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Frequently Asked Questions

When comparing quotes, consider the following:

What's included in the pricing such as the finishing touches? Does the quote cover hardwood floors, tile or laminate, granite counters or laminate, or landscaping?

What square footage is included? Was the basement included, a deck or a garage in the total price?

What is the quality of the product(s) such as windows, cabinetry, granite, flooring. Prices can range dramatically.

Quality workmanship isn't cheap. The old saying "you get what you pay for" bears some thought. Just because the overall price is the cheapest quote doesn't necessarily mean in the end that the original quote will stay the same.

Your personal choices have a huge impact on the cost per square foot. Kitchens & bathrooms tend to be at an increased cost per square foot due to the finishes chosen. Most contractors include allowances for common selections such as flooring & fixtures. Any upgrades would be considered an extra cost.

Cost is driven by design. Sophisticated roof lines, grand entryways, vaulted ceilings are associated with an increased cost to an overall budget. More angles in a foundation increase the cost in materials and labour.

The type of home you build impacts costs. A wider and deeper one-story home will cost more than a two story home with the identical square footage.

Review all FAQs

Building and renovationg can be daunting. Below is a collection of common inquiries we have come across over the years and we hope this information will be helpful.

If you have questions or concerns not listed, please contact us and we will do our best to address them. Why not set up a no-obligation appointment? We love what we do and will be happy to assist.

General Questions

What should you consider before hiring a contractor?

  • Consider how long the company has been in business
  • Ask whether they have professional industry affiliations
  • Make sure they have a proven track record of customer satisfaction
  • Ask for client testimonials
  • Do they carry appropriate liability coverages?
  • Do they provide their employees with Workmans' Compensatition coverage?
  • Will they provide a written quote and follow up with a proper invoice complete with HST tax number?
  • Does the company provide its employees with proper measure to ensure their safety in the work environment?

Why is a budget important?

Our goal is to able to work safely and efficiently to deliver a high level of client satisfaction and value.

  • Defining a budget allows us to allocate the clients resources most effectively.
  • Setting a budget allows us to help the client determine what is most important and helps to guide the client towards suitable alternative options towards their goal.
  • In some cases we may be able to help clients set longer term goals with proper planning through the use of design and consultation.

Why is comparing quotes important?

When comparing quotes, keep in mind you get what you pay for. Our prices are very competitive and ensure you receive outstanding value.

Consider the following:

  • What's included in the pricing such as the finishing touches? Does the quote cover hardwood floors, tile or laminate, granite counters or laminate, or landscaping?
  • What square footage is included? Was the basement included, a deck or a garage in the total price?
  • What is the quality of the product(s) such as windows, cabinetry, granite, flooring. Prices can range dramatically.
  • Quality workmanship isn't cheap. The old saying "you get what you pay for" bears some thought. Just because the overall price is the cheapest quote doesn't necessarily mean in the end that the original quote will stay the same.
  • Your personal choices have a huge impact on the cost per square foot. Kitchens & bathrooms tend to be at an increased cost per square foot due to the finishes chosen. Most contractors include allowances for common selections such as flooring & fixtures. Any upgrades would be considered an extra cost.
  • Cost is driven by design. Sophisticated roof lines, grand entryways, vaulted ceilings are associated with an increased cost to an overall budget. More angles in a foundation increase the cost in materials and labour.
  • The type of home you build impacts costs. A wider and deeper one-story home will cost more than a two story home with the identical square footage.

Exercise great caution when using a cost per square foot in comparing builders and their homes. Even if you believe you've got an "apples for apples" comparison, the low cost per square foot builder might just be one of those bad apples.

What is a professional contractor?

A professional contractor, like CLATTCO, is a contractor who can put your whole project together. They will assume complete responsibility for the work contracted and give you a warranty once completed.

CLATTCO Construction & Home Design Ltd have the experience and knowledge to help turn your ideas into great results. They have the technical know-how and understand how to deal with challenges and problems. CLATTCO has a solid network of staff, subtrades and suppliers ready to got to work for you!

