Components Of A Renovation

Here is a description of the different components of a renovation:

 

Building Permits

If you are like most homeowners, you may not be familiar with building permits or even aware that you might need one for your renovation project. Here are some of the ins and outs of building permits.

Who is responsible for obtaining a permit?

The assessed owner of the property is responsible for obtaining the proper approvals or permits prior to the work commencing. In many cases the owner will have the contractor obtain the permit on their behalf, but ultimately the assessed owner is responsible for what happens on his or her property. If the contractor is obtaining the permit the assessed owner should ask for a copy for verification.

When do I need a Building Permit?

Building Permits are required for:

  • New structures and additions to existing structures
  • Garages, Decks, Swimming pools (in ground & above ground)
  • Structural repairs
  • Demolitions
  • Moving a structure from one site to another (garages, houses)
  • Basement developments & fireplaces
  • Basement Suites & Secondary Suites
  • Foundation replacement or repair (Channel Bracing)
  • New plumbing

Other construction which requires a Building Permit:

Applying spray foam insulation. Spray foam insulation requires a certified installer. The spray foam must be covered with an approved wall or ceiling covering.

Spray foam companies and their product have been pre-approved by the City of Regina Building Standards Branch. The approved companies have submitted Engineered Designs for their applications. When using spray foam insulation, the installer will supply you with the package of drawings & Engineers letter and check list.

Excavating and sealing the exterior of a foundation. It has been our experience that once the foundation has been excavated, the foundation itself requires repair. Any foundation repair or replacement requires a structural Engineers report and/or design to repair it.

Foundations for solariums must be designed and stamped by an Engineer. If the solarium is not Wood Framed construction it also must have an Engineer Seal on it. (Saskatchewan Engineer).

Building Permits are required prior to construction. The Building Permit should reflect all the work to be done. Presently it can be up to four to six weeks to process the Building Permit and longer if all the proper information is not submitted for review.

Building Permits are not required for:

  • Fencing, sidewalks, planters and driveways
  • Painting, decorating and laying carpet
  • Cabinet work
  • Non-structured repairs and maintenance
  • Accessory Buildings under 10m2 (107ft2) however, these must comply with zoning regulations.
Where do I obtain a Building Permit?

Building Permits can be obtained on the 9th Floor of City Hall. To obtain a Building Permit you must submit two complete sets, (in metric) of the working drawings, along with the Building Permit application. All foundation including foundation walls, grade beams and truss systems (excluding detached accessory buildings) shall be designed by a Professional Engineer operating with the provision of The Engineering Profession Act or a registered Architect operating with the provision of The Architects Act in the Province of Saskatchewan.

Why do I need a Building Permit?

Building Permits are required by the Building Bylaw 2003-7. Building Permits protect the home owner. They ensure that all construction meets the appropriate Bylaws & Building Codes. Building Permits also protect the contractor. The Building Department reviews the drawings submitted for compliance with the appropriate Bylaws and Codes. The Building inspector is a second set of eyes to ensure that the construction is done according to the approved drawings.

What are the Building Permit Fees?

Building Permit Fees are based on the valuation of the work being done.

  • For construction $0.00 - $10,000.00 - Minimum Permit Fee = $100.00
  • For construction $10,001.00 - $40,000.00 = $100.00 + $7.00 per $1,000.00 Value over $10,000.00
  • For construction $40,001.00 to $78,000.00 = $310.00 + $5.00 per $1,000.00 Value over $40,000.00
  • For construction $78,001.00 - $100,000.00 = $500.00 Flat Fee
  • Over $100,000.00 = $5.00 per $1,000.00 Value
What happens if I don't get a Building Permit?

If you carry out a renovation project that requires a Building Permit without having one, your municipality, the authority having jurisdiction can issue a "stop work" or compliance order, which remains in effect until you obtain a valid building permit by the time prescribed on the order. Failure to obtain a building permit in the timeframe indicated on the stop work or compliance order may result in prosecution. If the work doesn't meet the requirements of the Building Code, you may well have to redo it at your own cost. In worst case scenarios, you could be charged and/or fined for violating the City of Regina building Bylaw or be forced to "un-renovate" your home, such as removing an addition. This could happen if you violate setback regulations for instance.

Insurance

Insurance is often the last thing on a homeowner's mind when making renovation plans. Yet, before any work begins, you should make sure that you are well covered during and after the renovation, in case of damage, injury or theft. Then you can proceed with confidence.

The renovator's business insurance

Your renovator should carry commercial general liability insurance, usually with a minimum of $1 million. This provides coverage in the event of damage to your home or neighbouring properties due to the renovation activity, or bodily injury caused to a third party. Your renovator's insurance protects you - without it, you could be liable for damages or injuries.

Ask the renovator for proof of insurance. Ask your insurance representative to review it to ensure that between the renovator's insurance and your own policy, you are well covered. You should also ask the renovator for proof of workplace compensation for employees of the company.

Your own homeowner's policy

Typically, a homeowner's insurance plan is based on "regular usage of the home". However, renovation is an "extraordinary" event that may fall outside your present agreement. That's why it is important to inform your insurance company about the proposed renovation and clarify how it might affect your coverage.

