Cabbagetown Renovation (4)

How to Make Your Next Home Renovation Project Less Stressful

For many homeowners, a renovation project is usually accompanied by a great deal of stress. This definitely isn’t out of the ordinary since it’s natural for people to worry about staying within budget and getting things done right and on time. In addition, their home may be a bit of a mess during the work and some things that are taken for granted such as running water and electricity may be temporarily put on hold.

Here in Toronto, the housing boom and low-interest home equity loan rates have caused an increase in the number of home renovation projects in the GTA. Everyone dreams of a newly remodeled home but dread the prospect of having to live through a several weeks long home renovation project. Nobody likes to live day to day in a stressed-out state, so let’s look at some ways to get through your next home renovation project with the least amount of anxiety possible.

Be Realistic

One of the best ways to relieve the stress is to simply be realistic. As mentioned, it’s normal for your house to be in a bit of mess when it’s being renovated and you may have to sacrifice some of the luxuries from time to time. The sooner you come to terms with this the easier things will be. In addition, you should also realize the job may go slightly over budget even though you’ve planned it out as meticulously as can be. It’s generally a good idea to add approximately 10 percent to the planned budget to cover unexpected costs.

Find a Dependable Contractor

If you’re going to be hiring outside help it’s well worth taking the time to find a home renovation contractor who’s trustworthy and dependable. But don’t forget the contractor also needs to be good at what they do. There’s nothing worse than hiring somebody who doesn’t show up when they’re supposed to and/or whose work is sub-par. Try and get some good leads from your friends, family, co-workers and neighbours when looking for a contractor. You can also do your own research and search the internet to read online reviews from previous customers.

Once you’ve contacted somebody you’re interested in hiring don’t be afraid to ask for references and to see examples of their work. You’ll also need to make sure they’re fully registered, licensed and insured to work in your region and find out what type of guarantee they offer on their work. In addition, get all agreements in writing and be sure the payment schedule and structure is fully understood by both parties. Basically, you’ll want to make sure you know exactly who’s responsible for what, including the acquisition of permits and the cleanup.

Work out a Satisfactory Payment Schedule

Be sure to work out a fair payment schedule you’re satisfied with. You’ll need to make a down payment before the job begins, and will either make milestone payments during construction or pay the final balance as completion of the work nears. Be sure to have these conversations and agreements in place before work is started.

Staying on Schedule

There’s much less stress if you know the work’s all being completed on schedule. When hiring a contractor it’s advised that the two of you discuss a realistic schedule and print it out. If each step of the renovation is being completed on time you’ll have a lot less to worry about. Communication is very important so work with a contractor you feel comfortable speaking with.

Be Patient

Once in a while you’ll just have to be patient when undertaking a home renovation project. Sometimes it takes time for appliances, cabinets, flooring, countertops, lighting, and fixtures to arrive after being ordered. The same may go for skilled labourers such as electricians and plumbers. The really good ones are often busy and it may mean you’ll need to wait a few days before they can meet your requirements.

Make the Best of the Situation

You might as well make the best of the situation you’re in and enjoy it as much as possible. For instance, if you’re smack in the middle of a kitchen renovation you can gather up the family and make a night of it outdoors around the barbecue. If it’s the middle of the winter you may want to try ordering from the town’s newest pizza parlour or paying a visit to your favourite relative or restaurant.

Don’t Panic

It’s natural for your home to get cool, dusty and a bit dirty during a renovation, so there’s no need to sweat about it. It’s typically just dust and can easily and quickly be cleaned up with a mop and/or vacuum cleaner. Be sure to work out with your contractor ahead of time who is responsible for what when it comes to cleaning up the job site.

Be Flexible

If you hire a contractor to do the work you need to realize you’re more or less going to have several strangers coming and going. Everybody has their own quirks, habits, and personalities since all humans are unique. If the contracting crew is a talkative bunch and you love the silence or vice versa, communicate that with your contractor to minimize stress while they are working in your home. In many cases like this, there are going to be minor things that may bug you but remember it’s only for a short period of time and will be worth it in the end.

