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What to do before you renovate

Sure, remodeling or building your new home can be an exciting time, but before the shovel hits the ground there’s plenty to cross off the to-do list to ensure your project goes smoothly.  eieihome spoke with Albert Donadio of AJD Construction Group, a design, construction and renovation company on the pre-renovation process.  

Get a permit 

Before any work can be done, homeowners must first get a building permit to renovate.  Although not required for cosmetic changes, city building permits are required for any structural changes to the home such as taking down walls, building an addition or putting in a window where there previously wasn’t one. “If you’re just taking out your kitchen cabinets and replacing them, it’s a cosmetic change, you don’t need a permit, but if you’re moving your sink five feet from where it was, you need a permit,” explains Donadio.  Residents of Toronto are required to apply for a zoning certificate before getting a building permit.

Talk with neighbours 

Once you have your building permit, Donadio recommends speaking with neighbours about your project.  “Neighbours can get very distraught (when there’s a renovation next door),” says Donadio.  They may be upset about the noise, dust, and trucks that clog up street parking.  Giving your neighbours a heads up about the project and the timeline can help ease the tension.

Make plans to move out 

Donadio recommends homeowners doing a major renovation make plans to leave the home during the messiest part of the project.  “If you don’t have an extra kitchen or an extra bathroom to use, you should move out of the house temporarily,” he says.

Ask for insurance

Before your contractor begins working on your home, Donadio recommends asking to see a copy of their liability insurance and their workers’ compensation certificate in the event that an employee is injured while working on your property.  Contractors should hold a minimum of $2 million liability insurance to protect homeowners against damage caused by accidental damages.

Have a contingency plan 

“When you start ripping walls apart, you might find things that need to be updated,” says Donadio.  One common problem, especially in older homes, is faulty or illegal wiring.  Termites and carpenter ants are another issue that can’t be seen before opening the walls but have to be dealt with after the project has already begun.  Donadio recommends all homeowners have a buffer in their budget to deal with these surprises.

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