Updated: Jul 22
Is home restoration in your future?
Whether you’ve just bought a house or are considering putting yours on the market, chances are you’ll need to make some repairs or updates soon. Often restoration can turn into a renovation and without proper planning, your project could quickly derail and become much more expensive and time-consuming than you bargained for!
Starting with the correct approach can spare you some expensive litigation and frustration. Here are the 7 mistakes to avoid at all costs.
1) Knowledge matters
Did your hired contractor find the problem or was it found by another company previously?
If you hired a contractor that didn’t find the problem, as you told them what someone else said, how do know if you can trust them? Homeowners often call two or three contractors to make sure that the quotes they are receiving are fair. There is nothing wrong with due diligence to be certain that your getting a fair price.
Beware when it comes to water leaks or building envelope failures it is really about knowledge and specific installation skills. Your hired contractor may be good at installing flooring, or installing siding, or other typical renovations, but can you trust them to repair the most important part of your home if they weren’t able to find the problem originally? Taking a chance can be a very expensive gamble.
Just imagine if you completed a flooring reno and it wasn’t installed correctly, though you could figure it out on your own and convinced your contractor to return to fix it. Now imagine if your building envelope is installed incorrectly. Unless you see water leaking from a window, cracking in your exterior siding, or a ceiling leak, you will not know if the installation was correct, and when this happens the damages can be severe. Restoring a building envelope problem can be very costly and often can put many contractors out of business. Make certain that you hire the right contractor in the first place.
2) Have a clear idea of the source of the problem
First, you need to be crystal clear about what you want to achieve with your home restoration and know exactly the size of the restoration and the type of work required. Water leaks are tricky and water damage often unknown, will lead to rotting wood, mold spores or loss of heating/cooling in climate-controlled environments.
Water intrusions are difficult to predict the size of water damage and source. Contractors are often vague or minimize the possible repairs needed, to avoid scaring away the client. This is a known sales tactic that many contractors use to secure the work and it can be costly and stressful, and often leads to many change orders and over-runs to your original budget.
3) Know what is included and not included in your estimate
Once your contractor presents you with the estimate make sure you understand their plan for the repairs and their warranty for the work. Make certain you discuss what the estimate includes and what is their contingency plan is for the work that is not included in the quote. Knowing ahead what the best- or worst-case scenarios of the restoration are can avoid sinking more cash into the project than you anticipated.
4) Size matters
When completing an exterior or building envelope restoration project, you need to be aware of any possible damage that can be caused by a contractor when the job is not performed as promise. These types of projects require extensive work preparation for both the management and the field crew. The level of preparation and knowledge in building envelope is out-of-ordinary because personnel require extensive training, certifications and work safety records that a company must invest in their employees, and this is the reason why size matters.
Small companies unfortunately don’t have the time or the capital to invest in training and as a result are forced to rely on additional sub-trades that are often coming from new construction training, or a self-taught background. Without proper training and the necessary knowledge to understand and properly perform a restoration of a building enclosure on a retrofit situation the homeowner is doomed.
5) Hire the right professional
Just because someone calls themselves a professional, doesn’t always mean that they are. When hiring a contractor, besides checking out the basic list, such as office location, business licenses, insurance, WCB and years in business. Check the online Better Business Bureau to make sure that all the information provided is accurate and most importantly check that your contractor is bonded with Alberta Services and a licensed prepaid contractor. Without this license your contractor does not legally have the right to ask for a down payment.
Be aware that Alberta OHS require contractors to be Prime Contractor certified and for your safety the company should be COR certified. These will ensure that your project most likely work smoothly and without any issue. Related issues when these certificates are not present; a work stop issue by Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) in case that your contractor is in violation of the safety code, something that causes delay and fines for your project, or a contract money collecting scam.
6) Get it in writing
When receiving a quote from a contractor, it should state everything that is included. If not, you may find that all those little “extras” begin to add up.
You should receive a “scope of work” or a similar document with specific details about what work will be completed and all materials that are included. Your contract should also include a payment schedule, building permit “if required” and a refund agreement as per Alberta Service required.
7) Make sure your restoration adds value
It’s likely that you are forced to complete a restoration to correct your building envelope or restore it, but there is nothing wrong in considering what else can be done to add value while doing this restoration.
If your contractor is knowledgeable, they should be able to suggest how to complete your restoration and add value, whether you have decided to sell your home or continue to live there. If you reach out to a real estate professional asking their opinion in advance of the work; if the “scope of work” will add value to your home or create more demand for your property. This opinion can support your moving forward decision.
If you are planning a restoration, renovation or a repair please speak with one of our specialists today. Please call us @ 403-879-1110 and complete the form and we’ll be happy to discuss your needs and help protect and enhance your property.