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Gordon Taylor Shelters


Answers To Your Questions

1. We have had the designs already done on our renovation. Can you build it for me?

I tell my clients that it is fine to have the design done by someone else, but it really is important to have the designer and the general contractor come in at the same time. Many times a designer has drafted plans that just can’t work structurally or otherwise. By having the designer and contractor in at the birth of an idea many of these issues can be dealt with in the early stages, thus saving time and money to the client.

2. We would like you to be the general contractor for our renovation, but can we use our plumber, electrician and/or other of our trades?

When this question is posed, and without sounding too negative towards their trades, (I am sure cousin Bill is a good electrician) it can make our job as the general more difficult.  I have chosen a top team of sub-contractors and crew I use regularly. We work well together, they are aware of my high standards and are there when I need them. When you have to work with unfamiliar trades, it can be difficult to have them jump when you need them and can cause projects to drag on. This will likely add extra costs to the client. Therefore, I usually stay away from these types of arrangements, but every project is different.

3. Do we have to have everything figured out before we start our renovation?

Structurally it is important to have things designed and engineered before you start. That said, most of my clients cannot envision the whole project in their mind. As a designer and builder, I usually work projects in phases, bringing the client in after framing to discuss electrical and mechanical layouts and any framing changes that need to be altered. Once mechanical and electrical are in, I like to make sure that the client has everything they need before closing in. Should you have more under-counter lighting? Maybe a plug in the eave for Christmas lights? Once drywall is up changes cost money and time. Throughout the process I like to keep the client personally in touch with each part of their project.

4. We can’t afford the whole cost of the renovation right now, should we wait?

It all depends on the scope of work. Many times I set long-term budgets with my clients. If you put your deck in now, you can enjoy it this summer and add the water feature next year. It may involve setting base elements in place so that the next phase continues without interruption. In an interior renovation, function may be the first phase and the finishing saved for when you can afford it. As long as each phase can be picked up where the last one left off and not step backwards, longer-term projects are easily worked through.

5. How does the payment schedule work?

That depends on the scope of work. On smaller short-term projects such as a deck, patio, fence or garage we ask for a 50% down payment when the job is to begin to cover the cost of materials and the balance is due upon completion. In larger projects such as a kitchen renovation, timber frame sun room or new build, a deposit is provided based on the scope of work with progress payments provided at the end of framing, electrical/mechanical, drywall mudding and sanding, and the balance after finishing.

6.How long will it take?

In new builds, it is sometimes easier to give a finish date. In commercial applications, deadlines are important for the opening of a new store or restaurant. In renovations, it is very hard to give a specific date, because there are many more variables. Asbestos insulation in the ceiling could hold a job up to 4 weeks, a structural issue may take many weeks for an engineer to design and stamp a drawing. As GTShelters is a design and build firm, we look after many of our own drawings for engineers, and with extensive experience in renovations we can move through much of the variables with ease. It is most important to keep the client updated regularly as the project moves forward.

7. Will you be there everyday?

From the day your project begins it will receive our full attention. That does not mean we will be on site everyday. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. Often components are built off site for an efficient assembly. Other factors that may lead to delays are change-orders, a late shipment, a client’s choice of a product, and of course, weather. We do good work and are in great demand, so be wary of the contractor who can show up the next day to start on a major renovation with false promises. Even if not on site, we are always available to address any questions you may have.

8. Can I pick my own fixtures?

I encourage my clients to be involved in the selection of their fixtures. This gives the project the client’s personal touch. If assistance is needed, we can provide helpful suggestions and design. If you are not happy with the lights you have been finding, we may be able to design one for you.

9. What if I have a problem after you leave?

GTShelters is a referral based company and if there is a problem after we leave we will be back to make it right.

10. Can I live in my home during the renovation?

The depends on the size of the renovation. If it is a portion of the house being renovated such as a kitchen, many clients choose to live through the renovation and we work with them to provide a safe barrier between them and the work site. On a major build where most of the house has to be worked on, it is sometimes best to be out of the house. If you do decide to live through a major renovation, it may end up costing more because construction has to work around your daily routines and it may take longer. Dust and inconveniences such as electrical re-wiring, lack of plumbing for a day or two can be very trying on a family. There are those that can live through a major renovation and those that shouldn’t.