For many homeowners, building a laneway suite is their very first venture into a full-scale construction project. Constructing a building may be straight-forward to developers, landlords or seasoned renovators, but for the average person, beginning this undertaking can be a daunting task. Where should you start? How much should it cost? How long should it take? Who should you work with?
In any construction project, the finished product is only as good as the team behind it. We all seem to know someone who has a nightmare experience of delayed schedules, cost overruns and service providers that over-promise and under-deliver. Particularly with Laneway Housing, the ultimate key to a successful project lies in diligent planning with capable experienced professionals.
We at Lanescape know how difficult it can be to find builders, architects, engineers, real estate agents, and other key team members. Here are three keys to finding consultants that will go along way toward your project’s smooth completion:
- Speak to Multiple Candidates:
Reach out to at least three different companies before signing on a consultant or contractor. It is extremely important to understand their qualifications, approach, pricing and what sets them apart from other candidates. Beyond the tangible factors of pricing and availability, personality is also important in choosing who you work with. Ensuring you and the consultant have aligned interests, goals, and visions will make for a smooth process and reinforce trust in the decisions being made along the way.
- Take Advantage of Free Information:
Many consultants and contractors offer no-obligation proposals, estimates, or advice. When soliciting preliminary information, be transparent that you are exploring options and have yet to make a decision on who to work with. A reputable service provider will be confident in their ability and will not mind competing for your business. The information you receive will be indicative of the candidates’ motivation, knowledge of the project, and attention to detail while helping you learn the risks and opportunities of your unique project. Our team, for example, provides Free Property Reviews to determine if your property is eligible for a laneway suite, identify any challenges and determine an approximate buildable area specific to your lot.
- Check References and Reviews:
Referrals are everything in construction. Speaking to current and former clients is an invaluable tool in ensuring your ideal candidate can complete a project while maintaining a positive relationship until the keys are handed over. Just like if you were hiring an employee, you want to ensure the contacts are recent, relevant, and unbiased. We suggest supplementing the references by looking through online reviews and visiting their active and completed projects. While some may be partial and should be taken with a grain of salt, the more information you can gather, the better.
These fundamentals can be applied in your search for project managers, architects, contractors and real estate agents. Research is free, and being prepared with the right questions will ensure peace of mind, and instill confidence in your project team from the outset.
Even the smallest project carries with it a lot of uncertainty. Laneway suites, despite their small scale, are no exception to this rule, so it is particularly critical to make sure you are working with experienced professionals that understand the by-laws, policies and intricacies of this new typology.
At Lanescape, we act as our clients’ lead consultant, bringing together professionals we know and trust. We are also here to advocate for homeowners and assist our fellow laneway enthusiasts. Let us know if we can help strengthen your project team.