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CRC: Looking Out for Renovators...and Homeowners

By Don Johnston

When he became the chair of the Canadian Home Builders' Association (CHBA) Canadian Renovators' Council almost two years ago, LOU FRUSTAGLIO's goal was to inform renovator members about the Council and seek their advice on how it could better respond to their needs. Frustaglio, president of DreamBuilders, a Toronto renovation company, believes passionately in the Council's role in sharing experience for the betterment of the industry. Now that the end of his term is in sight, he has much to be proud of.
Last year, the Council developed a guide on Supplementary Clauses for Renovation Contracts believing that no one benefits from a lack of clarity about what to do when unforeseen things happen on a job. A copy was mailed to every CHBA renovator member, accompanied by a letter from Frustaglio that invited comments not only on the guide but on what other ways the Council could help them succeed.
The Supplementary Clauses guide was a huge success and comments from renovator members have been very positive. Typical of the responses received, one member wrote: "I will be implementing some of the clauses into my contracts. I perceive value in my membership fees when I get information like this. Good work!"
The Council has now prepared a Guide to Residential Renovation Contracts that is being sent to all renovator members. Together, the two documents provide a valuable source of information, not only for renovators starting out but also for experienced veterans who could review their own contracts in light of the ideas and suggestions compiled by the Council. Again, comments and suggestions for improvements are being sought from members.
Both documents can be downloaded from the CRC Web site, which has been greatly enhanced in recent months. Members can access the site in the members' area of www.chba.ca under "Committees", where they will also find a lot of other valuable information. 
There has been great progress over the past year on growing RenoMark(tm). At a recent CRC meeting, CHBA-Alberta discussed its successful experience with RenoMark, which has expanded its renovator membership and given suppliers and manufacturers a focus for supporting the renovation sector. Renovator BOB SCHULZ of The Renovation Corporation in Edmonton told the CRC that since he joined RenoMark his phone "has hardly stopped ringing with leads."  
The latest addition to the RenoMark family is the Greater Vancouver HBA. CRC vice-chair and current GVHBA President JOHN FRISWELL noted that RenoMark provides consumers with a way to identify "pros" committed to sound business practices including sufficient liability insurance, a two-year warranty on all work, and a written contract. 
For Renovation Month in October, the Council prepared a guide for local associations with ideas for events based on experience across the country and a set of backgrounders for consumers on various aspects of the renovation process with an emphasis on "green" renovations to support this year's Renovation Month theme.
A remaining goal for Frustaglio is to increase the number of submissions from renovators to the National SAM Awards. As a member of the selection committee and a previous award winner himself, he well knows how valuable being a SAM award winner can be to your bottom line. Renovators stand a good chance of being a finalist or even winning in one or more categories with a minimum of submission requirements. Have some good "before and after" photos taken and you are halfway there. Clients love to be able to say they have an "award-winning" renovator. As Frustaglio would say, "What have you got to lose? Give it a go!"

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