This is a successful renovation story of a rapidly growing family with 3 young children who needed their own space. Their home located in Old Ottawa South, one of Ottawa’s oldest and most beautiful suburbs, was in need of some major changes to accommodate their new lifestyle. The clients wanted more space while keeping the renovation simple and maintaining the historical style to the home.
With these constraints in mind the clients knew they needed an experienced renovator, they decided to call OakWood. The Van Der Torres’d did their due diligence and spoke with other renovators who also claimed they could do this type of project.
OakWood met with the family and started brainstorming some ideas and design concepts. The Van Der Torre’s were able to meet with experienced and certified OakWood designers and determine which way the space could be maximized to fit their needs. In the End, they elected to build a 3rd story addition on top of their second floor. Choosing this option gave them the liberty to add a new master bedroom along-side a walk-in closet, en-suite bathroom equipped with dual sinks and shower and a functional nook used as office space. OakWood quickly gave them a good idea of what the final renovation would look like with a realistic 3D Rendering. Once the permits we’re obtained and the initial pre-construction meeting (to review small last item details) was done, the renovation started!
From a street view this realistic 3D rendering shows the proposed renovation and what it would look like before construction begins. By having a realistic view of the final renovation, the Van Der Torre’s we’re able to instantly change items and materials that fit their vision.
This view was taken from the attic. The attic’s ceiling, roof and floor we’re completely removed to make room for the 3rd story addition. This shot is taken from the front of the house where the soon-to-be Master Bedroom will be located.
Moving through the renovation the Van Der Torres we’re updated with a weekly meeting from their appointed project manager who personally over-looked their renovation and addressed any concerns or worries. Having a project-manager checking up daily on the renovation made for the process to be delivered always on-time.
States Erik Van Der Torre
For the addition to be seamlessly integrated to the existing home, OakWood designers thought of placing the new staircase over the existing one. This way both staircases would merge perfectly together and keep the simple layout the clients wanted.
The third floor opens up to a little nook where a home office was decided to be placed. Having abundant amount of natural light makes for working at home a breeze. simple and clean area is filled with natural light which includes a door which leads to a small balcony overlooking the beautiful neighborhood of Old Ottawa South.
Heading to the front of the house OakWood added a beautiful master-bedroom. Finished with a ceiling fan, large windows for a panoramic view and hard wood floors. Being up on the 3rd floor and looking out to the front of the street will give you a real sense of vertigo.
Going towards the back of the house you’ll walk into a very modern bathroom but not before entering the spacious closet, which was crucial for this old home.
The en-suite bathroom is finished with a glass shower. A large window for natural lighting, equipped with blinds of course! A dual-sink vanity with granite counter top. And let’s not forget the toilet.
By the end of the project the Van Der Torres got exactly what they asked for. A spacious 3rd story addition that would accommodate the family’s growing needs. OakWood delivered on it’s promises and completed to renovation on-time with no hidden surprises. Safe to say the Van Der Torres will be calling this home “home” for a little while longer.
Watch Erik’s Van Der Torre’s VIDEO testimonial right here:
Alot has happened between our last blog post!
Hello friends! After being M.I.A for a few months, we are getting re-united with our blog. There was an article published recently that said 95% of blogs get abandoned, and frankly we really don’t want to be part of that 95%, so here we go!
A lot has happened since 2012; Felix Baumgartner completed the world’s highest skydive, Gagnam Style broke the record for most views for a video on YouTube, and we we’re shocked from the passing of pop-legend icon Whitney Houston. Now this might be all very interesting, but this is a Renovation Blog! We’re here to give you up to date information on everything related to OakWood and helpful renovation advice. So let’s get you back up to speed in relation to OakWood Renovation Experts.
I believe the most notable event since our last Blog post was the official opening of the OakWood Renovation Design Centre’s. This celebrated the launch in partnership between OakWood and Randall’s, 2 of Ottawa’s oldest and most trusted companies when it comes to Home Renovations and Décor. We even had our awesome mayor, Jim Watson cut the ribbon. Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Me9NCZRCeyI
Alongside a new partnership we did a much needed revamp to our website. While it might look similar and kept it’s charm and beautiful simplicity there was a major overhaul in the layout and content department. We’ve engineered it to make the overall user experience much better. We’ve done so by adding our new and improved services and describing them thoroughly. We have also added a lot of useful information so when you are ready to build you will have a very good base of knowledge of what OakWood can offer you.
