WE LIKE TO THINK OF OURSELVES AS THE NEW GENERATION, THE NEW STANDARD, IN THE WORLD OF DESIGN + BUILD. Fresh Home Innovations is among the best design-build companies in Canada, well known for solving clients’ problems, while creating innovating and inspiring environments for their ideas.
Choose your contractor carefully! No other decision will have a greater impact on the success or failure of your project. Great plans, contracts, and construction documents cannot get good work from someone lacking in skill or integrity or doesn't have the proper knowledge and vision in mind.
Find someone whom you can trust and feel comfortable working with. If you have to pay a little extra to hire the right person, you won’t regret it. The savings from hiring the low bidder often evaporate as the job progresses.
It can be difficult to hire contractors and know what you’re getting,” “You’re spending a lot of money, and you’re dealing with your home. If they do it wrong, there can be a whole lot of heartache.
It may be quite challenging when working with a designer/architect who isn’t part of the design-build contractor’s team. If they’re working individually they’re about creating a plan for a job and they are simply not always up on the cost impact of possible changes/ designs they’re suggesting. OR, they give a very low-ball cost and then the homeowner is blown away when the contractor costs it out accordingly. OR they create a design that is costly to execute.
If you’re doing a big project, you’ll need a general contractor, who may hire subcontractors for specialty work such as plumbing and electrical. Homeowners with renovation experience sometimes work as their own general contractors, hiring specific tradespeople for each job. While this may save you money, it can be time- consuming and will mean multiple contractor searches instead of just one, since you’ll have to find a specialist for each smaller job.
Everyone has heard stories about horrendous contractors who tore apart the house and never returned or projects that cost three times the contractor’s original estimate. Even with a good contractor, renovation can be stressful, expensive and involve unpleasant surprises, such as rotted subfloors that are revealed when tile is removed or dangerous electrical wiring or leaking pipes behind walls.
As an experienced general contractor, we recommend homeowners work with a design/ build firm when they’re undertaking larger projects because I find it to be quite beneficial and all-inclusive in that you have a designer who knows how to build and create plans and you’re working with a contractor who has their hands on the design process and is in communication around that process at all times.
The beauty of a design/build firm is - it’s beneficial to all parties. It’s much easier for the contractor to be involved with a team so they’re not shouldering all of the work themselves, thereby opening up time for discussions with the client about possible challenges or changes. It’s beneficial for the client because they feel like the contractor has more time to actually listen to their needs.
You will want to hire someone who will be focused on your project, not someone who will only spend short bursts of time on it due to other commitments, and this is how we are better than the competition.
We only work on a very small, manageable amount of projects at any given time. This allows us to ensure that our quality is up to standard, and we like to be able to manage the sites ourselves.
BEFORE YOU HIRE ANY CONTRACTOR (THAT INCLUDES US!) FOR ANY WORK ON YOUR HOME, PLEASE CONSIDER THESE QUESTIONS:
How long have you lived in your home? How long do you plan to stay in your home?
How long have you been considering this project? Have you done any research on this project? Where are you in your research process?
Do you have any plans or a design in mind? Have you ever been involved in a big home project before?
How did it go?
Are you speaking with other contractors? Do they seem knowledgeable? Do they seem well-versed in all aspects of their business?
Do you have a good rapport with them? Do you trust what they are telling you? Are you comfortable with them?
Do you like their previous design+build projects? Does their portfolio match your style preference?
Do they seem to try to hiding any future extras/costs?
Are they open to your ideas? Do they have a big selection of materials and finishings you can choose from?
Do they work with high-end suppliers? Do they have professional sub-contractors on their team?
Will they be available to meet with you on different occasions?
How do they handle problems? Can you make changes to the plans? Do they make you finalize the design at the start or use a step-by-step method?
Is there a reason you aren’t working with the contractor who did your previous project?
On your previous project, were you able to justify paying more to avoid disappointment?
Is there a reason you haven’t already decided to work with one of the contractors you have already spoken with?
What are you looking for in a contractor?
How will you decide which contractor you will partner with for your project?
What sets a contractor apart from the others?
Is there something you were hoping we would be able to do differently?
If one of our past clients referred you to us, was there something they said that stood out and motivated you to contact us?
can you make a decision based on a contractors reviews and awards?
Does the contractor provide design/build services and/or is able to work with your archiects?
where do the high-end finishings like cabinets, vanities, built-ins & etc come from?
How many projects like yours has the contractor done?
Based on what you have seen, do you think they do high-end work or average work?
How many high end projects have they done?
Are they specialized more to custom work or pre-made finishings?
Are they just a renovation company or they do new custom builds as well?
How many projects does the remodeller do a year?
How many projects will the contractor be doing while your project is underway?
Will work continue 5 days a week until it is done? Or, will there be idle times?
What type of pricing does the contractor offer? Fixed Fee, Cost Plus, Time and Materials, other?
What type of training, experience, and special expertise does the contractor have relative to the project you are planning?
In what ways will the contractor help you through the entire process? What type of decisions will you have to make?
Which decisions can the contractor help you with? Which decisions can’t the contractor help you with?
In terms of the owners and key people in the firm, do they belong to trade associations?
Does the contractor (including management and staff) seem truly focused on customer satisfaction?
Does the contractor (including management and staff) seem professional? What types of projects/construction do they specialize in?
Do they have enough staff to handle your project? Does the contractor guarantee your price? In what way?
How does the contractor assure you that what they design can be built within your budget?
Can the contractor describe the process they use to ensure a smooth, successful project?
Are you happy with their proposal? Do you understand how it works?
Will there be someone on site all the time who speaks your language?
Who will manage your project day to day? Who will be in charge of overall project management?
What is that person’s experience, skill level, training, and certification?
How often will the contractor meet with you? Who from the company will be meeting with you?
Will the contractor be personally involved with your project on a daily basis until the project is finished?
What standards of quality, service, craftsmanship, and project management does the contractor promise at the price that is being quoted for the project?
In terms of craftsmanship, what level of quality does the contractor usually provide? In terms of general building materials, what level of quality does the contractor use?
In doing estimates, what level of quality does the contractor factor in for the materials, products, finishes that will ultimately be chosen?
Will the contractor help you to make all product and material selections prior to giving a final price?
How do they charge for extras (change order policy)? what is considered to be extras?
What happens if they find something unexpected? What happens if there are surprises and problems during the project?
Will they give you a list of references from current and past clients whom you may contact?
Based on your discussion with references, how do the past clients rate the contractor from start to finish?
Will they give you a list of suppliers that they use on your job? Who purchases the materials?
Do they provide detailed contracts? How detailed and clear are their contracts?