Thursday, 11 March 2010

Renovation Question and Answers: How Do I Choose My Contractor?

National Home Show Toronto March 2010: The Most Common Question and Wo-Built Advice: How Do I Choose My ContractorCollage: How Do I Choose My Contractor?
The Most Common Question during the National Home Show 2010
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During the National Home Show I volunteered at the Bild booth (Building Industry and Land Developer Association), trying to be a good member. The purpose was to help people visiting the show with renovation questions. Interestingly one of the most common question was: how do I choose my contractor.

Here is the advice:

[1] Look at the Bild directory for contractors. We are all following the Renomark Code of Ethics.

Choose three to five contractors and start interviewing them.

Most important: Do you like the contractor, do you have a good feeling about them, do you have a rapport. Renovations can be lengthy and are like a marriage: lots of up and downs. If you don’t have a rapport your renovation might become a nightmare for all parties.

Look at the estimates – are they detailed and comprehensive, can you compare them.

[5] Ask questions about the estimates, clarify details, lowest cost is not always the best, make sure you compare apples with apples.

Ask for construction processes and have them explained to you.

Look at the contracts – are they fair and equitable? Both parties have to have a win/win situation.

Payment schedules – are they fair?

Have several interviews – If the contractor asks a lot of question about you, this is also a good sign. They need to be comfortable with you as well.

Ask to see the people who will be in charge of your project. Do you like them.

Ask for references only for the ones you have shortlisted.

I cannot stress enough the importance of liking your contractor, and vice versa. In any renovation will be issues, problems and set-backs as much as great successes and highs. It is a roller coaster which can be much better endured when you and your contractor are a good team and work on the issues together.

This can bring out the most amazing design and construction solutions.

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc.

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