Another cool tool that OakWood has implemented for you the consumer is our State of the art client portal. What we’ve done is create a unique way for you to have control over your renovation. So what does this mean? Well, when you decide to build with OakWood you’ll get fingertip access to live status updates of your project at any time! Cool, right? That’s not all… you’ll also have access to a live punchlist, pictures, inspection reports, project schedule Gantt chart and fully detailed reports on what and where you are spending every dollar.
Oh, and let’s not forget another benchmark that OakWood has put up. In February OakWood won the prestigious Consumer Choice Award for Ottawa’s best Home Designers and Renovation Company 6 years in a row! Of course we would not have been able to do this without your votes, kudos to you, the people of Ottawa – absolutely, bar none, the greatest city in the world!
So after a very packed 2012, we’re looking at a 2013 that is even more loaded! Primarily because our new headquarters are being built! We’re growing so rapidly that our Navan office just can’t fit everyone anymore. We will talk about the new building some more later… stay tuned for more details Folks.
Very few actually walk the talk…
Part of our corporate process includes monitoring competitive marking campaigns. We have a team specifically mandated to focus on this large area which includes print, web and social media and what we found actually astonished us. We did an analysis of all the marketing campaigns we found and tracked the claims that were made by local Renovation firms. Not so surprising was all the copying going on but what really surprised us were the blatantly vacuous claims being made and passed on as factual information to potential clients. Some of the areas affected were statements such as – Ottawa’s best, award winning, 3d design, false association membership, service claims, etc.
We have noticed that many Renovators advertising these claims had nothing behind the mere words and even those were exaggerated. This is not meant to be a rant but there should be some form of company ethics and truth in advertising being followed, but I assume this is now common practice in other industries as well. When we performed a PPSA search on these firms we found an even scarier storey of debt burden – that is a topic for a future blog.
Before you commission a Renovator look very closely at the claims that Renovation companies are making. Although we find most homeowners naively believe that most Renovators are the same simply because they believe what they read, we find many are digging deeper once they become aware. What is really important is to look for signs that the Renovator has an in-depth process in place to perform your project, from in-house designers to a detailed project management system with integrated CRMS software to manage the jobsite from both in the field and in the office, etc. Ask to see their process, ask to see your renovation schedule, ask to see their software and how everyone on their team accesses information to ensure everyone is on the same page, ask to see their project manager’s onsite computer and software, ask to see their Designers to ensure that they are really in-house, ask for a letter from their bank ensuring you won’t be at risk… A good starting point is a Consumers Checklist OakWood produced containing the most important comparison questions we were asked over the past 25 years. www.oakwood.ca
OakWood has fine-tuned this process over many decades and currently we have over 1,100 pages of detailed procedures in place that manage every aspect of the Design + Build process. In the end the actual process will make your project run smoothly, not the sales ad.
A slick salesperson or ad can sometimes convince you into believing their company is the “Best”. The good thing is that eventually you will find out exactly what is behind the sales pitch, the bad thing is then it is too late. The bottom line is – Buyer Beware.
Introducing the new OakWood + Randall’s Renovation Design Centres
People thinking about any type of home renovation will find these new, innovative Centres invaluable for jumpstarting their plans. In a free half-hour in-store consultation with a certified OakWood Design Consultant they’ll get ideas, a 3D‑drawing of your renovation project, a floor plan, cost options and much more.
A bold new renovation service from two of Ottawa’s most established and trusted companies
OakWood and Randall’s have forged an innovative and unique partnership to offer Ottawa homeowners the most experienced renovation design service in Eastern Ontario. What could your renovation look like? How long will it take? How much will it cost? You’ll quickly get answers to questions like these and much more in a half-hour consultation at one of four new OakWood + Randall’s Renovation Design Centres.
These Centres are the result of a natural partnership between two established businesses with over 100 years combined experience. Both companies have earned a reputation for exceptional customer service and enjoy an impeccable A+ track record with the Ottawa Business Bureau.
“We are both family run Canadian businesses,” says John Liptak, President and CEO of OakWood. “We share the same business values and are focused on providing our clients the highest quality services and products possible. We both want to help customers transform their living spaces with a renovation experience like no other in this City.”
