AT HOME WITH MEN AT WORK: Constructive Construction

AT HOME WITH MEN AT WORK: Constructive Construction

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AT HOME WITH MEN AT WORK: Constructive Construction

by Craig Essery

Steps you can take to speed up your home reno project

Remodelling is always a big undertaking. Whether you’re redoing a single room or embarking on a full-home addition project, understanding the renovation process ahead of you and doing your part to prepare for any foreseeable obstacles is sure to save you time and headaches—many headaches.


Arguably, the most important stage in the reno process is the planning phase. As a homeowner ready to commit to renovating, it’s crucial that you have a clear vision of what you want to get out of your renovation, and that you do your research before hiring a contractor. Start with making a list of what it is that bothers you about your current home; take your time with this and really consider what you want to achieve from the renovation. Do you need more space? Do you want an open-concept layout? Do you need to plan for a growing family? Decide what features are, and are not, negotiable. Next, do your research before hiring anyone. You want to understand the process that’s ahead of you, and handpick the best company for the job based on what’s required for your home. Remember that experience brings efficiency, so it’s important to find a contractor who has plenty of experience working in your neighbourhood with your type of house. For projects requiring substantial design and project coordination, consider hiring a Design-Build company to service the job from start to finish. Design-Build companies tend to have all the trades and services you will need either vetted or in-house, making the process more efficient.


Although it may seem like a given to have your finances fully in order before signing with your contractor, it’s more common than you’d expect for projects to come to a complete halt, after construction has already begun, due to a lack of finances. Being transparent and clear with your contractor and design partners, in terms of what your main objectives are, and what you’re willing to invest in order to achieve them, is extremely important. Transparency will give your contractor the information they need to ensure that your expectations are realistic for your budget.


Relocating your living quarters, be it to an entirely new location or just a different part of your house, is inevitable during a renovation. Talk with your contractor to determine the best plan of action and work together to make the best of that decision. If you decide to fully move out during construction, push the contractor to shorten the timeline slightly; if you decide to relocate to a different part of the house, determine where the best area is that won’t cause delays and jeopardize the project schedule.


Contractors provide homeowners with a project schedule prior to beginning any work on the home. After the design phase has been completed, your contractor will generally provide you with an updated schedule for the upcoming construction phase; however, any changes that are made after exiting the design phase will result in increased costs and an extension in the project timeline. Avoid mid-project changes and don’t exit the conceptual design phase until you’re 100 per cent sure you’re happy with the plans.


Aside from cost, the main hesitation people have for remodelling their home is time. They envision themselves being victim to uncomfortable living conditions for months, or years, on end; and, while living conditions during a major reno varies from project to project, homeowners are right to be concerned about the lengthy period of time they’ll be subjected to these conditions. It almost always takes longer than expected to complete a renovation, so that’s why thorough planning and having realistic expectations will help mitigate the delays and frustrations that are bound to happen along the way. Depending on the size of the renovation, a typical home in Toronto will take a full year to complete from conceptual design to move in; and if it requires attention from the Committee of Adjustments, add another three to six months.

Specializing in home additions and major home renovations in old-Toronto neighbourhoods, Men At Work Design Build provides integrated engineering, design and professional construction services to help solve home space problems for Toronto families.

Craig Essery is a Renovation Consultant at the award-winning, two-time winner of the BILD Renovator of the Year award, 2012 & 2017, design-build firm.


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