Home Renovations Calgary | Questions & Answers Edition
Here at Mayfield, we are all about building and fostering amazing long term relationships!
We genuinely care about empowering you to make the best choices for your lifestyle. Our projects integrate the highest quality materials behind the walls, are beautifully finished and easy to maintain.
What do we do?
We renovate homes to reflect your unique personality!
Over the years, we've been asked many home renovation questions from our Calgary clients. Below are some of the most common ones.
1. Do You Provide Fixed Price or Cost Plus Contracting?
Mayfield Renovations Ltd. provides fixed cost, plus allowances contracting. What this means is that once the scope of your renovation has been clearly defined, all of the tasks which are a known quantity are estimated and converted into a fixed cost amount.
Tasks that are included in the fixed cost portion of your project will include items such as demolition, plumbing, electrical and HVAC rough-ins, insulation, drywall, painting, and other tasks that can clearly be accounted for prior to the start of your renovation.
Items that are included in the allowance portion of your project are items that are required for the scope of your renovation, but which you will work with our designers to choose what accurately reflects your style preference. These items are typically all finishes and will include items such as flooring, cabinetry, countertops, plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, handles and more.
We provide you with averages for your allowance items that previous clients are using for renovations with a similar level of finish to what we believe you will like in your home. You will direct the final cost of your renovation by the choices that you make in the allowance items that are required for your renovation.
Mayfield Renovations Ltd. chose to provide our homeowners with allowance budgets from what previous clients are choosing so that you have the freedom and flexibility to choose exactly what you want, rather than choosing from a limited selection of what is available.
2. How Accurate Are Your Estimates?
With renovations, there can be many unknown factors that are not exposed until the area being renovated has had demolition completed. Our estimates are accurate for the scope of work that is covered in the estimate. Changes and increases in the overall project come from when/if items that do not meet current National Building Code of Canada (NBC) standards, and if homeowners add to the scope of their project.
Areas that are uncovered during demolition that do not meet Current NBC are called contingencies, and must be brought up to current standards in order for City of Calgary building permit inspections to be approved. Contingencies occur in some renovations due to technology improvements, and sometimes due to poor workmanship from when the house was originally built or in a previous renovation. Many design experts recommend having a separate savings account for 5% – 10% of your overall renovation budget to fix and repair any contingencies that may be uncovered during your renovation.
3. How is my project invoiced?
The fixed quote amount of your renovation is divided into percentages of the overall fixed quote amount and is invoiced as milestones are met during your project. Milestones may include demolition, rough-ins (plumbing, HVAC and electrical), drywall, cabinetry, flooring, etc. Allowance items are invoiced with the next milestone, after they are purchased.
4. Can I purchase my own allowance items?
Some allowance items must be purchased through the existing account that we have with that vendor, and therefore are purchased by Mayfield Renovations Ltd. Some allowance items can be purchased direct by our homeowners. Once the scope of your project has been determined, we will advise you on which allowance items you can purchase directly.
5. Will my renovation run over budget?
If no contingencies are uncovered during your renovation, and once you have finalized and signed off on all of your design choices with our interior designer, your project will run on budget and all charges will be identified along with when you can expect them to occur.
6. Does Mayfield Renovations Ltd. sub-contract out work?
Mayfield Renovations Ltd. sub-contracts out all work that requires City of Calgary permits and inspections, and specialized skills. These subcontractors are experts in their areas of workmanship, licensed with the City of Calgary, and carry the same Core Values as Mayfield Renovations Ltd.! Sub-contractors that may be a part of the team for your project could include: architect, structural engineer, plumber, HVAC contractor, electrician, flooring installation, cabinet maker, tile setter, etc. By working with a team of professionals that work specifically in one area, the level of finishes in your project will be much higher than if your contractor is a generalist and has not perfected that art of each stage of finishing your project. Sub-contractors take years to perfect their skillsets, so you can expect a level of finish that is not possible from someone who only occasionally does these tasks.
8. What is a Design-Build renovator?
A renovation company that is a design-build firm is a company that operates similar to a new home builder in that the team at a design-build firm works with the client from the conceptual stage through to the final finish of the project. Design-build firms will provide and manage any/all of the following tasks that may be required for your renovation: conceptual planning of what modifications are possible to the structure, layout and finishes of your home, estimating and quoting process, architectural and structural engineering planning stages, architectural and structural drawings, site inspections and reports, interior design schedule, and all stages of construction through to completion. [Excerpt taken from Three Pillars of Functional Design in Renovations, Karla Mayfield, 2018]
9. What is a general contractor?
The residential renovation company that you hire for a large-scale renovation will be a general contractor. For the purpose of a renovation, a GC (general contractor) will act as the project manager and will handle all aspects of managing and overseeing your project. An excellent GC will have good working relationships with each sub-contractor that will be required for the scope of your project, and will have the knowledge on who is required, the timing, and what the cost should be for each task. The GC will ensure that the sub-contractors who are working on specialized areas of your renovation provide high quality work, that tasks are scheduled in the correct order and are fully completed, including all of the fine details required between each sub-contractor’s task.
Hiring a GC will save you time and money, and ultimately stress during your large renovation. A large renovation project can be as complicated as building a custom home. Currently there is no regulation in Alberta on who can obtain a business license to operate as a general contractor; it is of utmost importance for homeowners to properly research and interview the renovation company they are considering hiring in order to ensure that your GC has thorough knowledge, expertise and experience with carrying out the scope of project you are considering. [Excerpt taken from Three Pillars of Functional Design in Renovations, Karla Mayfield, 2018]
10. How Experienced Are Your Project Managers?
We manage our projects as a team, with weekly team meetings to be fully up-to-date and well informed on each project. This collaboration ensures that your renovation has the creativity and input of each of our minds, personality types and expertise. Our in-house team has a combined experience in the residential construction industry of over 100 years! We have worked on projects in the United States and Canada, and in Saskatchewan and in Alberta.
