The following tips can
help prepare you for a smooth home renovation:
In the beginning it is important to develop both a working
sketch and priorities of the renovation project you wish to undertake. This will
assist you in establishing the goals you wish the project to fulfill.
Have your working sketch developed into a complete set of
blueprints by an architect or draftsperson. The principal purpose of quality
drawings and specifications is to provide a firm base for the costing of the project, the
comparison of quotations and to serve as a finite guide for the detailed construction.
Once a quotation has been secured, ensure that the proper
building permits have been acquired from your local municipality. This will result in
inspections by city officials to make certain that the various stages of your construction
meet local building codes.
Before beginning your renovation project communicate to your
family what to expect during the process - the noise, dust, and host of activity required
for the project to be conducted.
Most renovations need expert management to keep the process
under control and on schedule from the design through the material selection to the
management of the various trades on the site.
If pursuing the renovation as a 'do it yourself' project,
you must be confident in your own skills and abilities, ensuring you have adequate
knowledge of building codes and good building practices which are essential in every
renovation. The large the project the greater the personal commitment to the job
will be required.
If you decide to have your project professionally managed,
check with your local home builders association for a qualified contractor.
Before hiring any contractors or tradespeople for your
project, do your homework. Ask all potential trade persons to provide references and
a list of past projects you can examine for workmanship and professionalism.
As a rule it is good to acquire at least two to three
estimates for all the work to be done.
After you have assembled a list of quotations for the work
to be done, prepare a construction budget detailing the money you will be committing to
the project. In the majority of renovation projects, unforeseen situations arise
causing the project to exceed the predicted budget. You should ensure you have
adequate resources to cover unexpected project expenses.
Never agree to anything without a written contract.
Contracts must include detailed project plans, specifications, timetables and a schedule
of payment. A contract should also specify the warranty policy on the work being
Prior to hiring sub trades or a general contractor, ensure
they are adequately bonded and insured for liabilities.
Be wary when a price appears too good to be true, it usually
is. The range of price quotes you receive reflects differences in quality of
materials, workmanship and management provided.
It is important to be in constant communication with your
sub trades or your general contractor to keep abreast of the project status. Do not
be afraid to question why things are being done in certain ways. Keep a journal
detailing your project discussions and photos of the renovation as it progresses.
This will make it easier to rectify any potential conflicts that may arise in the future.
Upon satisfactory completion of the project, you are
entitled by provincial law to a hold-back equal to a predetermined percentage of the
actual project cost. A hold-back provides protection against claims made by
creditors of the subcontractor or material supplier; unpaid persons or companies that
provided either labour or materials to your project. If you fail to hold back and
claims are made, you may have to pay a percentage of the contract over again to the
claimant. The percentage of the hold-back and the period of time it is held are
stipulated by provincial law and as such, will vary from province to province.
Don't be afraid of doing additional homework prior to
tackling a renovation project. Consult your local library for books and journals or
search the web for a wealth of information and advice for the home renovator.