Novacon Construction

Novacon Construction is a Toronto based home renovation contractor and custom builder commitment to personalized service and a world-class building experience that is difficult to match. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

custom Built Homes Toronto

How Long Does It Take to Build a Custom Home?

If you’re wondering how long it takes to construct a custom home in Toronto you probably won’t be surprised to hear that it all depends on several factors. Every custom home should be considered unique and the length of time it takes to build them will vary. 

However, on average, a custom-designed home will typically take from 8 to 14 months to complete. This is for the actual building process only as the designing and pre-planning stages can take anywhere from 2-3 months ,up to a year depending on the complexity of the project.  Working with a Design Build company will definitely help cut the time and potentially some large costs as you only have to work with a single point of contact for every stage of the process. Communication errors are therefore  minimized and virtually eliminated

Preparing is Key

Once we have all the necessary building permits, documents and financing in hand the building process will depend on the size and design of the house as well as things such as specialty labour, materials, supplies and the weather. Since the weather in the Greater Toronto Area can be quite unpredictable, especially during the early spring and winter months, it’s recommended to start construction anywhere from April until October with the warmer months being a better choice.

Ideally, the foundation should be poured and the home framed before the snow and the temperature start to fall. The excavation and foundation pouring can be completed in the cold weather, but it’s typically more expensive and risky, with less than optimal results. 

Even with summer construction, there’s no guarantee things will go smoothly since heavy rainstorms may slow things down if the building site is flooded and requires dewatering, or site has become too muddy to continue and requires time to dry up. As mentioned, the weather here in Toronto can be unpredictable and  since nobody can control the weather it may ultimately affect the timeline of your custom home. The key is to expect this and be prepared.

Labour and Material Delays

As far as labour and materials go, if there is a hold up somewhere along the line from a material supplier, that is out of the builders control and it can potentially also slow things down. Several different subcontractors and suppliers need to be depended upon for everything to run as planned. A good general contractor overseeing the custom build can help speed things along and ensure delays are kept to a minimum.  However, sometimes there are work backups and delivery delays which may also be due to bad weather conditions or simply because it’s the busy season. 

If the plumbers, electricians, framers and other specialists are all on site working together when scheduled it can definitely help speed things up.  A good Design Build contracting company can make this coordinating more efficient and streamlined during the construction process through proper project management techniques.

Homeowner Delays

The homeowner also has to be on the ball during the construction process since you may have to make timely decisions on things such as windows, flooring, trim, cabinets, and plumbing fixtures etc. When it comes to making a decision, the quicker the better and everything should be on the building site when it’s needed. 

The same goes for staying with your original design plans as you don’t want to change your mind about something once it’s been completed. Changing plans during the building process will always delay things.

Other Potential Delays

The builder will also be affected by environmental conditions such as topography and soil type on the building site. For instance, if the home is being built on a level lot it will be quicker than constructing on a hilly site. Unfortunately, construction delays are just a fact of life in some cases. You may hire the best builder in the world and the project could still be delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, with the majority of these being weather related. 

About Novacon Construction

If you’re considering building a new home or custom home we can help you decide on the best option by evaluating your specific ideas.  Novacon Construction is a Design Build company located in Toronto.  We offer custom home build solutions in Toronto and the GTA and provide an easy and cost effective way to build the custom home you’ve always wanted.  We offer free consultations. Contact us here to learn more.

Novacon Home Renovations Toronto

Where To Start When Renovating Your Home

There are plenty of reasons for renovating a home and regardless of why you’re doing it, knowing exactly where to start is quite important. Remodeling an entire home can be quite a daunting task as there are numerous aspects to consider and decisions to be made. Just remember that all improvements to your home will likely increase its value as well as elevate its functionality and the first thing that should be tackled is coming up with some type of plan as well as a budget. 

You may want to go through your home room by room to see if you’d like to renovate it in any way before making the first move. You can consider the walls, flooring, doors, windows, lighting, and furnishing etc. You can then compare what you currently have with what you want.