We also have a proven track record and invite you review our testimonials or talk with some of our clients. Experienced contractors know what it takes to get the job done and will tell you how much it will cost upfront.

Professional contractors like CLATTCO, know that trust alone is not enough and every project is provided with a written contract that spells out in detail what, how, when and how much.

We also provide Workers' Compensation and liabilty insurance to protect our clients in the unlikely event of an accident or damage to your own or neighboring properties.

A professional contractor, like CLATTCO, provides a warranty on work completed and with professional installation, there is no risk of voiding the manufacturers' warranties on materials.

Why should I avoid “Underground Deals”?

An underground deal is when a contractor offers a low price in exchange for cash payment and no written deal. A cash deal means a lot more risk for you, less control over how your project turns out, and basically no guarantees of any sort. The most common risks of underground deals are:

    Incomplete work: broken promises, low-quality workmanship & fraud are some of the possibilities

    Damage or injury: If you hire someone who is not enrolled in Workers' Compensation, you could potenially be held responsible for medical and rehabilitation costs if that person is injured. When hiring a professional contractor, measures are put in place to protect you, such as building codes, permits, inspections and Provincial regulations that govern the health & safety of workers as well as hazards related to equipment use

    Breaking the law: When the contractor breaks the law, such as skipping permits and inspections, the homeowner could be held responsible.

    Unpaid suppliers

Can I act as a contractor to the builder?

We believe in only allowing certified people to perform this important role and guarantee that CLATTCO will keep you informed every step of the way and consult you as required, as well as answer any questions you may have, which means you will be in charge of your project at all times.

Getting in "over your head" can end up costing more money than hiring a professional in the first place. Do you have the knowledge of the building codes, the time to research, plan and do the work properly? Do you know the subtrades and will you be able to schedule their work without lengthy delaysor overlaps? If you act as your own contractor and hire someone to do the work for you, do you know how to protect yourself against liabilities in case of accidents or mistakes or damage? Don't take a chance: hire a contractor.

Golden Rules for home build/renovation projects

  • Know what you want and develop a firm plan. What do you need and want?
  • Set a realistic budget and decide early how much you are willing to spend, allowing the contractor to focus on the work that is doable within that budget.
  • Don't jeopardize the quality of the build: do not compromise on the quality of product/materials.
  • Don't choose a contractor on price alone. Consider the implications of accepting the lowest price: quality workmanship, experience & insurance.
  • Protect yourself: dealing with a professional contractor like CLATTCO is your greatest protection against an incompetent or unfinished job. Contact the local Home Buiders' Association, the BBB, past & present clients.
  • Hire a Contractor: hiring an experienced and knowledgable contractor such as CLATTCO is the key to a successful home build or renovation project.

What is a good contract?

A contract is good if it treats both parties fairly; the homeowner wants assurances that they will get what they agreed to, on the schedule agreed to, at the price agreed to. Contractors want their obligations clearly spelled out and assurance that you, the homeowner, will pay in full and on time.

From start to finish, a professional contractor such as CLATTCO Construction & Home Design Ltd, will help you put it all together, from ideas to design, products to plans and construction to completion. We always use a written contract that clearly describes the scope of the project at hand, materials to be used, timelines, price, and responsibilities of both parties. We organize and manage scheduling workers, trades and delivey of materials to the worksite while keeping track of expenses and maintaining a clean and safe work site.

Most importantly, we put our customers first!

What is a bid or estimate?

A bid/estimate is a contractor's offer to perform your project at a specified price, based on a detailed description of the work to be completed, materials required, products, labour, subtrades etc. A written offer becomes legally binding and part of a contract between you and the contractor, should you accept it.

When comparing bids between contractors, always provide the identical information for accuracy.

What is a change order?

Once work begins, both you and the contractor have one goal: get the project done well, on time and on budget. A change order is issued when the homeowner makes changes to the existing contract. Changes can result in time delays and increased cost.

Remember your contractor works on a tight schedule and subtrades who move from one job to another. Making changes may mean waiting for trades to become available, which in turn may impact other aspects of work as well as cost. Changes are documented as a written change order and signed by both parties. They are considered as an extra cost outside the original contract and you are expected to pay for them as a separate item, as part of the next scheduled draw or upon completion of the work.

