Carefully Plan Your Project

 timelines, permits and setting expectations


Before calling a renovator there is a lot you can do to set yourself up for a successful home renovation. Think about your overall goals and develop a clear description of what you want to change. What do you like about your current space? What needs do you and your family have? Make sure everyone in your home participates in the discussion.  

Define your priorities by identifying the “must-have” items and those which would be nice to have if your budget allows. The more detail you can provide about your goals for the renovation and your priorities, the better you can communicate them to your renovation professional.  

Before contacting a renovator, also think about when you’d like the work to be done. When determining your optimal timeline, consider the following:

  • Major projects may require you to move out during construction. Examples of major projects include converting a bungalow to a two-storey home or building an addition.
  • Smaller projects, such as refurbishing a kitchen or bath, may allow you to live in your house while the work is going on, although you may have a few inconveniences during the project.
  • Permits may be required for your project and these can take time to obtain.

No matter what type of renovation you’re doing, or how you go about planning it, it’s important to know and understand the full scope of the project and how the construction will affect you and your family. Once you have a good idea of what you what, it’s time to find your contractor! 


Select a RenoMark Renovator

RenoMark Code of Ethics, Renovators Manage Projects

Start by contacting three RenoMark Renovators in your area whose past projects you like and who have good reviews. The RenoMark symbol tells you these renovators have agreed to abide by their local Home Builder Association’s Code of Ethics as well as the RenoMark, renovation-specific, Code of Conduct.  

Ask about the renovator’s experience with projects similar to yours. Ask for references and follow up with the references.  If your renovation needs plan and permits, be sure to ask the renovators how they typically handle this.

Many renovators work with design professionals and architects who can deliver real value to your project and who are used to working as part of a team. If you’ve already engaged a designer, bring a renovator into the team as early as possible so that your project can benefit from the experience and expertise of all parties. 

When you’re ready to select your renovator, remember that while the price is an important consideration, it’s not the only consideration. Select the renovator to do your project based on your interviews with the renovator and their references. Hire someone who you trust and who you’re comfortable with – you’ll be spending a lot of time with them and they’ll be in your home often. Choose someone who understands your goals for renovating and who you trust to deliver your renovation on time, on budget, and with the quality you are expecting.

Once you have selected your top RenoMark renovator, you, the designer, and the renovator can work through your project and create plans and specifications. In most cases, and certainly for larger renovations, the level of effort to design and create plans and specifications for your project is significant. This has a cost and you should expect to pay a fee for this service. The plans and specifications will be key documents used to give you a budget estimate, obtain building permits, approvals, bank financing and get the project completed.

This is also the time to discuss whether your renovator will need to get machines around your house, if it will be necessary to encroach on your neighbour’s property. If yes, you (or your renovator) need to speak to your neighbour ahead of time.  

Talk about your expectations: daily clean up; whether they will use your washrooms or a porta-potty, your electricity or a generator; where the subtrades can get water; what security will be on the jobsite for materials; where materials, disposal bins, and smoking locations will be; and what hours the subtrades can have access to the project.   

Once you’re had these discussions, are comfortable with your choice in renovator, and are satisfied with the preliminary design, budget, and a realistic timetable, you’re ready to sign a contract.  


Get a Written Contract

understand the work, sign an agreed contract!

The importance of getting a written contract can’t be understated. That’s why RenoMark renovators provide one for every project – it’s part of the Code of Conduct they agreed to. A contract protects you and it states what you are getting, when you are getting it, and how much you will pay for it.  

Beware of renovators who offer to do work without a contract. If someone offers to save you the tax by “letting you pay cash” and avoids having a contract, understand that you are the one who is taking all the risk in that scenario.  If you go this route, you are exposed to liability if anyone gets hurt or if your property is damaged during your renovation.  You will have no recourse if your renovator skips out on your job. You will have no written specification of the quality of materials that will be used on your project. Protect your interests by having a thorough contract that includes the precise scope of the work, the price, a schedule of payments, a reasonable timetable for completing the work, and any instructions for protecting parts of the house not under construction. 

Remember: professional renovators don’t put their clients at risk.  Renovators offering to work for cash or without a contract are not operating in your best interests – they are operating in theirs. Don’t give away your rights and protection.  Make sure you always have a contract. 


Check on Progress

Communicate Changes

Regular communication between you and your renovator is important. If you see something that you did not expect, speak up earlier rather than later. This could be, for example, not having a closet in a room when you thought there would be one. Keeping lines of communication open with your renovator ensures that you’re both “on the same page” throughout the project. When in doubt, you can both consult the contract and specifications.  

If a change is made to the specification in your contract, whether you ask for the change or the change is necessary due to an unexpected situation, be sure to use a Change Order to document the change. Think of a Change Order like a mini contract that describes what the change is and how much it will cost (or what credit you will receive if the cost is less than what you had planned).  

Communication goes both ways, so be prepared to make yourself available to your renovator when they need to speak to you throughout the project. A weather report calling for rain may necessitate a change to the construction plans or work schedule. The bathtub you ordered may no longer be available and a new choice may be required. You and your renovator need to work as a team when it comes to delivering you the best renovation. 


Enjoy Your Renovation – the Process and the Final Product

talk to your renovator and discuss your priorities


Renovating your home is an exciting time. Planning what you want, selecting the materials, watching the changes take place, and finally enjoying the finished product is a busy but gratifying experience. RenoMark Renovators provide a 2-year warranty on their work, so you can enjoy your new space with piece of mind. Proper preparation and hiring a professional RenoMark Renovator will go a long way to making sure your dream renovation is completed on-time and on-budget. Following these steps will help make your renovation something you will enjoy and be proud to show your family, friends and neighbours.  

Find a RenoMark Renovator near you.