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You wouldn’t know it, here in the City of Edmonton, with all of the cold weather and snow we’ve been having, but Spring is just around the corner. In addition to shedding our winter coats and boots, we often look to the Spring as a time to start our renovation projects. Whether you’re renovating your bathroom, kitchen, or fun cave (I refuse to call it a man cave), you should be sure that you are ready to go with your Springtime project. Here is a handy list of of questions that will help you to prepare.
Questions to ask about your project.
Have you defined exactly what you want to do?
Knowing you want to renovate your kitchen is a good start, but planning to change your cabinets, counter top, and flooring as well as adding an island is better. Defining the scope of work can help with better pricing, timelines and overall quality.
Have you looked at any products?
Checking out what is available product-wise is a good idea, even before you get down to the serious planning. Even a breeze through your big box retailer to look at fixtures can help define which way your project will go. If you’re looking at new appliances for a kitchen remodel, knowing their sizing beforehand will make design a lot simpler.
Have you developed a budget for your project?
Talking dollars and cents with a contractor can be difficult for some people, but the money needs to be discussed at some point. Having a realistic budget up front helps both the homeowner and the contractor to make good product choices and important decisions.
Have you thought about a timeline?
How far out are you from when you want to start your renovation? When would you like to see it wrapped up? Are you planning any trips/vacations that could affect the timeline of your project? Do you have any children going through any important exams during the process?
Do you need to contact your insurer?
If you’re doing a home renovation, it’s a good idea to let your home insurance provider know. Not telling them could lead to problems if someone goes wrong.
Do you have everything else in place before you get started?
If you’re renovating, say, your kitchen, it’s a good idea to plan how you are going to prepare your meals and where you are going to store your pots and pans while the renovation is taking place. It’s also a good idea to let friends, family and neighbors know that you’re renovating so that they don’t have any surprises. As well, if you have young children or pets, it’s a good idea to prepare them for the renovation.
Questions to ask about your contractor.
Is your potential contractor licensed/bonded/insured?
It’s important that the contractor you choose meets all of the requirements to be a contractor. If not, you could face a host of difficulties if any problems in the project occur.
Does the contractor have the skill sets and the certified trades to do the job correctly?
Your contractor should have the people in place to see a successful outcome on your renovation. As well, unless they have certified trades on staff, they should be using plumbing and electrical sub-trades to do their respective tasks. Which leads to….
Are the appropriate permits being taken out?
Yes, permits cost money. Permits also protect you from shoddy work. Not everything in a renovation project requires a permit, but you can guarantee that if major plumbing, electrical, mechanical or structural work is involved, the contractor had better be applying for permits.
What other information did you get about your contractor?
Are they a full time renovator or is this their side job? How long have they been in business? Do they have any clients who will speak positively about them? Do they have a written contract? Do they have processes in place to ensure the job remains clean and safe? Do they offer warranties? Do you get along with them? All of these questions are an important part of having a successful renovation.
Questions when going through the contract.
Is the renovation project a fixed cost?
Some items may be considered allowance items if specific product haven’t been chosen yet or if there is uncertainty with how parts of the project will unfold. All costs, whether fixed or allowance, should be outlined in the contract as well as payment terms. It’s common to have to put a deposit, have progress payments and a final payment.
Is the scope of work defined?
There should be a list of line items that tell you the story of what is being done on your renovation project. You should go through them together with your contractor (before you sign off, of course) and ask any questions that may arise. You should also be made clear what is not included in the scope of work.
Did you read the terms and conditions?
A contract should come with terms and conditions. Be sure to read through them carefully.