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 7. Inspect as you go

Most renovation experiences are happy ones. But don't assume that things are going according to plan just because you have a sound contract and good rapport with your renovator. Stay on top of your project to prevent minor errors from becoming major problems.

If you have a disagreement, be reasonable. Go over the contract and listen carefully to the renovator's explanations. If you're still not satisfied, get a second opinion from a recognized home inspector or an architect before taking further action.

How to Handle Problems with Your Renovator

What if you're not happy with the job? First, try to negotiate a solution. If that fails, send the renovator a registered letter setting out your objections and mail copies to your provincial consumer protection branch and­if your renovator is a member­to your local home builders association.

In this letter, you can either:

A. Threaten to cancel the contract and obtain a refund of your deposit (permitted in some provinces); or

B. Give the renovator a set time in which to finish the work to your satisfaction, and advise that if, after that time work is incomplete, you will hire another contractor to complete the work using money remaining from the original contract. Only do this after you have obtained advice from your lawyer and a new estimate from another contractor.

Poor workmanship and unsatisfactory business practices can be reported to the municipal bureau that issued the contractor's licence. Work that is not up to building standards can be reported to your local building inspection office.

There are laws to protect you from dishonest or incompetent contractors. Provincial governments and the federal government have consumer protection branches: you can ask for their help. Your local Better Business Bureau will also hear your complaints and help mediate a dispute. Finally, you may be able to file a claim in small claims court.

Keep It Safe

From initial demolition to final cleanup, renovation projects can present a number of hazards. Some are obvious: the nail-studded board tossed into a pathway, the naked blade of a power tool. Others are less visible: the unshored excavation, the fumes from solvents, paints and glues.

There are good reasons to think about safety even if someone else is doing the actual work. You don't want your renovation marred by an accident or a lawsuit.

Know what your insurance will cover before work starts, especially if you are supplying some of the materials or lending tools or other items. And make sure that your contractor's coverage is adequate to shield you against all possible claims. Contractors normally carry liability insurance, but their policies may not cover all the tradespeople involved, or others who stray onto the site. In the case of serious injury, you could be liable.

Once work has started, knowledge and awareness can prevent many accidents.

If you live in your house while the work is being done, check at the end of each day to be sure that safety precautions have been followed.

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