It just makes you wonder

Our local Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association (GOHBA) Renovators’ Council and accredited members of the RenoMark™ program were treated to an excellent presentation by Canadian Association of Home Builders (CHBA) representative, Gary Sharp, Director of Renovator Services.

His topic was the CHBA program Get it in Writing. While not new to members of the Ottawa renovation scene, the program reveals some rather shocking data to do with our industry both nationally and at a local level.

The program encourages home owners to seek out and engage professional renovators. It has been around for some time, but recent statistics, indicating a significant problem with fly-by-night, illegal builders and renovators, has finally come to the attention of both provincial and federal government bodies.

Entire television channels are being built from horror stories of unscrupulous contractors. Homeowners are increasingly caught up in the ill-perceived benefits of paying cash. And the general public is looking to governments and other bodies, such as GOHBA and RenoMark™, to protect them. The Get it in Writing program is trying to do just that.

Consider some of the rather startling data collected about the shadowy world commonly known as the underground economy.

In Canada, it’s a $42 billion industry, with close to a third of that being spent on construction projects. In Ottawa alone more than $600 million will be spent in cash to have Ottawa homes renovated “under the table”. That means no contract, no receipt, no warranty. (What could possibly go wrong?)

By far this is the biggest investment most people will ever make in their lives; yet many people are willing to put that investment at risk by hiring an unethical contractor to renovate their homes. You have to ask why they do it.

There will always be savings if you hire a “cash” guy over a professional. Professional renovators respect their industry, their employees, their community and their customers.

That’s why we carry liability insurance and worker safety insurance. We invest in our people through employee health and safety training, and by paying for Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance.

We support our community by being involved in local, national and international charities. We join and represent professional organizations such as the Greater Ottawa Home Builders and the RenoMark program to ensure that.

And yes, we pay taxes. Does a professional renovator cost more than that “cash” guy? Of course we do. It always costs more to do things correctly.

As a homeowner, you can make a difference. You can protect yourself and your home while doing the right thing. If you’re considering a renovation to your home, hire a professional renovator and Get it in Writing.

  • Norm Lecuyer, Chair of the Renovators Council of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association and the local RenoMark program, is President of Just Basements and HOME Inc. Design Build Renovations.