Having a Plan

It’s recommended that every aspect of your renovation project be researched and well thought out before getting underway. You may want to get some inspiration or ideas for remodeling by looking through home-improvement magazines and/or websites. You can decide if your ideas and vision will work well in the layout of your home and if they’ll fit into your project’s budget. It’s often a good idea to make a list of the top five or 10 things you’d like to achieve and decide exactly which rooms or parts of the house you’d like to renovate. You’ll also need to decide if you have the space to realize your goal or if you need to add an extra room, finish the basement or even add another storey to the building.

Choosing a Style

Depending on who you share your house with, you may want to get together to discuss the type of design and style you’d like for the home and that suits your lifestyle. This can sometimes be difficult since many people have different preferences when it comes to design. However, it’s a good idea to make sure your choice of style isn’t just a passing trend and the home will be out of fashion in the next several years. Some of the more popular styles these days include modern, rustic, and contemporary. We always prefer a “timeless” design in mind when working with our clients on a DESIGN-BUILD project.

Hiring Help

There’s a good chance you’ll need to hire some help during your renovation and you’ll need to find an experienced home renovation contractor. You can even ask for their assistance when it comes to style and design and they’ll be able to tell you if your plans for the home will work. You may also need to hire subcontractors such as electricians, plumbers and carpenters or have the contractor take care of it for you.

Rebuilding & Accomodations

When undergoing a home renovation you’ll need to realize that you may need to stay elsewhere for a short period of time while the work is being carried out. Depending on the extent of the job, walls may need to be torn down and flooring pulled out etc. Some types of projects can be done in a couple of days, but some take much longer and you may have to plan on leaving your home while the process is being carried out. Our typical timeline on a home addition or full gut renovation of a typical Toronto home is 4-6 months. Best is to research some short term rentals in your neighbourhood prior to starting the work.

Updates

This may be the perfect time to update things such as flooring, lighting, appliances, insulation, duct work, heating and air conditioning, electrical wiring, gas lines, plumbing and water supply lines etc.

If you’re planning on a complete home renovation Greater Toronto Area,  contact us at Novacon Construction to schedule a free consultation

Our team of professionals looks forward to discussing all of your expectations and ideas and can help come up with a suitable budget and time frame for the work. We provide a hands-on approach and work hand in hand with our clients through every stage, from design to finishing.

How Much Does a Second Story Addition Cost?

When you’re looking for additional living space and the option of moving to a bigger home isn’t in the cards you can always consider a second story addition. Here in Toronto, the ever increasing real estate prices makes adding a second story home addition an attractive option compared to buying a bigger home. 

Adding a second story addition to your home enables many homeowners to nearly double their existing living area at a more affordable price than buying a new home. It is a complex project though and will add weight to your original home, so you need to make sure your structure can support an additional story before getting ahead of yourself on the project. You’ll then need to come up with some detailed plans for the addition.

Second Story Addition Costs

The cost of a second story addition will obviously depend on the location and size of your home and how much square footage you’ll be adding. Each home is unique, but in general, a full second story addition to a typical Toronto 800-1000sqft  bungalow will start in the $225,000 range. Our most popular addition for older semi-detached homes is the rear main floor family room/kitchen with a 2nd floor Master bedroom and ensuite. These additions are usually in the 4-500 square-feet range in size, and  would cost approximately $180,000 to $250,000 depending on the scope of work and big ticket items such as kitchens/bathrooms. If you’d like to add a new two car garage of 20 by 22 feet with a finished dry walled interior you should expect to pay between $80,000 and $100,000. Laneway and coach houses are a very hot topic now and vary tremendously, but expect that they would start in the $250,000 and up range.

It’s interesting to note that adding a second story may in some cases cost more per square foot than it will to add additional living space on your ground floor. This is due to potentially having to replace major items such as the roof, electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems etc. and a set or two of stairs. And don’t forget the rearranging of the existing living space on the main floor will inevitably require attention as you may have added the bedrooms upstairs and now want a gorgeous great room, or that larger kitchen you have always dreamed of. The cost will also depend on what exactly you plan on including on the upper floor. For example, a laundry and bathroom will be a bit more work and money than just adding a couple of bedrooms.

