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We’re slowly building this section to include helpful information for customers who are considering a renovation project.

Choosing a contractor: We’ve all heard horror stories about renovation projects gone wrong – with shoddy workmanship and contractors not delivering as promised. And we’ve all had friends share experiences concerning contractors who kept bumping back timelines while ratcheting up the price from the original estimate.

Fortunately, bad general contractors are the exception – not the rule. Here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

  • Ensure the general contractor is registered with the Better Business Bureau, and has a good rating. A contractor who has had a number of complaints logged against them will have a poor rating. (Binford Contracting has an A+ rating).
  • Verify that the general contractor is running a legitimate incorporated business that has a registered business permit with the City of Calgary.
  • It is essential that your general contractor carries adequate insurance (Binford Contracting carries $2 million in commercial liability insurance through Wawanesa.)
  • Meet with your general contractor (and not just the company estimator) up front to go over the project in detail. Discuss exactly what you want. Agree on the finishing material (a certain type of wood, stone or tile). Be sure to consider electrical and plumbing needs.
  • Find out who will be doing the work on your project. Is it the same person who meets you at the outset and is quoting on your job? Often, companies send estimators or sales people who have limited hands-on construction experience. As a result, they often miss things on their quote that an experience contractor will notice: things you’ll be charged for once the company has won the bid.
  • Make sure the contractor sees the space where the renovation will be done. This will allow him to identify any potential challenges or unforeseen problems up front, and enable him to provide a more accurate quote.
  • Have the contractor provide a quote. Make sure it covers all of the details you discussed in writing.
  • Sit down with the contractor to set a realistic timeline for completion of the work. A good contractor will be able to commit to a schedule and will ensure the subcontractors he hires will too.
  • Evaluate your bids. If you’re having several companies quote, don’t decide solely on price. Some general contractors will low-ball their initial estimate in order to get the work, and then bump up the costs after they have begun the job… citing “unforeseen” problems. Ask for references.
  • Double-check that the contractor and all subcontractors have Workers Compensation Board Coverage.