The new Renovation Design Centres deliver on that promise by making OakWood’s award-winning Design and Build renovation service readily available for the first time from the convenience of four Randall’s stores across the region: Glebe, Orleans, Bells Corners, and Barrhaven.
OakWood’s comprehensive renovation service is a perfect complement to the wide range of quality window, wall covering products, and unique handcrafted Mennonite furniture available from Randall’s. Wherever possible, these products are incorporated by OakWood into an integrated renovation plan for customers through the new Renovation Design Centres.
Lee Martin, Owner of Randall’s comments on the combined value offered through the new Centres. “One of the toughest things for many of our customers is visualizing their finished renovation or makeover.” Customers often come to a Randall’s store looking for advice on paint colours, finishes, or wall and window coverings, Martin says. “It can be very challenging to provide the best recommendations because they don’t always have an overall master renovation design to guide those types of decisions. In many cases they don’t have any plan at all,” says Martin. The new Renovation Design Centres, located within Randall’s will address this need.
Martin thinks the new Centres will create huge value for OakWood’s and Randall’s’ customers. “This will be offered as a complimentary service with no obligation to buy anything,” Martin says. The preliminary 3D-drawing alone will be worth the visit, he says. “This will help them visualize their renovation and make better material and product decisions with greater confidence,” says Martin. “And it’s all free!” he adds.
Ideas and inspiration
In about half-an-hour, a certified OakWood Design consultant will work with customers – usually homeowners just starting out on their renovation journey. They’ll brainstorm, plan, and provide three cost options based on material decisions and the size of their renovation. Expect lots of ideas to get the creative juices going.
“For a homeowner who is planning any kind of renovation this is an amazing opportunity to jumpstart their thinking,” says Patricia Liptak-Satov, General Manager of OakWood. “They’ll get a free 3D-drawing of one room, a complete floor plan for the renovation, and estimates that use our QuickQuote™ system which are accurate to within 2% to 4% of our final quoted price for completing the renovation,” she says.
Once OakWood provides a final price for a renovation, a homeowner knows unconditionally what they will pay to the penny. “We never charge extras,” comments Liptak. “We plan everything right down to the number of electrical outlets in a room. The customer pays exactly what we quote. And they get their renovation on schedule when we promise it,” he says.
See what your renovation will look like
The preliminary 3D-drawing of one room may well be the highpoint of the consultation and one of the most valuable deliverables that a customer gets. “The advantage of our rendering service is that it helps customers see what their renovation will look like before we begin any construction or start a tear down,” says Liptak. “This reduces their risks and helps avoid any surprises – we build exactly what they have already seen,” he says.
Bring rough measurements of the room you want to renovate and a design professional will quickly use OakWood’s proprietary CAD software to show you what your renovation could look like. In real-time, while you chat, OakWood’s designer will expertly add different material finishes and products to give you a quick idea for the overall look – and narrow down the many design possibilities.
Want to make a change or move something around? No problem. The designer can do that in a jiffy. Best of all, any changes are immediately incorporated into an accurate cost estimate. “The beauty of our custom, in-house 3D software is that it is completely integrated with the entire renovation process. If you make a change on the design or add a different product – such as a window blind system – all changes are automatically updated and reflected in the cost estimate,” confirms Liptak-Satov.
Get a taste for OakWood’s Concept Design Service
The free in-store service available from the Renovation Design Centres is a great way to start any renovation. If you decide to proceed with your renovation, you may wish to use OakWood’s established Concept Design Service.
“Our Concept Design Service is based on exact measurements that we take following an in-home consultation with a homeowner,” says Liptak-Satov. OakWood’s Concept Design service results in a highly detailed final proposal that is roughly 50 pages. “This provides a room-by-room summary of all material decision,” says Satov-Liptak. “It gives a homeowner a detailed roadmap that we or any qualified renovator can build to” she says.
In some respects, the free 30-minute consultation gives customers a taste for OakWood’s more comprehensive Concept Design service which is offered on a fee-basis (and refunded if customers choose to proceed with OakWood as their renovator of choice).
