Planning a Project
Planning is the key to a successful renovation. To help you plan your project, the following are some of the main basic points to consider:
Assessing the Project
What kind of budget have I got? Be realistic in your expectations. What’s my range, what’s the maxiimum I can live with (we all tend to underestimate).
Why am I renovating? Is it a sound investment, remember you don’t want to be the most expensive house in your area. Would relocation be better/smarter, less disurbance to the kids, etc?
Costing Your Project
Invite contractors/designers to give you a rough estimate of your planned renovation. Be honest truthful about your budget. They may make suggestions to cut cost in a way that may still achieve your goal.
Hiring a Designer/Architect
An Architect or licensed Designer are both well suited to prepare permit ready construction drawings and specifications. It’s mostly a question of cost or judgement. Ask friends neighbours that had renovations done, it’s always your best source.
Getting Estimates or Proposals
Re-invite your original (or other) contractors to give you an accurate estimate based on the drawings specifications just completed. This is the only way to compare apples to apples.
Hiring a Contractor
Get minimum 3 bids from your invited contractors. Your winning choice should never be because of low bid. Your choice should be based on experience, past (recent) projects, price, recommendation from good sources (your selection may also be the low bid).
Getting a Contract
Getting a written contract is a must for a successful completed project (both for owners and contractor). It should include among other things: stipulated final total price, how extras to be dealt with, the starting and completion date, who is doing the work i.e. subs etc … Standard contracts are easily available.
Payments and Holdbacks
Payments and holdbacks should be part of the above contract. Respectable contractors should not request excessive up-front payment, nor should you agree to it. A 10% deposit at signing is fair and acceptable; after all, the contractor needs some form of commitment from the owners. Progress payments, however, should be well defined and acceptable to both parties. A 10% 30 days holdback to complete all deficiencies and assure complete satisfaction is an industry standard.