Monday, January 30, 2012

Where to start when you want to renovate your home

Where to start when you want to renovate your home
If you are thinking about renovating your home, you need to look into certain things before you go too far forward. Here are some of the things that you should look into;
·         Make a list of every part of the home that you want to change or update.
·         Prioritize the list, from the most important to the least important.
·         Group the different area’s that you want to renovate, for example; if you renovate the Ensuite bathroom you should probably renovate the master bedroom at the same time. This allows you to finish areas of the house allowing you to still live in the house.
·         Decide if your renovation is going to be large enough that you cannot live there while the work is going on. Do you have somewhere to go while the work is going on?  Can you afford to do that?
·         Make a budget of what you can afford to spend on the renovations.
·         Find out from your bank how much they will give you toward the renovation.
·         Look at the possible return on your investment. If you renovate your home so it is the nicest home on the street you’re probably not going to get as big a return from your renovation as if you only did enough to bring it up to the standards that are already existing in your neighbourhood.
·         Figure out what you realistically can accomplish on your own, if anything at all. When I say realistically look at what you can do, I mean like some demolition and painting. Things like plumbing, electrical and reframing should always be left to professionals.
Now that you have done this you have a view into what you are getting yourself into. This gives you a heading in the journey of your renovation. You know which way to go now, but you really don’t have a clue on how to get there.
The next thing you need to do is to find yourself a designer and a contractor to do the work. If you can find a contractor that has an "in house designer" that’s even better.  This always makes it easier for everyone involved in your renovation project, they are all under one roof and one simple phone call from you gets in touch with all of them. This will allow the designer and contractor to work as a team instead of two individuals.
When looking to find a contractor do your research. Check the internet, look at websites. Look in the local magazines, you can tell a lot about how people run their business by the way they run their marketing. Well ordered and stylized marketing usually means that the company is well run and organized. Meet with contractors, talk to them and get them to show you pictures of some of the work that they have done. You don’t want to end up with a contractor that isn’t able to give the finished product that you want. You want a contractor that has been there and done it, this will allow them to steer you away from any problems that they have run into in the past. Ask for references of clients that they have renovated for so that you can ask important questions, like how long did the job take, where they professional, did they come when they said they would? A good contractor should be able to present you with a list of references almost as soon as you ask for it. Renovators get asked for this all the time and if there not trying to hide anything then they usually will have no problem turning over some contact information that pertains to their clients.
When getting a budget or pricing on a renovation it is better to only deal with one contractor. Renovating is not like when you are building a new home, you do not want to go out and get multiple bidders for a renovation project. The reason for this is because in a renovation there is so much left to guess work on the side of the contractor. The contractor makes a lot of assumptions of what they think you will want in flooring and fixtures. If you get multiple bids you really won’t know what you are getting in the budget because each contractors allowance will be different. It is better to find a contractor that you can trust, work with and have an accurate budget. Then the two of you can work on the actual finishing’s to help fine tune your budget. This will give you exactly what you want for what you expect to pay.
Renovating your home is a very stressful experience for most people, especially if you our having to live in the house as the work is proceeding.  This makes it even more important that you pick the right contractor that can give you what you want in the time frame that you desire.
Once you have settled on a contractor, you should work out the final touches of your budget and design. The budget will change as the design does, so you want to have most of your choices made before the project even starts if you want to stay close to your budget.
A good contractor will have you sign a contract. This will protect them and you in the future. If the work has already been defined then you can have the contractor give you a fixed price contract. If the renovations are going to be extensive with a lot of unforeseen changes and extra’s then it might be easier for both of you to go with a management contract. This allows the contractor to do the work that needs to be done without getting you to approve everything they do, this will help speed the project along and free you up to make more important choices.  
Your designer and contractor need to work together to come up with as accurate drawings as possible. This will require planning to fit what you want in the space provided.
