April is New Homes Month

Make your new home-building  journey a positive one. Protect yourself with the facts!

Your home is so much more than four walls and a roof. It encompasses everything that family means to you. And although this ideal picture might look slightly different for each family, one thing should be the same for anyone building a new home: if you follow some simple guidelines, do your research and plan ahead, then the journey to arriving at your final destination – your new home – should be an experience that you will look back on as positive, rather than with regret.

So what do those steps look like that can help you along your home building journey? Once you have made the decision to go ahead and build, you will want to consider the builder who will be working with you on one of the largest investments you will make, your new home.

Good rapport and trust is important when it comes to finding the right builder. Give this step the significant attention it deserves in your decision. Get to know the companies you are considering to build your home. Find out what their construction process is and how they communicate, both within the company and with you. Determine how site visits are managed and what their policy is regarding changes once the process begins. These questions will help you gain a better understanding of how the company operates and if they are the right fit for your home, plus it will allow you to build trust during the process.

When you are considering different builders, there are a few other questions you should ask that will provide insight on how professional the company operates and how serious they are about protecting your investment. In particular, you want to determine if the company building your house has the necessary training and experience to provide valuable recommendations on building science. The builder you choose must understand the needs of your family and have a plan to incorporate them into your home.

There are a couple of ways to gauge a company’s commitment to professionalism, one being if they are a member of a third party organization, such as the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association. Further to this, have they undertaken the voluntary certification training to achieve the designation of Certified Residential Builder (or if renovating, a RenoMark renovator)? These programs require members to take a series of training and continuing education courses, providing them with information on industry trends, programs and enhanced knowledge of building science. This training, along with specific warranty requirements, a code of ethics and professional work standards, helps to further establish builders as professionals in the industry.

“Programs such as the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association’s certification programs helps raise the bar for professionalism in this industry and allow homeowners to start their projects with a greater understanding of what a professional can bring to a project,” says Paul Pettipas, NS Home Builders’ Association chief executive officer.

Pettipas adds that when it comes to hiring a contractor you always want to do your homework and find the builder who is the right fit for your project . Doing your research and following up on references is an important part of this process. You also want to make sure the builder provides proof of liability insurance and workers’ compensation coverage.

In addition, it can save you a lot of time and unnecessary stress if you communicate your thoughts and ideas upfront with the contractor. Be sure you have a written contract that includes all of the details, from start to finish dates, payment schedules, product selections and how changes will be addressed once the contract is signed.

The entire process is a lot of information to digest. To help make it more manageable, the NS Home Builders’ Association is hosting its annual New Homes Month series of Consumer Protection Sessions to be held about across the province throughout April.

“The information homeowners receive at these sessions helps them to make better informed decisions and allows them to feel comfortable with the building process,“ says Pettipas. “We want you to have the right tools when it comes to knowing what to ask and what to expect with the construction of your new home.”

The Consumer Protection Sessions include information on energy efficiency options, new trends, how to hire a contractor, aging in place options, safety features, home heating solutions, home warranty options, the benefits of structured wiring, financial information and much more.

Click here to visit the NSHBA’s official page and to register online for your Free Home Building Seminar

The sessions are held at various locations across the province at no charge. All homeowners need to do is pre-register for the session taking place in their area. They will receive a useful toolkit of resource material to help them with their building project, while having the opportunity to listen and ask questions of the experts in the industry.


Sherry Donovan

Sherry Donovan

Sherry Donovan is Communications Director for the Nova Scotia Home Builders' Association. She is a regular contributer to various local media and currently has columns appearing in Halifax Metro News and The Chronicle Herald's Homesetc publication.