Frequently Asked Questions

In our 25+ years of builder experience in the Ottawa area, we get a lot of questions from our customers. Questions are good! You should ask a lot of them, and we are always happy to provide clear answers.

When and how do I pay?

The payment schedule is defined as part of the Construction Service Agreement and is linked to the initiation of certain build activities. We prefer to tie customer payments to our build activities rather than dates because this ensures the customer is paying for build progress and not the passing of time. Generally, a payment schedule looks like this:

  1. Design Contract (may include three payments)
  2. Construction Deposit
  3. 1st Day of Construction
  4. Milestone(s) based upon build activities
  5. Substantial Completion
  6. Final Completion

What questions should I be asking my builder?

Some of the best questions to ask a builder directly are:

  • “How long have you been in business?”
  • "My project is complex, have you ever completed a project like mine? If so, tell me about it."
  • "Who is doing the work (company employees or subcontractors)? "
  • "What is your warranty package? What is included? What is excluded? "
  • “What is your insurance coverage? ”

When and how can I make changes?

Changes and revisions are ideally made during the design and estimation process. Prior to construction, our project managers and interior designers thoroughly walk you through each detail and decision to avoid any confusion.

However, there are some circumstances where changes are required during construction. Our project managers will clearly explain those changes to ensure you understand the whys and hows.

Do have in-house employees or do you hire subcontractors?

Design-build firms come in many shapes and sizes with variations of employees and subcontractors. It is essential to get the right mix of talent to manage a project from concept to completion successfully.

Ottawa Builders’ in-house team consists of sales, design, project management, administration and general construction resources. Specific areas of construction require specialists who are dedicated to a single trade only. We carefully vet subcontractors to fill singular portions of work — for example, certified electricians, plumbers and HVAC specialists.

What is the Homeowner's Peace of Mind?

Ottawa Builders understands first hand that construction can cause significant disruptions for you and your family.

We know that you're looking not only for quality workmanship but for a feeling of comfort that we're doing the job right and that the construction will be completed on time.

That's why Ottawa Builders has the Homeowner's Peace of Mind system. You can find out more about it here.

What is a Change Order?

A change order is a written statement signed by the customer authorizing the contractor to do additional work that was not included in the initial Scope of Work.

When your contractor comes across any unforeseen damages or problems, a change order informing you of the problem/damage, cost involved to repair, and schedule extension is shared via our own cloud portal.

Once you approve the changes, the invoice is modified and is added to the payment schedule.

What is a customer cost allowance?

A customer cost allowance is a dollar value built into a construction estimate related to a specific product or service that has yet to have its final cost determined. The allowance sum is included in the scope of work to provide our clients with an accurate understanding of the overall project investment.

During the design phase, Ottawa builders will assist our clients in making final selections for their allowances. Whether a big-ticket item, like kitchen cabinetry, or something as simple as bathroom faucets, Ottawa Builders always provides our clients with a detailed scope of work that includes cost allowances which afford the flexibility of choosing what they prefer, at a price they prefer.

How close do you stay within the construction timeline?

Renovations can throw curveballs - due to unforeseen circumstances (i.e. carpenter ants, water damage, etc.) unexpected delays can occur in construction timelines.

Every project Ottawa Builders undertakes has a clearly defined construction timeline. We plan as thoughtfully as possible to ensure that the construction schedule is investigated correctly to limit the likelihood of unanticipated changes. We pride ourselves on closely following our timelines, and if issues arise, we keep our clients up to date on all matters related to project changes. Ottawa Builders has the experienced and professional staff needed to stay on task.