Be prepared to be flexible with any drawings that you approve. Once demolition begins and the drywall starts coming off the walls you might find obstacles that restrict certain things that you wanted to do. For Example; Plumbing drains need a certain amount of room and can only placed where they fit. A toilet drain has to be placed in an exact spot so that it fits between your floor joists and is a certain distance off the wall. This can push your toilet over 6 to 8 inches sometimes, which could affect things like your vanity or shower enclosure.
Once you have your drawings you or your contractor need to look into any permits that you will need depending on how expansive the renovation will end up. Sometimes if the renovation is not that large then you can skip the permit and go without it. A simple bathroom renovation a lot of time can go permit less. Any kind of major renovation should have a permit, especially if you are altering any load bearing walls.
In some area’s if you are doing a major renovation the building department can make you upgrade certain parts of the rest of the house before they will pass your inspections. This can blow your budget if you are not prepared for it. Having a meeting between your contractor and the building inspector before you start the project can make sure that the inspector is not going to add any additional work that might not be in your budget.
Before your contractor starts demolition you should have a site meeting and go over the following points;
·         Where you are going to move anything that you are worried will be damaged out of the area that the renovation will be happening. If you need help moving these items this is the time to give direction to the contractor on what they can move for you and where you want it placed.
·         How the house will be protected from dust and debris, this is relevant if you are only renovating certain parts of the house.
·         Schedule of trades. If you are going to live in the house while the renovation is ongoing then you need to know what days trades are going to show up and at what time.
·         Decide on where dumpsters or garbage trailers can be placed, so that it wouldn’t be in the way, but will still be close enough not to add additional cost.
·         If there are certain plants and or trees on the outside of the building that you want protected or covered this is the time to talk about it.
·         Discuss if there is enough room in the house to leave the furniture in it. If there isn’t you may need the contractor to order you an onsite storage unit. This can be dropped in your driveway.
·         When you are renovating it’s a great time to de-clutter. Give the contractor a list of what they can throw away since they have the large garbage bins onsite.
Once your contractor has started demolition all you need to do is make sure that you stay in an area that you can be contacted. With renovations there are always things that your contractor will want to talk to you about. If you are renovating a second home then make a regular meeting time with your contractor like Friday at 4pm every week. This will allow you to ask the contractor questions about the progress of your renovation, this also allows the contractor to ask the endless questions that they will have. Renovations are a custom project, so the whole renovation is customized to the homeowner’s tastes and budget. No matter how many decisions you make before the project starts you will be asked an endless stream of questions as things come up. The more questions your contractor asks you, the more the contractor is able to give you exactly what you want.
Another great reason for regular meetings is to settle your bill. Your contractor will be able to present you with your bill and receive payment on a regular schedule; this will help relieve a lot of stress that can build up between contractor and client.
Even though drawings can be emailed or faxed back and forth it is always a good idea to bring out the drawings and go over them at this weekly meeting making everyone aware of what the expectations are for the project.
Once the contractor has finished the renovations and proceeded with the clean up the home owner should do a walk through with the contractor. This is a great way for the two of them to come to an agreement that the project has been completed in the way that was agreed upon. Any outstanding issues can be recorded and changed or repaired in a timely manner. This is also were you (as a homeowner) make your final payment to your contractor. If you can’t find anything wrong then there isn’t any reason for you to keep any money held back. If you’re worried about warranty you shouldn’t, if you did your research and picked the right contractor then the contractor will honour any work that will need to be warranted in the future. Remember the list of references that the contractor gave you at your request before you hired them? This is one of the main reasons that you can trust in their warranty, they want to be able to add you to that list. A successful company tries to create clients that will tell everyone about the wonderful experience they had when working with them.
One of the main things you should be doing during any renovation is talking to your spouse. Renovations are extremely hard on relationships, especially if you are living in the same house as the renovation. You need to talk to your spouse about the choices and decisions that you will be required to make. You should make sure that you always involve the other person in the decision making. There are even books that you can read to help your relationship survive your renovation.
If you are thinking about renovating and have some questions or you are looking for a quote on an upcoming renovation feel free to email me at or visit our website at