What does the business & GST number mean?

All businesses with annual sales of $30,000 or more are required to have these numbers. This tells you that the company has registered with the government and its company ownership information is on file.

 

New Construction related

What is the approximate square foot value?

No two homes are the same, so pricing depends on the quality of finishes, size and design complexity.

Are house plans required for a new build or renovation?

Custom home plans are advantageous, as they will be drawn to meet the requirements of National and local Nova Scotia Building Codes and "Off the shelf" internet plans may not reflect our building codes.

If you are building a house from the ground up or adding an addition, blueprints are required and we have the experience and ability to meet your needs. Blueprints or house plans help ensure the structure is sound, serve to direct plumbers & electricians as to where to run pipes and wires.

Do I need blueprints for my new home?

Yes. Blueprints will be required to obtain a building permit.

Why do I need a building permit?

A building permit for a home build or renovation is required for these projects as they would involve changes to the structure or systems in your home. This includes new additions, reconfiguration of space by moving or removing walls, new window and door openings. Permits obtained by CLATTCO, ensure that the home build, reno or addition are meeting basic requirements for health, safety and structural soundness as set out by building codes in your area as well as the municipal requirements, such as zoning.

Electrical and plumbing permits will also be required and maintained separately. Some repairs and renos may not require a permit, such as re-roofing, re-siding, flooring & cabinet installation or replacemnt of windows and doors (provided the opening is not enlarged).

As a homeowner, you are legally required to obtain any building permits required, however a contractor can look after this on your behalf. Once a permit is issued, an inspector will visit several times throughout the course of the project to ensure the construction is up to code, meaning that the work has been passed the inspection.

What happens if I don't get a permit? Many people ask this question and are unaware of the consequences: A “stop work” order may be issued and remains in effect until a permit is obtained; you may be required to redo the project at your own expense or even tear down the new addition, deck etc. Working without a permit may also affect your home insurance if a claim should arise from the renovation/addition. An occupancy permit is required before you can occupy a newly built or substantially renovated home.

 

About Passive Housing

What is it?

Highlights:

  • Passive Housing employs continuous insulation through its entire envelope without any thermal bridging.
  • The building envelope is extremely airtight, preventing infiltration of outside air and loss of conditioned air.
  • It employs high-performance windows (typically triple-paned) and doors.
  • It uses some form of balanced heat and moisture-recovery ventilation and uses a minimal space conditioning system.
  • Solar gain is managed to exploit the sun's energy for heating purposes and to minimize it in cooling seasons.
  • Passive building principles can be applied to all building types, from single-family homes to apartment building to offices.
  • Passive design strategy balances factors including heat emissions from appliances and occupants to keep the building at comfortable and consistent indoor temperatures throughout the heating and cooling seasons. As a result, passive buildings offer tremendous long-term benefits in addition to energy efficiency.
  • Superinsulation and airtight construction provides unmatched comfort and even in extreme conditions.
  • Continuous mechanical ventilation of fresh filtered air assures superb air quality.
  • A comprehensive systems approach to modeling, design and construction produces extremely resilient buildings.
  • Passive building is the best path to Net Zero and Net Positive buildings because it minimizes the load that renewables are required to provide.
  • New North American standard yielded aggressive but attainable climate-specific building energy performance targets that substantially cut carbon emissions and energy consumption, in buildings that provide superb comfort, indoor air quality, and resilience.

Does it cost more compared to a conventional equivalent?

Passive building typically costs 5-10 percent more than a conventional building.

Do they have moisture and mold problems?

Passive buildings do require an extremely airtight building envelope. Combined with super-insulation, this approach dramatically reduces temperature variation, which also prevents condensation and mold issue. The constant, low level ventilation also helps prevent problems, in addition to maintaining excellent air quality.

Do passive buildings all have to look the same?

No. Though many early passive homes used an austere European style, passive design does not dictate esthetics. PHIUS has certified dozens of styles, including Cape Cods, a traditional Four Square, and others.