Confidence & Trust

Homeowners can feel confused as they research the home renovation industry. Many times they have difficulty understanding the differences between the prices and service offerings of handymen, subtrades and general contractors (Refined is a general contractor).

However, there are plenty of horror stories about home renovations gone bad these days. As a result, homeowners realize that it is important to hire someone to do a job that is within their technical knowledge and experience. We hope the table below will explain some of the major distinctions between general contractors and the other service providers

Our clients can testify to our high level of expertise here



General Contractor

Organizational Structure Sole proprietor usually working alone. Often “jack of all trades” although new rules preclude them from doing any electrical work Specialist in one aspect of a construction – plumbing, electrical, HVAC etc. May be sole proprietor or part of an organization Organized professionally with office and technical staff and well-established relations with reliable subcontractors who provide good value.
Licensing & Insurance Usually unlicensed. Often no insurance. Licensed, certified or highly qualified in a specialty. Often has business license and WSIB and some liabililty insurance. Should have a business licence. Licenced, certified or highly qualified staff. Complies with WSIB and carries liability insurance in excess of the value of the structure they work on.
Professional Affiliations Usually unaffiliated May be part of industry organization or union Should be a member of some industry groups as a sign of professionalism.
Ongoing Education Typically does not participate in ongoing techical education Depends on whether licensing organization requires ongoing training Demonstrates committment to continuous professional development demanded by changing technology in the building industry.
Contracts Typically does not use legal contracts Typically contracts with the General Contractor Should have a detailed legal contract that states the agreed upon pricing, timeframe, a detailed scope of work, and performance guarantees. Any changes during the renovation process should be documented to protect both parties.
Blueprints andBuilding Permits Usually cannot read architect’s blueprints and cannot apply for building permits Usually can read plans for their specialization, i.e. electrical drawings but do not apply for building permits Should be able to demonstrate experience in reading, modify and executing complex building plans including specialist plans. Should have proven record of successfully applying for building permits.
Billing and Accounting Generally cannot generate reports on your account during the renovation including cost to budget comparisons Varying degrees of financing reporting available Depending on the managerial sophistication of the organization may have professsional accounting staff and computer systems to generate financial reports to evaluate costs to budget comparisons. This information during a renovation is key to cost control.