When It Comes to Renovations, Don't Cut Corners

Residential renovations are big business in Manitoba.  In 2016, Manitobans invested over $2.3 billion into renovation projects to improve their homes.  This created over 16,000 direct jobs and over $872 million in wages for workers in Manitoba’s residential renovation industry.  With Manitobans investing that much into renovating their homes, it’s important that they have renovators they can count on. 

Last month, the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) and the Building Industry and Land Development Association – Greater Toronto Area signed an agreement to continue to grow and promote the RenoMark® program across Canada.  RenoMark is the renovators’ mark of excellence in Canada and provides consumers a marquee source of renovation advice and professional renovation contractors.

Manitoba Home Builders’ Association renovator members have been using the RenoMark program for years.  RenoMark renovators understand the value of customer service, provide warranties and continually educate themselves on trends, materials and new regulations so homeowners know their renovation process will be expertly handled, meeting the highest industry standards.

Unfortunately, many people feel that this level of protection isn’t worth the extra expense and instead choose to find someone “handy” who is willing to do a cash deal with no contract.  This also means that there is no record of the work ever being done.  So, if there are problems, there is no recourse for the homeowner.  If the homeowner does an under-the-table cash deal, and then they encounter a problem a month or two after the project has been completed, there really isn’t anything they can do in terms of having the situation fixed.

The homeowner is also on the hook for all liability regarding the project if the contractor fails to take out the required permits or suggests that the permit be in your name.  This is very important because during a renovation, your home becomes a worksite.  And if the permit is in your name, or you don’t have one, you become the prime contractor by default.  If someone gets hurt as a result of working on your property, you – not the contractor you hired - are responsible.  This is a significant risk many homeowners are unaware of.

RenoMark renovators, on the other hand, always provide a written contract, offer a minimum two-year warranty on all of their work, and they will take out all the appropriate permits and license required for the project. This is your best insurance to ensure that your renovator, not you, are responsible for any problems that are encountered during or after the work is completed. 

The CHBA has also launched its “Get it in Writing!” public awareness campaign to inform consumers on how to best protect themselves when hiring a contractor for renovations.  “Get it in Writing!” provides great tips on how to decide what to ask contractors before you hire them, what a price quote should tell you, what warranties you should get, why a written contract is essential, and how building permits and inspections keep the whole project both legal and safe for you. 

Saving a few dollars by skipping the contracts and permits may seem like a good option when you are hiring someone for your next renovation project, but it’s a decision that could come back to bite you.  Protect yourself and your investment by asking the right questions ahead of time and hiring a contractor that will do the job professionally.