Do Homework Before Doing Work On Your Home

Posted by Stu Niebergall on 2015-08-31 12:00 AM

 

Are you ready to update the kitchen? Maybe you're planning to knock down a wall to give your home a more open floor plan. What about turning your bathroom into that 5-star hotel experience? Is a redo of the master bedroom in order? Is it time for that addition you have pondered?

If so, is this project something you want to take on your own? For many homeowners, do-it-yourself (DIY) renovations and repair projects can be a source of considerable enjoyment and pride. However, it is easy to get in over your head when you don't have knowledge of good building practices and our provincial building codes. Do you have the proper tools to do a good and attractive job? Do you have the time to research, plan and do the work properly? Will you need to utilize trade contractors to complete parts of the renovation? Can they schedule the work without overlaps and lengthy delays? Since I have limited DIY skills, I have learned from experience that my attempts to take on these things on my own have ended up costing me more money than if I had hired a professional in the first place. The big question is: How do you know who's the right person for the job?

Dealing with a professional renovator is your greatest protection and confidence against an incompetent or unfinished job. One sign of a professional is whether they are willing and able to provide you with a proper written contract.

A proper written contract will spell out what work is to be done, when and how much it will cost. The contract will include an outline of the warranty on the work being done and details of the materials and products to be used in your project. A proper written contract provides proof of up to date workers' compensation and liability insurance, which protects you from financial and legal risk if anyone is hurt due to the work been done in your home. It should also include payment hold backs in accordance with our provincial lien regulations. Without a proper written contract that spells this out, you could be held responsible if the person you hired fails to pay for materials or subcontracted labour, even if you have already paid the contractor.

I strongly suggest that you never accept a verbal agreement or hire someone who offers you a special deal for cash. The first red flag or sign of an unprofessional contractor is if you can't get anything in writing.

It is reasonable for you to ask your contractor for references. Reputable renovation and remodelling experts should have a list of past satisfied customers and their projects. Ask to see pictures and if you can reach out to former clients to see how they would characterize their experience. You will want to ensure you are in agreement on the approach to the project. Be sure to ask your contractor about things like how long a project will take, who will be running the project and who will be on site, and how they will minimize dust and protect other parts of your home.

Discuss with your contractor how you can best communicate with them during the project. Some people prefer to communicate through email and texts, while others prefer face to face or telephone. Qualified professional renovators want to work with you and will be able to will be able to answer questions about budget and timing. So don't be embarrassed to ask the contractor anything. It is very important that the two of you have a meeting of the minds prior to the work been started.

Also, don't forget about the neighbours. You are excited about the renovation of your home, but remember that neighbours may not be quite as thrilled as you are. Good renovation etiquette would suggest letting neighbours know well in advance about your renovation plans. Tell them when work will begin, what type of work will be done and the approximate completion date.

Make sure noisy power tools are only used during standard business hours, reasonably 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Try your best to have materials dropped off in your driveway or yard rather than the street, and keep your yard as tidy as possible. Watch for debris that might find its way onto your neighbours' yards. Remove dumpsters as quickly as possible. If you have room left in your last dumpster, you might want to invite neighbours to dump anything they might have lurking in their garage that needs tossing.

Renovating your home should be a positive and exciting experience. The key to reducing your worry and stress, don't assume anything, doing your homework and planning up front and make sure you get the commitments that are important to you in writing. A great resource to help guide you through you're remodelling and renovation process is www.reginahomebuilders. com. In addition to the numerous articles on renovations under the Consumer tab is to check out the Going Green tab. There you will find resources on energy efficiency opportunities, the cost of green renovations plus much more.