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The Most Common Renovation Questions Answered

Posted January 13, 2020

When it comes to renovating, designing, and building, homeowners naturally have lots of questions before they’re ready to sign on the dotted line and get started on their projects. Here are 13 of the most frequently asked renovation questions answered.

Are your trades (plumbers, electricians, painters, etc.) in-house?

Much of the work we do is carried out by in-house staff. However, there are instances where it makes more sense to bring in a dedicated trade–particularly when they require a specialty licence–such as a plumber or electrician. When we do partner with an outside trade, those partnerships are the result of long-term relationships that we’ve developed.

Are your designers on staff and what is their background/experience?

We have very talented architectural designers on staff who are all insured and certified with their BCINs or Building Code Identification Number. This means they not only know the building code inside and out, but they are always up to date on any changes or new requirements. The advantage of working with an in-house team is that it’s like one-stop shopping. You won’t have to go to one company to create a design for your project and another to do the construction. Instead, we combine the process from vision through to completion under one roof. This means your projects is a seamless renovation that’s more cost effective, has better communication, ond overall more satisfying.

Do you create permit-ready drawings?

Yes. When a client is ready to proceed, we prepare the permit-ready drawings and we submit them to the city on their behalf.

Who will be in charge of my project?

We have three major parts to our projects:

  1. Development
  2. Construction
  3. Warranty

During the development portion of your project, one of our Project Coordinators will work with you to get the project from concept to permit-ready. Once we move to construction, one of our Project Managers will be in charge of your project until completion. Finally, once the project is complete, our Home Care Department will manage any required warranty work over our five-year warranty period.

How many construction projects do your Project Managers have at one time?

This is dependent on the size of the projects they are working on but usually it’s between four and six.

Do you commit to a start date and end date?

Yes. It is written in as part of our construction contract. A contract that doesn’t have a start date and end date isn’t enforceable.

Do you provide a schedule?

Yes. A written schedule is provided at our first site meeting and then updated weekly based on activities on site to keep you in the loop about what’s going on with your project.

How and when are materials chosen?

We include materials selection as part of our design procedure, before construction begins. Our Materials Selection Coordinator works with clients to come up with options that will realize their design goal. Selecting finishes at the start helps us keep to timelines that have been agreed to. It also ensures items are ordered in a timely manner, costs are kept down, and ensures all materials selected will work together.

Do I need to worry that you’ll find all kinds of unexpected problems when you start opening up my walls? What do you do to prevent this from happening?

One of the things that sets Amsted apart is the investigative work we do before a project begins. Because we’ve been around for 30 years, our extensive experience is something we can draw on to anticipate patterns and likely issues that we’ll find. We also bring our trades on site to do a thorough forensic check of your home before anything begins, including looking into the walls and scoping plumbing. This detailed inspection highlights areas of concern and potential solutions so that you will have a good idea of what to expect.

Yes, there are almost certain to still be unexpected issues that come up along the way. It’s unavoidable in renovations. But because of the detailed work we do up front, these issues are minimized and you’ll have a very good idea of any potential hiccoughs that could arise.

Can we live in the house? If so, how do you separate the work area and protect the home?

It’s possible to stay in your home during a renovation almost all of the time, depending on the level of comfort you need or the amount of disruption you can live with. Typically, it depends on the type of and how much work is being done to your home. If staying in your home is a necessity, we can look at doing the work in phases to help facilitate that. However, for large-scale projects, we don’t recommend it. It can also add time and cost to the project.

As for the rest of your home when we’re working on just a portion of it, we do extensive site protection. Rooms are sealed with plastic to create a barrier, floors are covered, we use a machine to create negative pressure so that construction dirt and dust seeping into the rest of the home is minimized, and air scrubbers filter out more dust.

I’ve noticed that you have three offices. Where do we meet you?

Typically, we prefer to meet you at your home! That way we can get a better idea of your project from the start. But, should you prefer to meet at our offices, they are spread out across the city to make it as convenient for you as possible.

I will be at work all day; how do I stay in touch with how the project is proceeding?

Communication is critical to the success of your renovation project. That’s why we have a constant focus on it. In fact, when we’re ready to begin the construction phase of your project, we will establish a schedule of weekly meetings.  Your Project Manager will meet you every week on site to review things like what’s been done, what’s coming up in the schedule, if we’re about to reach a big milestone, or whether things need to be moved from room to room.

Day-to-day communication is also key and is typically done either by phone or email, depending on client preference.

What sets you apart; why should I choose Amsted?

There are several things that set us apart, specifically:

  1. How we work: Because we employ the design-build method and have our own skilled in-house team, your project is seamless from start to finish; saving you time and money.
  2. Why we work: A huge part of our company philosophy is our professionalism. Ensuring that you get quality workmanship, are treated with the utmost respect, and end up with a home that both you and we can be proud of are priorities we consider with every project no matter how big or small.
  3. How long we’ve worked: We’ve been honoured to have been named Renovator of the Year an astounding 8 times locally (5 of those in the past 10 years) and 3 times at the provincial level (in the past 6 years), which speaks to our experience and commitment to industry leadership.

Of course, we’re happy to answer any additional questions you might have as you begin your renovation journey. Feel free to contact us with your renovation questions.