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Renovators work around virus

April 3, 2020

While self-isolation and economic woes threaten Canada’s $50 billion home renovation industry, some renovators say they are still working on improving homes despite COVID-19.
Randy Kautzman, principal of Level One Construction in East Vancouver, has changed how his teams work since the virus began but said renovations are still going on with the co-operation of homeowners.
“We only use two-person teams now,” he said, “and for social distancing, the homeowner will be upstairs, for instance, as our guys are downstairs.” All his workers are masked while on site. Kautzman added, “So far, none of our clients have cancelled projects.”
In its 2019 Renovation Report, Altus Group had projected a 3 per cent increase in residential renovation spending this year to around $54 billion with another $20 billion spent on non-residential renovations.
But that rosy outlook has retracted in the face of COVID-19.
Social distancing is of particular concern in large cities, where Altus estimates that one in four renovations are in condominium apartments.
Calgary home renovations are also continuing carefully, said Lauren Herschel, spokeswoman for BILD Calgary, whose members share in Alberta’s $6 billion annual renovation industry.
“Our renovator members are proceeding really on an individual, case-by-case basis. They are focusing on completing jobs, where it is safe to do so, so that families can move back into their homes. Jobs that can be completed with little to no client interaction are also being done,” she said. She added that some renovators are able to take on new clients by doing remote consultation, estimates and planning.
“Everything is very day-by-day and we are all keeping a close eye on government regulations and public health orders as they come in,” Herschel said on March 24.

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