Going Pro (active that is)

The difference between a quote and the acutal cost of something is sometimes huge.  Does it have to be that way?  Not if you are organized and know exactly what you want.

 Going proactive in your renovation or new home build project can save you money and a few unnessesary headaches.  A sample senario might look like this:
 
You’ve hired your contractor to renovate your main bathroom.  Everything must go and you can’t wait to get rid of the old tub and the cracked surround tiles!  The things you should know before breaking tiles are as follows:
 
1.  The dirty part of the job is the removal/demolition & disposal of the existing plumbing fixtures, cabinets, tile & flooring.
 
2.  The trades needed to complete the work include the plumber, millwright, drywaller, painter, tile setter, countertop installer & flooring installer.
 
3.  Coordinating trades – you must be prepared to pick all the details of the finished room BEFORE the work begins.  An example of why this is important is that you may decide to buy a new cabinet for the bathroom that looks like a piece of furniture with legs and an open bottom half, rather than a standard cabinet that goes down to the floor with cupboards & drawers.  If you chose the furniture styled cabinet, the plumber would have to be sure to arrange the pipes in a way that they would not be visible once your cabinet is installed.  Should you go for the standard closed cabinet styled cabinetry, this would not be a particular issue as none of the plumbing hardware would be visible behind closed cabinet doors. 
This is an example of easily overlooked details that would cost your contractor more time, and you possibly more money to have the plumbing re-worked.  Also, using a furniture styled cabinet means you have more floor area exposed and you’ll need to have the floor installer calculate the extra amount of flooring material needed to cover this area, which was likely not exposed in your previous bathroom scenario, and would naturally increase the original quote given to you at the beginning of the job.
 
4.  Time is of the essence.  Both you and your contractor want the work to go fast.  By coordinating all the details ahead of time, your renovation or new home build will go much faster and smoother for all parties involved, and the liklihood of errors is greatly reduced.
 
5.  It is your general contractor’s job to coordinate the trades in your project and make sure the work they do is to your specifications.  Your job is to ensure that the things you want installed, such as new plumbing fixtures, lighting, paint colour(s), countertops, tile, & flooring material are confirmed and all readily available (in stock) before the job begins.  If you discover that the granite counter you chose is not deliverable for 6 weeks, then you have the choice to wait for the product (which will delay your job start) or choose another countertop which is in stock.
 
6.  Communication is key.  Don’t assume your contractor will magically know what you want done because he’s done 1,000 bathrooms before.  Each job is unique to you and the existing circumstances of your home.  Open and regular conversation between you and your contractor can save you both headaches that could likely have been easily avoided during the construction.  Like small children playing quietly in the other room, chances are something is going to go wrong if you’re not communicating.
 
Going pro-active is an expression we’ve all heard many times before.  Cliché as it may sound, it’s the key to making or breaking a quote, your budget & your sanity.
 
At Sigfusson Construction, we pride ourselves on being pro-active with every job.  Many decisions need to be made over the course of your renovation or new home build.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they might be obvious ones.  When you understand what’s going on, we feel more confident that the job is being done right, AND that time & money are not wasted by either party. 
Do you need a quote on work you want done on your home?  Contact us at contractus@sigfussonconstruction.com or call our office at 604-461-4349 to discuss your construction needs!
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Your Fall/Winter Checklist

It’s not only Santa Claus who has a checklist this time of year…you do too. 

As the seasons change from summer to fall, a number of things should be looked at in and around your home to make sure you don’t end up with some aweful surprises.

Extreme weather conditions are not common here in the Lower Mainland of BC, but on occassion we get some duzzy storms & heavy snow falls which can wreak havoc on loose & leaf filled gutters, peeling deck surfaces, exterior wood stairs & drain systems.

The first and most obvious check is the gutters.  Now that 90% of the leaves have fallen it’s a good time to have your gutters checked out and make sure they are draining rain water properly and not clogged up with fall leaves & branches.   While your up there (or the person you hired is up there), check to make sure your gutters are still firmly attached to your fascia boards (if you don’t have built-in gutters).  Also have the downspouts checked out to make sure they are draining properly and are securely attached to your gutter system. 

Next, since your already up on a ladder, have a good look at the roof.  If you see any lifting shingles or broken tiles, have a closer look at the damage to note if repairs are in order.  If there is a lot of seasonal debris laying on you roof, get it hosed or blown off now so this debris doesn’t:

a.  come rolling down on top of your mother-in-law’s head when she leaves after Sunday dinner

b. reclog the drains you already flushed out when the wind kicks up again

If you are looking for something to punish the kids with, how about sending them outside to prune back the branches of low growing shrubs & to rake up any leaves, needles, pine cones or branches?  Make a batch of hot chocolate with mini marshmallows, pull up a lawn chair and listen to them mumble to themsleves.

