Condo renovations start best with an experienced contractor
24Hrs Vancouver’s Sarah Rowland features insight from reVISION Custom Home Renovations’ Todd Senft about how to best manage a condo renovation.
Thinking about updating your aging, cookie-cutter condo? According to Todd Senft, president of reVISION Renovations, there are several factors to keep in mind before you start tearing down those walls or embarking on any kind of condo renovation for that matter. Here, then, are three of Senft’s starter tips…
With condos, there are so many extra challenges to contend with: security when leaving the main entrance door open to load in and out; protecting hallways from debris; dealing with strata concerns; and the list goes on. That’s why an experienced contractor such as Senft is paramount. For example, a seasoned contractor should know how to do “exploratory surgery” on walls before tearing them down — after all, there might be a six-inch pipe that’s connected to your upstairs neighbour.
As well, experienced contractors should have all the right paperwork, including liability insurance, because if they don’t, and some sort of costly water damage occurs, the onus could be on you to buck up. If you don’t know of any reliable contractors with at least 10 years experience, don’t just Google search for one. Instead, Senft suggests starting your hunt at the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association and look for a RenoMark renovator.
Detailed strata approval
When seeking approval from your strata for a proposed renovation job, make sure to cover everything — from if and how much it costs to book one of the elevators to what hours your contractor’s crew is allowed to work. Also, make sure you and your contractor know exactly what the penalties are for breaking any of those strata bylaws. Before you begin construction, you and your contractor should have a two- to three-page approval document listing every one of these details.
After you get approval from your strata, it’s always nice if you, or your contractor, send a letter to the adjoining neighbours. This is basically to tell them what you’re doing and when you’re doing it. It’s also an opportunity to encourage them contact your contractor directly should they have any questions or concerns. If the contractor can put their minds at ease, without getting the strata or resident manager back in the mix, chances are the whole process will run a lot smoother.
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