Renovating Your Home
Hire a CHBA-NL Member Registered with RenoMark for Home Renovations
The RenoMark distinction is a nationally recognized brand and your company will be included in the national online searchable database of renovators known for their professionalism and reputation.
CHBA-NL members who have earned RenoMark certification must meet specific criteria to be offered the distinction – they must be a CHBA-NL member in good standing, hire only professionals, operate under recognized warranty programs and undertake regular professional development. The rigorous criteria that they must meet and maintain includes:
- Be a member in good standing of the CHBA-NL
- Abide by the CHBA-NL Code of Ethics
- Provide a detailed, written contract (including scope of work) for all jobs
- Offer a minimum two year warranty on all work (excludes minor home repair)
- Carry a minimum of $2 million liability insurance
- Have coverage for workplace safety and employers’ liability and/or work only with subcontractors who carry such coverage
- Carry applicable licenses and permits.
- Have access to information, education, training and professional development through membership in CHBA-NL
- Maintain a safe and organized worksite
- Return phone calls within two business days
CHBA-NL members with RenoMark certification include S&L Porter Homes, Karwood Contracting Ltd., Homeworx Modular Home Systems Inc., New Victorian Homes, K & P Contracting Ltd., Trendsetter Renovations Ltd., Maidment Consulting Inc., Street Property Development Inc., Rockwood Homes, SPACES, Gibraltar Fine Homes & Renovations, New Found Builders, K & R Carpentry and NL Renovations
Visit the RenoMark website for more information.
Hire a CHBA-NL Member
The CHBA represents the professional home building and renovation industry with more than 8,000 members across the country.
- Membership in the CHBA is a strong indication that a new home builder is a professional who is dedicated to the business of home building and in business for the long term.
- Membership is voluntary. Members agree to the Association’s Code of Ethics, which is based on principles of fairness, integrity and consumer satisfaction.
- Home building is complex, demanding and constantly evolving. Through the CHBA, members can keep up to date on technological advances, regulations, new products, financing, and so on—in short, knowledge that no professional new home builder can do without.
- Home building is teamwork that takes the skills and expertise of many different trades and suppliers. Builders who belong to the CHBA have ready access to a wide network of member companies to help them deliver a high level of quality and service to home buyers.
- Managing a successful home building business means being part of the community. Through their local associations, CHBA members work with local decision-makers to contribute to the vitality and well-being of the community, and perhaps most importantly, to make a difference in the lives of the people who live there.
The industry is unregulated in Newfoundland and Labrador, so it is up to the consumer to conduct due diligence when hiring a contractor. Here are some tips to protect yourself:
- Write, in detail, the job you want or need done.
- Get informed. Do you need a permit?
- Research contractors in your area. Ask your friends and neighbours for names.
- Get a list of qualified professionals from your local Home Builders’ Association or Better Business Bureau.
- Get estimates from at least three different contractors and ask them for customer references.
- Call the references from the contractors you like. Be sure to make a list of questions you want to ask them.
- Hire a professional contractor. Ask for written contracts and proof of Workers’ Compensation or private liability insurance for injury or damage to your home.
- Agree on the work you want don, the budget and the timeline.
- Don’t accept offers for cash deals without a receipt. Paying under the table is no deal – it can leave you with no warranty, no recourse for poor workmanship and no liability insurance if an injury takes place on your property.
- Get it in writing! If you pay under the table for repairs, construction or home renovation, you are participating in the underground economy – and you’re paying more than you think.
For for information, visit the Get It In Writing website.
Contracts don’t have to be complicated but they should include:
- Contractor’s name, address and phone number
- Full description of work to be done and materials and products to be used
- Timeline – when the work will begin and be completed
- All costs that you will be charged and when you will have to pay (deposit)
- Amount of payment you will hold back as required by the lien legislation in your province
- The contractor’s warranty
- A certificate from an insurance company providing proof of the contractor’s business liability insurance
- A letter of clearance from your province’s Workers’ Compensation program confirming the contractor is registered
- The contractor’s Business Number or GST/HST number
- The contractor’s business license number (municipal)
The Better Business Bureau (BBB)
To properly complete your due diligence when hiring a contractor, it’s a good idea to check their rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for the Atlantic Provinces. The BBB helps people find and recommend businesses and brands they can trust.
