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Feb. 24, 2020 | Monday
Editorials and Opinions
Arch-i-text: Prepping for a team
Assemble the team, starting with the general contractor. (Supplied)

A wise man once told me that the best result is always generated through the combined effort of a cohesive, talented team. Time and again, this statement has proven itself valid on projects spanning my career and, I suggest, the same would be true for your renovation.

So, how does one assemble a team that will deliver your project on time and on budget while fulfilling your objectives?

I’d recommend that in most cases it should begin with research into general contractors.

While this may seem like putting the “build-cart” before the “design-horse,” the reality is that most well-established contractors have a long-track record of working with a variety of designers and architects hence their experience can form an invaluable resource in the selection process of design professionals.

Step one is to compile a long-list of potential contractors who have worked, or are, working locally. Keep in mind that if a contractor is successful in a relatively small market like Niagara-on-the-Lake, customer satisfaction tends to be a significant factor.

While at this stage the internet can play a role in your research, a drive around town (not just Old Town) to note the contractors associated with current renovations can be equally productive. Asking friends and neighbours who they have used in the past is another source of names for this list, but just keep in mind to separate comments about the quality of the work (which matters) from remarks based on personality (which may or may not have relevance to your selection process).

Next, vet this list through the Better Business Bureau ratings and the “Consumer Beware List” maintained by Ontario’s ministry of government and consumer services.

Now, it’s time to meet with the remaining contractors. Be very sure to explain to these folks that the purpose of the meeting is to select a short-list of contractors who will be given an opportunity to quote on a project.

Your primary takeaways from each meeting should be: (1) their track record of success in renovations similar to yours; (2) three references from similar renos representing completions in the last year, 3 to 5 years ago, and 6 to 10 years ago, respectively; (3) current lead-time on starting projects; (4) compatibility with your methods and approach; and (5) suggestions for architect(s) and/or designer(s).

Next week, we’ll look at short-listing contractors and preparing for quotation. 

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