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Should you decide to do all or part of the renovations yourself, do not forget about health and safety. Be careful when working with tools and products, and follow the manufacturer’s safety information and directions. Wear appropriate protective equipment and clothing. You should also take steps to protect the rest of the house from dust, debris and contaminants that could pose a problem for others.

Find out about the necessary precautions to take before working in areas that contain vermin, droppings, mould, lead, asbestos, vermiculite and other hazardous products. Part 1.4, Health and safety considerations, describes some general health and safety considerations.

1.3.1 Hiring a contractor

If you decide to hire a contractor, ask for quotes in writing and insist on a written contract before you start any work. Contractors are responsible for complying with local by-laws and relevant provincial, territorial and/or federal legislation and guidelines. Ask your contractor questions about the materials to be installed, such as:

  • How can I be sure that the product you are recommending meets the applicable federal and provincial or territorial legislation?

  • Can I see the Safety Data Sheet for this product (if applicable)?

  • Will the product be installed according to manufacturer’s guidelines?

  • Are the workers trained in these procedures?

  • Will the retrofit work comply with municipal by-laws as well as any provincial, territorial and/or federal legislation and utility requirements?

  • What steps will you take to protect the health and safety of my family and me during and after the renovation?

  • What challenges as a contractor have you had working with this product?

  • Do you foresee any problems installing this in our home?

  • May I contact your references?

You are far more likely to have excellent results if you choose a contractor carefully and take an active interest in the work. The more you know the better. This is especially important if you are hiring a contractor to undertake general renovations and want to include energy efficiency as part of the retrofit. Visit the Renovating for energy efficiency article on the Government of Canada website for more information.

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