As a general contractor, you will get exposed to a variety of renovation types and eventually will find your area of expertise. While some renovation projects can be lucrative and provide you with the opportunity to showcase your skills and expertise, others can be a source of stress and frustration. In this blog post, we will discuss the type of renovation projects that you should avoid as a general contractor IF you have limited experience.
1. Structural Renovations
Structural renovations can be complex and require specialized knowledge and skills. These projects can also be dangerous, as they involve altering the foundation or support structure of a building. Those types of renovations are usually very expensive as they require more mobilization, more stakeholders (architects, engineers) and careful work by the construction team. If you are not experienced in structural renovations, it is best to avoid these projects as any mistake made can be very costly for your company. It's best to refer the client to a professional who specializes in this area.
Remember that “a structural remodel refers to residential remodeling that involves fixing, changing, removing, or adding any load bearing elements. A load could either refer to weight or pressure. These elements could include posts, beams, columns, and of course, the home’s walls and foundation” according to Legal Eagle Contractors.
2. Historical Renovations
Historical renovations can be challenging and require specialized knowledge of building codes and preservation laws. These projects often require extensive research and attention to detail, which can be difficult for a general contractor who does not have experience in this area. If you are not comfortable working on historical renovations, it is best to decline these projects and refer the client to a professional who specializes in this area.
For instance, in California a historical renovation is defined as “a Development Project involving preservation of a historic resource listed on or eligible for listing on the California Register of Historical Resources, where such preservation follows the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring, and Reconstruction Historic Buildings or the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation and Guidelines for Rehabilitating Historic Buildings.”
3. Unpermitted Projects
Unpermitted projects can be illegal and can put you and your business at risk. These projects often involve work that does not comply with building codes and regulations, which can result in fines and legal issues. If a client requests an unpermitted project, it is best to decline and advise them to obtain the necessary permits and approvals before proceeding.
For example, in Toronto a Building Permit is your formal permission to begin the construction, demolition, addition or renovation on your property. As part of the Building Permit process, Toronto Building staff must review your plans to ensure they comply with the Ontario Building Code, local Zoning By-laws and other Applicable Law.
4. Projects with Unrealistic Budgets
Projects with unrealistic budgets can be frustrating and may not provide you with the financial compensation you deserve for your work. These projects often involve clients who are not willing to invest in the necessary materials or resources to complete the renovation, which can result in subpar work and dissatisfied clients. If you encounter a client with an unrealistic budget, it is best to decline the project and refer them to a professional who specializes in working with these types of clients.
In conclusion, while some renovation projects can be lucrative and provide you with the opportunity to showcase your skills and expertise, others can be a source of stress and frustration. By avoiding the types of renovation projects discussed in this blog post, you can protect your business and maintain a positive reputation as a general contractor. By focusing on projects that align with your expertise and resources, you can ensure that your business is successful and that your clients are satisfied with your work. As you acquire more experience, you'll be able to expand your offering.