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Protect yourself when hiring a contractor

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

When you are looking for the right renovator to hire for your next project, be sure to ask them about their safety procedures.

The leaves have changed and colder weather is setting in. It’s that time of year when we say goodbye to summer and focus on planning our home maintenance and renovation projects for the fall and early winter.

For those of you looking at doing home renovations this fall, whether minor jobs or major projects, you should understand some key information that can help the job go much smoother and protect you as a homeowner.

Most people aren’t aware that when a renovation project begins in their home, technically it becomes a construction site and workplace for those who are doing the renovation work in your home. Manitoba Home Builders’ Association (MHBA) renovator members take this very seriously.

In addition to always providing a written contract and offering a minimum two-year warranty on all of their work, MHBA RenoMark renovators will take out all the appropriate permits and licences required for the project. This is your best insurance to ensure that your renovator, not you, is responsible for any problems encountered during or after the work is completed.

Homeowners who don’t ensure the renovator takes out the appropriate permits take on all liability regarding the project. If the permit is in your name, or you don’t have one, you become the prime contractor by default. If someone gets hurt as a result of working on your property, you — not the contractor you hired — are responsible. This is a significant risk many homeowners are unaware of.

Through the Get it in Writing! national public awareness campaign, MHBA renovators are helping to inform consumers on how to best protect themselves when hiring a contractor for renovations. Part of that greater awareness is for homeowners to know to ask a potential renovator contractor how they will do the job safely.

The Construction Safety Association of Manitoba (CSAM) has partnered with the MHBA to develop a specific safety training program for home renovators to promote and achieve greater safety results for renovators. This new program will be launched at the MHBA Housing Forum on Nov. 8, and will be available for renovators and their employees to take following this initial launch.

The MHBA is very excited to provide this training tool to our members to help ensure they are working in a safe work environment. The training program outlines health and safety roles and responsibilities, how to do proper hazard assessments and how to implement proper safety practices and procedures while working on renovation projects. The goal of this program is to help MHBA renovators improve safety on their work sites and keep our members up to date on the latest in safety procedures and best practices.

When you are looking for the right renovator to hire for your next project, be sure to ask them about their safety procedures. It’s important that you know your renovator and their staff will be working in a safe way when they are in your home or on your property.

Protect yourself and your investment by asking the right questions ahead of time and by hiring a contractor that will do the job professionally and safely.

Lanny McInnes is president of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association.

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