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Stanley Fat Max tape measures

Fat Max tape measures

If you work in the construction industry you already know that the one piece of equipment that you use the most is your tape measure. It is also the one piece of equipment that you will have to replace more often than anything else. There are all kinds of tape manufactures and in those manufactures there is almost an unlimited amount of different lengths, styles and sizes.

The most common length for tape in the residential construction industry is the 25 ft tape. The most common tape that is bought and used is the Fat Max made by Stanley. There are many different lengths but the most standard is the 25 ft tape. The most common measurements are imperial (feet and inches), most residential plans are issued in imperial, where most commercial or government plans are in metric.

There are some simple reasons that the Fat Max tape by Stanley is the most widely used, even though it is one of the most expensive tapes to buy;
·         Stand-out. The Fat Max seems to have the largest stand-out of all tapes. Stand-out is when you extend the tape out into the air and you keep extending it out until the tape collapses. Depending on the type of Fat Max you have it usually has 11 to 12 ft of standout. This comes in handy when you are standing on a wall, or a roof and you want to take a measurement. You should be able to extend the tape out 11 or 12 ft to the other person so that you can get a measurement. This will save you valuable time because you don’t have to climb all the way down and climb back up to hand the end of the tape to the other person. Also if you are trying to measure the height of something like a wall, then you will be able to slide the tape up the wall without it falling back on you before you reach the desired height.
·         Twisting. The Fat Max tapes seem to be made wider and slightly more curved to stop the tape from twisting. The reason you don’t want the tape to twist is because then you will not get an accurate measurement. If it’s windy, you want your tape to be able to be slid across the floor to take a measurement without the wind twisting it, forcing you to start again. When the tape twists in mid air the tape collapses. So it doesn’t matter how great the standout is on your tape if at 8ft the tape will twist and collapse.
·         Size. A lot of tape manufactures have made bigger and bigger tapes, so has Fat Max. But the difference between Fat Max and the others is that Fat Max has built there tapes wider instead of making the tape reel taller. This allows you to hold the tape more easily in your hand. It also allows you to get the tape in and out of your carpenter’s pouch. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to pull out a tape that is so large that it is wedged in the front tape holder of your work belt.
·         Longevity and durability. The Fat max tapes seem to last longer on jobsites then other tapes. One reason for that is they are thicker tapes so they can handle more abuse and regular wear and tear. The worst thing you can do to your tape is get it wet. Because the tapes are made of metal, they have a tendency to rust. Cleaning the tape with your shirt as it is retracted or using a glove will help extend the life of the tape. Fat Max tapes seem to last longer in the wet conditions than most other types of tapes.
·         Ease of use. The functioning end of the tape, the lock and feed seem to be always easy to use. The numbers are also easy to read and a good tape doesn’t have too much writing on it. Most people in the construction industry do not need the tape to tell them what a ¼”  and 1/8” is on the tape. They just need the little mark that shows you were it is relative to the ½” mark and the 1” mark.

The only down side to Fat Max tapes is that they are one of the more expensive tapes on the market. But remember YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!            The Fat Max tapes might cost more but they will last you longer and make you faster and more productive at work.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why you should start building your home in the spring

Why you should start your custom home project in the spring
If you are thinking about building a custom home, you should be doing your planning and designing in the winter so that you can get your building permit before the spring. There are a couple of reasons for this;
·         Designers, contractors and the local municipal building departments are not as busy in the winter months. Even through things have changed with the construction industry being a 12 month of the year business, the high volume time is in the warmer months.
·         This will allow you to choose your contractor without any pressure. In the spring time when contractors are starting to get busier and picking up building projects you could end up being rushed to make decisions if the contractor that you want to build your house is filling up his work load for the whole year quickly.
·         You will be able to get a lot of the choosing of fireplaces, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, floor coverings, kitchen layouts, bathroom layouts and trim details out of the way. This will help you later in the build process because even with all those choices made you will be asked by the contractor to make constant decisions. It’s called a custom home for a reason; it’s customized to the homeowner and the homeowner’s budget.
·         Choosing and signing a contractor in the winter before the spring will allow the contractor to book important sub-trades so that your project can be developed in a timely manner. For example; in spring time when you go to dig the foundation your contractor will hire an excavator company, if they don’t know about the project until the spring then they might have a hard time getting the excavator company in a timely manner since everyone will be calling and asking for digging services.
Building in a cold climate means that you should start the building process as soon as the ground thaws. Most custom homes take a full year to build so you are pretty much guaranteed to be building the house through the winter months. The difference is that if you start in the spring then by the time the weather turns to rainy in the fall and then snowy in the winter the house will be enclosed with the siding or stone installed already on the outside. The only work then should be on the inside out of the elements in an environment where you are able to control the temperature.
Building in the cold always takes longer and ends up costing more. Workers and tools do not work as well in the cold and the act of having to shovel snow ends up costing the home owner money. There are also certain things that cannot be done in the winter (like stoning the outside of a house) without adding large amounts of heat which costs money.
There are more man days lost in the winter because of equipment freeze ups and hazardous driving then in any other part of the year. Also the day light hours in the winter are shorter which shortens the day for people working on the outside. This slows the process of building the house and usually adds cost because in the construction industry time costs money.
If you start a house in the fall or the end of the fall you could end up in a situation where the weather gets unusually cold and you have to insulate the ground, footings or foundation against freezing. This is usually accomplished with straw or thermal blankets. This process ends up costing the homeowner more money, something that can be avoided by starting the foundation earlier in the year like summer or spring.
In a lot of rural locations they have spring road restrictions called “half loads”. This is when the frost is coming out of the ground making the roads softer and more vulnerable to damage. In “half load” restricted area’s you are only aloud to fill trucks such as concrete, lumber and delivery half full to keep the weight from ruining the road bed. This also means that important things like cranes cannot access a job site. If you do all your planning and permits in the winter then the contractor has the ability to start your project before the half loads are placed on the roads. The contractor can get all the digging and concrete out of the way so that the project isn’t slowed down with the road restrictions. This will also save you money as having trucks do delivery half full will double your delivery charges.
The earlier you start your custom home project the better the chance that you will have access to important in demand sub trades. Certain sub trades depending on their reputation are busier than others. For example; good drywallers are in high demand and are almost impossible to get on time depending on certain times of the year. But if you start your custom home in the spring then you will need drywallers in the fall or early winter. If you start early then you have the flexibility to wait any extra week or two for the good quality trades. It makes your project more flexible and allows you to do all the finishing’s in the house in the winter after Christmas when trades are looking for work.
If you want help with the building or designing project feel free to email me at or stop in and see us at 3 Caroline St. Creemore.
Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Building a custom home in Creemore