Great for any type of renovation
Whatever type of renovation you are planning or dreaming about the OakWood + Randall’s Renovation Design Centres are just the ticket for quickly getting started. Here’s a partial list of the types of renovation you can get expert advice on – plus a free 3D-drawing, floor plan and cost estimates:
- In-law suites
- Large renovations
- And many others
Four convenient Randall’s locations in your neighbourhood to serve you
This innovative, free renovation service is conveniently available from four Randall’s locations across the City for people interested in Home Renovations to schedule an appointment with an OakWood Designer at the store nearest them:
Glebe 555 Bank Street
Orleans 2003 St. Joseph Blvd
Bells Corners 120 Robertson Road
Barrhaven 71 Market Place Ave
It’s easier than you think…
We have to face it, we are all growing older. Now, while aging is inevitable, it’s not inevitable that we will be forced out of our homes when we become less active. With some careful planning, we can create a home that will continue to work well for us throughout our lives. A home that’s user-friendly for the elderly and the disabled doesn’t have to look like a hospital. More and more products designed for disabled people have broken the “utilitarian” design mold and are now very functional and attractive. Plus, the simple structural modifications won’t even be noticed. Here are some renovations to think about.
Make Things Easier to Reach
- Raise electrical outlets and phone jacks from 12 to 18 inches above the floor; people in wheelchairs will find this height much more accessible.
- Lower electrical switches and thermostats from 48 to 42 inches from the floor; again, this provides easier access for people seated in wheelchairs.
- Move the bathroom medicine cabinet to the side of the bathroom vanity. Cabinets over the sink aren’t practical.
- Have multiple light switches installed; for example- at the each end of rooms or hallways etc.
- Lower racks, shelves, and poles in closets to make them more accessible.
Make Moving Around Easier
- Widen doors from the standard 30 inches to 36 inches to accommodate a wheelchair.
- Open rooms up by eliminating walls between several rooms for a more wide open space.
- Install chair lifts or elevators if necessary to provide access to other levels of the house.
- Make sure the flooring in the kitchen and bath is made of a non-slip finish, and is in a matte tone to diminish the glare of overhead lighting.
Make Things Easier to Use
- Replace standard door knobs with levers that are easier to maneuver with arthritic or disabled hands.
- Consider replacing double-hung or slider windows with crank-style casement windows.
- Install grab bars and railings (consider textured ones for a better grip) near the toilet and in the bath or shower stall.
- Use single-lever faucets with balled tips for the sink. These allow people to control the temperature with one lever.
- Make work areas easily distinguishable by using contrasting colors; this is especially important in the kitchen. This makes it easier for eyes that don’t see quite as well. Install kitchen cabinets that feature roll-out drawers and easy-to-grip “C” or “D” handles. A flat glass-top stove is easy to clean, and makes it easier to remove pots and pans; make sure all appliance knobs are in the front.
- Don’t overlook the world that remote controls have introduced. VCRs, CD players, garage door openers, iPad controlled systems including touch-command lighting, ceiling fans, and even microwave ovens place the pleasures of everyday life at anyone’s fingertips! And, a whole new world can be opened with the installation of voice-activated equipment.
Want more information on how to adapt your home? www.oakwood.ca
Give us a call at 613.326.8001 or email us at email@example.com
New Enforcement of rules in Ottawa
Workplace injuries across Canada are lowest in Ontario, but 1.6 out of every 100 workers is injured at work (Home Builder, Vol.20, NO 6, pg 18). OakWood already has a stellar workplace safety rating, but we are always striving to do better and to ensure that anyone that comes to work on an OakWood site leaves as healthy as they came.
If you are planning a renovation project then your project will likely be visited by the Health and Safety division of the Ontario Labour Board. If you hire a builder that is not properly trained and certified for workplace safety then you and your family will be at risk both financially and legally should an accident occur. It is imperative that you educate yourself in this area.
OakWood takes project health and safety extremely seriously and continuously advances and implements company-wide procedures as standard company policy. OakWood has the highest level of comprehensive Health & Safety procedures in place of any Renovation company in Ottawa. OakWood SOP We have innovative ideas such as a safety Bucket that is placed on all OakWood jobsites. Even small ideas such as the safety bucket, which contains a fire extinguisher, a 131 piece construction first aid kit, Advil and maps of the four primary hospitals in the Ottawa area – all help to make your project safer. Also included is a list of the OakWood team with their corresponding numbers for easy reference. The buckets are clearly labelled and the tops are securely fastened to prevent children from gaining access. The bucket is only one innovative way of fine-tuning our health and safety procedures and when added to the certification and management procedures it provides you with the security in knowing that OakWood has a comprehensive system in place for Workplace Safety when it comes time for you to protect your property.
