Frequently Asked Questions
What do you mean by problem solving?It’s pretty basic really. Think about issues in your current home – a poorly functioning kitchen, low ceilings, perpetually leaky basement, no access to the back yard, past renovations that have weakened the structure.
But honestly, I can’t think of a single project we’ve undertaken that didn’t have some challenge or another. Because we use an Integrated Design approach we look at all the potential problems right from the beginning, rather than dealing with them as they arise. This makes the process easier – and less expensive.
What can I expect to spend?A lot depends on the site conditions, location in the city (for example, some areas are more prone to termites, or to moisture), type of finishes, how much protection for trees, or the sidewalk you might need, what the street parking is like, how many vehicle permits are needed.
Generally speaking, though, our projects range from $.5million to $1.5million. We provide a detailed budget that includes everything from tile setter, electrician, plumber, framer, drywaller to permit and licencing fees and applicable taxes and beyond.
Are you able to give ballpark estimates so that I can figure out the range of possibilities before asking you for a detailed estimate?A typical Kinswater project costs +/- $250.00 per square foot.
Will you provide me some less expensive alternatives and tell me the pros and cons of each approach to budget? Where can I save money?Absolutely. This is part of the Integrated Design process.
What kind of warranty do you provide?Kinswater provides a one-year comprehensive warranty for the project. All supplier/manufacturer’s extended warranties are transferred to the client.
I consider my project managers, Graydon Hall, Darren Ludwikowski, the rest of the Kinswater team, plus my tradespeople, to be working supervisors having a vested interest in the outcome of the whole project, not just their part. I only utilize people who are as passionate and diligent about the job as I am and who have developed their own set of exacting standards.
Collaboration with the Architect, Engineer(s), Skilled Trades, Building Science specialists (when required) plus the use of quality materials results in a long lasting worry free home.
How long will it take?Once we establish the renovation plan, we can calculate the days needed for various trades. We map out the sequence with a visual timeline organizer, called Smart Draw, so that the homeowner, as well as the trades, the designer/architect, and the project manager all have a very clear picture of what will happen and when.
We aim to organize the work schedule so that tradespeople can do their work efficiently with minimal interruption – it ends up costing extra when too many tradespeople are on site trying to work around each other. We also build in some contingency time. This covers incidentals like the building inspector taking longer to get there, orders from manufacturers not being processed fast enough, or a tile being selected that is discovered to be out of stock. We try to anticipate these but no one has crystal ball.
Generally speaking, a bungalow top-up takes about 6 to 8 months depending on the scope of work. A multi-storey renovation/addition will take 10 to 12 months. Opening up a main floor of a two/three storey home (removing walls and installing support beams) and finishes will take 3 to 5 months, again depending on the details.
We aim to keep the renovation and construction moving along and on time by not juggling more homes than we can handle.
Do you gather the team of architect & designers, or do I?We are able to connect you with one of our many architects and/or designers. We can also work with the homeowner’s team should they already be in place.
When you say energy efficiency, what do you mean?We tackle energy efficiency at any point on the green spectrum you’re interested in. Our basic renovation structure includes maximizing R-values, accomplished through the installation of high quality Roxul batt and Walltite closed-cell foam insulation, energy efficient windows, high efficiency HVAC systems. But we’re also fully equipped to go the green spectrum from installing low-volume showers and toilets all the way to greywater management, geothermal heating and cooling, photovoltaic panels and solar heating.
What is your background?I am director of Kinswater and have been in the construction industry since 1988. I’ve worked on large commercial projects such as Hospital for Sick Children. I’ve also worked in post-and-beam log construction, apprenticed with a master cabinetmaker, ran a successful millwork and trim carpentry business, and worked with a prominent design/build firm in a wide variety of roles over his 15 years with them.
Throughout my career, I’ve seen some very good practices and some very bad ones. When I launched Kinswater in 2009, one thing drove my vision: Do Things Right. That means filing the right paperwork with the appropriate government agencies, having all the health and safety standards in place, creating a transparent project costing and progress tracking model, including written contracts, open book spreadsheets, progress site reports and paying taxes.
“People laughed and told me I wouldn’t be in business longer than six months if I followed the rules,” And here I am seven years later and doing just fine.”
What range of projects do you take on?We do comprehensive renovation projects – bungalow top-ups, for example, multi-storey additions, creating entirely new spaces within existing structures and tackling complicated structure alterations. We can take on small area projects when our schedule permits; an interior design update for example: new kitchen, with updated floor finishes, new trim and paint. We also continue to provide service all of our previous clients with service & maintenance programs.
Our ideal project is to take an existing building, strip it clean right down to the brick, raise the floor assembly for greater basement height or underpin, put in all new services and framing. Basically creating a new home within an outer shell.