Certified Residential Renovator Program adds RenoMark to the Equation
Looking for the best contractor for a home renovation project can be a daunting task for any homeowner. But soon there will be help in the search, as Nova Scotia joins a national program designed specifically for homeowners looking for qualified renovators.
RenoMark is a program of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association and is the official seal of approval – the program’s motto is “Renovators Mark of Excellence – for renovators who have met a set of criteria. Currently seven provinces – Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan – are part of the program, and each province administers the program differently. The Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association decided to join the program not only to protect clients, but to also raise the standard for renovators around the province.
Currently, Nova Scotia does not require contractors to be licensed to undertake residential construction projects. It was with this in mind that in 1997 the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association developed a professional builder and renovator certification program.
A Certified Residential Builder (CRB) or a RenoMark Renovator is a builder or renovator with extensive knowledge and many years of experience in the residential construction industry, having successfully completed courses in business management and building technology.
Now, by incorporating the new national RenoMark designation, renovation companies will be able to stand out even more to homeowners who are looking to hire a professional renovator.
Renovators looking to take part in the program must be members of the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association and complete a two-year certified residential renovator education program. This includes a code of ethics that governs everything from education and workplace safety to liability insurance and even how quickly a renovating company should return a client’s phone calls.
“That’s part of the professionalism that we are trying to teach,” says Paul Pettipas, CEO of the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association. “Clients will know the job is being done by a professional.”
Peter Briand is the owner of Econo Renovations and serves as the chair of the NSHBA’s Renovators’ Council. He notes that those renovators who join the RenoMark program will be set apart from other renovators.
“We wanted to step it up a bit,” he says of the decision to move forward with taking part in the program. “We wanted to have that professionalism in the industry.”
Through the program, renovators will learn about every aspect, such as working with contracts and work orders, or how to work safety and professionally in a home where the homeowners still have to live during the project. Briand appreciates that, for most homeowners, a renovation is often a stressful process, because unlike a new build they are still living on site.
“Homeowners want to know that when we come into their homes, things will be taken care of.”
The program’s official website www.renomark.ca provides home-owners a search option to find a renovator in their area. Briand says the program will even work for homeowners currently living in another province, but looking to relocate to Nova Scotia. They can simply use the website to find renovators in the community where their new home is located.
Pettipas says homeowners, in an effort to find a cost-effective way to do renovations, often hire a renovator who doesn’t have any sort of certification. He warns that any savings earned by not hiring a qualified renovator will only be short term.
“The few dollars you think you will save, you actually didn’t,” says Pettipas. “It’s surprising that people who are trying to save money will put themselves at that kind of risk.”
To qualify for the RenoMark program, professional renovators are required to offer the following to their clients:
• Provide a detailed, written contract (including scope of work) for all jobs.
• Offer a minimum two-year warranty on all work (excludes minor home repair).
• Carry a minimum of $2 million liability insurance.
• Have coverage for workplace safety and employers’ liability and/or work only with subcontractors who carry such coverage.
• Carry applicable licenses and permits.
• Maintain a professional level of knowledge of current building codes, permit procedures, and technical skills through continuing education.
• Maintain a safe and organized worksite.
• Return phone calls within two business days.
These additional requirements will further provide homeowners with peace of mind. Look for the RenoMark sign before you hire a renovator.