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Renovating and your neighbours

Renovating is a great way to add value to your home, increase your quality of life and enhance the look of your neighbourhood, but the process can be tough on your neighbours.

Be considerate of the people who live around you when planning a renovation, as you could be subjecting them to months of dirt, noise and additional vehicles. Before the hammers start swinging, be sure to discuss your renovation plans with those next door, behind you, across from you and further down the street.

Whether you are building a deck, adding a second story or tearing down and rebuilding your home, it is important for you to inform your neighbours of your building plans.

Spend some time going door to door to talk about your building plans. Whether you are building a deck, adding a second story or rebuilding your home, your neighbours will appreciate knowing how long the renovation will take and who to contact if potential issues arise.

A professional renovator can accompany you on these visits and help guide you through working with neighbours. The national RenoMark program is a great resource to find professional. Visit locate a RenoMark contractor in your area.

All RenoMark renovators agreed to a renovation-specific Code of Conduct, which includes providing a written contract; offering a minimum $2 million in liability insurance; having two years warranty on all work; and carrying all applicable licenses and certificates.

A professional renovator can help answer any questions your neighbours may have, from architectural design to zoning bylaw compliance. Keeping your neighbours fully informed will make them more supportive of the renovation. The City of Toronto recommends posting your building permit in a prominent area on your property.

A common concern for people is curb appeal so bring your drawings to show what the final product will look like. A good design will put a lot of people at ease.

Another great way to avoid disturbing your neighbours is to ensure you adhere to your municipality’s noise bylaws, rules that restrict the hours of operation for construction equipment or activity.

Your professional renovator will follow a proper waste removal process and keep the construction site clean to avoid fines and prevent health and safety hazards.

Some municipalities require you to obtain a Street Occupation Permit should your dumpsters or construction bins extend beyond your property line. A professional renovator will be familiar with all bylaws and requirements.

The most important part of any renovation for you, your renovator and your neighbours is safety. Every municipality has its own unique set of Property Standards and Property Maintenance bylaws. These may include things like putting a fence around the property, placing portable toilets far away from your neighbour’s homes and ensuring that proper safety equipment is worn by all workers. Professional renovators know to comply with these bylaws and avoid potential fines from the municipality.


Bryan Tuckey is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and is a land-use planner who has worked for municipal, regional and provincial governments.

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