Renovation, Step By Step

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Renovation, Step By Step

Renovation, Step By Step

From the first idea to the finished project, there's a great deal to think about when you decide to renovate. By following the eight steps listed below, you'll make sure you have answers to all the important questions, and have a well-laid plan for getting the job done.

Step 5. Get it in writing

Always get a written contract describing the work to be done, what it will cost and how payments will be made. Never agree to anything before you have it in writing.

Your Responsibilities:

Your Renovator's Responsibilities:

A Smile and a Handshake Just Aren't Enough

Without an agreement on paper, there's little you can do about poor or incomplete work. You risk being charged more than you expected, and it's unlikely you'll get any warranty or after-sales service.

Professional contractors always provide customers with a clearly written contract. Once signed by you and your renovator, it's legally binding. So make sure that what you sign describes exactly what you want. Most client-renovator disputes occur because there was no contract, or because the contract was vague or incomplete.

If you have any doubts or questions about the contract, have your lawyer review it before you sign. If your renovator refuses to accept a written contract, get another renovator.

The Main Ingredients

There's no such thing as a standard contract. Every one is an individual document covering special requirements. That said, all contracts should include:

Both you and the contractor should sign two copies of the contract, one for you and one for the contractor.

In the Real World

No matter how well you plan your project, changes will probably be necessary. These can result in increased costs and delays. To protect yourself and your contractor, changes should be made only through a written change order detailing what's involved and the associated cost differences.

Money Matters

Your renovator may ask for a deposit on contract signing, especially for larger jobs. If so, it should be a nominal sum unless special items or materials have to be ordered.

Paying by cheque is another important part of getting it in writing. It gives you a record of what you have paid, and what you have paid for. You should also insist on a signed receipt.

Pay only for work completed, and never for the full amount. Holding back some of the money from each instalment protects you against liens that can be placed on your property by suppliers or workers unpaid by the renovator. Liens hold your property as security for the renovator's debts — even if you have paid the renovator in full!

You can guard against this by making out some cheques jointly to the renovator and supplier or workers, provided this is agreed to in the contract.

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