Renovating a house advice

Safety tips for home renovation

Occupational Health and Safety does not have regulations for the homeowner doing his own renovations. You will have to follow your municipal by-laws and get a permit for certain types of work. The contractor who comes into your home will be governed by provincial safety regulations.

Here are some basic safety rules that you should consider to help prevent injury and reduce the likelihood of a claim occurring. Your particular job might have elements that have not been considered here. Do take all precautions possible to protect yourself as you tackle your home renovation project.

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) should be considered. This would include safety glasses, gloves, hearing protection (either ear muffs or ear plugs). hard hat (if there is work going on above you), and steel-toed shoes (if there is a chance of getting your feet crushed).
  • Anytime you are working near an edge within 6' you should have some kind of protection. If you are working on a roof you are safer to do it from a ladder when you get near the edge of the roof. Professional roofers have fall protection equipment that you will not have available. Do consider the risk when taking on the job of replacing your roof.
  • Tool inspection - inspect all your power tools before you use them. Make sure any blades are in good shape, not bent or cracked. Make sure that any safety features are in place and that they are working. Any cords that are sparking should be discarded or repaired. Hand tools shouldn't be used if they are broken or defective. A crack on the handle of a screwdriver can be dangerous when it slips and flies back at your face.
  • Ladders should be inspected. Do not use a ladder with cracked or broken rungs. Do not work from the top two steps of any ladder. Make sure the ladder is placed solidly, Do not prop up with a rock to make it even. The ladder needs to be on solid footing. Make sure a ladder is on an angle of about 3/1 ratio so it will not fall over or slide down the wall.
  • Lifting is a terrible risk - it is important that you consciously lift with your back straight and bend your legs. Do not twist with a load in your hands. Always first turn your feet and then set down the load.
  • Be aware of utilities, including underground water lines, overhead power lines, gas lines underneath. Take the time to always locate any utilities before hand.
  • Plan the work. Look at the task and think about the steps to complete the job. Have the correct tools for the correct job. Look for the best location for setting up your power tools and be aware of the where the extension cords will be placed.
  • If you are using a floor treatment be sure to have proper ventilation. Some treatments are flammable and you should consult with a flooring expert as to the correct safety methods to use.
  • Clean up your scrap as you create it. The second leading cause of lost time injuries on all construction sites is "trip fall". This is caused by either scrap and waste or extension cords. Keep the waste out of the areas you are going to be working in at that time. If you cannot completely remove it from the location you are working in then move it away so you are not constantly stepping around it or over it.

Home renovation and insurance

Are you doing a home renovation? Is it covered by insurance?

Insurance usually responds to a repair. Something has to have damaged your home. Some claims examples include everything from a tree hitting the house, hail or wind ripping off shingles, sidings and eavestroughing, a skunk getting into the basement and letting loose noxious odours, paint spilled on carpeting to fire or smoke damage.

When you do have a claim then it is regarded as restoration and not renovation. The insurance company claims adjuster may recommend the contractors and has determined just what work needs to be done to get back to where you were just before the loss occurred. You may choose at that point to better your property and do a bit more. This is above and beyond the claim and so is at your own cost.

All of this being said, if you find that you have damage to your flooring and it might be because of a discharge of water from the dishwasher then contact your insurer. Sometimes there is insurance funding where you might not have expected it. If you purchased a Comprehensive form then most damage is covered unless it is listed in the exclusions. At very least an appraiser will come out and look at your situation and give you some expert advice.

If your home renovation is a straight-up improvement to your property then you need to be sure to do a few things in regards to homeowner insurance. This applies if you are a condominium unit owner as well as your contents coverage limit includes improvements and betterment.

  • Contact your agent or broker and let them know what you are doing. They will want to know the extent of the renovation and how long you expect to take. Your policy will be noted that permission has been given to complete renovations. There is no charge for this notation and it keeps you up-to-date. You have an obligation to let the insurer know when your situation changes.
  • One of the concerns with doing renovations is that you can create an "attractive nuisance". A big pile of lumber may draw the attention of small children who want to climb it and possibly fall off and break an arm. You can try to keep them away but you cannot totally control the behaviour of children. If you have notified your insurer then if a claim like this did occur you would need to show that you did what any person reasonably would have done in the same circumstances.
  • You should have an idea of the cost for the renovations. This is the cost of a contractor doing the whole job. Some insurance companies now require that the value of the dwelling be amended for renovations done even if it is prior to renewal of the policy. Some companies will take away the guarantee of replacement value endorsement if you fail to do so within a certain time period - 30 or 60 days.
  • If you are using contractors for the work then you need to ask for proof of insurance. Be aware that an insurance certificate is valid the day you receive it. If that contractor turned around the canceled their insurance the next day you would have no way of knowing this. So ask around and try to find someone you know has a good track record.
  • The insurers look at these basics - roof, wiring, plumbing and heating as part of whether or not a home gets a preferred or standard price. If you are putting on a new roof, installing new plumbing or heating or updating the wiring in you home then you might improve the rating given to your home and save some money on insurance. It is particularly important to have your file noted about that roof replacement so when the hail claim does happen there is a clear record as to the age of the shingles/shakes.
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