Ask a RenoMark Renovator: What happens after my renovation is finished?

A step-by-step guide through the last phase of a renovation project.

The end of a renovation project is one of the busiest times. This means that there are often many questions and decisions that need to be made quickly. A professional renovator will prepare you for this phase and walk you through the following steps:

  1. Substantial Performance

This is a legally defined stage in your project as outlined in the Construction Lien Act and means that the work on your project is around 97- to 98-per-cent complete. This starts the release of holdback funds that the client has kept and publicly tells all the trade companies that worked on your house that their final payments are pending.

  1. Final Inspection

Be comprehensive during your final inspection to catch any defects, damage, or work that is not yet complete. Remember that you will have done many other inspections during the renovation process giving you opportunities to catch problems as they arise.

  1. Create a "punch list"

This list will be the result of your final inspection and will list all items that need to be addressed. Adding new items to a punch list after it is created is typically not done, so you need to make sure that you are thorough when you do your final inspection.

  1. Final homeowner approval

Final approval is your opportunity to review all the completed items from your punch list. If there is still a problem, then don’t approve the item associated with the problem.

  1. Substantial completion

This is a legal term defined in the Building Code, signifying that the house is safe and ready for the occupancy permit to be approved, thus allowing a homeowner to move back home.

  1. Learn your new systems and appliances

Some contractors offer an ongoing maintenance program that can manage the replacement of air filters or other items.

  1. Review your warranty

Be aware of everything that is included. If you aren’t sure about something, then ask questions.

  1. Plan your move back in

You can only move back after the city official has issued an Occupancy Permit.

  1. Notify your home insurance carrier

You will need to update your insurance coverage, especially the details of your home.

  1. Make your final payment

Refer to the terms of your contract.

Lastly, be comprehensive during your final inspection. If there is work still to be done, don't pay for that aspect of the project.

If this column has generated any thoughts or questions regarding a past or future renovation please send your questions to or check out

Arduini, E. (2021, May 26). Ask a RenoMark renovator: What happens after my renovation is finished? The Toronto Star.