Building a home in Creemore
If you are planning to build a home in the Creemore area you have chosen a wonderful and beautiful place to build your home.
The Creemore area can be a tricky place to build if you are not from the area. This is the reason that you should hire a local General Contractor to build your home. There are certain things you should look for when you are looking into hiring a general contractor.
·         They should have the appropriate insurance to cover you and there employee’s. There is nothing worse than having a worker get hurt building your house and you find out that the general contractor is not WSIB compliant. Then everyone is in trouble including the homeowner.
·         They should have a solid reputation of building quality custom homes and can supply you with a list of references.
·         You want a company that is involved in the community and is local. If a company lives and works in the area that they build then they will want to keep their clients happy and keep the quality of the workmanship high so that their reputation is kept in high regard.
·         Your general contractor should be using local trades. This is a great way to make sure that your new home has local flare with local craftsmen constructing it.
·         Local contractors can give you service when you require it in the future even if it’s past the warranty. It’s a great thing to be able to call your contractor and have him stop by the same day to check the current problem you are having. Or if you are away, you can call them and ask them to check on a problem without you even being there.
·         Depending on the size and scope of your building project you don’t want to hire a general contractor that has never taken on something of its size and ends up in over there head.
·         Local contractors know the weather and will be driving the appropriate vehicles so that they can always get to your house even in the middle of winter.
·         Creemore is in the snow belt. It snows in Creemore when it’s not snowing anywhere else. A local general contractor will be able to include that in their budget so that you don’t get hammered with a large bill of extra’s at the end of the project.
·         You want a general contractor that uses the best sub-trades that are available in the area so that you get the best workmanship.
·         You want a company big enough that they don’t get bogged down when they have 2 big projects on the go and are not able to finish your home in a timely manner.  But you don’t want the company so big that you are just a name to them and not treated like the important client that you are.
In Creemore that General Contractor is Village Builders Inc.  They are a family run and operated company that builds custom homes in and around the Creemore area. Village Builders has been in business for over 30 years and has a great reputation, giving clients exactly what they want for the price that they were quoted. They are also able to give it to them in a timely manner with a proper schedule to let them know how and when the project will be completed.
Village Builders stands head and shoulders above the competition in the Creemore area and has a long list of happy and satisfied customers to prove it.
If you are thinking about building a house in the Creemore area feel free to stop in and talk to them at 3 Caroline St. East in the middle of Creemore. They are located in the old fire hall. Or check out the website at or give us a call 877 866 3202.
If you have any questions about building or renovating in the Creemore and surrounding area please feel free to email me at
Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Creemore one of the most beautiful places in Ontario