Hire a Professional Contractor

Adding a second story isn’t a do-it-yourself project since you’ll need to work hand in hand with a contractor with experience creating second story additions as structural work will need to be carried out and the existing mechanical systems will need to be worked on. There are other costs involved with a second story addition that aren’t exactly hidden, but many homeowners often forget about them when budgeting for their project. For instance, when looking for a contractor you should ask for a fixed-price deal just in case the cost of building materials and supplies such as lumber, concrete and shingles fluctuates during the job.

Additional Costs For Adding a Second Story

Also, you’ll need to budget for building permit fees, design and architectural fees, project financing and interest, insurance premiums, and possible landscaping. In general, our design and planning fees will be approximately $10,000 to $15,000  and since your home is now worth more after the second story addition your insurance premiums and property taxes may rise to reflect it. The exact percentage of property tax and insurance increases will depend on the new value of your home. As for the landscaping, you may need to remove or replace items such as shrubs, bushes, trees and/or flower beds etc, after the work has been completed.

For more information on second story additions, other home remodeling and renovation projects in the Greater Toronto Area,  Contact us at Novacon Construction to schedule a free consultation.

Design Build

The Difference Between Design-Build and General Contractors

When it comes to designing and building homes there are generally two options. Homeowners can utilize the skills of a general contractor or a design-build company. The main difference between the two is a general contractor will focus on the construction side of things whereas a design-build firm will also handle the architectural work along with the building of it. Design-build contractors are able to handle both jobs since they will manage all aspects of the project, from the planning and design process to completion of the project. 

General Contractors

General contractors have to hire somebody else such as a draftsperson to come up with architectural plans. This typically results in delays and added costs when compared to a design-build contractor who has a full-time in-house team to handle all the work. The architects take care of the construction drawings and conceptual design plans for your new home or the remodeling of your existing living space. An architect is needed to make sure local building codes are adhered to as well as health and safety issues.

Design Build

A well-executed design needs to be in place before building can begin. It’s much easier to get things done on time and on budget when architects and builders are working together. A design-build contractor looks after every step of the process from the initial planning stage all the way through the completion of the project. These contractors are able to provide clients with expert detail, design and craftsmanship along with first-rate service. Homeowners also know exactly who is responsible for each aspect of the job and who to contact with any concerns.

When the design and construction phases of a building project are managed by the same company it speeds up the process and reduces costs. You’ll also be treated to the same unified quality control from the beginning of the project until the very end. The project is generally simplified since one contractor is handling the entire process instead of several different people. This includes providing the architects, engineers, plumbers and electricians etc. There’s no need to hire any outside help and take the added time to work out a schedule with subcontractors.

Choosing Between The Two

This isn’t to say the traditional hiring of contractors only is never a good idea though.  If you have a specific engineer or architect in mind that you would like to work with then you will usually need to separate the design process from the building stage. Many Design Build companies will work with your chosen engineer or architect, though some may not, so be sure to ask.

Also, when employing separate designers and builders you’ll be able to access the professional knowledge and input of more than just one person. This means more ideas and options may be floating around concerning the project. Although you will have several different people to deal with and pay rather than just one contractor.

Choosing between design-build and general contractors is a personal choice and it often depends on where your priorities lie. Design-build companies are becoming more popular because they generally save homeowners time and money, but your decision may ultimately depend on the complexity of your plans.

Novacon Construction

Novacon Construction is a Toronto based design-build construction company specializing in home additions and large scale renovations of older homes. When working with a boutique company like ours, you can rest assured you are getting a commitment to personalized service and a world-class building experience that is difficult to match.  Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

 

home addition Toronto home

Home Additions: Additional Costs To Be Aware Of  

Nobody likes to be given a quote for the cost of something only to find out later the actual price is quite a bit higher than originally thought. It happens in all walks of life such as auto repairs and maintenance contracts etc. and it’s usually no different when it comes to home additions.

There are typically hidden or additional costs with any type of remodeling project and it’s a good idea to find out exactly where you may have to shell out more money before it has been completed.

For example, the contractor doesn’t really have any idea what’s under the floors and behind the walls of your home until the work is well underway and you may also find out the home doesn’t live up to new building codes in certain regards. However, if you take these things into consideration when planning the project you can add them to your budget so you won’t be taken completely by surprise. This includes items such as loan interest, financing fees, unforeseen repairs, the fluctuating cost of building materials, increased property taxes, landscaping costs and higher insurance premiums.

