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do your home work Renovating your home is an exciting process. RENOVATE: Do your HOMEwork will provide information in helping you make the right choices and develop a clear map to reach your renovation goals. When you renovate your home, the most important decisions need to be made before the work begins. With today’s housing technology, you can increase the comfort of your home significantly by making it healthier and more energy efficient. This means better living for you and also helps to protect our environment by reducing greenhouse gasses and other pollutants.




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the renovation roadmap Each section of RENOVATE: Do your HOMEwork provides information and tools you will need to map out your renovation plan. This includes how to set your goals, where to find the information you need, the needs of your home, home inspection information and much, much more. The Canadian Home Builders’ Association of Northern BC is the voice of Northern BC’s residential construction industry. Building your community since 1958, CHBA of Northern BC in collaboration with the National and Provincial levels of the Association is proud to support Renovation Month. Additional information about Renovation Month can be found at the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (

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renovate: do your home work 1 GOLDEN RULES The Canadian Renovators’ Council of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association offers a number of golden rules to help renovating homeowners achieve their goals. •

Know what you want. Take the time you need to explore the possibilities for your home and develop a firm plan. Begins with the fundamentals - what do you need and how you want your “new” home to look, feel and work for you and your family. Once you have a clear idea of the “big picture”, your renovator will help you work out all the details. Set a realistic budget. Decide as early as possible how much money you want to spend - this allows you and your renovator to focus on the work that is doable within that budget. Experienced renovators can provide sound cost advice and recommendations. Sit down with your lender and discuss the amount you can reasonably afford and the most suitable financing options. Remember that your budget should cover everything that may arise from the renovation, including such items as new drapery, blinds, furniture and appliances. Plan for the long term. Thinking ahead avoids short-term renovations that may need to be redone in the future. Discuss your short- and long-term goals openly with your renovator. Professional renovators can conduct a thorough inspection of your home and offer suggestions for the most effective sequencing of work over a period of time.

Don’t jeopardize the quality of your renovation by compromising on the quality of products or materials. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well, and that means using products that offer the right combination of performance, durability and aesthetics. Experienced renovators can help you choose the best products within your budget.

Don’t choose a renovator on price alone. While it is always tempting to go for the lowest price, you need to consider the implications of doing so. Does the renovator understand what’s involved in your project and have the necessary experience? Will the renovator offer a warranty on the work? Will the renovator still be in business if you need to call back?

Protect yourself. Dealing with a professional renovator is your greatest protection against an incompetent or unfinished job. A written contract spells out the arrangements between you and your renovator and describes your renovation in detail. Professional renovators also carry workers’ compensation, liability insurance and any licenses required by your province.

Don’t buy from a door-to-door salesperson without carefully checking out the company. Before you enter into any kind of agreement, talk with friends and family. Contact your local Home Builders’ Association to see if the company is a member - membership is an indication of professionalism. Also check with the Better Business Bureau to see if anyone has lodged a complaint against the company.

3 CONSIDER THE NEEDS OF YOUR HOME Before making firm plans to put in a new kitchen or add the sunroom you have always dreamed of, it’s a good idea to take a close look at the condition of your home. It’s important to know if there are any underlying problems or repairs or replacements that need to be dealt with in the near future. With a clear picture of the condition of your home, you can budget for both the short and the long term.

Wear and tear. Many items that suffer the most from normal wear and tear are not necessarily expensive to redo or replace, but can make a big difference to the appearance of your home, and your enjoyment of it - for instance paint, wallpaper, carpeting, floor finishes, exterior and interior trim, stairs and eaves.

Components reach the end of their service life. Many of the products in your home have a defined lifespan. Careful maintenance may extend this somewhat, but sooner or later you need to replace them. For instance, after 15 to 20 years roof shingles may begin to curl, disintegrate and lose their ability to keep out moisture.

