Saskatoon protecting homeowners with professional renovator certification
By Saskatoon and Region Home Builders’ Association
By Saskatoon and Region Home Builders’ Association
The Saskatoon and Region Home Builders’ Association publicly launched a new certification program for professional renovators at a signing ceremony on Aug. 28. The ceremony was attended by SRHBA CEO Chris Guérette and Saskatchewan New Home Warranty CEO John Kozole.
The Certified Professional RenoMark Renovator designation is the first certification of its kind in Canada. It builds on the success of the nationally recognized RenoMark brand by adding additional mandatory requirements for professionals engaged in residential renovation or retrofitting activity, with the goal of raising the bar and ensuring consumers are protected from underqualified and unscrupulous contractors.
In addition to meeting the requirements of professional membership with the Saskatoon and Region Home Builders’ Association, certified renovators will be required to successfully complete mandatory education courses, demonstrate a commitment to workplace safety by completing a comprehensive safety course, obtain third-party warranty coverage for their work, and commit to a Code of Ethics tied to a professional complaints process similar to what other credible and trusted professional industries offer.
“This designation, the first of its kind for renovation professionals, mirrors the success of the Certified Professional Home Builder designation. It also furthers the Association’s goal to elevate standards in the residential construction industry and educate consumers on the benefits of choosing a certified professional to renovate or build the largest investment most people will ever make – their home” says Guérette.
A critical aspect of the CPRR designation is the requirement to provide a third-party warranty for all projects over $20,000 in value. Of the warranty requirement, John Kozole, comments “Renovating your home is a major investment. Our warranty program provides a backstop for CPRR professionals so that homeowners can have the confidence their work will be completed to a high standard.”
Deposits are also protected by the program. “If every renovation job was protected by a third-party warranty, horror stories of substandard and incomplete work, or contractors skipping town with deposits, would be a thing of the past” added Kozole.
The desire to institute a certification program for renovators originated from the Association’s renovator professionals. “As renovators, we see the negative impact of underqualified contractors not only on homeowners, but also on the reputation of our entire industry.” Says Michael Shaw, Leader of Operations at Centennial Kitchen & Bath and a CPRR. “The CPRR designation is the culmination of a grassroots initiative to bring much needed minimum standards to the renovation industry.”
The introduction of a professional designation for renovators comes at a critical time for protecting consumers in our region. “With higher renovation activity during the pandemic comes an increased risk to homeowners in the form of substandard work and fly-by-night contractors taking advantage of the favourable market conditions,” adds Guérette. “We want to ensure consumers continue to be protected from itinerant contractors looking to make a quick buck, putting homeowners at risk.”
The Low Emissions Community Plan endorsed by City of Saskatoon Council in 2019 establishes a framework to, among other initiatives, incentivize retrofits that enhance the efficiency and comfort of existing homes in the City. The SRHBA, in partnership with the City of Saskatoon, have spearheaded the Retrofit Roundtable to begin conversations with stakeholders on how to see the most success from any potential incentives.
“With exciting renovation incentive programs for homeowners in the pipeline, we are forecasting that minimum standards for renovators will become even more vital to protecting homeowners in the coming years” continues Guérette. “The Association pushed for minimum standards for builders purchasing lots from the City of Saskatoon, which resulted in the Eligible Contractor Program, and we will be advocating for minimum standards for renovators conducting work under future municipal incentives as well. It is particularly important the City, as a government, does not allow the underground economy to flourish and does everything it can to mitigate the risks for homeowners. We certainly will do our part and we are thrilled to have partners such as the SNHW to help us do that.”
The SRHBA currently has over 60 certified renovators upgrading their standards during a phase-in period which will conclude on October 31, 2020. At that point, Saskatoon & region homeowners will have many certified renovators to choose from for their next renovation project, giving them the confidence they have chosen a company that meets the highest standard for a renovation professional in Canada. Renovators interested in enhancing their skills and becoming certified can contact the SRHBA to inquire about tuition rates, benefits and services.