Build­ing a fu­ture

We’re call­ing in the ex­perts on con­struc­tion and ren­o­va­tions, be­cause DIY de­mo­li­tion isn’t for ev­ery­body.

The Coast - Homes Halifax - - Expert Advice -

What should peo­ple be look­ing for when they’re hir­ing a ren­o­vat­ing team or con­trac­tor?

Clear com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion from the very first point of con­tact is an im­por­tant part of mak­ing sure the en­tire ren­o­va­tion process goes as smoothly as pos­si­ble. Look for a web pres­ence, such as an up-to-date web­site, Face­book page, Twit­ter ac­count, or Linkedin. A good con­trac­tor prac­tices pro­fes­sional con­duct, an­swers the phone pro­fes­sion­ally, re­turns calls promptly and uses con­tracts and writ­ten quotes. A con­trac­tor who wants to start too quickly could be a red flag. In-depth plan­ning for a ren­o­va­tion project is one of the most over­looked steps. Plan and then ex­e­cute. Be­fore get­ting started, al­ways con­firm they have proper in­sur­ance and are in good stand­ing with WCB.

Say I’ve moved into a fixer-up­per but can­not af­ford to tackle the en­tire home at once. What are ar­eas you’d ad­vise peo­ple start with?

That’s a tricky ques­tion, as each home is dif­fer­ent. Gen­er­ally, safety should be the first con­cern. This in­cludes code vi­o­la­tions, mould, ven­ti­la­tion or struc­tural is­sues. Once we get past those con­cerns, we’d start with protecting the in­te­rior from the ex­te­rior el­e­ments, your home’s outer shell. This in­cludes the roof, win­dows, doors and sid­ing. The next step is to take care of any nec­es­sary me­chan­i­cal up­grades or changes. Then move on to ad­dress­ing any planned struc­tural changes and re­mov­ing and adding walls. Fi­nally, the fun part: De­sign! Be­gin mak­ing your selections for new floors, kitchens, bath­rooms, paint and fix­tures.

As an ex­ten­sion of that ques­tion, should peo­ple live in a house first be­fore ren­o­vat­ing?

It’s nice to have every­thing done be­fore you move in or as soon as you move in. But it’s ideal to live in the house for awhile and get a feel for how you use the space, what it’s lack­ing, what can be im­proved, and sep­a­rat­ing wants and needs. Con­sider how a ren­o­va­tion would im­pact your day-to-day life.

What are de­tails that home­own­ers should never skimp or cheap out on?

Ex­pe­ri­enced and skilled labour.

Whether it’s a tile-set­ter, roofer, car­pen­ter or painter, don’t take a short cut and hire a cheap con­trac­tor just so you can splurge on the more ex­pen­sive build­ing ma­te­rial.

We live in an age where pretty much any­thing has a Youtube tu­to­rial. Are there any projects you would rec­om­mend peo­ple don’t at­tempt Diy­ing with­out a pro­fes­sional? We def­i­nitely have a list of DDIYS, Don’t Do It Your­self. Any project in­volv­ing wa­ter—plumb­ing—elec­tric­ity, the build­ing en­ve­lope which pro­tects you from mother na­ture (roof­ing, sid­ing, win­dows and doors) and any struc­tural changes or re­pairs should all be han­dled by the pro­fes­sion­als.

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