Skip the unnecessary headaches by creating a plan with your hired professional
Spring has sprung and so have the visions for change. Now is the perfect time to think about your upcoming renovation or new home project. This process should be exciting and engaging, not giving you unnecessary headaches. There is a lot to consider when you undertake a renovation or new home project, therefore it is essential to know the correct process.
Step One: Research The first—and most important—step is to thoroughly research your project. Whether you are renovating your existing home or building a new one, having all the necessary information is key in order to proceed. Some may know exactly what they want to do and can confidently move on to the next step, however, others may not know where to start. To help make this step easier for homeowners, this spring the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of Nova Scotia (CHBANS) is hosting its popular series of Consumer Protection Sessions at various locations across the province. The purpose of these sessions is to provide homeowners with valuable information for their new home or renovation project and help them make informed decisions. All sessions are held at no charge to the participants. Attendees will receive a package of resource material and have an opportunity to hear industry experts address a variety of related topics.
Step Two: Talk to a Professional Once you have determined what your project will be, we suggest a face-toface meeting with multiple companies to choose the one that you are most comfortable with. You will want to look for a company that will keep you in the loop and assist you throughout the process by providing expert advice while keeping you in sync with your timeline. Things can quickly transition from exciting to overwhelming so it is vital to find a professional you can rely on if times get tough. Understanding the process and an open dialogue with your builder or renovator will build the trust necessary to help successfully carry out your plan. This will result in a greater sense of satisfaction when you reveal your completed project to your friends and family!
1. Have they received any third party awards?
2. Will they provide references?
3. What are their communication plans and strategies throughout the construction process to keep you informed?
4. What is their policy regarding site visits once construction has begun?
5. How are change orders handled after the contract has been signed and what are the impacts to the timeline, price, etc.?
6. Do they belong to any professional associations such as the CHBA-NS?
7. Do they have recognized safety training for employees?
8. Do they offer new home or renovation warranty protection?
9. Do they carry Workers’ Compensation Coverage and liability insurance?
10. Do they have any additional designations such as Certified Aging in Place Specialist, Certified Residential Builder or RenoMark?
Asking these questions may be intimidating, but they will allow you to gauge their level of expertise and commitment to professionalism within the residential construction industry. When companies are involved in additional programs, they are typically required to participate in regular training to keep upto-date on housing trends, knowledge of building science and industry initiatives. You will quickly decipher who is truly reliable given that these professionals are willing and able to provide you with the answers to all these questions.
Step Four: Sign a Contract A lot of renovation and new home horror stories have circulated but rest assured— you do not have to fall victim! The written contract is a critical piece of your project. It provides you and your professional with mutually agreed upon expectations throughout the process. Your contract should include construction details such as the start and completion dates, payment schedules and product selections that will be used in the construction process. It should also address the implications of how changes will be handled once the contract is signed. Taking the time at the beginning of this process to research, meet with professionals face-to-face and signing a mutually agreed upon contract will help save you stress and unnecessary delays once the process begins.
Partners for New Homes Month include Nova Scotia Power Inc., Nova Scotia Department of Seniors, EnergyStar and EnerGuide.