Kitchen Renovation Project Toronto

Don’t Be Lured In By Low Base Prices

The SQFT base price most builders provide homeowners for Custom homes, Additions and Major Renovations may appear to be quite reasonable but you could be in for quite a shock when the final cost of the home has drastically increased. The reason for this is due to the fact that most base price quotes don’t include many essentials.

It’s important to know exactly what you’re getting into before signing any contracts. You need to know exactly what is and isn’t included when it comes to the base price since many quotes leave out additional costs.

There are many builders and renovators which appear to offer fantastic deals due to their relatively-low base prices. However when it comes time to build, you may find it doesn’t fit into your financial budget. In fact, some homes may even end up costing double the provided base cost.

It’s generally considered a much better idea to deal with a builder who provides DESIGN-BUILD services and  includes all costs of the project in their quote and a very detailed scope of work. This provides you with a realistic number from day one and you’ll know right away if you can build it within your budget.

With all costs included in a quote you’ll soon realize it may be higher than many base prices you’ve seen, but you’ll have the peace of mind knowing this price won’t change along the way. The price you’re quoted will basically be the price you pay which makes it much easier to plan for financially.

Base prices can be misleading

Like most salespeople, contractors usually advertise a low base price to attract the attention of potential clients. The lower the price, the more people who are usually enticed into a deal. A low base price will almost certainly rise when the builder has included all aspects of the finished project.

You may want to compare building and renovating your home to purchasing a new car with a low base price. As you may well know you’ll suddenly be asked to pay for things such as rustproofing, heated seats and steering wheels, a CD player, and freight and storage etc. Your new car may rise in costs by as much as 20 per cent from the advertised base price and newly-built homes are often similar.

Builders who construct custom homes are often perceived to be more expensive than those who offer low base prices but that isn’t really the case when you consider the final price of the project. The big difference being that low base prices don’t include everything.

Examples of this could be hardwood flooring, carpeting, stone tiles, kitchen backsplash, plumbing fixtures, windows and appliances etc.  When choosing specific items with your contactor, you may find an upgrade cost will be added to the bill.

What is a base price?

The advertised base price is basically the minimum cost of building the home. It’s considered to be the starting point and it typically includes standard or basic items and features only. Each builder may consider different items to be standard however, so it’s important to ask exactly what’s included. Those with fewer basic items will typically offer lower base prices.

It’s important to know if things such as Municipal fees, permits, site costs, flooring, design fees, and the driveway etc are included in the base price. Most home buyers prefer to deal with a builder who provides them with a fixed price when it comes to site costs and other items.

So the next time your attention is grabbed by a low base price from a contractor, be sure to find out exactly what is and isn’t represented in the cost before agreeing to anything.

About Novacon Construction

As a leading custom home builder and renovation service in Toronto, our mission is to build gorgeous houses from the ground up. We want our clients to live comfortably and safely in the home that fits their needs and lifestyle. Instead of purchasing a cookie-cutter home and having to adjust it to their needs. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Custom Built Home Toronto

Planning Your New Home During COVID-19

There likely aren’t many people who are thinking about building their own home at the moment due to the current worldwide Covid-19 health crisis. But this may actually be the prime time to begin designing a custom home. Planning and designing your dream home with a designer and builder typically takes several weeks and by getting started now you may be able to have it completed by the end of the year.

COVID-19 has certainly taken its deadly toll across the globe but fortunately it will pass and life will return to some type of normal routine when a vaccine is introduced. By planning your dream home now, you’ll be ready to start building as soon as the crisis is over.

 

Why design your home now?

Designing and building a new home consists of a lot of hard work and it takes time to make sure all pre-construction preparations are in place. There’s no time like the present to get started and be prepared once the pandemic restrictions have been lifted.

When planning to construct a new home you’ll need to come up with a budget and make sure your vision can be achieved at that price. The size and specifics of the home will depend on your budget and enlisting the aid of a builder is highly recommended to make sure you’re on target. A builder will be able to offer their professional advice and expertise when it comes to erecting the finest home for the most affordable price.

 

Make the most of your free time

Many people are still working through the Covid-19 pandemic but if you happen to have some free time on your hands it’s a good idea to put it to use. This could be the ideal time to start doing some research and planning when it comes to a new home. You may have the time to seek out a builder who can offer their design and constructing services during this critical stage of the project.

 

Life during COVID-19

The Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the government are justifiable and understandable as they are designed to protect society’s most vulnerable members. However, the good news is they don’t stop you from getting started on your new home. You can always get the wheels in motion when it comes to designing your home, finding a builder and getting quotes.

Most professional builders can still be contacted via telephone and email and many of them may even be able to meet virtually with you online. This enables you to go about your business while still practising safe social distance etiquette. We have been working with homeowners during this crisis by using virtual consultations to answer questions, suggest ideas, and to kickstart the planning process.

