Building permits and building inspectors are great at ensuring that your renovation is built according to the existing safety standards, local bylaws and energy efficiency requirements. But here’s the thing, the work can still look like crap and be terrible. That’s because the code has nothing to say about how flat the drywall is, or if the hardwood floor matches the colour of the walls. It can’t control if the tile is going to fall off in six months, or if it is of very low quality.
For issues like that, you need more. If you can’t afford third party oversight, like an architect or interior designer, at least ask your renovation contractor to include the Residential Construction Performance Guideline. It is a detailed list of quality oriented requirements that acts as a guide to what you can expect. You can get a copy at builderbooks.com. In it, you’ll find the kinds of specifications that do consider quality and performance of a product. In the case of a dispute about quality, it is the perfect “third party” adjudicator.