Planning a Renovation: Building Permits & Consultants


Typically, a building consultant will prepare some initial sketches based on your discussions. At first, he may not have a fix on your tastes so this may be a period of change for both of you. Tell him what you want, and if you are not satisfied with his sketches, let him know.

It is also important that at this stage the major family members be present at meetings. It is crucial to avoid misunderstandings. Time misspent is expensive for the home owner and frustrating for all concerned.


Final Drawing & Zoning Bylaws
Once a design is prepared which appears satisfactory to all parties, the next step is to prepare the final working drawings and specifications. If it is apparent at this stage that zoning bylaw variations will have to be applied for, this can be done now to save time. You should at this stage have an approximate cost for the project, but it will have to remain flexible.

The preparation of the final working drawings and specifications will include the final cost estimate. These drawings are prepared in such a way that a contractor will be able to complete the project relying on the drawings and specifications. Sufficient detail should be provided so that the contractors do not have to make major decisions on site. Equally important, the type and model number of components is specified. The consultant helps the owner determine such things as plumbing fixtures, door and window type, hardware quality, floor, wall, and ceiling finishes, light fixtures, et cetera. These components should be included in the specifications, and the contractor need only refer to these to know exactly what is to be provided. If the designer knows that some products will be difficult to obtain, or that there will be a considerable lag between order date and supply date, the process can be accelerated here.


Selecting a Contractor
Once the drawings and specifications have been approved by the owner, application for a building permit is made. At the same time, a tender is submitted to a number of contractors for quotations. The consultant should be able to identify contractors qualified to undertake the work. Several quotes are usually solicited, with six or seven being a typical number, depending on the size of the project. The quotes are reviewed and compared by the consultant and owner, and ultimately the contract is awarded by the owner. Another advantage in using a consultant is that contractors usually prefer to deal with someone knowledgeable, and this is reflected in their quotes. They know that they won't have to explain the difference between a stud and a joist to the client.

Benefit of Having a Consultant
One of the major advantages of dealing with a consultant is that you will have a complete set of drawings and specifications. As a result, you know exactly what you are going to end up with. Equally important, all the contractors will be quoting on exactly the same project and will not have to speculate about what you want. Without a complete set of drawings and specifications, it is almost impossible to compare quotes since what the owner sees in his mind as the finished product will invariably be different from what each contractor sees.

Come back next week for How to Choose A Consultant!

Sourced from Sears Manage My Home

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