanship and the professionalism of the crew under the direction of foreman, Steve. The work site was left clean and organized during the entire construction process and the end job looked even better than I anticipated. Thank-you to the whole MRB team!
Melanie Kelly,
Mike, owner/operator, truly is fantastic -- experienced beyond his years (you’d be making a big mistake to judge him based on his age), conscientious, honest and straight-up. Mike discussed everything with me…as little or as much as I wanted to know. I was updated every step of the way and there was a discussion each time there was a variation from what we agreed on. I always knew and understood all my options and felt very comfortable taking his advice and making decisions.
Suzanne Hickey, Owner | Rouge
Mike Burns came referred to me by a good friend. He was described as a young guy with an incredible work ethic and a passion for craft. Trained by the best in the province, he not only learned about building but received the required education to provide detailed costing and project management skills. The first project that we worked on together was the Moore Studio which was an absolute success. Together we have received notoriety for the project due to its high level of craftsmanship, attention to detail and originality. Everything from the floor to the cabinetry and the custom lights were designed and built by our two teams. We are slated to produce half a dozen more projects in the coming year. On the final build day at the Moore Studio the entire team brought their own cameras – because it wasn’t just another job. Mike, his foreman Adam Smith and his entire team understand modern architecture as well as old world craftsmanship and are collectively as excited about the final product as I am. I use MRB Contracting because they care immensely about the client and they make me look good.
Omar Gandhi, Architect
Mike is a dedicated, energized and driven contractor who works hands-on with his crew and sub-trades. His warm and professional personality has developed strong professional relationships with them, ensuring that they care as much as he does about consistent quality and a smooth process. Mike is committed to being available to his clients and stands behind his projects with a natural and well deserved pride. I recommend him with confidence.
James White, Owner / Broker | Canoe Realty
Mike Burns was instrumental to the success of our project when we added onto and renovated our home, while he was under the employment of David Watts Construction Services. Being an architect, we obviously invested a lot of time and care designing the project. We were extremely appreciative of Mike and his crew to spend the same level of effort and care reviewing all the small but important details with us, to make sure that things worked out perfectly. In fact Mike’s efforts are a big reason our house landed on the cover of East Coast Living Magazine. His crews are talented, dependable, resourceful, fair and reasonable with money, and above all a treat to deal with. Mike is wise beyond his years and I highly recommend him for any residential project large or small.
Mark Atwood, Architect
Having had the experience of working with many contractors in the past, on projects both large and small, I can say that Mike is by far the most conscientious and creative I have come across. Practically, his quotes are always realistic and he sticks to them, and aesthetically he has an excellent eye to style and function. Not only does he get the job done, and beautifully, he's the kind of guy I'm happy to sit and have a coffee with; I can think of no greater recommendation than that.
Daniel MacIvor,
This was the first time we had employed MRB Contracting, and it won't be the last. Mike Burns' crew of highly talented, organized , professional contractors exceeded our expectations. Not only did they put together a complex project with an astute architect , they completed the fantastic job on time, within estimate, and with care and pride in their work. Being involved in Health Care, site safety is one of my main concerns, and they exceeded the norms. For a crew of relatively younger carpenters in the highly competitive field of construction, they worked with expertise and ability of seasoned pros; with a progressive, modern and refreshing feel and look at residential construction. My family and I would highly recommend them to anyone looking for quality work, done on time, within budget, and a kind of "worry-free" work-site environment that is generated by their professionalism, safety consciousness and ability to deliver solid project construction.
Ian Hamilton,
From June 2009 through to May 2010 Mike Burns acted as general contractor for two major renovations for us: our house and a basement flat.  The renovations including gutting most of both spaces (to the studs) and removing or moving bearing walls.  The improvements included insulation, electrical upgrades and rewiring, moving and replacing all plumbing fixtures, tiling three bathrooms, replacing two kitchens including tile back-splashes, replacement of drywall, installing new windows, adding a new front porch, replacing the roof, soffits and fascia. We highly recommend Mike for the following reasons: * his attention to high quality craftsmanship and detail; * his ascetic for design in all aspects of renovation; * the professional and genial tradesmen that work with him; * the high quality tradesmen that he sub-contracts (electrical, drywall, plumbing and roofing); * his consideration for the client in keeping mess to a minimum; * his willingness to tackle any aspect of a renovation; * his willingness to do research on products or approaches he has not encountered before (for us this included in-floor heated concrete in the basement flat, sourcing low-odour finishes and energy conservation devices); As with all renovations, unforeseen issues occur.  Mike was quick to let us know about issues and advise us of options.  He was always good-natured even when things were not going as planned.
Murray and Katherine Doehler,
I recently had a whole kitchen renovation completed by MRB, and we can’t begin to explain how thrilled we were with both the process and the outcome. We had a very strict timeline which we needed to adhere to, and the boys at MRB not only met, but greatly exceeded our high expectations. MRB was able to take the vision we had for our new kitchen, and by listening to our ideas, and filling in the gaps we had not anticipated, turn it into reality. Their attention to detail is second to none, and shows not only in the clean lines and minor details they put into all of their work, but also in the project as a whole, ensuring everything was finished to the highest standard Their crew was punctual, friendly, and above all respected our home; never leaving the site without ensuring everything was complete and things were cleaner than when they arrived. They were able to answer all of our questions, and provide us with multiple options for every eventuality that arose through the course of construction. For a seemingly young contractor, you quickly realize Mike Burns has been doing this for years, and does it well. His head carpenter Adam Smith is extremely knowledgeable, and hardworking, and this gives you the assurance that your project is in good hands at all times. Their cabinet makers work speaks for itself, as does that of the rest of the crew, and we are happy to have it in our home. We would recommend MRB to anyone who is looking for professional, quality, and original work, and can’t wait to use them on our next project.
Jill Beaton,
I have been meaning to email to thank you and praise you for your work! The house is finally looking the way it should - on the outside anyway :) I know that I told you while you were here how impressed I was by the work, the detail, and the professionalism! It's refreshing and not taken for granted. Renovations are never fun to live through but this experience didn't feel like a reno. Rick and Steevo are missed around the house by both Jiggs (the dog) and Hudson. Thank you again for being awesome and making my house look awesome.
Bree Bolduc,
The challenges of having renovations to a 20 year old home would have been daunting since my husband passed away, if not for the excellent consideration and professionalism taken by Mike Burns and his most efficient crew. The first project was to have both bathrooms totally redone, and of course that meant I would have to be out of the house until work was completed. Leaving ones home while strangers take over can be unnerving; but when discussing plans with Mike his genuine sincerity was evident, and I knew I was in good hands. The bathrooms look awesome, and I could not be more pleased. I was so pleased in fact, that I have MRB Contracting returning to completely renovate my kitchen! From experience now I can say with confidence that from the first meeting to the last day of cleanup, Mike, Simon, Steevo, Adam, and all the crew are very skilled, professional, and ever so polite young men. MRB Contracting Inc., with their new and innovated building, design, and high standards will soon be (if not already are) the top contracting firm in Nova Scotia. Thank You Mike!
Rosemary LeFresne,
Mike and his team were amazing! Even before the project was started, Mike was very approachable and easy to communicate with. He and his team were all very professional, reliable, conscientious and extremely detailed in their work. They arrived when they said the would, left the site tidy and we felt perfectly comfortable with them around. We loved watching each step of the renovation process and would recommend them to anyone looking for a quality contractor.
Joanne & Brian Titus,
Mike and the crew at MRB Contracting clearly take pride in their craftsmanship. In a world where many contractors take shortcuts, the crew at MRB simply won’t stand for it. They are devoted to their craft and creating beautiful structures. Working with them and seeing my project take shape has been a pleasure. By choosing MRB you are ensuring that the vision you had for your project in the beginning, will be exactly what you had hoped for in the end.
Jess Tasker, Owner & Designer
We entrusted MRB with a major renovation of our 20-year old custom designed house. Mike Burns and his team did an excellent job at understanding our design requirements, adapted to the existing engineering constraints, and delivered an outstanding result – a complete second story addition! The team promptly arrived each morning, put care/pride into their craftsmanship, and cleaned up each & every day. Mike coordinated all activities with the building inspectors, suppliers, and trades to ensure that the schedule was maintained. The end result was fantastic – and most importantly, was delivered on time/on budget! A great job, by a great team!
John & Tina Rogers,
"From the first meeting to the last coat of paint, I have nothing but positive comments for Mike and his team. Mike has replaced a bunch of windows, replaced a large patio and front door, and completely rebuilt my master bedroom en suite and walk in closet. If you could see the job he did on the en suite, you wouldn't need to read a word I've written! I have not one complaint about his business acumen nor the quality of his work. So much so, that when I go to reno my basement and kitchen, I won't even bother with quotes from other companies; either MRB Contracting does the job, or the reno waits until they're free. Mike has a keen eye for design, a breath-taking work ethic, and exceptional attention to detail. There is not enough space here for me to detail just how good he is."
Rob Green, Home owner and big fan!
MRB Contracting, Halifax Nova Scotia, Mike Burns

