Frequently Asked Questions
A Collection of Questions you may have ...
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A Collection of Questions you may have...
This depends on the scale of the project and will be discussed during your initial meeting (and throughout the renovation process) however we can give you a good estimate once your plans/designs have been finalized.
This depends on the work being undertaken, however we recommend that you consult a home designer or architect to create proper plans as this helps to eliminate confusion for all involved in the renovation project.
Our quotes are very detailed and the prices within them are firm, however there are occasionally unexpected costs that occur once a project has started - for example, the discovery of hazardous materials that need to be removed (such as asbestos). This is an additional cost but you would be informed of this as soon as the problem was identified. Likewise, any changes that you want to make while the project is in progress may be subject to additional costs, but again this would be discussed at the time.
Depending on the size of the project, we normally request an initial payment (due at the signing of the contract), stage payments (if necessary) during the renovation process, and a final payment due at completion.
Some projects do not require permits (such as small non-structural repairs) but this will be assessed at the planning/design & quoting stages. The permit process ensures that your renovation meets basic health, safety & structural system requirements such as zoning regulations & heritage building designations. We will apply for permits and co-ordinate any inspections as necessary.
Yes, we hold business insurance with a commercial general liability of $2,000,000.00
Sub-Contractors (or Sub-Trades) are specialized in certain aspects of construction, for example: plumbers, electricians and drywallers. We have selected tradesmen who we work with on a regular basis, and they are able to provide customized work that may not otherwise be directly available to homeowners. We co-ordinate them to complete specific areas of your project as necessary and, as we are the main contractor, their work is included within our price so you would not need to pay them separately.
This depends on the size of the project, what other jobs we are already scheduled to do, and sometimes depends upon the time of the year (if weather is a factor i.e. for exterior projects).
Weather conditions, the discovery of hazardous materials (asbestos, for example) in the existing property (in this case the project is put on hold until an abatement crew has removed the material from the affected area), and any changes to the project that need further discussion before we can go ahead with them.
You should clear the area of any furniture and personal items before we start (this keeps them safer and cleaner if they are out of the work area).
This depends on the scope of the project. We try not to disrupt your daily schedule and our team will help you to decide if it’s feasible, but usually if you have at least one working bathroom and a kitchen/food preparation area then you should be able to remain in your home while work carries on. However if you are a ‘neat freak’ you may want to move out!
Although we do our best to keep our work areas as tidy as possible, there will probably be a certain amount of dust generated by our work which may find its way to other areas of the house.
No. In order to give you an accurate quote we would need to view the area that needs working on as each project is completely different to the next. We think it’s important for you to meet with us ‘face to face’ and feel comfortable about us working in your property, and we can also provide you with more ideas about what designs would work best if we can see the space concerned.
Our office is in Halifax, however our initial meetings are usually held at the location where your work is due to take place so that we can see the extent of what needs to be done.
Yes. We will provide a current clearance letter from the Workers' Compensation Board of Nova Scotia upon signing of your contract. This indicates that our company has workers’ compensation coverage, has met all payroll reporting requirements, and has paid all WCB premiums to date.
The Canadian Home Builders Association has been operating since 1943 and has more than 8,000 members across Canada from every area of Canada's housing industry - new home builders, renovators, land developers, trade contractors, product and material manufacturers, building product suppliers, financial institutions, insurance providers, service professionals and others. It is a voluntary organization run by its members and represents them locally, provincially & nationally.
The Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association encompasses the Canadian Home Builders’ Association of Central Nova, the South Shore Home Builders’ Association, the Cape Breton Home Builders’ Association and the Annapolis Valley Home Builders’ Association. It represents over 300 member firms including professional builders, renovators and developers whose mission is ‘to provide professionalism in all aspects of the industry and provide quality, affordable housing choices for Nova Scotians’.
Pat McCarthy Renovations Ltd. is accredited by the Better Business Bureau which means that we have undergone a detailed review process & committed to abide by a set of ethical standards including a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve consumer complaints. Every business is monitored for continuing adherence to BBB standards. The first BBB was founded in 1912, now 114 BBB’s serve communities across the US & Canada, monitoring more than 3 million businesses & charities.
