Custom Home Building FAQ, from pricing to permits | Horizon Pacific Contracting
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Popular Questions

Here are some answers to the questions we commonly get asked. Got a question that isn't answered here? Let us know.

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1) Why do I need a permit?

The building permit is for you, not your contractor. Building permits and inspections protect you from inexperienced or unethical contractors that can cost you money down the road. Inspectors are your professional eyes and ears who are holding your contractor accountable to meet minimum requirements under the provincial building code. Without a building permit, you have no record or assurance of what has actually been done, which can have big financial implications when you try to claim insurance or resell your home. We coordinate the municipal permit and approvals process for all of our commercial and residential clients. And when we hit an obstacle (and we will), we’re skilled at efficiently navigating through it.

2) How do we get started?

Once you’re ready to talk about your construction project, you can call or email us. We’ll schedule a time to meet with you, and go over the entire process in detail. You’ll have a chance to ask as many questions as you like. A the end of this conversation, we’ll have the information required to give you a pre-commencement budget estimate.

3) How should I prepare for our first meeting or phone conversation?

Our first conversation is purely exploratory. It’s less about the details than it is about the big picture. Some people come to us with plans already drawn and a building site selected; others have concepts in their heads, but no details worked out. We’ll walk you through the process of turning an idea into reality. Our goal is to find out more about what you want, and make suggestions about options you’ll want to consider and why. We will also answer your questions about materials, fixtures, installation methods and the construction process.

4) Do I need a designer or architect before talking to you?

No. We encourage our clients to contact us as early as possible in the planning process to keep the budget grounded in reality. As builders, our goal is to match your vision, values and tastes with the desired outcome. If you don’t want a 10,000 sq ft home, you shouldn’t get one. Some people will seek out a designer because of their signature style but will have little idea of what that style will cost. Having built many different types of homes, we can help you build a more accurate budget before you commit to a design path. Once the cost is clear, we can then connect you with a designer that is an expert in the type of home you want to build. Doing this saves a lot of heartache and headaches down the road.

5) What is my custom home, renovation or commercial project going to cost?

To figure out the initial cost, we develop what’s called a pre-commencement budget. This budget takes the time to factor in all the variables involved in your specific project, guiding you through the design phase, assisting you with making material selections, and controling the cost of consultants. It is the most valuable tool you can have in the building process.

6) What is the financial feasibility of my project?

You may have a concept or idea and heard industry standard quotes ranging from $100 to $500 per square foot. The truth is all projects have different prices. The sooner you meet with us, the sooner we can help de-mystify the financial feasibility of your project.

7) How do you recommend selecting a designer?

We live and work in Victoria and have worked with many of the most talented designers and architects in our community. Our ability to match you with the right personality, project type, and budget is a key to success.

8) How do I know if I have the right designer?

You will know if you have the right designer if you are meshing with them. Conversely, you will know when you do not have the right match if you are fighting the design all the way through the building phase. The right designer is the person who has the time and attention to devote to your project and is available during the building phase.

9) I'm from out of town. Why should I hire you?

We can give you some critical perspective on the local market. We’ll also introduce you to a network of professionals who can impartially answer your questions. We have administrative and accounting systems in place specifically designed to help out-of-town clients as well as camera technology that allows you to see real-time updates of the site as it is built. Get in touch.

10) Why should I hire a licensed builder for my renovation?

Licensed builders are required by law to honour building warranties – this is your protection in the event a product, material or service fails within the warranty period. You have recourse through the Homeowner Protection office, a government agency, and there is a historical record of past performance violations. Yet none of these protections are available to you for a renovation. By hiring a licensed builder for a renovation, you know you are getting a reputable company that stands behind its work.

11) How long is my project going to take?

Your project length will be determined by its scope. We fully schedule every project before building, so you’ll know exactly how long each phase will take, and be able to track progress with our monthly reporting. If changes need to happen, you will be made aware well in advance.

12) What type of contracts do you offer?

We are adaptable. About half of our projects are based on time and materials and half are based on fixed bid. The truth is that your contract should reflect your wishes, not your contractor’s.

13) Are you a green builder?

Green building is in our DNA. All of our projects, green or otherwise, take advantage of green building techniques that have little or no extra cost to you.

14) How will the new 2012 building code affect my renovation?

The 2012 building code is a major improvement over the 2006 code, especially in the areas of energy efficiency and seismic design. Why is this important? If you’re doing a renovation, the 2012 code is relevant to anything you change. Choosing how you structure your renovation and what you remove, can have major cost implications. We know the code changes intimately. Working with us at the concept phase of your renovation will ensure you make smart, budget-conscious decisions from the get-go. And help avoid costly surprises later on.

15) How do you deal with Asbestos?

Asbestos is being taken very seriously by Victoria’s municipal inspectors and WorksafeBC. No licensed contractor can perform work on your home unless it has been tested for Asbestos. That makes understanding what materials were used in the construction of your older home more important than ever before. We have the in-house expertise and equipment to handle asbestos remediation on a small scale but we subcontract out larger jobs. Regardless of the size or complexity of the job, we will always make sure you have a clear understanding of the options (including not removing the Asbestos) that you face well in advance of the work being done.

16) Can I change something once the project is started?

Yes. It simply requires a change order request.

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