Frequently Asked Questions
Building or Renovation your home should be an exciting and positive experience. At Barry's Construction & Renovation Ltd. we are mindful that choosing a builder is a big decision. That’s why we encourage you to ask us lots of questions. It is important to us that you feel comfortable and confident that your home build is in trusted hands.
Building or renovating a home is a complex process and involves a wide range of people other than you and the builder. These are some of the other experts you’re likely to need:
- An architect or designer – to design your home and prepare construction drawing
- Structural engineer – to prepare the engineering for your home
- Geotechnical engineer – to undertake soil testing if needed to inform the design of foundations or basements
- Surveyor – to survey the contours of the block
- Energy efficiency consultant – to prepare an energy report
- Building surveyor – to issue your building permit and inspection certificates
Depending on your project, you may also need advice from acoustic consultants and/or fire engineers.
Choosing the right builder is vital for the success of your project so this step should not be rushed. In order to make a fully informed decision, it’s crucial that you ask a builder the right questions to check that they are up to the job and will be a good fit for you and your project.
As builders, we know what other builders do not want you to ask and we have shared this knowledge in our free guide – ‘The 7 Critical Questions to ask before you choose your Builder’. Download it here now
This is a common question. Yes, there are some aspects of a new home that will cost more if you are looking for high levels of energy efficiency. For example, double glazed windows cost more than single glazed windows; you could upgrade your wall and roof insulation rather than going with the minimum standard required or you could spend more on the building envelope to make the building airtight and install a mechanical ventilation unit to keep the air fresh and remove condensation from your home.
But improving energy efficiency will reduce your energy costs, so it is an investment for the future. As energy prices continue to rise and the cost of new more efficient products falls, the payback period for this investment is reducing. Also, improved energy efficiency will enhance your home’s comfort and liveability and potentially lead to a higher resale value when it’s time to move.
Also, it is important not to overlook the range of low cost actions that could improve your home’s energy efficiency, such as –
- Install curtains or blinds and keep them shut on cold nights and hot days
- Seal gaps (we do this as standard on all of our projects
- Where practical, keep existing mature trees and shrubs for natural shade and protection, and look into the benefits and opportunities of additional plantings
- When choosing a heating or cooling system, check the energy star rating
- Replace heat generating incandescent or halogen lights with energy efficient fittings such as LEDs
- Consider options for installing renewable energy technologies such as solar panels
With the average star rating for homes in Ontario built before 2005 being only 1.81 stars (6 stars is the current minimum standard), there is huge potential for making significant improvements in the performance and comfort of these homes.
Depending on the extent of the building works, it may be possible to continue living in your home while it is being renovated and/or extended. Although a certain amount of disruption will be inevitable, there are things your builder can do to make it as comfortable as possible for you.
We know the practical realities of living on a building site and will do everything reasonably possible to minimise the disruption to your everyday life.
When deciding whether or not to continue living in your property during a renovation/extension, it is important to keep in mind that this is likely to extend the construction period, which may also increase the contract price. That is because it is likely that the builder will need to schedule the works differently to enable part of the home to remain habitable.
When you have your construction drawings and engineering ready, we would be happy to prepare a comprehensive quote that could form the basis of a fixed price contract.
Our quotes are generally 15+ pages long and include a detailed breakdown of the project costs and confirmation of what is/is not included. It takes us around 4 weeks to prepare a comprehensive quote as we need to allow time for our subcontractors to quote their aspects of the work (this enables us to agree a fixed price for all aspects of the works that have been specified/are known).
We also provide a project schedule with our quotes so that you can see the total estimated construction period and the time schedules for all tasks/trades involved throughout the project. We present this as a Gantt chart.
If your construction drawings and engineering have not been completed, we can still provide a ballpark cost indication via our Initial Build Review Although this would not be sufficient to form the basis of a fixed price contract, it can provide you with an early indication of likely build costs and an opportunity to re-visit your design if it’s looking like the build cost will be over budget.
Before you sign your building contract, check that the construction period specified in the contract is realistic and reliable. You could do this by asking the builder to provide a detailed project schedule and check that it includes an allowance for delay as a result of inclement weather, public holidays and any other foreseeable breaks in the continuity of the works. If the builder cannot provide a detailed project schedule, the construction completion date might just be an educated guess or wishful thinking.
Also, check your builder’s references to see whether jobs have been finished on time and whether there were long periods when no-one was working on-site.
Finally, you could include a liquidated damages clause in your building contract which requires the builder to pay you a specified amount if he fails to complete your home by the completion date in accordance with your contract. Liquidated damages can cover losses such as rent and must be a reasonable estimate of your expected losses due to delay. The requirement on the builder to pay liquidated damages not only protects you from loss, it is also an incentive for the builder to finish on time.
In Ontario, every builder who enters into a domestic building contract must give a number of warranties to the owner. These warranties include –
- all work will be carried out in a proper and workmanlike manner
- all work will be carried out in accordance with the plans and specifications set out in the contract
- all materials to be supplied by the builder will be good and suitable for their intended purpose and that unless otherwise stated the materials will be new
- all work will comply with all laws and legal requirements
- the work will be carried out with reasonable care and skill
- the home will be suitable for occupation at the time the work is completed
We use cutting edge technology that keeps you up to date with your construction schedule every step of the way. Our on-line project management system allows you access to all of your job information including your very own calendar, which will inform you of what is happening on each day of construction.
You will also have regular contact with the Builder and your Project Manager to ensure you are receiving the best possible service.