Creemore one of the most beautiful places in Ontario
If you ever get to travel north of Toronto you should make a point of stopping in the little town called Creemore. The town made famous for the beer “Creemore Springs” is now famous for being a popular tourist stop.
The first thing you will realize when you come down the hill into Creemore is the rolling hills of trees and farm fields. Creemore is a sleepy little town that has a lot to offer.
Park the car and walk the streets. You can walk the quiet streets of Creemore under the towering maples trees and take in the beautiful Victorian houses. You walk down the main street and visit the little shops and cafes that are found up and down it. You can stroll over and see North America’s smallest jail. Or walk into the log cabin that was rebuilt this past year. If you walk down the street you can walk right into the Creemore Spring’s Brewery and get a tour and a free taste test.
If you are here in the summer stop at the station on the green and pick up some local food at the farmer’s market. There is so much to see and do in Creemore that you would probably need more then one day to enjoy it all.
Creemore is a main stop for biking groups who enjoy touring the winding paved roads in the country around Creemore. The Bruce trail also crosses the hills of Creemore and if you take the right trail you can end up at a series of caves that you can spend all day exploring.
In the winter Creemore is a main stop for snowmobilers as the main trail runs right through Creemore.
 A lot of people just enjoy driving around the hills of Creemore looking at the views and the beautiful nature paradise that is the area that surrounds Creemore. In the fall the colours of the leaves are simply breathtaking.
Creemore has the Mad River that runs across the edge of town, in the summer it is a real hot spot for fishermen. It is also a wonderful place to sit, relax and watch the world go by.
Creemore has a very active community and has several festivals that happen during the year. Every time Creemore has an event the community comes out in full support and it becomes an instant success.
While you’re walking around and looking in the shops stop by one of the real estate offices and grab a brochure. You could buy yourself a little piece of paradise away from the rat race of Toronto in the quiet and peaceful hills of Creemore.
If you’re thinking of building that dream get away stop by us Village Builders in the old Fire Hall and pick up a brochure. We can give you some ideas on what kind of dream place you should be building and help you get started.
I have lived and worked here most of my life and I wouldn’t want to be in a more wonderful community.
Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders inc.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pre planning your custom home project can save you time, money and stress

Pre-planning for your custom home will save you time, money and stress during the build
When you start the process of getting a custom home built, you should take the time to make as many decisions about the house as you can before you even start constructing it.
Once you have had the plans drawn, you should work with a designer on what you want the interior and exterior of the house to look like. If you can manage it, you should even have the interior paint colours chosen before your contractor breaks down the price of the project. If you make these decisions then this will free you up to make a lot of the choices that come up when you are building a house.
Choosing everything that you need and want in your home does a couple of things;
·         It allows you to enjoy the building process, instead of being overloaded with decisions during the build.
·         It allows you to make smarter decisions when unexpected things come up that you didn’t foresee.
·         It allows you to set and follow a budget.
·         It allows you to consider upgrades, comparing them to the budget and the existing choices.
·         It allows the general contractor to build your home quicker because they don’t have to wait for you to make decisions that slow the build process done. It also allows the builder to pre-order things that might save you money compared to ordering at the last minute.
·         When you make decisions under pressure, you run the risk of making a snap decision that you will regret later.
·         It allows the builder to source out the proper trades for special installation.
·         It allows the builder to turn the house over to the homeowner completed with all the finishing’s and fixtures hung, instead of homeowners moving in and then shopping around for some light fixtures and paint colours. There is always an added expensive if trades have to come back after the homeowner’s furniture is in the house. Special things have to be done to help protect the homeowner’s things and that takes time and time costs money.
If you find a designer that you can work with, this can make everything run smoother. Think of the designer as management for you. Then the builder calls the designer first with questions, leaving you to focus on what the designer wants you to focus on.
Remember that building a custom home will be the most expensive investment that you ever make in your life, especially if you want it to be your retirement home. With the cost comes stress. Stress muddles the decision making ability of most people. So the more choices that you make before that stressor of the house being constructed happens, the better your decisions will end up being.
So find a builder that you can do a lot of pre planning with and a designer that can help you with the style choices of your future home. Remember the more planning you do now, the less stress you will have during the building process.
If you are looking for a builder or an interior designer feel free to contact me at or check out our website at

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Re-caulking around your windows and doors

