MYTH:

As long as a homeowner has liability insurance the contractor does not need it.

FACT:

It is essential that all contractors have liability insurance, otherwise the homeowner will not be protected.  It is also essential that the contractor has liability insurance for the type of work being done.  For example, underpinning work needed to lower a basement requires a specific statement in the contractor’s Certificate of Liability Insurance saying the contractor is insured for demolition and underpinning.  Ask to see the certificate before the work begins.  You want to be safe, not sorry.

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MYTH:

Electrical permits are not required for a contractor to do electrical work in my home

FACT:

As a homeowner, you can get a permit to perform your own electrical work, but this is an area where non-professionals can cause disastrous results.  You cannot get an electrical permit for your contractor to do the work; that is a code infraction.  A reputable contractor hires licensed electricians who get electrical permits to do your wiring.  Electrical changes require a permit and inspection from the Electrical Safety Authority, a provincial body.  Illegal wiring can cause electrocution and fires.

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MYTH:

We don’t need a permit for minor renovation work.

FACT:

Any structural, heating, or plumbing, changes require a building permit from the City of Ottawa.  Avoid any contractors or designers who tell you otherwise.  They must have a Building Code Identification Number (BCIN) to apply for a building permit.  A permit is for your protection.  Permits are based on building codes to promote health and safety, fire protection and structural integrity.  Some minor cosmetic changes may not require a permit.  Contact the Ottawa Building Department to get the facts.

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MYTH:

A 50% deposit is normal.

FACT:

Being asked to provide a contractor’s operating capital should tell you something about his financial responsibility. A reasonable good-faith deposit of between 10% and 15% is typically stipulated and explained in the contract you negotiate with a reputable contractor.  You may be asked to pay ahead of time for a special order or custom made item you want as the manufacturer won’t take it back.

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MYTH:

It’s always cheaper, to pay cash.

FACT:

Contractors, who offer you a cheaper deal if you pay cash, can cause you big problems.  They may act dishonestly with you as they do with the government.  They often don’t have an Ontario business licence or liability insurance, and they are unlikely to qualify to apply for building permits.  A reputable contractor signs a contract with you that stipulates the work to be done, the price and the warranty.  Just think how much it would cost you when the building inspector discovered that the cash renovation was illegal and ordered it taken apart.  Paying cash can be very expensive.

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MYTH:

Self-employed contractors don’t require Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) coverage.

FACT:

WSIB protects Ontario workers, in the event of injury on the job.   If the contractor does not have WSIB coverage, and someone working on the project in your home is injured, you could be liable for the cost related to the worker’s injury.  Before anyone works on your home, ask the contractor to show you a WSIB clearance certificate, dated within the last 60 days.  You may check the WSIB website www.wsib.on.ca for more information.

Give us a call today

If you are thinking about a home renovation project in Ottawa, please make sure to give the home renovation experts at Ben Ozorak Construction & Design a call at (613) 746-1176. Whether it’s a kitchen, bathroom, or basement renovation, we would love to show you the projects that we’ve done and give you a quote.

Learn more about Ben Ozorak

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