Five Keys To A Successful Renovation – #2 – Hire Wisely!


The renovation contractor you hire will be spending a lot of time in your home, so you will want this company’s project manager, site supervisor and crews to be friendly, efficient, honest and respectful of your home and family. This is especially important if you plan on living in the home while the work is being done. With that in mind, be sure to check all credentials to confirm that all claims being made can be backed up. Eg. – Municipal & Provincial Licensing, BBB Member In Good Standing, Customer & Trade References, Insurance Coverage, Warranty Program, Builder’s Association Membership and Renomark Program.

Now, let’s say you plan on requesting Bids based on your plans/specs. Ask for “line-item” product & service descriptions and related pricing. This “cost-plus” Agreement will be the most transparent, allowing you to assess all detail, including the amount of the Builder’s Fee. Although you may feel that a “fixed-fee” Agreement will give you more financial certainty, you will likely see no pricing detail, other than an “allowance” list for product choices. Proposals – One contractor may submit a high Bid (do they really want your job?), one may come in low (low Bidders sign more work, but often end up with unhappy customers, for an assortment of reasons, especially cost over-runs), then another may fall somewhere in the middle. Ideally, you want all Bids to “cluster” fairly tight together, usually confirming that your specs are being interpreted consistently. Bid detail should be examined closely to ensure that no one is missing anything.

Once hired, your preferred contractor should prepare a detailed schedule, a “decision-point” list to guide the timing of your product choices and a logistics plan for regular site meetings, family comfort & safety and the all-important mess-control! How best to do your share in this partnership? See our next FIVE KEYS installment – MANAGE YOUR HOUSEHOLD.

**CHANNEL CUSTOM BUILDERS is a full-service design/build contractor with 25 years of dedicated service to our many valued customers.  Contact us today for a free in-home consultation.

Excavation Erosion & Collapse

When excavating for the foundation of a new home, particularly at an inner-city location where the hole must be dug close to the property line, there is often risk of soil-wall collapse and damage to adjacent properties.  This problem can be due to unstable soil conditions, erosion from water run-off, or a combination of both. In the first photo, fencing had actually fallen into the excavation due to water run-off and was later replaced with temporary safety fencing.

In addition to the most immediate safety concerns, this kind of problem can be very expensive and time consuming to resolve, as in the construction of a temporary but substantial retaining wall.  Luckily, a very effective alternative is available.  Quickly installed and cost-effective, a “shot-crete” application is often the answer.  Once the collapsed debris has been removed, the pumping equipment set up and hoses deployed, a slurry of concrete can be sprayed or “shot” onto the excavation wall soon after the collapse.  Generally applied to a thickness of 3-4”, this material sets up hard like regular concrete, stabilizing the soil quickly and safely.

Not a problem you would want to have to deal with when building a new home, but it’s good to know that safety and schedule don’t have to be compromised when an event like this takes place!

Contemporary Electric Fireplaces

Fireplaces have come a long way over the centuries, beginning with the original wood-burning variety that could heat entire homes and more than a few castles!

With the advent of natural gas as an economical home fuel source in our part of the world, gas fireplaces became just as decorative as they are practical.  Encompassing a wide variety of sizes and designs, these gas fireplaces can also generate significant heat when needed, without the hassle of stocking, chopping and hauling wood.  You may also remember the odd-looking little electric-heater style units in the corner of Granny’s basement “rumpus” room!

Well…are you ready for the latest electric fireplace as a cool fashion statement?  One example we have installed in an upscale contemporary style home is the Dynasty LED Wall-Mount, sold in Calgary by Hearth & Home Fireplaces (  Based in Richmond B.C. (, Dynasty manufactures numerous models that simply mount on a finished wall with plug-in below and no ventilation required.  Features include high, low or no heat, stylized LED flame and optional LED background light, pebble or log bed and remote control for heat, flame and lighting.

These fireplaces are easy to install and operate and are very well priced. Check them out for your next renovation or new home project, and check us out at

Upscale Semi-Detached Infill Homes – Look us up in Altadore!

Channel Custom Builders is nearing completion of a dramatic pair of semi-detached homes in the popular southwest community of Altadore.  Featuring contemporary architectural styling, high-end detailing, energy efficiencies and a fabulous inner-city location, these unique homes offer superior space planning over four levels, topped off by lofts with large balconies.

With 2531 sq. ft. (North Unit B) and 2845 sq. ft. (South Unit A) over 4 levels, these spacious homes’ major features include amazing kitchens, large windows, glass stairwells, 9’ ceilings (main& lower levels), 2 balconies and 4 bathrooms per Unit, stone rear-yard patios and 2 car garages.  You will want to arrange for your personal guided tour by contacting our listing agent, Dave Cousins at Re/Max First, 403 278-2900.