 

Getting a head start

Once the pandemic has passed or eased up there will likely be a mad dash for the services and expertise of professional designers and builders. Finding the perfect builder may be a more difficult task in the near future because of this and you could be disappointed. If you don’t want to be left on the outside looking in you may want to get the jump on other new homeowners.

 

Contact Novacon Construction Today

Since your new home will likely be one of the biggest and most important investments of your life you don’t want to settle for anything but the best.  We are offering free virtual consults here in Toronto to answer your questions and plan your custom home build.

Toronto construction permits needed for home renovations

What Home Renovations Require a Permit Toronto

Home renovations are quite popular in Toronto, but before you start planning the project it’s important to know if any building permits are required. Without the necessary permits you may be faced with fines or legal action. In some instances, the completed work may even need to be removed. According to the City of Toronto’s Building Code Act, a building permit is needed for the demolition or construction of any new building as well as for the material alteration of all existing structures and buildings.

This means there are laws in place for home renovation projects as they need to comply with the local regulations concerning zoning, electrical, plumbing, and building work. If the projected renovations meet with these bylaws then a permit will typically be issued. In addition, City of Toronto inspectors will look over the job to make sure everything is done according to the permit.

When a Permit is Needed

These are some of the more popular renovating projects that require a permit in the City of Toronto.

You’ll need a permit if you plan on renovating your basement by adding an entrance or a room as well as for altering or installing plumbing/heating systems. Other types of structural work also require a permit such as underpinning and excavating.

If you plan on building a pool house, workshop, garden shed, carport or detached garage you’ll need a permit if the structure will be bigger than 10 square meters. You will need a permit regardless of size if you want to add an attached garage, porch, sunroom, or additional floor to the house.

A permit is needed for a deck if it’s more than two-feet above the ground as well as for enlarging doors and windows and removing or adding walls. In addition, you also need permission for installing a wood-burning stove/fireplace/chimney as well as making environmentally-friendly improvements including installing a green roof, solar systems, and storm-water systems.

If you plan on changing the use of a structure, such as turning your home into an office or changing it to a multi-dwelling building then you’ll require a permit.

When a Permit isn’t needed

There are some instances in which a building permit isn’t needed such as replacing or adding insulation or building a retaining wall which is under a meter in height, but the renovations still need to respect the local zoning bylaw.

You don’t need a permit when renovating a basement if you’ aren’t adding an extra room, new plumbing, or doing any material/structural work.

If you’re building a freestanding deck outside your house and it’s a maximum of two-feet above the ground then you don’t need a permit.

If you plan on installing sky-lighting in a home which is under four stories high and only one rafter needs to be removed, you won’t need a permit.

Permit Fees

Building permits come with fees and you’ll also be charged an hourly rate for an inspection. For the most up-to-date costs, it’s recommended that you contact the City of Toronto.

No-Permit Penalties

If you begin renovating your home without the required permits you could face financial penalties over $25,000, depending on the nature of the infraction. In addition, your renovation work may be stopped and any project that has already been completed may have to be removed.

It’s certainly better to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to obtaining building permits for renovations. This is just a general list and it’s highly recommended that you check with the City before starting any renovation projects. Or better yet, if you need help with your home renovations please feel free to contact us at York Construction Company and let us take care of all the required permits.

Have questions?

Permit requirements in Toronto can be confusing and costly if you realize you needed one for a home construction project.  Have questions about your next renovation project?  Contact Novacon Construction today, we can walk you through the process and advise you on permit needs.  We also offer a free consultation contact today to learn more.

 

Davenport Home Addition (12)

Should I Renovate My Basement or Make a Home Addition?

Renovating a basement or adding an addition to a home is often a dilemma homeowners face when they’re looking for more living space. It’s not the easiest question to answer since every home and living situation is unique. If you’re looking at price only, then finishing a basement is generally the least expensive option along with less red tape than an addition.   

However, you need to realize that most basements will need preparation before finishing it, like removing moisture issues coming through your foundation or the need to increase the height of your basement to make it livable.

Do you have room to expand?

If you’re considering an addition to your home, then you’ll need adequate space outside of the house to build it. An addition will also require a foundation, roofing, windows, and walls. Some people also consider building upwards by adding another floor to their home. In this case, the house’s foundation will have to be strong enough to handle the additional weight and a staircase will need to be added. In general, an extra story is less expensive than an addition as the foundation is already there.

Finishing a basement is a lower-cost way of building a family room, bar, games room, workout room, office, home theatre, etc. As mentioned when compared to an addition, the benefits to finishing a basement are the price and the existing room. The basement may be a dark and damp concrete dungeon at the moment, but the area already exists in the home. This can make it more affordable than building an addition and you can often come close to doubling your living space.  

