How to avoid issues during home renovations this summer

Planning is the key to a successful home renovation project.

Just ask Calgarian Earle Allen, who paid a contractor $3,200 to fix some old, leaky windows. Unfortunately, Allen said the work was never completed and the contractor was eventually charged with fraud.

“I thought he knew what he was doing, but I came to know very quickly that he didn’t,” Allen said. “I kind of lost faith over human nature over this incident.”

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Luckily for Allen, the owner of Concept Building Systems, Kurtt Wulff, heard his story and offered to fix his windows for free.

“I was kind of flabbergasted to see what was done with the place, the workmanship was very poor,” Wulff said.

Choose a reputable contractor

According to Leah Brownridge with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), choosing a contractor is the key to a successful renovation.

“It really pays off to do your research beforehand. It can be quite risky if you don’t take the time to check [the contractor] out or you take the first person that will agree to do the job. Then you end up paying more money to fix mistakes,” Brownridge said.

The BBB recommends making sure your contractor has a valid City of Calgary business licence, as well as workers compensation and insurance to cover injuries on the job and damage to your home.

In addition, Brownridge said you should check their references and talk with past customers about their work.

If you have to pay a deposit or any money before the work is finished, the contractor must have a Provincial Prepaid Contractor Licence.

Get everything in writing

Once you choose a contractor, the Better Business Bureau recommends getting a written description of what work will be done and who will be completing the work. List the start dates and completion dates, the cost of materials and labour and how the payments will be made.

“That contract is the consumer’s and the business’ recourse should problems arise – and that holds both parties accountable should anything go wrong,” Brownridge said.

Lastly, clarify who is responsible for the permits and inspections.

You are entitled to hold back 15 per cent of the cost in case there are outstanding bills after the job is finished, or any workers or subcontractors aren’t paid.

For more information about renovations, visit Service Alberta’s website,  ConsumerInformation长沙夜网 or the Canadian Home Builder’s Association website.

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