Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Communication Is The Key In Construction Between Homeowner And Contractor

No matter if it's a renovation or a new custom home build the most important thing about the project should be the communication between the Contractor and the homeowner (the client).

Your contractor can be the greatest builder or renovator on the planet but if they do not make you feel like you are part of the process then you will start to wonder what they are doing and guessing on what is actually happening to your home while you are not there. The more you guess the more your liable to be wrong, the more your wrong the more it will frustrate you. It's your home, you should be kept in the loop.

After decades of building custom homes and renovating for people what I have learned is that people want a sense of control (even if they don't have any control). That sense of control helps them justify the large amounts of money that they are spending with their contractor.

They shouldn't be in control of everything (that's kinda why they hired a contractor) but it's called a "custom home" or "custom renovation", that's suppose to mean that they get to have choice and choice is a form of control. The more choices you are able to give someone the more in control they feel, that means that they feel like they have more control of where their hard earned money is going and they are going to get exactly what they want.

This is something that you should be looking for in a contractor before you even hire one. When you interview contractors you should talk less about the amount of money that will be charged for the job and more about the amount of time the contractor will spend communicating with you the homeowner.

In the area that we work in there is a large proportion of weekend or seasonal homes, that means that the majority of the work that is being done to a home or the actual construction of a new home is done with the homeowner being absent from the property. This means that it is the contractor that has to make sure that the homeowner is kept up to date on everything that is happening. This can be accomplished with email, text or phone calls. Pictures with descriptions attached to them will help the homeowner feel like they aren't missing anything. This will also help when you need to ask them a question or get them to make a decision, they will be able to understand at what stage their renovation is currently at.

Ask your prospective contractors the normal way they communicate with clients, the frequency that they do and the level of detail they will include in the communications. This will help everyone enjoy the process of building or renovating.

Communication is the key, don't settle for less.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Can I Take Down Any Wall When I Renovate?

One of the main reasons that people want to renovate their homes is to create more space. Older homes no matter the size were usually built with many smaller rooms, each room having its own special designation. Today people don't want just designated rooms they want flexible open spaces. To accomplish this you usually require more space, space that usually requires you to remove walls to take two rooms and make them into one.

But is every wall in a house the same? Are they all equal? Well the answer is no.

Depending on the design of the house, the age of the house and the materials that the house is built out of will have a bearing on if you can remove the offending wall and what it will require to remove the wall.

How do you know? You really need a professional to tell you if the wall can be taken down. If you have hired a professional to do your renovation then good for you, they will be able to determine if the wall is structurally important to your home or if its just a basic room divider.

If you are doing the renovation yourself then you need to be careful. You can spend the money and hire a professional like a contractor or an engineer to come in and tell you if its safe to take the wall down or you can start the easy way.

The easy way is that you cut several holes in the ceiling next to were the offending wall is built. Once you have access to the space between the joists then you can tell how the wall is built and if there is posts, blocking or beams that are holding something above you. Also you have to determine if the wall is helping hold up the floor joist.

Even if the wall is holding something up above or supporting the floor joist you can still remove it, but you will need to replace that wall with something. Something like a beam. This is the point were if you are trying to do the renovation yourself you should stop and hire a professional to help you because if you get this wrong you can severally damage the house and or endanger people living in it.

So remember to take your time when contemplating a wall removal, do it slowly and deliberately and if you have any questions don't be afraid to ask someone that knows what they are doing.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

I Need Someone To Help Me Get Organized For My Renovation

Depending on the size and scope of the renovation project that you want to take on you are probably going to have to go through permits, drawings, engineers and designs. All of these things are needed for your large renovation project to commence.

What most people don't realize is that until you actually hire a contractor to do the renovation work you will be doing all of this pre-renovation legwork by yourself. To hire a contractor you will want to get a price for your project, to get a proper price for your project requires that you have drawings, designs and engineering. The one person that can help you do all of the things you need to do (the renovation contractor) doesn't really want to help you until they have been given the job and they know they will get paid for all their time and effort.

There is a solution, what you need is a consultant. Not just any consultant but a company that consults on renovations because it does renovation contracting as well. Village Builders does this, we will consult on renovation projects to help homeowners get their permits, drawings, engineering and designs. This consulting doesn't come with any strings to the rest of the project, we charge you for the consulting work, help you get everything you need and then if you want to hire us do the renovation we will complete it for you. If you want us to bid on the job with other builders then we will do that too. In-fact if you have a contractor that you want to do the job and want us just do the consulting as the renovation progresses we will be happy to do that as well.

Consulting works by us charging you an hourly fee for our time and then the fee of any professional that we hire on behalf of you the homeowner.  For example; if we hire an engineer to do drawings for parts of your home then you would pay their bill and anytime that we as the consultants worked with them.

As consultants we can give you preliminary budgets for the project, these budgets would be based solely on your ideas before you have your drawings so that you understand the scope of monies that you are getting into. We will also give you budgeting on the renovation once the drawings are completed so that you can have something to use as a template to compare the other bidders for the renovation work. This way you are able to weed out the bidders that are too low and the ones that are excessively too high.

If you are thinking about taking on a large renovation project and you don't know were to start, then call or email us at Village Builders, we can help. info@villagebuilers.ca

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.