If you ever feel a draft around your windows or doors you should go outside and check out the existing caulking. If there isn’t any caulking then you need to add some. If there is older caulking then you should strip the old caulking off all the way around the window or door.
When you want to re-caulk windows or door s here is a list of things you need to remember;
·         Make sure that you are not caulking in the rain, water will not allow the caulking to bond where you want it to and it will leave gaps where water and air can penetrate later.
·         Do not caulk when it is below freezing. If you do you could end up with the caulking not bonding properly leaving gaps for air and water to penetrate later.
·         Clean the window where you plan to install the caulking. The area should be free of dirt, old caulking and any old or flaking paint.
·         Do not cut the hole in the end of the tube of caulking to large. You do not want too much caulking to come out at once. You want enough to make a nice consistent bead all the way around.
·         Always caulk from the top to the bottom. You want to also keep a consistent rhythm and speed. This will help the caulking line look nice and even when you are done.
·         Make sure that the top of the window or door where it meets the outside material of the wall has a healthy bead of caulking. A lot of the time water will sit and pool on top of a door or window.
·         If there are drain holes in the window located at the bottom, do not fill these, they are there by design.
·         You should also caulk the interior of the window or door. You do this by caulking the edges of your trim. This will help stop any airflow that does happen to get around the window or through the wall on the outside.
·         Do not try to fill large holes around windows with caulking. This will not work; the caulking will dry and shrink, leaving you with holes for water and air to penetrate.
·         Always buy caulking that is made for exterior windows or doors. It should say exterior right on the outside of the caulking tube.
·         Always buy interior caulking when you are caulking trim inside of the house. Exterior caulking can off gas and smell awful giving you headaches. Interior caulking has little to no off gas and is easier to apply.
·         Always have a rag handle to wipe the end of the caulking tube if it gets dirt on it or too much comes out at once.
·         Wet your finger with your own spit and use it to smooth out any caulking that you think requires smoothing. The water on your finger will be the only reason that the caulking doesn’t stick to you.
·         Buy quality caulking. If your caulking is good quality then it will go on easier and it will last longer too.
Re-caulking can save you a lot of money in your home heating and air conditioning bills. If you have a lot of windows and doors to do, I would suggest that you hire a contractor to do it. There are caulking contactors that do just caulking around windows and doors. They will know what type of caulking you will need and will be able to get the job done in timely manner.
There is also a safety issue for a homeowner that is 20 feet up a ladder trying to caulk around a window while hanging off the ladder. It’s just better to get a contractor.
There are other things a contractor can do to stop drafts but this is the simplest one to start with on the exterior of the home. An experienced contractor should be able to tell you if just caulking will stop the drafts on the inside of your home or if you need to have them remove the trim to see if spray foam insulation needs to be added around the window.
If you want your windows and doors fixed up feel free to call us at 877-866-3202.
Robert Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Stabila Levels: Tool Review

Tool Review: Stabila Levels
You can have the best carpenters in the industry framing and building your home, but if they are using an inferior level then your walls could end up out of level regardless of their skill.
Stabila makes a level that will take all the guess work and error out of using a level when framing walls. Stabila has a level that is 6 ft long and has an interior extension that pulls out to 10 ft. It has metal standoffs at each end that hold the level ¾” off the wall. What this does is allows the level to touch the bottom plate of the wall and the top plate of the wall. In a lot of wall studs they have a small crown in them, so depending on which way the crown of the stud has been turned you are either levelling on the crown or into the belly of the crown. The higher the wall the worse the crown can be and this can put your walls out of level up to one inch depending on high they go. The stabila level allows you to level from plate to plate, giving you the true level of the wall. The levels being able to reach the top plate and bottom plate allow a person to stand on the ground and not have to use a ladder to check the level of a large wall. If you want to check the straightness of the ceiling, just set the level against the framing and extend it to where you want to check. No more finding a straight piece of lumber that is long enough to do it. These levels save time and money; they also help take the human error factor out of it.
Stabila levels are 3 inches thick, this makes them very sturdy and allows them to take a pounding which can happen when you are building houses.
Stabila makes a variety of levels, different sizes for any application but where they standout is the framing level.
Stabila levels come with a life time warranty. As long as you don’t bend them, which means standing on them or driving overtop of them you can get them fixed for free. The current Stabila level that we have has been with us for 3 years and has been used almost endlessly for those three years. The level still reads true and the bubbles have never fogged or cracked. We had some problems with the extensions about a year ago and the tool dealer that we purchased it from came out to our site and repaired it for us free of charge under warranty in under an hour.
What you need to understand about Stabila is that with such a good warranty you are paying for it when you buy the level. They are one of the most expensive levels on the market, but YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR! When building custom homes if you don’t get the walls completely level you can end up into problems and extra charges later. If the walls aren’t level in the kitchen then the kitchen guy will have trouble hanging his cabinet’s straight, if the walls aren’t level in the walk in shower the tile will look awful. If you get it right when standing it up then it will stay true for the life of the home.
Remember to get it right you need the right tools; the right level is the stabile level.
Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc

