Renovating Vancouver Condos

Having recently just gutted the two bathrooms in our condo, I thought I’d share a little bit of my experience and maybe save you from potential hiccups going forward.
First off get quotes. More than one. That was my first mistake. I thought I was clear and concise on what I wanted and used someone that was recommended. Having multiple quotes can prepare you for your renovating budget. Even once you have determined your budget, leave a cushion for changes and other expenditures that you didn’t account for. Until my old tub was taken out and the plumbers came on site, we didn’t account for the drain needing diversion. Diversion=labour=cost.
Read your strata bylaws to know exactly what your strata expects in terms of permits, plans and execution. My strata gave me approval based on an explanation of what I wanted to do and the quote for the work. I was given an approval with 90 days to complete the project. What my strata didn’t prepare me for was that they required a day or two notice to put padding up in the elevator so the trades can bring their tools up and down. That cost us a one day delay. Also find out the easiest method to contact the strata as sometimes that can cause delays as well. My strata also wanted to know in advance, when excessive noise would be made, so that a construction sign could be posted. Know what days and hours you are allowed to work. Most stratas only allow work Mon-Sat from 8am-5pm
Have a clear timeline with your contractor. Sometimes I am a little too nice and this project seemed to drag on forever. It was dusty, dirty and noisy for almost 5 weeks. And our family of four also had to navigate the use of only one washroom. It wouldn’t be so bad, except we have a teenager. Ask your contractor how many other jobs they have on the go, as I felt like my job was always the bottom priority. And ask for updates along the way. My renovations ended up going way over budget due to some lack of communication and I feel that could have been prevented from the start. Have your contractor get you to approve any significant financial changes along the way, in writing, so that there is no confusion.
In terms of timeline, also source out your products and finishings ahead of time. I had tons of pins saved and knew what I was looking for. I used an online store for my vanities and emailed them ahead of time to get their advice on when to order them so I wouldn’t have to store them forever. For tiles, I went to Fontile on Terminal and had a great experience. My salesperson, Pia read my mind and worked with me to execute the style of tile and the amount we needed. We calculated it to be the precise amount. Always aim to buy a few extra boxes, in case you buy a tile that runs out of stock, you don’t want your project put on hold while you wait for tiles.
Overall, I would definitely do it again, but a lot different. And I would probably want to be away so I don’t have to live through the dust, noise and chaos again.

Tina Pang | The Ruth & David Group | [email protected] | 604-782-2083

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