Understanding Home Renos:
From Start to Finish There Are Several Key Steps

Do you dream of a new kitchen, or a renovated ensuite with heated floors, or an overhaul of the basement, or perhaps all three? Welcome to the world of extensive home renovations.

It can be an intimidating world for first timer home renovators, and even folks who’ve had minor renos done but never a major project. We’re here to offer some of the key steps involved in planning and executing a home renovation. Before the construction crew arrives, you’ve got lots to do!

1) Decide what area or areas you want renovated first. Start with your favorite space, the one you’re spending most of your time in. Let’s say you’ve been working at home since the pandemic started, and now want a proper office with a desk, filing cabinets, and all the other things necessary to doing your job. Unless you’re renovating your home top to bottom, starting with your number one priority is the smartest way to approach the project.

2) Add up your current liabilities, and decide what you can afford. Since the pandemic started, home renovation costs have inched ever higher, and clients need to be realistic about their situation. Whatever you spent updating the bathroom five years ago is meaningless today; everything from supplies to labor costs have risen by as much 30 percent, and in some cases (such as lumber) over 100 percent. And chances are they won’t come down for months, if they ever do. Hoping for deals is misguided; delays are the norm right now, and patience is vital. Be flexible, and your project will get done, especially if you work with a designer-builder like Kay2 that you can trust.

3) The design is done. The budget is set. Now what? If your project is big and your home will be torn apart for months, you may want to consider staying elsewhere while the crew is on site. This is particularly practical if you’re working from home because of the pandemic. Crews make noise, and you may find it easier to be away from home, at least during the day.

4) Stay on top of your reno, but don’t meddle or make unnecessary changes. Remember, every time you ask for something different or new partway through a renovation, you’re adding costs and extra time to the work. Once you’ve hired a builder you trust, one whom you’ve talked with and whose references you’ve checked, let them do their work. Homeowners sometimes unwittingly cause delays by asking questions every step of the way. If you have a genuine concern, of course you should raise it, but otherwise let the professionals get on with the job.

5) Make sure all your permits are handy for your team. If you’re doing a major renovation, you will certainly need building permits, which are issued by your local municipality. Before the first hammer falls, give them to the project manager or better yet, have this step included in your project and leave it to the professionals.

6) It’s all done, but there are still minor issues. What then? As the client, you are completely within your rights to withhold the final payment (in proportion to the problem) on the project until all minor problems have been attended to pending substantial completion. For example, let’s say the electrician forgot to install the second outlet you asked for in your new ensuite. It may just be an oversight, easily corrected, but make sure they fix it and then, once you’re satisfied with the finished look and everything works smoothly, send that e-transfer!

We recommend sitting down and talking through your renovation project thoroughly with a professional designer, before you make arrangements for financing or even decide how you want your new space to look. Your professional has years of experience to draw on, and can tell you all the hurdles, big and small, your project may entail. Their opinions, cautions, and advice are worth every penny, so be sure to listen. You, their client, are their top priority and they won’t steer you wrong.