Online Renovation Advice to Get You Started Right
Home renovation often begins with questions: “How does it work, where do I start, what about…, how do I…,” and so on. Online research can help you get answers. Here are some informative sites to get your home renovation planning off to a good start.
- www.chba.ca is the site of the National Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA). Renovating Your Home offers information and practical advice from Canada’s professional renovators: introduction to the renovation process, ideas for projects and products, how to plan your project and hire a contractor, and more.
- Check out the Homeowners’ Guide to Green Renovation. Download helpful worksheets and checklists. Use the search engine to find renovation contractors in your community.
- www.hiringacontractor.com is the official site of the Get it in Writing! initiative, aimed at helping homeowners protect their renovation investment.
- www.cmhc.ca is the site of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Check Renovating a Home for step-by-step renovation advice and project videos. Case studies explain how to improve the energy efficiency of homes which can be sorted by house type and year of construction. A database of fact sheets can help homeowners plan their project and avoid surprises.
- www.oee.nrcan.gc.ca is the access point to Natural Resource Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency for a wide range of information on energy conservation. Get advice on choosing energy-efficient appliances and equipment, such as windows and doors, heating and cooling systems, and lighting. Look for detailed information on grants for home renovations, including what is available at the provincial level.
- www.renomark.ca is an introduction to the RenoMark™ program in place in many local Home Builders’ Associations across the country. The program helps consumers connect with professional renovators in their community. The website explains what you can expect when you hire a RenoMark™ renovator, including a code of conduct that members agree to abide by.
The Road to Renovation Success
Renovate with confidence—plan for success! The suggestions below, offered by the Canadian Renovators’ Council of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association, will set you well on your way to a home renovation that is done right.
Know What You Want
- A successful project is based on a clear vision of what you are trying to achieve and why—how do you want your home to look, feel, and work for your family? A renovation is an investment, and the decisions you make, large and small, will have an effect on the value and enjoyment of your home for a long time. Take the time to explore the possibilities and develop a detailed plan.
Get Professional Advice
- Consulting with a renovator, designer, or architect before making firm plans can make a big difference to the final result. It can also help to save you money. Renovation professionals have a wealth of experience and can advise you on budgets, work with you to develop the right design, and help you choose appropriate products and materials.
- If you opt to do the design work as a separate first step, a designer can also prepare a firm plan for you to get bids for the actual work. Alternatively, you may wish to hire a design/build renovator to look after all facets of your project.
Set a Realistic Budget
- It usually takes time to determine the accurate cost of a renovation. A lot of factors have to be considered—some obvious, some less so. The cost of finishing products varies tremendously. Special trades may be required for tasks such as rerouting plumbing and wiring there may be costs for waste disposal, and so on.
- This is why it is so valuable to consult with a professional. For instance, what are the basic costs for a project like yours? Is your intended budget adequate for the project? There is little point in spending time developing your dream project if the funds available are not adequate. Instead, an experienced renovation professional can help you develop a plan to fit your budget.
Set Realistic Time Frames
- Not surprisingly, homeowners can underestimate the time it takes to do a renovation, not recognizing the number of steps involved in a project. For example, a simple bathroom makeover can take weeks, as it involves many different tasks that must be done in the right order, and a number of different trades that must be coordinated.
- “You can’t rush quality.” Discuss the timelines for your project with your renovator and any concerns you may have about the scheduling. Be prepared to accept that it may take longer than you initially thought, to get the work done right and to your lasting satisfaction.
Hire a Professional Renovator
- No doubt, the single most important factor in the success of your renovation is the company you hire to do the work. Spend the time needed to find the right renovator – one who can demonstrate the experience required for your project and give you references. A professional will always provide you with a detailed written contract, and also stand behind their work with a written warranty.
Hire For Value, Not Price
- If you invite bids from a number of companies, it may be tempting to go for the lowest price, but you need to consider the implications. Does the renovator understand what’s involved in the project? Will you get the quality you expect, or will the renovator cut corners to stay within the budget? Will you be hit with extra charges for items that other contractors included in their bids? Sometimes the lowest price bid ends up costing the most.
- Some price difference among several bids is normal, but if one bid is significantly lower than the rest, you need to proceed with extra care.
Be a Knowledgeable Client
- It is your home, your project, and your investment. It is vital that you are comfortable with the renovation process and understand what is going on. Experienced renovation contractors will explain the process, step by step, and keep you informed of progress throughout, so you never have to guess or worry. Never hesitate to ask questions or bring up any concern you may have.
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