Friday, March 11, 2011

Renovation Checklist

I get this question asked all the time: “How do I plan properly for my renovation?”

Planning a renovation can be time consuming and stressful.  Everything from researching and choosing your builder, securing the financing to choosing finishes requires staying on top of the details.  Here is our simplified 8-step checklist to help you through the process:
1.                   You need to decide what you want, do you want a renovation, an addition or both.  What part of the home are you renovating?  You need to decide what your wants are and what your needs are. For example you might want a new deck, but the roof is leaking.  The deck is a want and the roof is a need.  You need to fix the roof before you bother with the deck.  This will help you set your rough budget for the project.
2.                   Pick your builder.  It might sound premature without having plans drawn, but a lot of builders have in house design teams that can help you come up with a plan.  If the renovation requires an addition, this in some places requires a design number registered with the government so that you can summit the drawings to the township for a building permit.  You would need to have a draftsmen or architect draw them.  The builder you choose will either have a person on staff to do this or will be able to direct you to a qualified person that they trust. 
3.                   Price.  Now that you have drawings and a builder that you trust, you can have the builder give you a proper detailed quote.  If you are going to get other prices from other builders you will have to be careful.  Comparing renovation quotes is not like comparing new home quotes. Renovations have so many variables in it; they cannot be seen until you start in the project, so builders have to make assumptions of what problems will come up as the project proceeds.  Since builders on a renovation take a lot risk of the unknown they all price differently.  That is why it’s more important to choose the builder that you feel comfortable with and not the builder that has the lowest price.
4.                   Investigate your builder.  Referrals from customers are a great place to start.  A reputable builder will not hesitate to supply you with names of customers who will talk with you about their experience.  Also check out the GuildQuality Guildmaster Awards at this link:

5.                  Get it in writing.  An experienced and reputable builder will provide you with a detailed layout of exactly what is included and what is not included in your project. They will explain the rules about change orders, the start to finish dates and the payment schedule.

6.                  The preconstruction walk through.  Before the project commences, you’re going to want to do a walk through with the builder and preferably the builder’s project manager.  You need to set rules of access, storage of furniture and personal items.  You will also want to decide what you want them to save or dispose of during demolition.   Talk about what areas of the home require protection and what kind of protection they will be using.  If you are living in the house at the time of the renovation you will have to come to agreements of how late or how early work will start and end.  Also how many days a week do you accept them to be on site.  Some people do not want workers on site certain days such as the weekend.  You need to discuss if a job sign is permitted, some neighbourhoods or municipalities do not allow them.

7.                   Be prepared to make decisions.  A good builder will ask you endless questions while doing your renovation.  This is not a sign of incompetence.  In fact it’s the mark of a good builder; a builder who asks you to make endless decisions is making sure that you are getting exactly what you want.  A good builder will also give you the options available to you and give recommendations on which one is the best choice.  But the final decision always rests with you.

8.                  The Post construction walk through.  Once the project is completed, before you hand over the final amount owing on the contract, you and the builder should do a final walk through.  This is the time to point out anything that has been overlooked.  From paint touch ups to functionality of all fixtures and hardware.  If anything needs to be addressed then the value of that item should be deducted from the final bill and paid out after the item is corrected.    This way the contractor gets paid what is owed to him and has some incentive to come back and finish the touch ups.

We want you to be completely satisfied with your renovation.  Call me to get started.  Rob Abbott. 877 866 3202

1 comment:

  1. It's good that you notify us of changes when they occur... I appreciate your efforts. What gets me is that the EPA makes NO effort to notify the Contractors (that they have certified) of changes to regulations. I was lucky to have learned of the EPA laws in time to be certified.