Last week at the Norwood Hotel, the Manitoba Home Builders' Association hosted a free renovation seminar that proved to be extremely popular with the public.
More than 140 people crowded into the room to hear important advice on how to ensure a happy renovation project.
Ivan Plett, from Rempel Builders, kicked things off with a presentation about starting the renovation process, stressing how critical it is to determine the parameters of a renovation project before getting seriously started. Knowing what you want to do and having a realistic budget are critical to success, he said.
Plett also spoke about what to look for in a renovator to ensure a positive working relationship. Always get a written contract and ensure that your renovator takes out all appropriate permits while using licensed trades, he said.
Ivan was joined by Jim Siddall from Back to Basics Carpentry and Ralph Oswald from Oswald Construction.
Shea Newton from Manitoba Hydro outlined a variety of programs and opportunities for homeowners to save on energy costs by doing renovations while qualifying for various Power Smart savings, rebates and loans.
Kirsten Reimer from Steinbach Credit Union shared some terrific information on how to finance renovation projects. Renovation mortgages and personal loans can allow consumers to maximize their upgrades, she said.
Martin Grady from the City of Winnipeg explained when a permit is and isn't required, the advantages of permits and how to get them, the insurance of inspections, zoning issues and the easy-to-use City of Winnipeg Planning Property and Development website.
I concluded the formal part of the evening by explaining the dangers of the underground economy and how, without a written contract, a consumer assumes liability risks with no recourse if the job isn't done right.
I also outlined the merits of the RenoMark program, under which MHBA renovators provide detailed contracts and a two-year warranty on labour, carry at least $2 million in liability insurance and all applicable licenses, provide full Workers Compensation coverage, have registered GST numbers and maintain a professional level of knowledge through continuing education.
The evening concluded with a variety of questions to the panel of presenters and to expert representatives from All Weather Windows, Reliance Superior and Quik Therm.
The renovation is an annual spring event and is part of the free consumer advice services provided by the Manitoba Home Builders' Association.
Mike Moore is the president of the Manitoba Home Builders' Association.