Few Homeowners are aware of the potential risks they take if their Renovator does not have the proper Health & Safety training and procedures in place. These risks could result in large monetary fines being charged to the Homeowner. For example; deceiving Workplace Safety Inspectors by having your Renovator or Sub-Trade remove home asbestos in the evenings or on weekends will constitute a $74,000. fine to the Homeowner. Make sure that your Renovator is insured and has an up to date WSIB Certificate as well.
OakWood is committed to not only our worker’s health and safety but also that of our clients. Clients are even presented with their own OakWood hardhat to wear while around or in the construction zone. When choosing a Renovator, choose one that complies with all the rules and regulations. Usually when they cut corners here they also cut corners in other crucial places. Choose wisely and remember – safety first!
Enjoy where you live while you make long term money work for you
The “Stock Market Casino” days are over. Yes there is still money to be made in the Stock Market but it takes a savvy smart investor like Kevin O’Leary who works full time at it to make money. Look at your own investments or Mutual Funds to see what I am talking about.
There is a much easier and more secure way to ensure you have a nest-egg for your retirement. It’s in your home. Everyone has to live somewhere so your investment journey should start with your own home. Investing in your home will increase the value of your investment over time, with the added benefit being that you control your investment dollars and you can look after and touch it every day. While your investment is growing you also get to enjoy living in a nice space. Much more appealing than holding a Stock Market certificate that is controlled by a total stranger and locked in a safety deposit box at your bank.
Now, is owning your home a guarantee to a price increase in the future? No. But statistically properties have always increased over time in Canada. Everyone has heard the stories of their parents buying their first home for $24K and the average price for a new home is now $346K. To be sure home prices will go up and down as they have always done. Living in Ottawa is a very secure long term home for your investment dollars. Canadian Real Estate Association facts.
What I am suggesting is if you had invested $200K in your home 5 years ago you would be realizing a substantial profit now. As well, you would have enjoyed living in a beautiful space and watching your investment grow. Compare that to your Mutual Funds.
The Ottawa Home Renovation Show.
The earlier in the year you start to jump-start your renovation project the better. It typically takes 6 to 8 weeks to plan, design and produce building permit plans and then you should also add an additional 4 to 6 weeks to finalize all finish material selections. Then we have City permit time which adds another 3 to 6 weeks. That means in order to prepare properly your renovation project will typically start at minimum 3 months after you choose your Renovator of choice and could be as long as 5 months for a more detailed project.
A great place to research who your Renovator of choice will be at major Home Shows. All the serious Renovators will have a booth at these Home Shows and this is a perfect time to speak with them. You will also have an opportunity to view many building products and “kick the tire”. The Ottawa Home Renovations Show.
My advice is not to rush this crucial time of the renovation process. Too many Homeowners want it right away and too many Renovators simply wish to sign the contract without having any process in place. Plan for enough time and follow this important process oriented timeline in order to eliminate inevitable problems down the road and instead have a successful renovation project.
A home renovation project will be one of the largest financial investments you will make, do it right.
Getting more than usual calls about…
It’s the week before Christmas and the phones are ringing which is great to hear. Normally the weeks prior to Christmas have a slowdown in phone calls and then they pick up again in the New Year. But this year was different with lots of excited Homeowners looking to renovate their homes and calling before Christmas.
But there were also a record number of calls from Homeowners who desperately needed their work completed who had bad luck with their Renovation Contractors who left them high and dry or who simply could not finish the jobs. Four calls of this kind during the week before Christmas. We normally get calls like that every week but never this many during the week prior to Christmas. We are defiantly seeing a trend of what we call the Mike Holmes syndrome, which is a record number of “screwed over” Homeowners and also, much more rare but also increasing in number, the reverse – Homeowners “screwing over” Renovators. We can easily tell within 1 minute of speaking with the caller, which way the conversation will go.
