As an experienced general contractor in the Saskatoon area, we’ve had the opportunity to answer many questions from our clients over the years. To help you better understand the process of home renovations and new home construction, we’ve created this list of frequently asked questions. If you have a question that is not answered here, please contact us. We’re always happy to talk to people about their projects.
How accurate are your estimates?
Every project has a unique combination of factors that determine the cost of your renovation. We believe that using a square footage pricing system for renovations is highly inaccurate and just not possible. That system often results in surprises for the client. Our approach is to put together a target budget based on our design/build structure. The way we produce a reliable estimate or target budget is to look at the initial scope of work and then set budgets for some of those variables based on today’s market value of products and services.
Will you give me a budget that shows what is estimated item by item?
Typically we do not give an item by item breakdown because complex renovation projects have a unique combination of individual variables. These variables are often affected by the choices you will make along the way. At J.A.B.A. Construction, we have found that it makes sense to help our clients assess the value of various design options and discuss how they impact the larger project budget rather than looking at costs on an item by item basis. We keep an open flow of communication and this allows our clients the greatest amount of control over costs.
What items affect the cost of a project the most? How can I keep these costs reasonable?
Components such as kitchen and bathroom cabinets, countertop surfaces, flooring, fixtures, and lighting can vary wildly in cost. So when you review these options, look at how they meet your design and budget criteria. You may decide to stay with more standard options or upgrade to items you simply feel are worth the investment. Our design consultant can help you find a balance between style and affordability.
How can I be assured my project comes in on budget?
Everyone has heard horror stories of projects that go way over budget. Many items can affect the costs of your project. The good news is you have the power to keep them in line with your budget. The beauty of the design/build process is that it allows us to control budget issues before your project begins. In initial meetings with clients, we’ll typically define a target budget. Then, as the design is refined, the budget will become more precise. Once the project begins, you can count on your renovation staying within the final budget. We do recommend that you budget between 5-10% after construction begins to allow for upgrades and “while you are here” items that you may want to address while we are working in your home.
What is design/build?
Design/build is a management structure that J.A.B.A. Construction uses in overseeing your entire renovation to maximize the value of your budget while monitoring project costs. We have developed a professional management team that keeps actively involved throughout the entire process to meet the custom needs of each client, beginning with the preliminary designs to the completion of the construction. This team manages your project by overlapping the design phase and the construction phase of the project to save you time and money. Our team also minimizes the project risk for you as an owner by working together with the design team to develop a flexible design scheme that will allow for changes during construction if a problem should be found along the way. We can also recommend the best places for cutting back costs so you can stay within your budget.
I already have plans, can you use them?
Yes, of course, as long as they are designed to provincial and municipal building requirements.
Do you offer consultation services in design?
Yes. Every renovation project requires making choices from the largest design considerations to the smallest details. It can feel overwhelming. As a way to help you through the process, J.A.B.A. Construction has team members that can assist you in your decision making from the layout of your floor plans and furniture placement right through to the color selection of fabrics, paints, and accessories.
How do I know when I need to make decisions in the process?
Our project manager will help guide you when decisions have to be made. We’ll alert you in advance of those important decision points and make sure you have plenty of time and assistance to make an informed choice. You will also be prompted to make product selections for your project. Our management team will happily assist you in your choice selection using our reliable suppliers and showing you our display samples in our showroom.
What happens if we need to make changes during the renovation process?
No problem. Your Project Manager will assist you with any changes to your project. Getting the final product you want is important. We’re here to help every step of the way.
Once we begin the project, will someone be here at my house every day?
Unless we are disrupted by weather, delivery delays, or emergencies, yes. A project manager and a site supervisor will be assigned to your project and it is his/her job to be familiar with every aspect of your home renovation. The site supervisor is responsible for overseeing the work every day and the project manger is available to answer questions and address any concerns. Of course, additional carpenters, craftspeople, and building professionals will also be coming and going over the span of the project. They will report to directly to your site supervisor.
How will you pick who will work on my project? When will I meet them?
When we begin a project, we determine the best site supervisor and project manager specifically for each project based on the unique qualities of your project, client personality, and project length. In most cases you will have a chance to meet your project manager during the planning stage, but the first meeting with your site supervisor is usually when construction is ready to begin.
How often do you update me on the progress of the project?