Friday, January 6, 2012

Village Builders construction forecast for 2012

What it looks like for Village Builders in the upcoming year of 2012.
The upcoming year of 2012 looks to be a anther good year for Village Builders Inc.
Every year since the credit crunch and stock market crash of 2008 Village Builders business and production has increased year over year. With 2011 being such a good year for Village Builders it will be hard to top it. But perspective project starts for the spring of 2012 look to be shaping up for a record breaking year for the company.
With the new management structure being put in place in 2011 it seems to be allowing Village Builders to identify new clients earlier in the planning process and to form a relationship of trust and honesty between the two parties. This is breeding more loyalty in the customer base and allowing Village Builders to play a larger part in the planning process of the projects. We are now installing driveways, wells and other essential services before the building process even starts.
Because of this planning and customer service Village Builders looks to be able to plan for the future with more work and larger projects in the precious years.
With the design department into its second year of operation, the prospect for growth seems at the moment to be limited only by the amount of employee’s in the design department.
With a record number of employee’s in 2011, Village Builders looks toward keeping a stable number of employee's as it heads into the spring and the summer of 2012.
The Current apprentices (carpentry) in Village Builders were at an all time high in 2011 and that trend will continue in 2012. With a focus on expanding skilled labour, apprenticeships for carpentry will be available to perspective new employees. There will be a focus on trying to improve the attrition rate of 50% on apprentices.
Current apprentices with schooling will be asked to take a greater role in production and more responsibility on smaller projects in 2012.
With the current construction climate looking to be extremely volatile in 2012 for a lot of Village Builders competitors as it was in 2011 the ability to higher skilled labour such as carpenters looks to be very promising.
Overall Village Builders looks to be heading for another good year in 2012. With our ability to successfully manage and build projects at an extremely high level with an equally high level of customer satisfaction, we look to be able to stay the course of giving our clients what they want for the price that they expect.
Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 forecast for constuction in the Collingwood, Creemore and Wasaga beach area

Residential construction forecast for the Collingwood, Creemore and Wasaga beach area for 2012
The residential construction industry is on a rollercoaster from one month to the next depending on where you live in Ontario. Places like the muskoka’s where builders have enjoyed having multi-year waiting lists are looking at a spring with no work and no leads on future work. The market has shifted away from second homes and cottages.
The only market that seems stable outside of Toronto is Home Building for Baby Boomers. What is happening is Baby Boomers living in Toronto are looking to start retiring and want to do that outside of Toronto. They are sitting on their retirement fund. House prices in Toronto have been on the rise for decades and are even know staying high. This is allowing Baby Boomers to buy property in the Collingwood area and build custom homes of all shapes and sizes. Once they are ready to retire they simply sell their home that is mortgage free and retire to Collingwood paying off the mortgage on their new home.
This is not just happening in the Collingwood, this is happening all over Ontario. Even as far north as the Sault St. Marie area builders are reporting Baby Boomers moving in and building or renovating homes to retire into.
Because of this, the market for residential construction is somewhat stable in these retirement areas. It is not growing but it is not shrinking either. Depending on the township, there is to be expected a fair bit of work for qualified and experienced contractors that have an established name. The newer contractors in the area will find it hard to get work in 2012 as was the trend in 2011. There just isn’t enough work to go around for all the “custom home builders” or those who call themselves that.
Wasaga Beach
Places such as Wasaga Beach will see the best growth in the area. Wasaga Beach’s residential construction has been steadily growing every year for the past 3 or 4 years since the credit crunch and stock market crash of 2008. Property anywhere near the water and the beach is being bought up by people looking to retire. The rising tax’s are forcing a lot of people that have owned small little cottages in Wasaga Beach for generations to sell them or tear down and rebuild with a new home. There is huge potential for growth in this area with whole streets having small cottages that are at the end of their life and need to be replaced. Property values in Wasaga Beach continue to rise year over year, prompting many to sell their family cottages instead of fixing them. Wasaga Beach has turned from the tourist area and is now actively promoting itself as a retirement community for the Baby Boomer generation. Enforcement of strict rental rules for seasonal cottages are having a serious effect on the market, pushing more families to sell their cottage as they are having trouble bringing in enough income to justify keeping it.
Clearview Township
Clearview Township will struggle in the residential construction sector like it has for the past couple of years. It seems this market will only get worse, as land prices in the township continue to rise and so does the taxes. Building and development fees are now at an all time high, to the point where it is scaring away people that want to build a new home. No effort is being made in the Township to help curve this trend and it looks like they are determined to only allow people with deep pockets into the area that can afford to pay the massive fees. The fees are so suppressive that subdivision development has all but ground to a halt. Only well established contractors seem to be able to get what little work there is in this township. The renovation market has all but dried up as well in the Clearview Township area.
Collingwood/Blue Mountain area
The Collingwood/Blue Mountain area seems to be spotty at best. Some places in the area have 2 or 3 houses being built on one street, where other areas have no building or renovating at all. A lot of this seems to have to do with the stalled real estate market. Homes in the Collingwood market have been going up year over year and still sell. 2011 was different with house prices dropping, but homeowners who were selling refused to follow the trend keeping their selling price high, thus stalling the market with a large inventory of houses coming on the market and not much selling. When the market corrects itself the renovation end of the construction industry should come back fairly well in 2012. At the moment the renovation end of things is very slow. A lot of contractors that rely on the renovation market to get them through between house builds are having trouble finding any work at all.
The prospect for growth for 2012 in the Collingwood area could be very good, there seems to be a lot of commercial work running into 2012 and more commercial projects to be started in 2012. Collingwood is looking like it could experience extreme growth in the coming decade. Most of this growth will be of Baby Boomers moving into the area, but there are also a lot of young professionals moving in to fill all the jobs that need to be done with this ever growing and aging population.
The Collingwood area trend of builders coming in from other areas to find work will continue and might even get worse in 2012 as the prospect of bigger homes and cottages is a powerful draw.
                Overall 2012 looks to be a better year than 2011 in the new home market, the renovation market still looks shaky and could go either way. There looks to be in the late winter and early spring a bump in new home starts in all areas because of the new building codes. A lot of people put in for their building permits earlier then they wanted to so that they could beat the new regulations. The new regulations will see the cost of building go up by a minimum 10% and could be as much as 30% depending on what standard you will have to raise the building too. The new building regulations take effect on January 1st 2012 and any plans drawn in 2011 will have to go through some serious changes to meet the new code. So this should help the construction industry for the early part of the year, but with this new code it might slow down permits and applications over the whole year. After the spring it might be hard to pick up new projects in 2012.
The new codes will have a major impact on the renovation market, as the code will be a lot more restrictive and expensive for homeowners to receive permission to renovate and complete their projects. The renovation market was slower than normal going into this year and this could slow it to almost a halt. It might get the same bump that the new home starts will be getting with people getting there permits before the code change, but the 2nd half of the year might be very difficult for renovators.
Overall it looks to be an up and down year for the residential construction industry in the Collinwood, Wasaga beach and Creemore area. Competition for new homes looks to continue to be high with everyone trying to stay busy.

Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.  

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 review of construction in the Collingwood, Creemore and Wasaga Beach area

Review of residential construction in the Collingwood, Creemore and surrounding area for 2011
2011 was volatile year for the construction industry overall. A lot of places in Ontario had almost no new work starting and no new work coming in the future.
The Collingwood area seemed to be bucking the trend in Ontario. A lot of builders were able to stay busy but were not able to accumulate any backlog of work into the future.
The Collingwood market has been flooded with “custom builders” as they call themselves over the last 2 or 3 years. The construction market was not strong enough to feed all the builders that have setup shop in the area. Many want-to-be big home builders found themselves without any work.
The builders with good reputations and track records of quality and fine workmanship stayed busy.
New home building seemed to be carrying the market, with the renovation market also being flooded with company’s looking for work, the leads became few and far between. Additions seemed to be at an all time low in the area with people tearing down older homes and building new ones, instead of adding more space. Almost all work was done for clients from the range of 50 to 70 years old. This is a trend that has existed for the last decade.
The large increase in development fees and building permit fees have had a large effect on the market in the Clearview township area. Clearview Township has now created a have and have not society with their massive increase in the cost of building permits and development fees. It has come to the point where only larger homes are being built in that township because smaller homes have become too expensive for the average person to build. Only the wealthy are now aloud to build a home in the Clearview township area. This of course means that residential construction almost came to a halt. Very little residential construction was started or completed in the Clearview township area in 2011. Most of the work in the area took place in the Collingwood area and into the Wasaga Beach area.
Wasaga Beach seemed to have healthy construction year, with many older cottages being either torn down for new homes or older cottages being completely renovated. Construction can be found on almost every street in the Wasaga Beach area, the closer to the water the more work there seems to be happening.
The Collingwood area seemed to have a reel spike in commercial redevelopment with many new projects springing up on the main street; this helped keep employment higher than the year before.
With the delay of winter conditions this year it seems to have given the construction industry an extra shot in the arm. Less people seemed to be laid off at Christmas time this year compared to previous ones.
Overall it seemed that the year of 2011 was a feast or famine year for a lot of builders and renovators. It seemed to depend on market reputation, with the leaders in the industry staying busy and the rest fighting over what was left over. 2011 seemed to be a better year than 2010, which continues the trend from the 2008 credit crunch that saw the construction market almost completely dry up.
Rob Abbott
Operations Manager
Village Builders Inc.