When hiring a contractor for a home addition or remodeling project you should always insist on a fixed-cost quote and contract which outlines exactly what is going to be done and how much it will cost. Of course, once the contractor gets started the price may still rise due to unforeseen circumstances such as mold or dry-rot. However, you can ask the contractor beforehand how much more it will cost if rot is found for instance. A good contractor should consider the possibility of something such as rot and mold when giving you a quote. In addition, a fixed-cost contract will cover you if the price of building materials should happen to jump midway through the project.

 

Design Fees

When budgeting for your home addition, don’t forget to include architectural fees as well as construction costs. If you’re using an architect you’ll find they don’t work for free, but some contractors will include these fees in the quote. Either way, the design will end up costing you something.  Novacon Construction is a design-build company, meaning we include all aspects of the project including the design, architecture and related fees.

 

Financial Fees

If you plan on borrowing money to finance the remodeling project you’ll likely be facing processing fees along with the interest fees unless you’re fortunate enough to land an interest-free loan somewhere. In addition, the lender may also insist on an appraisal and inspection which will add to the cost.

 

Permit Fees

In most cases a building permit is going to be required for the addition or remodeling work and you may also need plumbing and/or electrical permits. Be sure to ask the contractor if these have been included in the quote.

 

Higher Insurance Premiums

Once the home addition or remodeling work has been completed your home will now be worth more than it was before you started. Naturally, your insurance company may want to raise your premiums because of this. The exact cost or percentage of this increase will depend on how much the value of your home has been elevated.

 

Increased Property Taxes

As well as paying higher insurance premiums the government will also want its share. Again, this is because your home is now worth more due to the work done on it. Your yearly property taxes will go up when the worth of your home has been evaluated.

 

Landscaping costs

If you’re planning an addition to the home it will likely affect the landscaping of the property. You may need to get rid of shrubs, turf, trees and flower beds when making room for the addition. Even if you don’t have to remove them you may need to replace them when all the work has been completed due to the wear and tear of daily construction.

 

Be Prepared

Be sure to make all of your remodeling-related decisions are planned in advance as the contractor will need to organize the labour and building materials in a timely manner to get the job done on time. Materials will need to be ordered well in advance to make sure they reach the job site on time. If you have questions about your upcoming home addition project, you can contact us here.  Novacon Construction is a Toronto based design-build company that offers an all in one solution for your home renovation project. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

 

Design Build project in Toronto

The Advantages Of Hiring a Design Build Contractor

The design-build method of constructing homes and businesses is gaining popularity in Toronto and the GTA since it combines the designing and building functions under the same roof. One company or contractor is able to handle all aspects of the project without the need to hire any subcontractors.

Let’s take a look at the advantages of hiring a design/build contractor for a major renovation or new home construction project.

The Same Team

Everybody’s working for the same team here as the designers and builders are all under the same umbrella. All participants are working towards a common goal since they’re all in it together and have everybody’s best interests at heart. This means any problems that may come up are always solved as quickly as possible.

Accountability

One contractor is responsible for the entire project from start to finish including fees, landscaping, utilities etc. The people who designed the building are also the ones who are constructing it. Homeowners know exactly who to contact with any concerns over the design, timing, scheduling, costs, looks, quality, and payments etc. The design-build company is ultimately held accountable for every aspect of the job.

Details

Since the same company is handling every step of the project the chances of anything being overlooked, forgotten or misplaced are greatly diminished. When three or four different contractors are working on the same site somebody could forget or overlook something which may delay the work.

Professionalism

Design-build companies are highly-trained experts and professionals in the fields of construction and design. They are licensed in both architecture and building and fully understand every aspect of constructing homes. The architects have a great knowledge of building and the builders have just as much knowledge about architecture.

Owner Collaboration

The homeowner is actively involved in the design process and construction of the home and is always in control of the project. You’ll be kept up to date with each step of the design and building process due to ongoing, open communication methods.