And here are a few Design Tips & Ideas
Planning for the long term & thinking ahead can avoid short term renovations that may need to be redone – by discussing your long & short term goals with us, we can offer suggestions for an effective sequence of work over a period of time that can suit your needs and your budget.
The balance of a room can affect how its inhabitants feel – good design balance can give a feeling of stability & wellness. If a room feels ‘unbalanced’ try placing small items that are bright and colourful, unusually shaped, dark, or have varied textures at the opposite end of the room to a large feature (i.e. a fireplace) as they tend to draw our attention – heavy furnishings or décor can weigh down one side of the room so you need to try and counteract this. Having a clear idea of what you want to accomplish with your renovation will help to keep your costs within your budget. Involve the whole household in your initial discussions and work out what are ‘essentials’ and what would be ‘nice to have’ to set priorities for the end result.
To achieve flow throughout the home you need a balanced colour scheme that will connect one space to the next. Try using different shades of the same colour throughout the house, or create continuity by selecting hues with similar undertones. Pick colours from existing furnishings, choose 3-5 colours & alternate the primary (dominant colour which is typically for walls), secondary (ceilings, cabinets, floors), and accent colours (trim, molding, doors & accessories.)
To make the most of a small space try keeping the floor clear – the more of the floor that you can see, the more open & airy a room will feel. Try using furniture with exposed feet rather than covers that reach the floor. Try to keep windows clear of obstructions such as plants and ornaments, and curtains that block the windows when pulled back. This helps to give a sense of a more ‘open’ space.
A designer or architect may be able to suggest ways to create space within your home by re-arranging interior walls, eliminating separations & installing larger windows without the need for adding extra floor space (and therefore enabling your renovation budget to stretch a little further).
Top living room decorating ideas:
- Create a focal point with a fireplace, a large mirror or a piece or artwork
- Create an ‘accent’ wall
- Keep 1/3 of open shelving clear rather than packing everything tightly, & leave a little breathing room between objects
- Plan for a ‘clutter zone’ where you can drop items as you walk in through a door (such as car keys, purses, mail, groceries) as this helps keeps the rest of the home clutter free
Most paint manufacturers produce their colour chips in a low sheen, so if you want to see what the colour will look like in an eggshell or semi-gloss just wet the colour chip with water.
Sanding wood prior to staining doesn’t just make the surface smooth but it also increases the porosity of the wood, which makes the penetration of the stain more uniform.
There is a limit to the number of coats of paint that a surface can support. As paint thickness builds, the coats lose their flexibility & can no longer expand & contract which makes them liable to crack or flake & peel away.
You can improve the energy efficiency of your home through your renovation project. Browse Efficiency Nova Scotia's website for ideas such as adding insulation, replacing windows & doors, installing high efficiency heating systems & choosing the most energy efficient appliances. Don’t forget that energy loss includes both heat in the winter & cool air during the summer!
Did you know that Nova Scotians reduced their electricity use by an additional 1.2 per cent in 2015? According to EfficiencyOne’s Annual Report? This prevented more than 89,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the atmosphere.
Heating systems can use between 40-60% of your home’s energy so ask us about the energy efficient heating options that can be included as part of your renovation such as Heat Pumps, Heat Recovery Ventilation and heating zone controls. Check out Efficiency Nova Scotia's website for tips and ideas, plus details of the the savings and rebates that are available to help you become more energy efficient.
Efficiency Nova Scotia has helped more than 225,000 program participants complete energy efficiency projects, saving $110 million on power bills in 2016 alone and preventing the release of 590,000 tonnes of GHG emissions annually.
There are 3 main types of renovations:
- Lifestyle Renovations to convert a space to suit your changing needs such as a sun room, or an unused attic space,
- Retrofit Projects which are usually focused on the mechanics of the house or it’s shell such as upgrading insulation, or re-siding a property, and
- Maintenance & Repair Renovations such as reshingling your roof or replacing eavestroughs.
The way you light a room can dictate how it feels & functions. It can alter your mood and change the colours of the walls so it’s important to spend time getting it right. There are 3 types of light:
- Ambient Lighting which provides the overall illumination (usually ceiling, wall, or recessed lights),
- Task Lighting for specific jobs like cooking & reading, and
- Accent Lighting which illuminates key features of a room. A combination of all 3 will give the best results.