We’re here to help you make informed decisions about your home’s renovation project so you can renovate with confidence! RenoMark™ has been embraced coast to coast in nine provinces and more than 40 communities. Across Canada renovation is a $70 billion dollar industry. RenoMark™ was established by the Toronto-based Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) to identify professional contractors who have agreed to abide by a renovation-specific Code of Conduct. The RenoMark™ program has been endorsed by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association and the Ontario Home Builders’ Association.
This website will help you better understand how to best approach your project, how to do your research and then find the right company to do the job.
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Some renovations and additions, such as converting a bungalow to a two-storey home, will require that you move out during construction. Other projects, such as an addition above an attached garage or a refurbished kitchen, may allow you to live with the building project – but there will be inconvenience and disruption that you’ll have to plan for.
Major projects may require the services of an architect and other professionals such as engineers and heating contractors. Their drawings are not only required to obtain building permits and other municipal approvals, but they provide the basis for your renovation contractor to price the project.
Be realistic about the time a project will take to get started and to complete. Consider its full costs, including at least a 10 per cent contingency for changes and unexpected conditions, and the impact the project will have on the daily operation of your home and family activities.
If your project is likely to last more than a few weeks, it’s wise to discuss your project with neighbours. In addition to unavoidable noise and dirt, there will be vehicles parked on the street, disposal bins in the driveway and plenty of truck deliveries. Most neighbours will be understanding and accommodating, especially if notified first.
Include a requirement for daily clean-up in your contract, so that your home, your street and nearby lawns don’t end up resembling a construction site.
Look for a professional RenoMark™ renovator. The RenoMark™ symbol tells you that your contractor has agreed to abide by the local home builders’ association Code of Ethics as well as a renovation-specific Code of Conduct.
Ask about the renovator’s experience with projects similar to yours. We recommend that you get the names of homeowners who have had equivalent work done and ask them about their experience.
It’s wise to contact a renovator first. Many RenoMark™ renovators have in-house design professionals or relationships with architects and others who specialize in designing residential renovation projects. If you engage a designer first, bring a renovator into the team as early as possible so that your project can benefit from the experience and expertise of each party.
At this stage your design professional or your renovator should be able to provide rough sketches to give you confidence to proceed or to refine your plans. A preliminary sketch and a general indication of the quality of materials and workmanship you seek (the “specifications”) will allow the renovator to give you a budget estimate and an indication of the time it will take to finalize design, obtain building permits or other approvals and complete the project.
Your RenoMark™ renovator will select and manage experienced trades people such as electricians, plumbers, painters, or those who apply drywall, brick or stucco, to complete specific elements.
Once you are satisfied with a preliminary design, a preliminary budget and a realistic timetable, you are ready to commit to final drawings. When these are complete you are in a position to get an accurate estimate of the cost and to sign a contract with a renovator to perform the work.
If you decide to ask more than one renovator to submit bids, remember that this can be a time-consuming effort. The renovator has to be very precise in pricing materials according to the specifications…because they will be locked in to the price.
When you make your decision to hire a professional renovator, get it in writing. Include the precise scope of work; the exact price, including a schedule of payments; a reasonable timetable for completing the work; and any instructions for protecting parts of the house not under construction.
If there is any difference of opinion between your renovator and your design professional about procedures or materials, this is the time to resolve it. It is important to avoid any significant changes during construction because this may cause delays and extra cost.
Avoid renovators who offer to do work without a contract in an attempt to avoid payment of the HST. This type of renovator may also not be paying provincial worker’s compensation coverage or carrying adequate insurance, leaving you at financial risk.
The Construction Lien Act allows you to withhold 10 per cent of the cost for 45 days following substantial completion of the project. This protects you if the renovator fails to pay all the subcontractors and suppliers, and is not related to ensuring that the job is done right.
Regular communication between you and your renovator may avoid problems.
During the course of a renovation or addition it is common for the homeowner to request changes or ask for additional work. These requests may affect the cost and time it takes to complete your project. It is important that you have a signed change order for all changes.
Make sure that you are aware of additional costs and that these changes are added to the contract. Better still, try to think of these things during the planning stage – you don’t want to be ordering additional flowers on the wedding day!
Talk about priorities without delay. Schedule meetings with your renovator when he or she can discuss your project without distraction.
Your renovator will discuss any issues or details related to your project or items that do not meet your expectations. Be flexible when minor changes occur that do not affect either the appearance or function of the job. Note any changes that are made as a result of such conferences, and do so in writing.
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Renovator's Code of Conduct
Renovating your home can be an exciting and rewarding process. Whether you are making modest changes in one or two rooms, or you are transforming your dream home, the process can be pleasant and smooth -- if you take the time to plan your project carefully.
Follow these tips to ensure success:
Research is the key to getting what you want. Consider your lifestyle and the needs of your family, both in the short and long term. Think about how you’re going to pay for the project and consult with a professional renovator, who can help assess the feasibility and budget. Contact your local municipality to determine what permits are required. Contact your insurance broker to review your homeowners insurance policy – you may need to notify them about your project.
For appropriate service and high-quality results, hire a professional renovator. RenoMark™ is a good place to start. You can engage an architect to assist with drawings and plans, or find a contractor with in-house or recommended designers.
Don't omit this step just because you are too busy or "they seem like the right person for the job." Call the renovator's previous clients to ensure that you are making the right decision.
If you accept the renovator's offer, it's time to write up the contract. Even the simplest of jobs should be outlined in writing because the contract is the basis of understanding between you and your renovator. Before signing a contract, read it carefully. Are you satisfied with the description of the work to be done? Does the payment schedule include holdbacks? Are the responsibilities of the renovator clearly spelled out? Remember that if something is not in the contract, then it's your responsibility.
Renovators and homeowners agree that a good working relationship is a vital ingredient in successful renovation projects. Mutual trust is essential. Keep lines of communication open at all times. Expect a brief report on the progress of your job at regular intervals and be available to make decisions when they are needed so work is not held up. Research, good planning, a professional work crew and open communication and trust -- a recipe for a home renovation that you will enjoy for years to come.
“Choose a reputable contractor. Ask for recommendations, check websites like RenoMark.ca, or call your local homebuilder's association.”
Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services
Media Advisory: Avoid Home Renovation Headaches. McGuinty Government Offers Tips on Hiring Contractors. September 19, 2012.
The RenoMark™ program identifies participating professional renovation general contractors and trade contractors, who are members of their local home building association. RenoMark™ contractors are held to a higher standard. They agree to the renovation-specific RenoMark™ Code of Conduct, which uses the national home building association’s Code of Ethics as a starting point.
Select the home builders’ association nearest to your community on the map below.
New Brunswick / Nova Scotia
Newfoundland and Labrador
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