Let’s talk about the second type of Homeowner first. Being the largest Renovator in Ottawa we can usually gauge quite accurately how many of each client type we get on a yearly basis. Out of 280 projects per year, 2 will have preplanned their way through the process to outright not pay us for our work, another 10 will be deceivers in their dealings with us and somehow justify in their own minds that they are right and everyone else is wrong, but the vast majority are great clients looking for a Renovator that is a partner who will improve their standard of living.
I don’t think our stats are out of the ordinary and quite frankly I think we are likely in a better position than most other Renovators because OakWood actually has 7 profiles of the perfect client that we are looking for as well as 1 profile of clients we are not going to work with, which means we probably prequalify our Clients better than most. Some Homeowners are simply not reasonable with their expectations and will never be happy clients, no matter who the Renovator. These are generally the same people that complain about everything in life and are mad at the world. Fortunately these personalities are also very rare.
On the flip side, from all the calls we get about Renovators not performing for Clients, the most common reasons are;
- Renovator simply left the jobsite, with very little money left in the project and lots of work left to do, the Homeowner is left holding the bag. The Renovator usually goes out of business or starts up a new numbered company, sometimes even with a similar name, but either way is not heard from again by the Homeowner.
- The low-ball Renovator who can’t pay their Subcontractors and Suppliers and cannot finish the project. Usually Liens are placed on properties by the Subcontractors and Suppliers and it becomes extremely difficult to get resolution and get the project finished. This whole situation is usually the fault of the Homeowner who should have known the low bid is “too good to be true” but like many thought “it won’t happen to me”. After a few weeks of this the Homeowners are exhausted and usually simply want the Contractor to go away and they will eat the loss and try to battle for their money in court.
- The Renovator who intentionally priced the project low to get the job and then gives you an extra bill at the end for all the work he did not calculate in the scope of work. This generally leads to Liens and court battles.
- Renovator does such a poor job that the Homeowner asks them to leave. This is usually at the financial detriment of the Renovator as the Homeowner chooses the timing to benefit themselves, however in the end it never benefits the Homeowner because any new Renovator coming in will charge more to finish the original project.
All of these situations usually end up in a court battle and resolution is drawn out for years. A simple $18 PPSA search at the beginning would have solved 75% of these financial issues. Most of these situations could have been avoided by the Homeowner simply doing their homework.
The sad fact is that there is very little we (or any other Renovator) can do to satisfy and help these Homeowners after the Renovator they originally chose is gone. In many cases there simply isn’t enough goodwill left in the Homeowner which leaves a very negative attitude and lack of trust that is so vital in the Homeowner-Renovator relationship; their money is gone and they are working with unrealistically low budgets to complete the project; they have usually lived in an unfinished space for a long time and “need it right away” negating the essential preplanning timeline; the cost of redoing work is far greater than doing it right the first time; and on and one.
So here is the lesson – Choose wisely when hiring your Renovator of Choice. Because after you choose it is too late. Having built over 5,500 successful projects we can give you some solid advice on how to properly evaluate and hire a Renovator; which will be expanded upon in upcoming newsletters. A good starting point Download our FREE Report Remember, you will be entrusting your biggest financial asset, your home, to the Renovator you choose for the duration of the project. Trust based on factual evaluation, not emotion, is the key to a successful project partnership.
Have a great Christmas holiday.
More Renovators offering 3D Design service
So you are planning to renovate your home and have a general idea of what you need but don’t really know what you want. Your friends have told you to make sure that you get a Design + Build firm to avoid problems, so you get a cup of hot java and start your search. You Google “Renovations Ottawa” and up pop 5 Renovators who claim they are providing design services. Good start but where do you go from here?
First off, I will say there are some very good Architects and Designers in this great City and we should be thankful they are contributing with their skillset right here in Ottawa. Renovation Designers that work in-house for a qualified Renovator… not so much. This is where you need to start looking at the details of what you are getting and from whom. Here is a list of a few important items to consider, there are many more;
- Make sure the Renovation Company truly has an in-house Designer and not a part-time Designer shared by several firms or even worse a Designer Subcontracted out to the Renovator on a job by job basis. Being an integral part of the Renovation Company is a key factor, as it supports everything that is so important in the design-build process.