Saving Time and Money

There’s no need to employ outside help since the design-build company consists of all the workers and subcontractors needed for the project. All scheduling, deliveries, alterations and decisions can be discussed with one contractor and there’s no need to wait around for subcontractors to show up. The design-build contractor can adapt to every conceivable situation which results in the saving of both time and money.

Quality Control

With the same company handling all the details of the job it means the same level of quality control will be used throughout the project when it comes to construction specifications and materials. This results in unified health and safety concerns along the way.

Novacon Design Build

Novacon Construction has been serving Toronto and the GTA for over 15 years and offers Design Build services for both residential and commercial projects.  For more information on design/build and general contracting options please feel free to contact us here.

Custom Home Builders in Toronto

10 Questions To ask Yourself Before Building a Custom Home

If you plan on building a custom home to suit your own personal lifestyle and needs there are several important factors you need to consider. You’ll be designing and building the home from scratch rather than purchasing a house that has already been built and things can get complicated fast if you don’t have every detail planned out. Here in Toronto, many people are turning to custom built homes, not only for the mega-mansions you see out in the suburbs but for smaller custom builds inside the city.

Below is a list of important questions you should ask yourself before the building process gets underway.

1. Am I positive I want to build a custom home?

Before you get too involved with the idea of building a custom home you should decide if it’s the best option for your lifestyle and financial situation. You should weigh the pros and cons of a custom home and determine if it’s actually better than purchasing an existing dwelling. You may find some existing homes which fit your ideal location, budget, lifestyle and family’s housing needs.

2. How much should we spend?

Unfortunately, the sky’s not the limit for most homeowners when building their dream home. You need to be realistic when designing the home and make sure it suits your financial budget. It’s wise to come up with the budget first and then make sure you don’t add extra rooms and amenities that you know you won’t use.

3. Can the soil support a home?

When looking for the ideal location for your home it’s important to have the soil checked out. Since the quality of soil differs from area to area you’ll need to be sure it won’t lead to any foundation problems in the future. It’s never a bad idea to have the lot’s soil examined by a Geotechnical Engineer..

4. Who will be living in the home and for how long?

It’s not always easy to predict how long you’ll live in a home, but you may have a good idea if you plan on raising a family in it. If you plan on having children you’ll need to know how many bedrooms are needed along with bathrooms and a family room etc. If you’re raising a family it may also affect your location since you may want to build close to a school and recreational facilities/parks etc. Homeowners who don’t plan on having children may decide on fewer bedrooms and bathrooms and the location of the home may be more dependent on proximity to their place of employment.

5. What are the most important factors for my home?

Each homeowner may be looking for different things in their new home. For instance, it will usually depend on how many people will be residing in it and what the house will be used for. The best way to plan your home is to ask yourself specific questions about it and rank them in order of importance.

For instance, you’ll need to ask yourself how much room is required for entertaining. How many bedrooms and bathrooms are needed and how important the location is. You need to consider if a back yard is important to you and if you’d like the exterior to be built out of low-maintenance materials such as stone or brick. It’s also a good idea to consider the home’s insulation and see if you can use energy-saving features to help save money in the long run.

6. What would you like your home to be constructed of?

There are several types of construction materials that can be incorporated into your dream home and you’ll need to decide which ones you’d like to use. Some homeowners choose specific materials to reflect their personality while others simply want the most durable and functional materials available. The decision often comes down to the appearance and style of the home you’d like to live in.

7. Which home will have the greatest resale value?

If you don’t plan on spending the rest of your life in your new home you’ll likely be interested in its resale value down the road. Most real estate agents believe brick homes have the greatest resale value when compared to other materials. It may cost a bit more to construct, but the long-term value is greater.

8. Who will design and build the home?

Many homeowners will hire an architect to help design the home or translate your unique ideas and plans to paper. Architects and homeowners can utilize computer software when planning the home, but you need a good builder to take those plans and turn them into an actual home. Some contractors offer Design Build services where they take responsibility for the entire process, from design to finished home.  Building a home isn’t as easy as planning one on a computer and you’ll need to find an experienced builder who fits your budget and timeline.

