1How long has the company been in business and how long have you been operating in the Edmonton area?
Nord Alta has celebrated over 37 years in the Greater Edmonton area as a family owned and operated business. Our longevity in the industry is due to our commitment to our clients in providing great value, and a quality finished product.
2What is your area of expertise?
Nord Alta is a full service general contracting company. We provide both residential and commercial renovation services. These include kitchen, bathroom, living room, basement and home office renovations, as well as commercial lease hold improvements, custom home projects and barrier free remodelling. We only use licensed sub-trades for licensed sub-trade work. We guarantee that a plumber will be doing the plumbing work and an electrician will be doing electrical work and not the other way around. This philosophy ensures that our work gets done by qualified, experienced personnel, many of whom have worked with us for years.
3What licensing, contract insurance etc do you carry?
Nord Alta carries several legal requirements that protect our clients, those who work with us, and ourselves. These include:
- Workmen’s Compensation
- Liability insurance with two million dollars of coverage for each occurrence (we have never had to claim)
- Municipal license to operate in the City of Edmonton
- GST registration
- Licensed and bonded as a prepaid contractor by the Province of Alberta
Should you require more details we will be happy to provide them.
4Do you use a written contract?
Yes. A contract should be mutually beneficial to all parties. Therefore, everything is completed in writing so there are no surprises.
The benefit of a contract is that all the project details are spelled out, whether it is the scope of the work to be performed, the amount of time in which the contract is to be fulfilled, or the terms of payment.
The contract also outlines the duties and responsibilities of each party. At one time, everyone relied on a handshake to seal the contract. Today we still have a handshake, but because there are so many details, it's important to get it in writing.
Not all contracts are the same. However, each one should include:
- Scope of work
- Timetable of start date and completion
- When progress payments are to be made
- Warranties, and mechanisms to arbitrate disagreements.
With these details, a customer can be assured that their best interests and those of the contractor are taken into consideration.
5What does the warranty cover and for how long?
Our warranty is for one full year on labour. Product warranty is dependent on the manufacturer's warranty. Please note that cases arise where a homeowner chooses to supply materials for a project (e.g. a homeowner buys plumbing fixtures for a plumber to install). In this case, any warranty issues that arise from a defective product are the responsibility of the homeowner.
6Do you use products that meet relevant building codes?
Yes. We use only products of the highest standards that meet or exceed building codes. There are few, if any, substandard products in today’s marketplace. Where contractors run into trouble is when they try and use products not designed for a specific application. We make sure this does not happen. In addition to using correct products for their intended use, we make it a habit to inform our clients that using the cheapest product in not always value for money. In some cases, using a higher quality, more expensive product can lead to significant savings in the long run.
7Can we visit one of your work sites?
We are more than willing to show you our work provided we have the homeowner's permission. We do, however, keep a library of photos of our previous work for you to look at.
8Who in the company does the work? How much of the work is subcontracted out?
At Nord Alta, we are actively involved in developing your project. We work as a team in conjunction with select sub-trades. We are either directly involved or supervising our sub-trades. This allows us to keep tabs on the work being done and:
- Avoid any uncertainties or difficulties that may arise
- Keep the work schedule on track
9When is the best time of year to get started on a renovation?
The best time is now. Although some things, such as exterior painting, are best left to warmer weather, most renovations can occur year round. Even window and door replacements can be done in the winter. Installations are planned to minimize the time the interior of your home is exposed to cold weather.
10Should I come up with designs before contacting you to start my kitchen renovation?
If you feel comfortable drawing out some ideas for a new kitchen, then by all means do so. It is useful, however, to put together a wish list of things you'd like to see in your kitchen. This information will help us come up with a design that’s right for you. However, it's not necessary for you to come up with drawings.
11Are there elements that should be considered in every kitchen renovation?
When retrofitting a kitchen for today's needs, there are a couple of elements that are often overlooked and should be included even if you are only replacing cabinets. If the existing cabinets are mounted on the outside walls and your home is pre 1970, this is the best time to upgrade the insulation in the kitchen area. With today's energy prices, the benefits for upgrading insulation are tremendous.
Electrical is another element not to be overlooked. Many older homes predate the use of small appliances and electrical requirements are often insufficient. It's also a great time to revisit your kitchen's lighting, especially around food preparation areas. Consider under-cabinet lighting, above-cabinet indirect lighting, pot lights, or traditional fixtures. Don’t forget new LED light fixtures for energy savings.
12What are the different kinds of windows to choose from, and how do they differ in price and performance?
Essentially there are three types of windows available today – vinyl, fiberglass and wood metal clad.
The most common, mainly due to cost. Being inexpensive to build, vinyl windows are quite reasonably priced. The disadvantage is that vinyl can’t handle a lot of weight so they do have size limitations.
Superior to vinyl in that the frames are very strong, they can support much more weight. If color on the exterior is required, a generous color selection is usually available. Some manufacturers even laminate a pine veneer on the inside to simulate a wood window. Cost is generally somewhere in the middle and performance is considered good.
Wood Metal Clad
Can usually fit most budgets depending on the features chosen. With these windows you get the natural beauty of wood, with different wood species available. Wood lends itself to some intricate milling that vinyl or fiberglass does not. If your decorating budget calls for stained wood, this is the product for you. Most wood windows come with metal clad on the exterior for a good color selection and a maintenance free exterior.
Any of the above products are more than acceptable for either new home construction or replacement. At Nord Alta, we suggest that the customer always look for an Energy Star Rated window product with the following options: Low-E coatings, argon gas filled, and triple glazing.
13Should I build a main floor addition, or should I add a second story?
The first thing to consider is the residence and the property on which it’s located. If your property is within a city or town, there could be restrictions, such as the square footage of the buildings allowed on the property as a percentage of the land available.
With most property in the Edmonton area, a property owner is allowed to build site coverage of 40%, of which 28% is the main residence and the other 12% would be for outbuildings such as a garage. In most situations this percentage is well within what most homes are originally designed for, although with lot setbacks and side yard setbacks, driveways and easements, it takes careful planning to fit the home within the existing lot, especially if the lot is pie shaped or irregular. Other things to take into consideration might be living in a mature neighborhood where you may face demands to conform to existing architecture or the historical flavor of the neighborhood.
Once you have determined how much room is available to develop, it makes sense to sit down with your family and discuss your family's needs, wants, and other factors that you will have to consider when planning an addition.
14Should we continue to live in the building while it's under construction?
The size of the renovation and the impact it will have on your living and sleeping quarters will ultimately dictate whether or not you can continue to stay there during construction. If there are structural changes or if insulation or drywall is used, it would be sensible to move to a safer environment. The other factor of living in a building under construction is that you will sacrifice private time with your family.
15Should I contact my insurance company during a renovation?
Absolutely. Make them aware of the project. Also ask if it will require any further coverage. You should also make sure that the contractor you are hiring is insured for general liability and workman's compensation.