Structural damage. Over time, cracks may appear in the foundation and brick siding, gaps may develop between the foundation and walls, or there may be other evidence of shifting and movement. Mortar in stone or rubble foundations

Home renovation is a multi-billion dollar industry in Canada that includes public and private organizations, professional and industry associations, manufacturers and suppliers, financial institutions, and dedicated renovation professionals across Northern BC. If you are thinking about renovating your home, there is a wealth of information and assistance available from many different sources. It can help you to decide what you want and how to get it, and ensure a successful renovation that you will enjoy for years to come. Most of this information is free of charge or available at a modest price. •

Contact your local Home Builders’ Association and ask for a list of renovator members and information on the renovation process. Many local Home Builders’ Associations organize special consumer activities such as renovation seminars, open house parades of renovations and displays. Take advantage of these opportunities to get to know the professional renovators in your community and learn about the latest trends, products and financing options.

Natural Resources Canada is the primary source of information on opportunities to improve the energy efficiency of your home through renovation. Browse around on their web site or call 1-800-387-2000 to order various publications on renovation.

Your municipal government can provide information about building codes and regulations, and the permits and inspections needed for your renovation project.

Provincial government departments dealing with consumer and commercial relations may have publications and other information on hiring and working with renovators. Also ask about the Contractors’ Lien Act and the holdback requirements in your province.

Ask banks, trust companies and other financial institutions for information on renovation financing.

Visit building material and product suppliers and browse through their display areas to get ideas for your renovation project. The vast majority of manufacturers and suppliers of building components, products and materials also have websites with extensive photos, listings and descriptions of their products.

may fall out, siding may work loose, and windows and doors may bind. Floors may slope or sag, and there may be cracks in the drywall or plaster. As a result, your home may not be as comfortable, energy efficient or healthy as it could be, and if these problems are left unattended, further structural deterioration may occur, leading to more costly repairs. •

Here is what you can typically expect to find in an older home: •


Moisture problems. Moisture can damage your home and your health. Water seepage around plumbing fixtures can destroy surrounding wood and finishes. Moisture trapped in the exterior walls and roof can cause structural deterioration and create cracks, bulges or stains in walls and ceilings. Condensation on windows can eventually rot wood frames and sills. Molds may grow in both visible and invisible places, and a damp basement may give the whole house a musty, unpleasant smell. Moisture problems should be identified and dealt with before or at the same time as your renovation; this will help to protect your home, improve the quality of the indoor air and ensure a healthier living environment for you and your family. Need to upgrade systems. The electrical system in your home may pre-date today’s equipment-intensive lifestyle and may not be adequate, or safe, for your needs. Your plumbing system may not give you enough hot water or steady pressure for your family’s showers and laundry. An older heating system may not deliver enough heat. You may also want additional items to bring your home up to today’s standard of performance and

comfort - e.g. ventilation, electrostatic furnace filters, water purification, alarm systems and wiring for home office equipment. •

Need to upgrade the energy efficiency. Improving the energy efficiency of your home can save you money and increase your living comfort - fewer drafts, fewer cold and hot spots, less fluctuation in temperature. From caulking to added insulation to better windows, there are many ways to upgrade the energy performance of an older home.

A good first step is to conduct your own inspection. When you discuss plans with a professional renovator, you can expect a detailed assessment of your project - what’s involved, the impact on the whole house and the need to upgrade systems or the structure. The renovator will also advise on other work that may be needed. Renovators may recommend an assessment of the energy performance of your home and opportunities for upgrading. In the event of severe air quality and mold problems, they may suggest you hire an indoor air quality investigator. If you want a thorough and formal assessment of your entire home, from top to bottom, you may want to consider hiring a professional home inspector. Make sure it’s someone, who is qualified, properly trained and insured, and ask for a written report.



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renovate: do your home work 4 A HOME INSPECTION CAN HELP YOU PLAN A home inspection can provide you with the information you need for a well-planned approach to renovation and home maintenance. Consider: •

A pre-purchase inspection of a resale home assesses the condition of a home you may consider buying. Is it structurally sound? Which repairs or replacements may be needed immediately or in the foreseeable future? When you buy with the intent to renovate, an inspection can give you a realistic impression of what is needed to bring the home up to the standard you want.