Generally, a homeowner's policy allows for repairs and renovations without jeopardizing coverage. However, there are specific items you should discuss with your insurance representative.

  • What's the full value of the work to be done? If you plan a major renovation, it may increase the value of your home beyond your present coverage. You need to increase your insurance before work is completed. 
  • Whose insurance covers the theft of building materials and products from your property? The best preventive measure is to ensure that items are firmly installed by day's end or securely locked away for the night.
  • Will the insurance company need a copy of any approvals or inspections? 
  • Tell your insurance representative if you plan to vacate your home at any point during the renovation. Your insurance company may suggest you make arrangements for someone to check your home regularly to ensure continuous coverage. 
  • Let your insurance company know if you plan to do some of your own work, or if you are thinking about acting as your own general contractor and hiring others to do the work for you. Many homeowner policies have a standard exclusion related to "professional liability", and you may not be covered if someone gets injured. You may have to arrange for additional coverage for your renovation. 
  • Make sure you also understand what is not covered. Insurance is not a warranty for the work being done on your home, and it does not protect you against shoddy workmanship. However, a written contract and the renovator's commitment to customer satisfaction will. According to insurance companies, hiring a professional renovator with a solid reputation is the most important thing you can do to ensure a successful, problem-free renovation.

Change Orders

Once work begins on your home, both you and your renovator will have one aim - to get done, on time and on schedule.

However, as the work gets going, you may find that you want to make changes to the renovation. A visit to suppliers may trigger a desire for a different type of flooring, you may want to change the location of the kitchen sink, or you may simply want more electrical outlets.

Renovators will gladly attempt to accommodate any changes or additions you want to make, even as the work is in progress, but ensure you talk to them before you make any decisions. 

  • Sometimes even small changes can have a significant impact on cost. 
  • Changes can also result in delays. Your renovator works with a tight construction schedule and subtrades who move from one task to another and from one home to another according to a timetable. If the schedule or sequencing of tasks changes, it may mean waiting for the trades to be available at different times, which in turn may affect other aspects of the work as well as cost. 
  • Changes or additions should be documented as written change orders and signed by both parties. This eliminates misunderstandings and ensures that everyone knows what has been agreed to. 
  • Change orders are considered extras to the contract. Ask your renovator to explain how you are expected to pay for them - as a separate item, or upon completion of the work.

Final Inspection

Once the work is completed, you and your renovator will conduct an inspection of the work. This is the time to take a close look at everything and note any problems or imperfections, before you make the final payment.

Occasionally, there may be items that cannot be completed along with the rest of the renovation. For example, items on back-order by the supplier, or items needing to be sent back to the manufacturer due to a flaw.

Any items like this should be written down, along with your renovator's estimate of when they will be finished. If there is seasonal work, such as landscaping, that cannot be completed until warmer weather, the timing and payment schedule for this work should be set out in your contract.

Remember to hold back the required amount from the last payment until the terms in your contract have been met.

Maintenance - Ask your renovator about normal maintenance requirements for any aspect of your home that has been altered. In most cases, material and product manufacturers provide maintenance information with their products, but it is a good idea to review it with your renovator.

Landscaping - Depending on the type of renovation work you had done, settling of soil around the foundation may occur. Ask your renovator about the likelihood of this happening and if you should hold off on plantings and other landscaping for a while. You also want to know if you may need to re-grade areas around the foundation to ensure storm-water continues to drain away from your home properly.

Clean-Up

Before leaving your home for the last time, your renovator should do a thorough clean-up of the renovated areas of your home and any other affected areas. All tools, equipment and construction wastes will be removed. Areas will be swept, vacuumed or raked as appropriate.

It's a good idea to do a general cleaning of your home afterwards. Small amounts of dust may have found their way into corners and cracks, which will affect the quality of the air you breathe. Remember to change your furnace filters at the same time. If the renovation work created a great deal of dust, or took place during the heating season, you may want to have forced-air heating ducts professionally cleaned.

If the renovation involved exterior work such as siding or roofing, conduct a final scan of the grounds for nails, small metal pieces and other debris. Some renovators use a magnetic device to ensure they pick up as much as possible, but even so, it is very easy to miss a few items.

Warranty

Your renovator's commitment to you doesn't end when the work is completed. As specified in your contract, you will have a warranty on all work done for a specified period, usually one year. Most problems tend to be minor such as nail-pop or small cracks in drywall around door frames of load-bearing beams. Repairs should be scheduled at a time convenient to you. If anything of a more serious nature should occur, such as a leaking pipe or electrical problem, call your renovator right away as these conditions may need immediate attention. Some of the materials and products used in your renovation will also come with a manufacturer's warranty. For instance, windows are normally warranted against failure of thermal seals. Flooring, cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, heating equipment, roofing, siding and appliances should also be covered by a manufacturer's warranty. Your renovator should provide you with the manufacturer's documents that outline these warranties and explain the procedures you need to follow in case of problems.