Tag: protection

Declining oil prices mean that 2015 will undoubtedly see as slump in the housing market in Alberta.  With most people likely more cautious to commit to a new home purchase, the economy promises to drive more people to renovate their home to suit their family needs.

When selecting a renovation contractor, it is crucial that you use one who is credible.  If you are unsure as to where to find a credible tradesman, contact companies such as the Better Business Bureau, SmartReno and TrustedPros.  We are affiliated with such companies because they work with contractors with a proven track record that the consumer can trust!

As one of the highest rated renovation contractors with SmartReno in Calgary, we successfully completed 17 renovation projects for consumers who we were introduced to through their service in 2014!   We also received multiple successful leads through the Better Business Bureau from homeowners contacting them for renovation contractors holding an A+ accredited rating with the BBB!

Isn’t it important to work with a company that you know is experienced and trustworthy when it involves your most valuable possession?

We have talked in previous blogs about the importance of checking out any potential contractor’s qualifications.   It is important for you, as homeowners, to ensure that your renovation contractor is legitimate.  Like South Calgary Dreambuilders, your contractor should be licensed both provincially and municipally.  Any renovation business that requires either a deposit or progress draw payments (lets be honest … on any major renovation this will be a requirement) is legally bound to be licensed by the Province of Alberta.  This means that we are bonded, and able to apply for and receive local building permits for your project.   In fact, the City of Calgary requires that a renovation contractor be licensed and bonded with the province before they will issue a Business License!

As well, South Calgary Dreambuilders is insured and maintains an account in good standing with WCB.

So, if you or anybody your know is considering renovating in 2015, please introduce them to us!!!  As our way of saying thank you, we will happily provide you with a referral bonus on any completed project with a client that you have introduced us to!

I am constantly amazed when I talk to people thinking about renovating, or who have renovated, without understanding how they can protect themselves from being abused by their renovation contractor.

Renovating these days is frustrating enough given the hectic market, shortage of quality tradesmen and the fear of being ripped off.  While the market and shortage of people is irritable, it is also manageable.  So is your potential for being mistreated by your contractor!

In a time when we have social media such as Houzz and Pinterest, our potential clients are very well educated on what type of finishes and designs they want.  Many are as educated on the current styles as we are!  That is why it makes no sense to me that most potential clients have no idea, and rarely ask, how they need to protect themselves from being abused by their renovation contractor.

Renovating these days is frustrating enough given the hectic market, shortage of quality tradesmen and the fear of being ripped off.  While the market and shortage of people is irritable, it is also manageable.  So is your potential for being mistreated by your contractor!

In a time when we have social media such as Houzz and Pinterest, our potential clients are very well educated on what type of finishes and designs they want.  Many are as educated on the current styles as we are!  That is why it makes no sense to me that most potential clients have no idea, and rarely ask, how they need to protect themselves.

Last week I had a former colleague call me.  She said that her sister-in-law had some concerns about a siding replacement project that she was having done on her home.  Her and her husband are a decade away from retirement, and are renovating their home to enjoy over the next ten years.  My former colleague said that there were some concerns about the way the product, a horizontal siding called HardiePlank, was being installed.  She asked me if I would mind if her sister-in-law called me with some questions.  I told her I did not mind, but that I did not want to know who their contractor was or what the contract was worth.  In other words, I would answer technical questions, but that was all.

A couple days later I got the call.  It was easy to hear that the lady was distraught, so I answered technical questions regarding how the weather membrane should be installed and questions about the product and its installation.  She indicated that her contractor had made light of many of her concerns and had continued installing the product incorrectly.  She admitted that the contractor came well recommended, was not the lowest price as they had gotten 3 or 4 quotes, and she liked him.  She asked for advice on how to address her concerns with him, and I told her I would simply sit down with him, explain her issues, let him know that she had done her homework and she wanted the deficiencies repaired.

I expected that would be the end of that, and hoped that I had helped in some way.

Several days later I received a second call from her.  She said that her and her husband had sat down with the contractor, and broken down the deficiencies as I suggested, but while he had nodded and smiled at all the right things, he simply continued on without fixing anything!  She told me that they had parted ways, and asked if I would consider coming out, having a look, and providing a price to complete the project.  After some conversation, including letting her know it would be a while before we could do the work, I agreed to go have a look.

Time for our meeting came, and I had a look at their home – the homeowners following me around, sullen and close to tears.  I did not say much, other than a little small talk, as I took notes.   I remember thinking as I looked that their home looked like one of the worse Mike Holmes episodes I had ever seen.  The project was 1/3rd completed, and not a single part about the installation was correctly done.  They had paid a huge deposit to the contractor before he started.  He had provided a scope of work, but no contract.  They had now fired him.

So, this could happen to anybody, right?  Yes, it could.  These are regular, hard working folks.  Nice people.  Professional, educated people with a family.  Just like you and I.

So, what could they have done better?

First, people need to ask for qualifications.  They need to educate themselves.  If you were going to invest $50,000.00 with an investment manager or in a venture, would you not ask questions?  If you have the time to spend hours surfing the internet to figure out exactly what you want in your renovation, you have time to research your contractor and what they are required to do!

So, lets play a little game.  See how many of these points you knew about protecting yourself from renovation contractors …

DID YOU KNOW …
Every contractor who takes a deposit or a progress draw on a project is required to qualify for Provincial Licensing.  In order to get licensed by the Province of Alberta under this category (called prepaid contractors), the contractor needs to be bonded.  The Province holds this bond in case the consumer gets taken.

DID YOU KNOW …
All ‘prepaid contractor’ is required to provide a contract, which includes a cancellation clause for the consumer.  The contract formatting and layout is provided by the province of Alberta, including the size of the font for the cancellation clause, along with where it must be situated in the contract.

DID YOU KNOW …
The City of Calgary will not license a contractor until they are licensed with the Province of Alberta.  In order to take out a building permit, a contractor needs to be licensed with the City.  Almost every project that covers more than just lipstick requires a building permit.

DID YOU KNOW …
Your contractor should be carrying liability insurance, so that if something goes wrong on your project, you are covered by his insurance.  As well, any of his employees must be covered by Workers’ Comp, and you are free to ask for his number and check to make sure he is up to date.

Most contractors require a deposit and draw(s) throughout the course of the project.  This is our way of limiting our exposure to being on the other end of this situation.  We are allowed to protect ourselves in this manner.  That said, we must also protect the consumer.

If spreading the word like this saves one potential homeowner from having to go through what the family I spoke of is going through, then it is worth it.  If you know somebody considering home renovations, please pass this along to them so they can make sure their ducks are in a row!

Dave

(Link to the Province of Alberta information pamphlet …http://www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca/pdf/tipsheets/Home_Renovations.pdf)