If you have lived in your home for a number of years, a complete inspection can give you a snapshot of the condition of your home - a solid starting point for a full plan of renovation and ongoing home maintenance.


A common reason for renovation cost overruns is the “unexpected�. An inspection will help to reduce surprises that can throw your renovation budget and schedule off track. For instance, an inspection can help identify particular problems needing immediate attention such as faulty wiring or defective heating equipment, which may not be immediately apparent.



For effective long-term planning and budgeting, it is important to know when to expect major home maintenance expenses. An inspection can make it easier to plan for future expenses, such as furnace and roof replacement.

Who should I talk to? Most commonly, inspections are done by a professional renovator or a home inspector. Your choice will depend on your reasons for having an inspection done, and the type of information you need.

An inspection can help you assess your renovation ideas - can it be done, what will it take and what’s the impact on the rest of the house? For instance, an addition may require a larger furnace or an upgraded electrical panel. Or new energy-efďŹ cient windows may necessitate better ventilation in the whole house.


Professional renovators: The services offered by professional renovators can vary greatly, and the best approach is to call a few companies. To begin with, professional renovators will automatically examine the parts of your house involved in a proposed renovation in order to estimate and plan your project - that’s simply part of doing a professional job. Many renovators will also routinely identify repairs and upgrades that make economical sense to include in your renovation plans.


If the renovator is designing your project, the design phase usually includes a thorough inspection. On large jobs, this may entail a “feasibility study� or an inspection by a structural engineer or other specialists.


Beyond that, some renovators may offer additional assessment services.


Home inspectors: If you want a third-party assessment of the condition of your home, you can hire a home inspector. Ask about qualiďŹ cations, references and proof of errors and omission insurance.


Make sure the price includes a detailed, written inspection report and share the results with your renovator. Together, you will be able to develop estimated costs, a list of priorities and a schedule of work for renovation, repair and replacement that is right for you and your budget.


Developing a “Wish Listâ€? involves listing the speciďŹ c features you would like to include in your renovation. You should also give some thought to the importance of each item. Is it something you absolutely need? Or is it something you would like to have, but not essential if your budget can’t accommodate it?

Getting expert assistance in the early planning stages is a deďŹ nite advantage. Experienced renovators will work with you to explore designs that ďŹ t your home, lifestyle and budget.

This stage of planning is all about exploring design and product ideas and learning as much as you can about what is available. Get out and see what others have done, what new products are available and what type of “lookâ€? is right for your family and home. Here are some ideas: •

Visit family, friends or neighbours and ďŹ nd out what they really like about their home, particularly if they have renovated recently.


Look for design and home improvement magazines at your local newsstand or library. Collect pictures of homes, rooms and products that appeal to you.


Visit new home builders’ showhomes to see the latest in design, construction and ďŹ nishing of homes.


Visit kitchen, bathroom and other retail showrooms. Talk with salespeople and pick up manufacturers’ literature on the types and brands of products you like.


In many communities, home shows are held during the year. Renovators, designers and product manufacturers take part in these shows. This provides an excellent opportunity to see what’s new. Check with your Local Home Builders’ Association for information about home shows.


In some communities, local renovators will organize renovation open house tours to showcase recent renovation projects. Again, check with your Local Home Builders’ Association for details.


And, of course, the Internet is a great source for home renovation information. Visit the websites of Canadian product manufacturers and suppliers, governments and ďŹ nancial institutions.

A successful home renovation begins with good design. Whether you are remodelling the entire house, turning your basement into living space or updating your kitchen, the design of your renovation ultimately determines how satisďŹ ed you will be with the ďŹ nished job.


For a simple renovation project, you and the renovator may be able to work out the design details in the course of your conversations about the project. If your renovation is large or complex, the renovator may suggest that design be dealt with as a ďŹ rst and separate step of your project.


A growing number of renovation companies have a designer on staff - part of a growing trend towards one-stop shopping. Alternatively, renovators may recommend a designer or architect from their network of professional associates Either way, having a renovator involved at the design stage helps to ensure that your design is practical and feasible from a construction standpoint.


