Planning Your Renovations and How to Find a Professional

Learn how to plan your renovations and find a professional renovator.

Planning your renovation

The first step in any successful renovation project is to develop a clear set of goals. You should keep several points in mind while you're making these goals:
  • FORM: How do you want the renovation to look?
  • FUNCTION: What do you want to do in the space you're creating or redesigning? 
  • FIT: Is this project going to blend in with the rest of your house or will the project look like an add-on? Consider structural factors such as load bearing walls or beams together with existing locations of plumbing pipes and heating ducts that may put limits on what you can do.

Be prepared to take some time answering these questions/ The extra days you put into planning at this stage could save you weeks or months later on. It could also save you from making costly mistakes and make it easier for you to select the appropriate professional renovator.

Finding a Professional Renovator

A Professional Renovator can handle every aspect of the job including the design work, obtaining permits, ordering parts and materials, and contracting special trades.
A professional renovator should have the education, experience, and resources to expertly execute your renovation.

You may have friends or colleagues who have had renovations done and can recommend a renovator. We also recommend that you check out the RenoMark: Find a Renomark Renovator webpage for the names of local professionals. RenoMark Renovators are required to adhere to a code of ethics adopted by the Canadian Home Builders' Association and are aware of the social responsibilities of their industry. You can also check out our Members page for the names of professional renovator members. Further, the Ontario Home Builders' Association and the Ontario Renovators' Council support members of the PKHBA and offer many professional development and educational opportunities.

A sub-contractor is a person who works in a specific trade such as plumbing, heating, electrical or drywall installation. A renovator may end up contracting out some of these specific jobs to sub-trades. This is called subcontracting and is commonplace in many renovation projects. Your renovator's most important job is to see to it that all the materials and trades come together smoothly to achieve all your renovation goals. A professional renovator will have a complement of reliable trades-people that will work towards a high quality renovation.

Once you have the name of the renovation company, contact them to set up a time to meet on a one-to-one basis. Be sure anyone who will be involved in the renovation project is on hand to discuss plans with the renovator. Also, try to keep distractions (e.g. pets, children, telephone calls, etc.) to a minimum at this meeting. You are laying the foundation to a complex relationship and it is wise to limit any confusion.

When the Renovator arrives, pay attention to little things such as:

  • Did the renovator arrive on time?
  • Did they have a professional appearance? 
  • Did they seem to respect your home? 
  • Were they willing and able to give direct answers to your questions? 

You will be opening your home to the renovator for several weeks or months, so look for someone you would like around your home on an extended period of time.

Know your Responsibilities: 

Customer's Responsibilities:

  1. Know what you want to accomplish
  2. List your priorities
  3. Set and explain your realistic budget
  4. Research products and designs before the meeting

Renovators Responsibilities:

  1. Be on time
  2. Provide information about company and services
  3. Comment on the customer's ideas, especially in light of the stated budged
  4. Outline the next steps for the customer
  5. Supply references and photos of work