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More Renovators offering 3D Design service

So you are planning to renovate your home and have a general idea of what you need but don’t really know what you want. Your friends have told you to make sure that you get a Design + Build firm to avoid problems, so you get a cup of hot java and start your search. You Google “Renovations Ottawa” and up pop 5 Renovators who claim they are providing design services. Good start but where do you go from here?

First off, I will say there are some very good Architects and Designers in this great City and we should be thankful they are contributing with their skillset right here in Ottawa. Renovation Designers that work in-house for a qualified Renovator… not so much. This is where you need to start looking at the details of what you are getting and from whom. Here is a list of a few important items to consider, there are many more;

  • Make sure the Renovation Company truly has an in-house Designer and not a part-time Designer shared by several firms or even worse a Designer Subcontracted out to the Renovator on a job by job basis. Being an integral part of the Renovation Company is a key factor, as it supports everything that is so important in the design-build process.
  • Does the Renovator provide a fixed price for the exact design at each stage of the brainstorming session in order to explore what-if scenarios and give you options? This rarely happens when you simply hire a Designer, who then price the project afterwards with several Renovators, by then it is too late.
  • A Renovator with several Designers on staff has the added advantage of allowing you to get a qualified Designer specialized towards your type of project and also ensures that a connection is kept with like-minded Homeowners matched with Designers rapport. At OakWood we have 8 Designers on staff and we match Designer to client for a great fit.
  • Are the Designers actually qualified? On a regular monthly basis OakWood gets clients that have already tried other Designers and claim that those Designers are not qualified. Many Renovators hire “low-cost bargain” or inexperienced Designers to save money, simply to allow them to say they too offer design service. Remember you get what you pay for. OakWood has only experienced and licensed Designers on staff, which are qualified and have BCIN, NKBA or LEED designation or other certificates and design and Architectural degrees. OakWood encourages and pays for additional schooling and skillset improvement which attracts the best Designers in Ottawa to the OakWood team.
  • Does the Renovator have a qualified Project Consultant that will work together with you and the Designer to ensure the best possible design is provided for your project budget? These Project Consultants continuously price the project to ensure that expectations are met throughout the design process – so that you stay on budget and there are no surprises at the end.
  • What type of software does the Renovator use? Does the software coordinate with other project management software to provide accurate pricing and detailed scope of work reports. Will the Renovator provide you with an over 70 page detailed scope of work report at the end of the design? At OakWood we even provide you with a software viewer so that you can walk through a 3D model of your renovation project in the comfort of your own home, all the while adding comments to the model and then sending it back by email to our Designer who will make the appropriate changes. Very cool.
  • Will the Renovator provide 3D views from any angle either inside or outside the new renovation project? Are the 3D views picture quality realistic views allowing you to see the finished project without even touching a nail?
  • Does the Renovator have a truly detailed material selection process that allows you to make material selections for every finish item in each room or area? Does the material selection process include levels of detail right down to the colour, finish, size, texture, brand, including a written description and picture of the material finish item, such as for example – light fixtures, sinks, trim, flooring etc.? Does the Renovator have a list of alternative products for each and every finish item in the scope of work including green products?
  • Does the Renovator have a professional environment to display and explain the design and to make the material selections, or are they working from a “room in the corner”? Does the Renovator have the resources to maintain a professional design team and material selection process or are they simply “winging it”? Do they use technologies such as CRMS software, Cloud based computing and iPads?
  • Does the Renovator have a qualified dedicated Estimator and Material Procurement Manager on staff to continuously provide accurate pricing and material availability updates to the Designer? Does the Renovator review the design with a Licenced Carpenter or Engineer to ensure what has been designed can actually be built? And yes, many Renovators will say they are not licensed or certified but are “just as good as being licenced” – Do not believe that and do not get caught up in that excuse game. This generally leads to other untruths.
  • Will the Renovator provide a low cost point of entry price for design service to provide you with a concept design for a specific build price? Will the renovator provide you with a discount incentive of 33% price of design cost back towards the build price?
  • How many renovations has the Renovator actually designed and received building permits for? If they only have a hundred then obviously a firm with over 1000 has many more ideas and experience with successful projects under their belt.
  • There are many more considerations that we will be happy to discuss with you. See what I mean by clicking here to view true 3D Design Service.

The bottom line is that you need to do your homework. Design is not always equal to Design in this industry. OakWood was one of the first Renovators in Ottawa to provide a comprehensive 3D Design service and over the years we have fine-tuned and refined the process. It was not always pretty in the early years and applying new home or commercial design skill-sets to Home Renovations simply does not work. A skilled renovation Designer needs experience in structural engineering to address load bearing issues, old building method experience, kitchen and bathroom cabinet design expertise, space planning and interior & exterior residential design experience.

Many will make claims – only a select few will have the “right stuff”. Be careful; ask the right questions and research the Renovator. A qualified Renovator will always have certification, licences, credentials and awards to back them up as well as belong to the right affiliations. You would not consider having a tooth filled from an unlicensed or unqualified Dentist but many Homeowners entrust their home and all of their treasure to unqualified Renovators.

Look closer than simply taking anyone’s word for it. A successful design is the key to a successful renovation project.