9. How important is the kitchen?

A home’s kitchen is generally seen as the most important and social and room in the house as so much time is spent there either on your own or when entertaining family and friends. Custom kitchens are very popular when it comes to design and functionality. You can be very creative when it comes to kitchen design and you’ll need to know how many work islands are needed and if there are any specific appliances you’d like to add such as a brick pizza oven etc. You’ll need to know how big you’d like the kitchen and how much money you’d like to spend in this area.

10. Should I ask the builder for references?

There’s a good chance the cost of your custom home will be the biggest financial investment you make in your lifetime. Don’t be afraid to ask the builder for references and to view their previous work. A good builder should have no problem with this request. However, you may want to think twice if the request is denied.

 

About Novacon Construction

Novacon Construction is a Design Build construction company located in Toronto.  We offer custom custom solutions and provide an easy and cost-effective way to build the custom home you’ve always wanted.  We offer free consultations. Contact us here to learn more.

PLANNING A PROJECT PROPERLY & HIRING A REPUTABLE COMPANY

PLANNING A PROJECT PROPERLY

Many renovation problems are a direct result of poor planning. Taking the time to plan makes a real difference in terms of its success and keeping within your budget.
1. Develop a clear description of what you want to change in your home and specific goals for your renovation project. Consider things like: Use of Space, Light and Brightness and Movement of People.
2. Define your priorities – which renovation items are “must-haves,” and which would be nice to have if your budget allows.

HIRING A REPUTABLE COMPANY

Hiring a reputable contractor can be a daunting task. Here’s some help:
1. Renovators and trade contractors who belong to the CHBA (Canadian Home Builders Association) is a solid indication that a company is well established and serious about its long-term success.
2. Contractors who also belong to RenoMark, require members to agree to, and abide by, a renovation-specific code of conduct.
3. Reputable contractors provide a warranty, as part of their written contract, as you deserve to have a proper warranty on the work done.
4. Ask for recommendations from friends, family, co-workers and neighbours who have had positive renovation experiences.

HOW TO MANAGE CHANGES TO YOUR HOME RENOVATION

(as posted in renomark.ca)
By Pavel Bigas, President of Novacon Construction Inc.

Every renovation project will have changes; it’s inevitable. It could be a simple thing like changing the type of flooring, or it could be more complicated like completely altering the kitchen layout. What’s important is properly documenting the change request, any implications, and formally approving the change in the contract documents.

What’s included in a change request?
One of my biggest concerns as a professional RenoMark renovator is a client who’s unhappy with the result of a change they requested during their renovation.A professional renovator needs to translate your verbal change requests to a written document outlining the details, then communicate to you any associated cost and schedule implications. You’ll have a chance to review and approve the change(s) — this is the most important part of the change process. If you don’t approve the change order document, the contractor will have to adhere to the original contract and design. This approach protects both you and your contractor.

Your written contract needs to outline the proper steps to be taken when requesting any changes during your renovation. This will include items such as associated management or processing fees and timeframes for your approvals. For example, if you want to change the kitchen layout from the design you and your contractor had originally set out with, it’s your responsibility as the homeowner to make decisions and send approvals/edits to the change documents in a timely fashion. Otherwise, construction delays may happen which could be costly, and come out of your budget.

What if the change I request doesn’t cost anything?

Changes that don’t cost anything still need to be properly documented. You may ask for a small change – like moving an electrical outlet before it’s finished – during a progress check. This needs to be recorded in writing, either through a site visit report or an email exchange between you and your renovator. This documentation proves you’re both on the same page and protects everyone involved. It’s important to understand that although a smaller alteration may not have cost anything to you as the homeowner, your contractor will incur staff time/costs to process the change and make it happen.Remember, communication is key in any successful renovation. Regular meetings with your contractor to review the work, progress, next steps, and invoicing is a necessary part of any project. Being proactive is the best way for a project to stay on-track and on-budget.

The ultimate goal for a professional renovator is to make sure that the homeowner gets the beautiful home that they wanted and only pays what they are supposed to. No client should be charged for work they didn’t request or approve, and your contractor should be paid per the terms of the contract.

Have a question? Get in touch!

If this column has you thinking about a past or future renovation, send us a line at renomark@bildgta.ca. Then look for the answers to your questions in the next Ask a RenoMark Renovator column.