4 Tips for Making Your Home Renovation Run Smoothly


4 Tips for Making Your Home Renovation Run Smoothly

There’s a renovation revolution in Canada, with 57 percent of homeowners completing at least one repair in 2018. Last time, we outlined some of the steps you should take before you start renovations and we’re back with a follow-up. Here are some more things you need to know when renovating your home in Toronto.

Tip # 1 – Obtain the Right Permits

In Toronto, you need the right building permits to undertake a renovation project. These permits cover areas like insulation, plumbing, structures, and fire safety systems and will make sure you are fully compliant with city authorities.

“A building permit is your formal permission to begin the construction, demolition, addition or renovation on your property,” says the City of Toronto. “As part of the Building Permit process, Toronto Building staff must review your plans to ensure they comply with the Ontario Building Code.”

You can apply for a building permit with the City of Toronto here and you might be tempted to start your renovation project without a permit. What’s the harm, right? Without the right document, though, you risk legal action from city authorities, which could make it difficult to sell your property in the future or even get the right insurance coverage. 

Unfortunately, the authorities don’t make it easy to apply for a permit. There are different applications for different types of renovation projects, and the City of Toronto website can be difficult to navigate. This is where a good contractor like Norseman comes in handy. The right professional will give you advice on what permits you need for your home and help you apply for the right documents. 

Tip #2 – Get a Written Contract

You’ve heard the horror stories on the local news. The homeowner charged thousands of dollars for services he didn’t know about. Or the homeowner who didn’t receive the services she says she paid for.  The truth is, a lot of disputes that surround home renovation projects are because of a lack of a written contract between the contractor and homeowner. This is despite 88 percent of Canadians researching a contractor for major renovations.

A proper contract that outlines the services you are getting, how much these services will cost, and other important information, is absolutely essential. Without a contract, there are likely to be disputes later on in the home renovation process. The problem is, some contractors in Toronto don’t provide their customers with any contract at all. These customers might forget to ask about the contract and then come across problems later on in the process. At this point, it’s usually too late to do anything because there is no formal document that states their rights or the scope of the work project. 

This is why it’s important to choose a company that supplies a contract to every customer at the beginning of the project, like the Toronto renovation company, Norseman. This document includes information about the contractor’s insurance policy and license, the permits required to undertake the renovation, cost breakdowns, payment terms, standards of workmanship, project timelines, legal requirements, and much more.  

A proper contract will outline the responsibilities of both the contractor and the homeowner. You should read over your contract carefully, check the small print, consult with a legal advisor if necessary, and sign the document. Ask for a spare copy so you can refer to your contract when required. 

Tip #3 – Find Out About Dispute Resolution

You’d be surprised at just how many disputes arise during a renovation. Sometimes, the homeowner isn’t satisfied with the standards of workmanship. Other times, there are problems with payment. Before you start working with a contractor, make sure you understand the dispute resolution process properly. Here are some of the questions you might have about dispute resolution:

  • If you have a problem with a contractor, who do you contact? 
  • Do you need to put your issue in writing? 
  • How long will it take to be resolved? 
  • Can you complain to the City of Toronto if your problem is not resolved?
  • Will you still have to pay for the renovation in full if you are not completely satisfied?

Often times, homeowners don’t follow the correct procedures when making a complaint, and this can frustrate the contractor and result in tension. It is important you take the appropriate steps in order to avoid a dispute. 

Tip #4 – Prepare Your Home

You can speed up your renovation project considerably if you prepare your home before a contractor starts work. Here are some of the things you can do in advance:

  • Tell your neighbors about your renovation project. This is just the polite thing to do! Write a letter and send it to your neighbors with information about your renovation. How long will it take? When will contractors be at your property?
  • Move all your furniture! If your renovation takes place inside your home, move all your furniture to a safe space. Remember, a contractor can’t start work if you have furniture in the way.
  • Place Your Items in Storage. You might want to store valuable or sentimental items in storage so they don’t get damaged during a renovation. There are plenty of services that offer this in Toronto, but you might need to book ahead. 
  • Talk to Your Insurance Company. You will need to talk to your insurance company about how your renovation will impact your home policy. 
  • Get Your Finances Ready. Talk to your contractor about how you are going to pay for the project. Some contractors will require you to pay upfront; others will invoice you on completion of the project. You might even be able to pay in installments.


Renovating your home in Toronto doesn’t have to be a challenge. Follow the tips on this list so you can comply with city authorities, get a proper contract, avoid disputes, and speed up the renovation process. If you are looking for a reputable renovation company in Toronto, Norseman Construction has been building dream homes since 2005.  Contact us today for a free, no-obligation estimate on your project.

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