- Does the Renovator provide a fixed price for the exact design at each stage of the brainstorming session in order to explore what-if scenarios and give you options? This rarely happens when you simply hire a Designer, who then price the project afterwards with several Renovators, by then it is too late.
- A Renovator with several Designers on staff has the added advantage of allowing you to get a qualified Designer specialized towards your type of project and also ensures that a connection is kept with like-minded Homeowners matched with Designers rapport. At OakWood we have 8 Designers on staff and we match Designer to client for a great fit.
- Are the Designers actually qualified? On a regular monthly basis OakWood gets clients that have already tried other Designers and claim that those Designers are not qualified. Many Renovators hire “low-cost bargain” or inexperienced Designers to save money, simply to allow them to say they too offer design service. Remember you get what you pay for. OakWood has only experienced and licensed Designers on staff, which are qualified and have BCIN, NKBA or LEED designation or other certificates and design and Architectural degrees. OakWood encourages and pays for additional schooling and skillset improvement which attracts the best Designers in Ottawa to the OakWood team.
- Does the Renovator have a qualified Project Consultant that will work together with you and the Designer to ensure the best possible design is provided for your project budget? These Project Consultants continuously price the project to ensure that expectations are met throughout the design process – so that you stay on budget and there are no surprises at the end.
- What type of software does the Renovator use? Does the software coordinate with other project management software to provide accurate pricing and detailed scope of work reports. Will the Renovator provide you with an over 70 page detailed scope of work report at the end of the design? At OakWood we even provide you with a software viewer so that you can walk through a 3D model of your renovation project in the comfort of your own home, all the while adding comments to the model and then sending it back by email to our Designer who will make the appropriate changes. Very cool.
- Will the Renovator provide 3D views from any angle either inside or outside the new renovation project? Are the 3D views picture quality realistic views allowing you to see the finished project without even touching a nail?
- Does the Renovator have a truly detailed material selection process that allows you to make material selections for every finish item in each room or area? Does the material selection process include levels of detail right down to the colour, finish, size, texture, brand, including a written description and picture of the material finish item, such as for example – light fixtures, sinks, trim, flooring etc.? Does the Renovator have a list of alternative products for each and every finish item in the scope of work including green products?
- Does the Renovator have a professional environment to display and explain the design and to make the material selections, or are they working from a “room in the corner”? Does the Renovator have the resources to maintain a professional design team and material selection process or are they simply “winging it”? Do they use technologies such as CRMS software, Cloud based computing and iPads?
- Does the Renovator have a qualified dedicated Estimator and Material Procurement Manager on staff to continuously provide accurate pricing and material availability updates to the Designer? Does the Renovator review the design with a Licenced Carpenter or Engineer to ensure what has been designed can actually be built? And yes, many Renovators will say they are not licensed or certified but are “just as good as being licenced” – Do not believe that and do not get caught up in that excuse game. This generally leads to other untruths.
- Will the Renovator provide a low cost point of entry price for design service to provide you with a concept design for a specific build price? Will the renovator provide you with a discount incentive of 33% price of design cost back towards the build price?
- How many renovations has the Renovator actually designed and received building permits for? If they only have a hundred then obviously a firm with over 1000 has many more ideas and experience with successful projects under their belt.
- There are many more considerations that we will be happy to discuss with you. See what I mean by clicking here to view true 3D Design Service.
The bottom line is that you need to do your homework. Design is not always equal to Design in this industry. OakWood was one of the first Renovators in Ottawa to provide a comprehensive 3D Design service and over the years we have fine-tuned and refined the process. It was not always pretty in the early years and applying new home or commercial design skill-sets to Home Renovations simply does not work. A skilled renovation Designer needs experience in structural engineering to address load bearing issues, old building method experience, kitchen and bathroom cabinet design expertise, space planning and interior & exterior residential design experience.
Many will make claims – only a select few will have the “right stuff”. Be careful; ask the right questions and research the Renovator. A qualified Renovator will always have certification, licences, credentials and awards to back them up as well as belong to the right affiliations. You would not consider having a tooth filled from an unlicensed or unqualified Dentist but many Homeowners entrust their home and all of their treasure to unqualified Renovators.
Look closer than simply taking anyone’s word for it. A successful design is the key to a successful renovation project.