You are looking to renovate your house and create the home of your dreams, but first you need to hire a Contractor. Hiring a Contractor can be an overwhelming and confusing process, and it is all too easy for Clients to fall prey to inexperienced Contractors.
Below are some tips to help you find a Calgary General Contractor that will get the job done safely and effectively and provide you with the home of your dreams.
Experience Required as General Contractor
The ideal General Contractor has experience and industry knowledge of code requirements in the various trades required when conducting a home renovation project. This includes professional experience in concrete and foundations, framing and simple architecture, structural, plumbing, electrical, hvac, roofing, siding, rot and flood remediation, finishing materials and installation, AND knowledge of pre-existing conditions and type of materials used in your home based on when your home was built. Suffice to say, the ideal General Contractor is a seasoned expert in all things in home improvement.
Unfortunately there is no regulation in place in Canada to ensure that General Contractors have this level of experience and this is becoming an increasingly BIG problem in our economy – everyone is becoming a General Contractor. With that said, there are tradesmen who are only skilled in one area, they may not even be a Journeyman in their own field, and they have a lack of expertise or knowledge but they are representing themselves as General Contractors. How can they organize your renovation project if they are solely relying on their sub-trades to know what they are doing, and still ensure your project is carried out efficiently and safely?
Problems with Hiring an Inexperienced General Contractor
An under-experienced General Contractor or completely inexperienced one for that matter, will not know about important structural framing requirements involved in a renovation, nor the different code requirements and industry workmanship standards for the other Trade Partners whom they hired. If they do not know what to look for, then again, how can they ensure quality or even adequate work in it’s entirety on your home? Without the necessary knowledge to check that the work has been completed to standard, this can cause problems that will end up costing YOU more during the renovation, or down the road.
Balance Price with Expertise and Professionalism
One of the first things you will notice when having different Contractors quote your project is that costs can vary quite drastically. This is where homeowners get into a lot of trouble because everyone wants the best price but this is not where you want to take a tunnel vision approach. An important factor to remember is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! If one Contractor is quoting you a price drastically lower than their competitors, they are almost certainly not qualified, they will be using a team of unskilled labourers, and they will most certainly not have the proper business licensing, surety bond, liability insurance, WCB, etc. in place. Keep in mind that in an economic downturn there are plumbers, HVAC, electricians, painters and jack of all trades who are all becoming General Contractors. Whether they are employees of another company and doing this on the side, or whether they are trying their hand at this with the creation of a new company, the most important message to the Client is, Buyer Beware.
Standards and Coverage for Home Renovations
A good way to gauge whether a company is working according to industry and safety standards is to see if they are members of trade organizations and check to see how long their company has been in business – do your homework. Memberships include the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, Better Business Bureau, Occupational Health and Safety, and various different provincial professional industry groups and councils. If the company is a member of many of these associations, they must adhere to their protocol and meet the individual association standards in workmanship and business.
You should ensure that your General Contractor maintains current copies of all their Trade Partner’s liability insurances (usually a minimum of $2 million per company) to protect you as the homeowner from any liabilities – this also applies to the General Contracting company as well. Further the General Contracting company and all trade partners should also be registered with OHS and have current workers’ compensation coverage to protect all parties from liability in the event that a worker sustains an injury on site.
Prism Interiors specializes in Calgary home renovations and ensures the quality workmanship, professionalism and trusted experience in every project. Contact us for a consultation today!