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Into the Home Renovation Unknown

October 27, 2015

I’ve written about typical things people miss in their renovation construction budget. There are also costs which we call unknowns. Unknowns are costs that we renovation contractors can sometimes predict but can only confirm by taking your home down to the studs and checking with local building bylaws. When going into a renovation, consider a contingency for unknowns. Value your contingency at approx 20% (above your renovation budget) for single family and 10% for condominiums. The older the building, the higher the percentage.

Here are some of the common and costly unknowns we find.

  • Poor or out of date service lines in renovated area – corroded plumbing pipes, knob and tube wiring, Polybutylene piping  are just a few examples
  • Squaring existing walls and levelling floors – your home has settled and moved since it was built its quite likely some work will have be done to straighten things out.
  • Requests from local building department – depending on what work is being done and its dollar value, cities can request things like drainage upgrades, sprinkler installation and energy efficiency upgrades.
  • Zoning – You may be in a home that is non conforming to local zoning. This is usually as a result of renovations done without a permit. Some common problems are too many openings on the side of the house facing the neighbour, enclosed decks pushing FSR out of legal range, illegal rental suites, etc.
  • Building Code – insulation, windows, framing, stairs, rails, you name it may have been installed under outdated building code. Granted there is a certain amount of grandfathering of old code providing you don’t need your contractor “touch the old code item” for your renovation.

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Kevin Parenteau

Kevin Parenteau

Co-Owner and Team Builder of reVISON Custom Home Renovations with Many Years in the Construction industry. Active in the Entrepreneurs' Organization has served as the Vancouver Chapter President and Lead Forum Director for the Global Forum Committee. Dog Lover and Yoga Teacher. Expert BBQ chef ;)
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  • I want to thank you again for the great service you have personally provided from start to finish of our project. It has been very much enjoyed and appreciated.

    I would be happy to speak with any future prospective customers on your and your companies behalf.

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