The condition of your basement

Most basements in Toronto were not made to be living space and often lack the adequate height to make it a living area. Other issues such as water/moisture in the basement or inadequate lighting/plumbing can mean the costs to make your basement livable could end up being more expensive than a home addition.

If you’re planning on finishing a basement or building an addition to the home, be sure to check out the local bylaws and building codes regarding the necessary permits. You’ll need to abide by the height requirements for the ceiling and also consider the windows and doors that may need to be used as an escape route in case of emergency. 

If you’re planning on several lower-level rooms, each one should have it’s own escape route. Stairways will also need to be considered as they may have to meet local building codes. In some instances, existing staircases may need to be replaced, which will add to the cost of the renovation.

The basement’s existing plumbing and electrical wiring can often be relocated, but will also add to the cost. In some cases, they may be hidden in a closet, wall or a drop ceiling with acoustic panels. The proper type of insulation will need to be installed to help fight off moisture and cold air. 

As for the flooring, there are numerous options such as carpeting, tile, laminate and vinyl. Hardwood flooring isn’t as popular since moisture could negatively affect the wood. A masonry sealer should be applied though before installing the flooring.

Benefits of a Home Addition

When it comes to home additions, the major benefit is that they can create more living space than a finished basement. Of course, in some instances you can always do both if they’re within your budget. 

While additions are usually the pricier option, these costs can sometimes be recouped when selling the home as the additional square footage added to your above ground living space will increase the value of the home.

A home addition will also give you more flexibility and design creativity as you are creating an entirely new space as opposed to a basement renovation which will often limit what you can design and build.

Have questions?

Novacon Construction is a home addition contractor serving Toronto and the GTA.  If you have questions adding additional living space to your home or remodeling your existing space, you can contact us today for a free consultation.

Toronto custom home

Can I Afford To Build a Custom Home?

With a custom-built home, you’ll get everything you’re looking for due to the fact the house has been designed to your specific wishes. This means you’ll be able to have as many bedrooms and bathrooms as you like, an exact-size kitchen and perhaps a few other personal touches such as a sauna, games room, swimming pool and wine cellar etc. It sounds like a dream home and it is, but can you really afford a custom home?

The answer to that question will no doubt vary from person to person depending on their financial situation as well as the size and complexity of the home. However, there are a few ways you can help keep the costs down when it comes to constructing a custom home.

Finding Your Homesite

This all starts with finding an affordable lot or site for the home. If you already own a home or lot then you have a good head start since your dream home can be constructed on the existing land. 

Here in Toronto where available land is scarce, the cost of the land can be a large part of your overall budget.   If you don’t own any land it’s recommended that you take the time to shop around for an affordable site in a good location. It’s typically more affordable to build on a piece of land that already has an existing home on it since it will be graded and the utility and sewer connections have already been taken care of. You will need to spend some money to knock down the existing home though and some people actually shop around for a condemned home to find a great deal on the land.

Save Time & Money Planning

Since most homes consist of a kitchen, bedrooms, bathrooms, and a living room etc, the majority of custom homes will simply mean these rooms may be designed in a specific shape and size. In some cases this allows you to work with a finished floor plan while making several modifications to it. When doing so, you’ll be able to save on architect fees and the time of designing the house from square one. 

When planning a custom home it’s a good idea to make a list of the features and rooms you’d like to see in it. Once you’ve completed this task you should ask yourself if there’s anything you can’t realistically afford or don’t actually need. If you prioritize the list you may be able to save money on unrealistic items unless your budget is unlimited .

You can also cut down on the costs by working hand in hand with an experienced custom home builder. Contractors that specialize in custom home builds usually have excellent working relationships with different trades, labourers and material suppliers and often order supplies in bulk at a better price. Experienced builders are typically well versed in minimizing the overhead, managing the costs and getting the most out of contractors and labourers. Once you’ve found the right builder you’ll be able to go through your plans and likely cut down on costs here and there. For example, be sure to install energy-efficient appliances and fixtures in the home to enjoy lower energy bills once you move in.  A Design Build company can also save time and money as they offer every stage of the building process, from the design and planning to the actual buildout, all in one place.

A Custom Home Can Be An Affordable Option

A custom home isn’t always costlier than an existing or newly-built house as you can often custom-design a smaller home at a lower price. It all depends on the size and quality of home you’d like. There are other costs to consider such as financing/loan fees as well as adequate insurance. You may or may not need an architect as well as a builder and in many cases you can find companies which can take care of the entire job from start to finish since they handle both the designing and building duties. If you already own the lot for your home, be sure the land can accommodate your custom plans.

About Novacon Construction 

Novacon Construction is a Design Build company located in Toronto.  We offer custom build 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.

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.