Our expertise includes modifying residential structures with wood foundations, ICF (insulated concrete foundations), balloon framing (Century homes), to nowadays platform framing and much more.
11. What Is Your Cost Per Square Foot?
As Karla wrote in the Three Pillars of Functional Design in Renovations, excellent renovations are like creating a custom home in the area that you are renovated. Due to this, the cost per square foot with Mayfield Renovations Ltd. can vary from $100/sf to $800/sf or more. The factors that will influence what the cost per square foot is on your renovation will be determined by the level of finishes and upgrades that you choose for your personal comfort and preference. Due to the importance of truly modifying your home to perfectly meet your needs, Mayfield Renovations Ltd. does not quote on a per square foot cost basis.
12. Where Can I Get Customer Feedback?
We love hearing from our homeowners! Please see what our clients are saying about us here, and make sure to check out the galleries that are linked to some of our client’s stories*. Click here for more client stories.
13. Why does the drywall stage take so long?
Hanging, taping and finishing drywall as well will determine the level of finish your walls have once painted. Once drywall is hung all seams between the drywall boards are taped so that the wall ends up with a perfectly smooth finish. In order to hide these taped seams, several thin layers of drywall mud are applied in a method with increasingly wider strips of mud to ‘float’ out seams between the drywall boards. Excellent drywall finishers are about to float drywall mud so that the finish is perfectly level. This stage of your project can seem to take a long time for several reasons, one of them being that as each layer of mud is applied, you may not be able to notice a difference from the layer before.
During this stage of your renovation, most other interior tasks are put on hold as the drywall mud is applied and dries between each coat. Drywall mud drying times vary according to weather conditions, temperature inside the home and humidity. Heat and fans are used to help speed this process, but ultimately the drywall stage of your project will take several days. If your project is a single room, you will notice that site technicians are not working at your home for the entire day as they do not have enough lineal feet of walls in smaller projects to occupy their entire day, so they will move between your job to other jobs to keep this stage moving forward.
14. What is the halfway point of my renovation?
The halfway point of your renovation will vary depending on the scope of your project, but on projects where the area has been fully gutted to the studs, as in all Mayfield Renovations Ltd. projects, in order to make electrical and insulation upgrades, a general rule of thumb is that once the walls are primed your project is likely near the halfway point. This might be surprising after the amount of work that has taken place prior to hanging drywall, however all tasks following drywall are now finishing tasks, and must be completed in a methodical and precise manner to ensure your project has beautiful, professional grade finishes.
15. Why do renovations take so long?
Renovations where the area being renovated is gutted to the studs, as in all Mayfield Renovations Ltd. projects, your project is the same as new construction except for the exterior. If your project includes changes to the exterior, even your exterior will be affected during your renovation. By ‘starting’ from scratch, or from demoing back to the studs in the area you are renovating, a brand new room or house is developed inside the existing exterior. Since well-built wood frame homes can easily stand for hundreds of years, it makes sense to preserve these structures by upgrading insulation, electrical, interior finishes and more. Because of this, renovations will include all of the same steps used for developing the interior of a new home.
You might think that smaller rooms (ie: ensuites) will progress quicker than larger renovations, however since they are smaller spaces where multiple people cannot work in the area at the same time, and since they require all of the same steps as a kitchen renovation, they will take almost as long as the renovation of a much larger area.
16. Can I live in my home during our renovations?
Mayfield Renovations Ltd. is consistently commended on how incredibly clean our jobsites are, and many of our homeowners choose to live in their home during their renovations. If your project scope encompasses a large portion of your home, and/or if it includes additions and adding a second floor to your home, you will not be able to live in your home during your renovations. Our liability insurance requires our homeowners to not enter their homes during certain stages of their projects (second floor additions, installation of spray foam insulation, etc.). For projects where it is possible for you to live at home, ultimately you can decide on your level of patience in living in a construction zone. Though we are remarkably clean and we poly off the areas of your home that are not being renovated, your home will have times where dust settles out in the air (demolition, drywall, etc.) and you might prefer not to be present, especially if health concerns like asthma are present. Homeowners who do kitchen renovations and choose to live at home fare best when they are able to designate and set up another room in their home as a temporary kitchen.
17. Why are Poly-B plumbing lines an issue?
Poly-B plumbing lines are grey, plastic plumbing lines that were created in the late 1970’s to replace copper plumbing lines when there began to be a shortage of copper. Poly-B plumbing lines were installed in homes from the late 70’s through the 80’s and into the 90’s.
Poly-B, short for Polybutylene, is a resin that contains a single carbon bond that degrades in the presence of UV rays and chlorine. Poly-B lines are also bendable and can easily be bent to create a kink in the line. Because of this, areas of these Poly-B water lines that were bent and/or stored in outside yards where they were exposed to UV rays will produce small fissures or pinholes over time. These small holes cause pressurized leaks that spray water inside the walls and floor systems of houses where these lines are present.
Advances in technology and the discovery of the flaws with Poly-B water lines led to the development of Pex water lines, which have been used since the 90’s. Pex, short for cross-linked polyethylene, contains a double carbon bond, is not bendable, and does not degrade in the presence of UV rays.