Mike Burns: President|Estimator

Adam Smith: Project Foreman

Adam Smith: Project Foreman

Scott Billard: Project Foreman

MRB Contracting, Halifax Nova Scotia, Lindsay

Lindsay Langille: Operations Manager

MRB Contracting, Halifax Nova Scotia, team, craftsmanship

Steevo Moore: Project Foreman

MRB Contracting, Halifax Nova Scotia, home builders, project management

Simon Clements: Project Manager

Gottingen St | the finish line

Steevo and the team working on our Gottingen St project have the finish line set firmly in their sights. In keeping our focus on blending the old with the new as we did inside, they pay special attention t
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The ‘Snow’ Must Go On!

Who could believe there could be this much snow? There sounds to be a general consensus that Halifax has not seen anything like this since White Juan. In fact, rumour has it, there is more snow than White
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So long February ;)

Please forgive us for counting down the days til Spring. ‘Storm day Wednesdays’ of winter 2014 had us thinking it couldn’t be worse. But Old Man Winter had other ideas, and showed us (and
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Purcells Cove Rd | roof tight

Not all construction schedules align with ideal building conditions.  Clever products allow us to soldier on through even the harshest of East Coast winters. The application of  V-force Vapor Barrier Membr
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Building or renovating your dream home is an exciting experience. There are a lot of important decisions you will need to make from the time you approve initial drawings, to moving in. We appreciate the importance of every decision you must make and the ability to see changes through.
To provide you with superior project management we offer a web-based tool that allows you to:

  • view updated photos of the project
  • view the build schedule
  • view and approve change orders
  • have access to important documents
  • online messaging
  • warranty claims process


Our office is open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, drop in and say hi!

2458 James St.  Halifax, NS  B3K 3W7
p. 902.455.3202 | f. 902.455.3209 | e.