While outside, check around the perimeter of your home’s foundation for pooling water or signs of water saturation.  To prevent hydrostatic pressure, make sure any excess water is draining away from your house foundation, so that you are not putting any extra surface water into your drain tile.  Nobody wants the nasty surprise of a flooded basement in the spring, a pain in the neck insurance claim and a lot of I told you so’s from your Father-in-law after Sunday dinner.

Speaking of water, detatch your outside hoses & shut off the hose bibs.  Make sure they are drained so as not to risk that freezing temperatures burst your pipes.  If you have an inground sprinkler system, have them drained out as well.

If you are not using your outdoor hottub in winter, turn it off & either drain the tub & pipes, or leave it on with setting the temperature to low so the water keeps circulating.

The age old expression “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true.  Insurance does not cover property damage which occurred due to negligence, so the ownus is on you to take preventative measures to protect your investmet.

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Thinking of Building this Spring/Summer?

With spring clean up on the minds of many, the prospect of cleaning up the old place seems daunting.  If your mode of thought is leaning towards building a new home this spring, you are not alone.

One of the busiest sales seasons for homes is spring.  Not sure if the connection between new growth and new beginnings is the reason for it, but it seems that the two are synonymous with each other.

Growing families are the number one reason why people consider moving or building a new home.  As the kids get bigger, amass more “things” and require more space to do their stuff, that is when you realize just how cramped the house is with them and their growing needs.  Add a cat, a dog and a few pet gerbils, and you’ll be spending more time outside since that is where all the extra elbow room seems to have gone to!

Speaking of number 1 things, the most common question our customers ask us when considering building a new home is “how much is this going to cost?”.  As you may or may not know, new home construction costs are based on the total finished square footage of your new home, and the quality of the finishing details you want inside and out.

There is no easy answer to this question, and the best solution is to find a plan you like and work with us from that starting point.  We will help you understand the process.  There are a myriad of ways to save money on the finishing touches, and that can make the difference between making or breaking the bank on constructing your perfect family home.  We’ve been building homes for families just like yours since 1988, and our experience is your advantage.

Thinking of building a new home for your family this spring?  Call us, and we’ll walk you through the steps to make that happen.

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1 Question & 5 Reasons

The dominant type of building projects in construction right now are renovations.  Renovations differ from building a new home in that there is an existing structure to work with, and that poses a few problems, some of which will be unexpected.

One of the most common questions I get from my renovation clients is “How long is this going to take”?

Typically, renovations take longer to complete.

Here’s 5 reasons why:

1. The consultation process between the property owner, the architect and the contractor – the best advice is to ensure that all three parties are in direct contact with each other during the consultation phase. Clients will often hire an architect to draw plans for them before they look for a contractor to hire for the work stage. My advice would be to look for both parties at the same time and keep both your architect and building contractor uniformly informed. With a consultation relationship involving all parties of the project working together from day one, you will have fewer dealys. Your contractor can walk through your existing home and help you to decide what is the best approach to your initial plans for the addition or renovation. If you need to hire an architect to draw up plans, your contractor will be able to work with both you and your architect to ensure everything you want is attained with minimal issues.

2. Demolition and disposal of existing structure materials. Demolition and disposal is labour intensive work, which often cannot be performed by a machine.

3. Unexpected delays associated with the “mystery behind the walls”. It is impossible to ascertain if an unexpected issue will or will not arise from tearing down any part of an existing structure. Sometimes the age of the home is a good indicator that electrical may need to be upgraded, insulation may be ineffective, plumbing upgrades, unforseen rot, and any other aspect of your home that may not be up to the current building codes. Once the section of your home that is being renovated or added on to has been opened up, an inspection of the existing building components can be done by your contractor and any required changes (in order to pass City inspection) can be acertained at that time.

4. Plan changes as the project is under way. It is not uncommon for the client to decide during the renovation that certain aspects of the addition or upgrade need to be changed. This creates a delay in trade timing and work scheduling. If the client is dealing with an architect and there are structural changes required to the plans, it is not uncommon for a few more weeks to be added on to the original completion date while the plans are redrawn or adjusted as needed.

5. Engineering issues are not uncommon on large renovations & additions. As mentioned above, working with an existing structure can offer up a few complications that cannot be forseen until the project is under way. Much like architectural changes, engineering issues can also tack on a few weeks to the completion date of a client’s project.

The bottom line is that communication and coordination are your best friends when deciding to do a major renovation to your home. This will save you time, money and a few unnecessary headaches.

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