10 things to ask your renovator

If you don’t ask, you won’t know. And if you don’t know, you could be putting yourself at risk when it comes to your renovation.

Two well-known Ottawa renovators, Claudio Falsetto (President, Revelstoke Developments Corp.) and Lindsay Nicol (President, Crossford Construction) say you should be prepared with a list of questions at the beginning of any project.

Here are some of the most important things they say you should ask before you sign a contract.


  • Have you undertaken this type of renovation in the past? Was it successful?


  • What issues or problems can arise once work begins, and how do you deal with them?


  • How long have you been in business under this company name?


  • Are you or your company registered with all governing bodies for this industry?


  • Can you provide an example of a situation that was not foreseen, caused a delay or cost increase? What was your method for resolving it to everyone’s satisfaction?




  • Do you have your own employees, or do you use sub-contractors only?


  • How many projects of this scale do you have on the go or in the foreseeable future? (Find out if the renovator has lots of experience, but not an overabundance of work at the moment – so much that there might not be a lot of time for you.)


  • What is not included in your quotation that you know I will need? (You want to keep the surprises down. It might be as simple as explaining plumbing fixtures.)


  • What’s the best way of communicating with each other? Text, email, phone? How available will you be? (You can’t have too much communication.)


  • What insurance do you have? What guarantees will we have after the work is finished?


Most professional renovators will point these questions out in the first place and answer them before you have a chance to ask. “We like to be pro-active,” says Lindsay.

But make your list anyway. And check it twice.