Renovation Tips and Tricks


With the longer days starting to creep back on to the calendar, you can almost hear the collective brain waves jumping with that reno buzz. What do you need to know to make sure your renovation dream doesn’t turn into a nightmare?

There are a couple of simple, basic steps that you can take to help limit the risk.

Check those qualifications

Be informed…from the contractor right on down to his trades and their subcontractors and their subcontractors unto the seventh generation. If they’re coming into your house, you can ask. If a company or individual is not available, your contractor should be keeping you up-to-date with alternates. Always ask to see his or her certification and if you’re uncomfortable or unhappy, be clear with your contractor and ask for someone else. It may throw off the schedule but it’s better than being thrown for a loop.

Safety F-I-R-S-T

Your contractor needs current liability insurance and must be in good standing with the Workman’s Compensation Board. He should also have a Certification of Recognition (COR) with the Alberta Construction Safety Association. Safety is everyone’s priority and homeowner, it starts with you. Know your obligations.


Permit me to give you some homework. There are some projects that need permits from your municipality and some that don’t. Putting in new built-ins for your extensive collection of post-modern Italian films? Probably not. Finishing the basement? Um, yes. Not only is the permit process is one of the checks-and-balances that help protect you, the homeowner, they’re critical when the time comes to sell. Buyers want to know the work was done and inspected properly. Permits mean peace of mind.

“Code” is the Bare Minimum

Remember what “Code” really means. Unlike the Pirates’ Code, building codes are more than just “guidelines.”  But the words “it’s to code” don’t mean that the work is exceptional. It just means that it passes. Sort of like Grade 10 math – you got through it. You didn’t do well but you got through it. Just.

Communicate Throughout

What we have here is . . . Okay, what you really don’t want is a failure to communicate. It’s a crazy world out there sometimes and it’s hard to commit to clear communication –  but it’s essential in the renovation process. There needs to be clear expectations for feedback and regularly-scheduled updates throughout the process. If you’re not sure, feel free to get in touch with us for a no-charge second opinion.

Renovating your home is a process and you’re going to learn a lot.  And take heart, thousands have been through it. There are some fantastic tradespeople out there. Get to know them! Don’t forget, you can count on your friends at Instant Plumbing to give it to you straight. Take these tips and inform yourself and you’ll find that it can be a lot of fun.

Welcome home!

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George Pinel
George Pinel

These blog posts are brought to you from George Pinel & the Instant Plumbing team.

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