How To Hire The Right Team For Your Home Renovation

Who Should You Hire For Your Home Renovation?

When looking to hire contractors or tradespeople it's important to do your research and understand who you need to hire for your home renovation project. For example, what is the role of a project manager? Should you hire a general contractor or can you do it yourself? Do you need to file for permits and is it your job or the contractor's to do that?


Amazing Basement Apartment Renovation Project by Moose Group

Basement renovation completed by Moose Group, Unit 113


Here is a guide on hiring the right team for your home renovation and planning your home reno project before you get started.


What is the Role of the Project Manager in a Construction Project?

The project manager is the key person in your renovation or construction project as the professional who leads and oversees all activities and delegates. They will make sure the time frame is in order and they take care of your designs. They keep the WHOLE project in mind. 




Why Do I Need a Project Manager? Why Can't I Do It Myself?

The project manager on a job site is your best friend.  It's the person who you can come and address all your questions, needs and concerns. They are the person who is always in your corner who makes sure that the quality and the delivery of your project is on time and who will be there for you to make sure that the tradesmen is doing their job 100%. 


Kitchen Renovation Specialists in Toronto

Kitchen renovation completed by Moose Group, Unit 113


Would it be better to have your own general contractor or a contractor that's affiliated with the company that's doing the renovation?

I've been in an industry since I was very, very young and I think it's best to hire a company that will manage design and take your project from A to Z. This way you can ensure you only have one person responsible and it's easier to to hold them  accountable. 


Let's put it this way.  A general contractor will hire all your trades or bring their own, which is usually the case because they have companies they work with on a daily basis and they trust them. That's why I think it's best to hire GC versus trying to manage the project yourself. 


Amazing Condo Bathroom Refacing Project

Bathroom renovation completed by Moose Group, Unit 113


What’s The Difference Between General Contractors and a Regular Contractor?

A regular contractor (which in our industry is called subcontractor) is a person or a company that has specific skills. Let's say electricians or plumbers, and they do only one thing day to day only that versus the general contractor is the company or a person right that takes care of all the business aspects of the project or working with architects and designers and making sure that the project flows. So this is the difference between hiring someone who does the actual job with their hands or just doing one trade. 


Usually the subcontractors are very, very good in what they do but they usually don't have enough skill or a skill set to oversee and see the final picture of the whole project so they do their one thing and they leave right away. And let's be honest they don't really care about the next trade that comes in after them they do it because they're done. 


Condo Renovation and Interior Design Project in Toronto

Condo renovation completed by Moose Group, Unit 113


If you don't have a GC who manages the whole project you're left with what they left and you have to think how to make it work so this is the difference between general contractor and subs.




Do I need the permit for my project? What kind of permits are there and should I apply for one?

There are several types of permits you can apply for:

  • If you would like to construct and build over 10 square feet or enlarge your property more than 10 square foot you have to apply for a building permit.

  • If you would like to do any renovation or repairs to the building which includes structural changes you must apply for the building permit.

  •  If you would like to excavate or construct the foundation or change the use of your building (from let's say commercial to residential vice versa or split it from single house to duplex) you must apply for a permit.

  • If you like to construct a seasonal building as well and decks at this point, you must apply for the permit as well.


Building permits allow us to do the stuff we need. We have to submit those drawings and our intentions to the city to get to get feedback if the renovations are allowed or not. Then we proceed with the renovations.


Custom home completed by Moose Group, Unit 113


What Other Permits Other Than Building Permit Will I Need To Apply For? 

There are also permits that are dedicated to each and every aspect of the project, for example electrical and plumbing permits. It doesn't matter what renovation you do, if you're adding one light or you're adding 10 pot lights we will still encourage you to get the permit. I’m not talking about the building permit but the ESA permit. This is with the Electrical Safety Authority. Your electrician should be a master electrician and they will apply for the permit for you. This way they know that the job was done right. They'll send an inspector and you have a peace of mind for you and for your insurance companies as well. 


Is There A Specific Permit for Condos?

We have a division in our company that deals strictly with condos. Condo Renos are tricky business. First of all, for any renovation inside the property even though you don't do any structural changes, you must apply for the permit. But you apply not with the city of Toronto or  which city you might be in,  you apply with your management company so you have to submit your intentions with drawings and all the specification of the project to the management company so the management company can give you a go ahead right away or they can tell you that they would like to present it to the Board. 


Condo renovation completed by Moose Group, Unit 113

Condo renovation completed by Moose Group, Unit 113


The Board can have a meeting with everyone in three months so there is a time frame for you to get the permission from them. However if you want to change anything structural or add or delete any Plumbing points in your condo, you would have to go for the building permit with the city and after you receive that permit you would have to submit that to your Management Corporation and they still can tell you no if the city gives you a go ahead but your board decided that they don't like that and they don't want you to do these changes to the building. They can tell you no. So the last word is always with a management company and a Board of Directors.  




Do I Need A Building Permit If I am Just Doing Electrical?

 If you are only doing electrical work, you don’t need a building permit. ESA is sufficient. If you are doing renovations, you must apply for the building permit. If your renovation is not vast (meaning you're not moving walls), that will go through the fast track and will only take 10 business days for you to do the permit so it's not a huge hassle. 


You can apply for permits through the city as the homeowner yourself.


Does ESA Only deal With Electrical?

Yes, the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) deals only with electrical and your electrician or a company providing an electrical contractor. You should let them know right away that you need to open a permit, they will open it using your name and address and you'll have your permit number. 


Find A Licensed Electrical Contractor In Your Area At


There are two inspections, roughing and finishings, that you must undertake in terms of getting this all wrapped up properly. Ask your electrical contractor to do it for you unless you're doing work yourself in your house then you can call the Electrical Safety Authority and they will guide you through the process but I encourage you to hire an electrician to do professional work.




Do I Need a Special Assessment for Plumbing?

If you're doing the renovation project and the plumbing is part of your building permit, the City will send a separate inspector to check on your plumbing so you'll have a structural inspector checking on structural work and then plumbing inspector will come and assess your plan and work.


RELATED: Nine Jobs To Leave to the Pros




If I Am NOT Doing Any Structural Work, Just Plumbing, Do I Still Need a Permit?

 This is tricky. If you're not adding any new Plumbing points you're just doing, let's say rearrangement of existing or changing a faucet, just hire a professional plumbing company and that would be enough. If you want to add a washroom in a building where there is no washroom then you still need to apply for a building permit. 




Your Home Renovation Team – Who to Hire and When?


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