We know that communication is a key to customer satisfaction so your project manager will communicate and document project updates, costs, scheduling, changes or surprises, and orders regularly through email. There are also a number of opportunities to touch base and get answers to any recent questions that arise by speaking with the onsite supervisor in face-to-face meetings.
Does J.A.B.A. Construction use environmentally friendly materials and systems?
Yes. We encourage the use of environmentally friendly materials and systems whenever appropriate and have incorporated components of green design into several of our award-winning projects. Green products can look great and can often perform as well or better than traditional building materials. If these products and techniques are of interest to you, the beginning of the design process is a good time to talk about options, cost factors, and ways to apply them to meet your budget and design goals.
How can I find out what building materials are CMHC-approved?
CMHC does not approve building materials. There are three main organizations in Canada that set the standards for building materials: Canadian Standards Association, Canadian General Standards Board, and the Underwriters Laboratory of Canada. Products are considered approved if they meet the standards set out for them. New products for which no standards yet exist are evaluated by the Canadian Construction Materials Centre of the National Research Council. The evaluations are produced by the Canadian Construction Materials Centre are supported and recognized by provincial and territorial officials involved in building regulation.
How am I going to be able to live in the space when you are working on it?
We know that home renovation can be very disruptive and even dangerous. We have a comprehensive safety program (COR certified) to protect you and your family from the hazards that are often present throughout the course of a renovation. We also work very hard to minimize the hassle of living through construction by setting up customized systems to shield your home, yard, children, pets, and personal items. We can even offer to construct a temporary kitchen or relocate plumbing to allow your life to go on as uninterrupted as possible.
Do we need to get a permit?
Some renovations do not require a permit, but if anything structural is being moved or added, we take care of the permit process for you and we coordinate all of the inspections.
How do I ensure the construction or renovation work being done on my home is according to code?
Each province is regulated by a provincial building code, based either in full or in part, on the model National Building Code, developed by the Canadian Codes Centre of the Institute for Research in Construction (part of the National Research Council). It is then the responsibility of the municipalities to ensure all new construction and major renovations such as additions and changes to structure adhere to the provincial code that applies. J.A.B.A. Construction adheres to these codes by contract and calls for inspections by the City of Saskatoon at each required phase of the project.
Are you insured?
Yes. WCB and company liability insurances are kept current. J.A.B.A. Construction is a limited company operating in full accordance with all local, provincial, and federal laws and legislation.
Do you offer warranty? What happens if there are problems after you are finished?
Yes. We want our clients to be clients for life. That’s why we stand behind our work long after the project is completed. In fact, we have a standard one year warranty which allows us to fine tune anything that needs adjustment or make any repairs that are necessary during the first year. Of course, we’ll always be happy to look at or assess any problems after that one year warranty and will work with you to make sure you get the results you want.
Do you have references? Can I talk to your previous clients?
We are happy to provide references once we have had a chance to understand your needs. This way we can ensure you talk to clients whose experience with us will be relevant to your needs. But remember, just like you, our clients are busy people and we respect their privacy so we only provide names and phone numbers after we have met with you and been given the OK by our client.
Do we need to sign a contract?
Yes. The use of contracts can help avoid misunderstandings, build strong client relationships, and set a foundation for a positive experience. Contracts allow for clear communication outlining the expectations of both parties, a clear picture of the scope of work, and a determined budget. It gives us and our clients a sense of confidence and trust.
How long after establishing a contract for a job will the work commence?
Each job has unique conditions and often requires different trades, both of which can impact scheduling. We like to be able to have the contract signed at least two months before beginning the project to allow for proper organization of material orders, schedules for subtrades, and permits.
Do I need to make a deposit to schedule my renovation?
Yes. Once we have a plan completed and you sign our renovation contract, a deposit is required to secure your place on our production/scheduling board.
How do I get started?
The first step is to set up an appointment time with one of our project manager/estimators. You can contact a member of our team by calling us at (306) 384-9288 or emailing your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you do small projects?
Too often general contractors are not interested in undertaking small jobs for homeowners. We have a different philosophy. Once we have built a relationship with our clients, we want to keep top of mind for referrals…and often that means helping with smaller jobs. For new clients, each job is evaluated on a job by job basis.
Can I get an estimate over the phone?
No. Our estimating process is comprehensive and detailed involving a number of meetings between you and our team to determine budgets, level of finishes, products required, etc. We want to make sure we understand everything you are asking for, get a feel for your sense of style, and allow you the opportunity to take advantage of our many suggestions so your renovation results in a beautiful, functional new space.