Typically, the design process begins with a discussion of your ideas and a look at photos, drawings or product literature that you may have collected. The renovator or designer will also ask you to describe what you are trying to accomplish and what do you really need and want.


Based on this information,“concept sketchesâ€? are developed, usually more than one to give you a range of options. Often additional ďŹ ne-tuning is needed to complete the design of your choice.


At the end of the design phase, you will have a set of drawings or plans that are the basis for getting cost estimates. The drawings should show clearly what the ďŹ nal project will look like, including close-up details, and be accompanied by a speciďŹ cation list of the products and materials to be used.


When your renovation entails structural changes or other work that requires a construction permit, working drawings or blueprints are required for approval by your municipality. Professional renovators can take care of all the details, including dealing with building ofďŹ cials.







Now that you have set goals for your project, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to look for ways to accomplish what you want. This next part of renovation planning can be the most fun and exciting.



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do your home work 6 GET IT IN WRITING Step 1 | Get Informed. Knowledge can protect you from risks Home renovation and construction is a complex process. As a consumer, you need to know where you stand, and that your interests are protected. Some things you need to be aware of, and that should be addressed in a written contract, include: • Building codes and permits. Most projects, even minor ones, require a building permit and must adhere to code requirements. As the homeowner, you are responsible for ensuring this happens. Your contractor can usually look after this on your behalf. • Insurance. Does your homeowners’ insurance cover construction-related risks? Call your agent to confirm. Also, your contractor needs to have business liability insurance to protect you from their mistakes. • Liens. Each province has requirements for holding back a portion of all payments to your contractor for a set period of time. Doing this protects you from claims if the contractor fails to pay suppliers and subcontractors. • Workers’ Compensation. Those employed to work on your property may require coverage under provincial Workers’ Compensation programs. Without it, you could be liable in the event of a workplace injury. • Warranties. Professional renovators provide a clear written warranty on their work. Custom new home builders should provide a third-party new home warranty.

Step 2 | Hire a Professional. Know who you’re dealing with. How can you find a good professional contractor? Ask around. Some of the best recommendations come from friends, family, co-workers and neighbours who have had positive experiences. Other sources of information include: • Home builders’ or trade associations

• Building materials stores • Utility companies • Better Business Bureaus How do you know they are on the level? Professionals provide the following, often as part of your written contract: • Full contact information, including name, Address and phone number • Confirmation of business liability insurance that protects you or third parties, such as neighbours • Proof of Workers’ Compensation coverage • Their government issued Business Number or GST/HST number, and proof of any business licence required by the municipality • A clear written warranty specifying what is covered and for how long

Step 3 | Get Control. Get it in Writing! Professional contractors always work with a proper, written contract. A contract spells out a clear project plan and what you and your contractor have agreed to. It is the best way to protect yourself and ensure things go as planned – and a valuable part of what a professional contractor provides. A written contract should include the following: • A full description of the work, including the materials and products to be used • Dates when the work will start and be completed • A clear payment schedule that lays out when and how much you will be charged, and what lien holdbacks are required • The contractor’s warranty detailing what is covered and for how long • Confirmation that the contractor has business liability coverage for your project, and that required Workers’ Compensation coverage is in place Don’t sign a contract unless you are satisfied that it includes all the necessary information and accurately and fully represents what you have agreed to.

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W R Ventures ltd Disclaimer: Memberships are renewing & being added now. The 2014 Membership List will be available December 1, 2013. Check as at December 1, 2013 for the most up to date list of members

CHBA of Northern BC 2013/2014 Board of Officers/Directors President ....................Gordon Bliss 1st Vice President ........ Rod Croome 2nd Vice President ......Jody Tindill Treasure/Secretary ....... John Stevens Past President.............Ed Rebelo Executive Officer .......... Terri McConnachie Director ......................Ian Baxter Director ....................... Allen Creuzot Director ......................George Hackle Director ....................... Brad Lentz Director ......................Debie Hemich Director ....................... Marti Ranu

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October 25, 2013  

Section W of the October 25, 2013 edition of the Prince George Free Press