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.

 

TORONTO HOME ADDITION

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.

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.