How To Tell If Your General Contractor Is Being Honest

Veridian Connections Washroom Renovation MaKenady Construction Services Inc. General Contractor Commercial Renovation (2)

There are 44,000 General Contractors in Ontario. How do you choose the right one? Most projects either big or small require a General Contractor. However,  that being said most household projects do not. You may need a simple drywall repair or just want to add some new paint. But then you may require a General Contractor to over see several aspects of a renovation. The definition of a General Contractor is as described in Wikipedia. I’ve noticed many renovation construction companies are advertising that they are a “licensed” General Contractor, which in Ontario no such license or course certificate exist. This information is well outlined and describes licensing requirements in Ontario on Trusted Pros. A license requirement is trade specific in Ontario and applies to electricians, plumbers, gas fitters and well diggers. So why the deception of a renovation contractor advertising themselves as a licensed general contractor?  Most homeowners do not understand the complexities and differences in the laws that apply to the construction industry and take it for face value that the information they are searching on a contractors website is accurate and true. I have even had instances where homeowners have personally asked me if I had a General Contractor license. This being the previous contractor they made such claims. The simple answer is no. Anyone can be a General Contractor in Ontario. So what does make a good General Contractor? First off, one that does not start with advertisements of deception. That aside, someone who is well versed on the many different trade specifics aspects, has experience working and scheduling with different trades, is trade specific such as a Red Sealed General Carpenter, has further education in blueprint reading and scheduling, and is capable of organizing and completing a construction project productively. A good General Contractor might be a little more expensive then hiring individual trades yourself like someone who can frame, drywall and paint. However you get what you pay for. Your time is also worth money. A General contractor should be your single point of contact. Meaning that you explain your project to be completed and your General Contractor oversees every step to complete this project. From communicating every aspect, providing a detail written contract outlining cost and timing, being informed of progress with updates and ensuring that you are always available to alleviate any problems or concerns immediately. Don’t be afraid to test your contractor by asking questions. One good question would be to ask if they are a licensed General Contractor. If they explain that they are, a good follow up question would be to ask to see his license and how they received something that does not exist. Here are some frequently asked questions you should be using to protect your renovation investment:

1 – Do you have WSIB coverage and can you provide a copy of your clearance certificate? It is a mandatory Ontario law that all companies operating in the construction industry carry WSIB coverage including the owner himself.

2 – Are there any sub-trades working on this project? If yes, can you provide a copy of their WSIB clearance certificate.

3 – Do you have commercial liability insurance and can you provide a certificate of insurance?

4 – Do we require a building permit and who will you be taking care of this? Most projects these days require a building  permit. Any contractor that tries to bypass this process is not looking out for your best interest as a homeowner or even  his best interest as a contractor.

5 – What is your background in the construction industry? Knowing your contractors experience alleviates your nervousness and builds on your trust. A good contractor is not shy to outline their qualifications or experiences.

6 – There are no stupid questions. Ask as many questions as you feel necessary that provides you with the required information to make the right choices.

There are many more things that you can do in making a sound decision in choosing the right General Contractor, and I can go on and on. The one key element I wanted you to take away today, is that anyone advertising that they are a licensed General Contractor in Ontario so to put them above every one else is lying.

If you like the information presented to you today, I  would appreciate that you would follow us on Facebook, on Google Plus and here on WordPress. Thank you.

MaKenady Construction Services Inc. is a general contractor servicing Ajax, Pickering, Whitby, Markham and Toronto for all your residential, commercial and industrial construction and maintenance project needs.

General Contractor Servicing Ajax, Pickering, Whitby, Markham and Toronto

General Contractor Servicing Ajax, Pickering, Whitby, Markham and Toronto

Fund Your Renovation Before You Move In To Your New Home

Fund Your Renovation Before You Move In To Your New Home

When shopping for a new home, sometimes you like what you see, however there are some changes or upgrades you might want to complete as a renovation, but do not know where the money will come from. There is a way!

MaKenady Construction Services Inc. wants to show you an option to funding your next renovation project when purchasing a new home called Purchase Plus Improvements by The Mortgage Center. When purchasing your new home with Peter Karagannis at The Mortgage Center you will have the opportunity to complete the upgrades or renovations you want. Further information on the Purchase Plus Improvement is provided below. Check it out and see if this program will work for you.

MaKenady Construction Services Inc. Residential Renovation Beam Installation (77)


Purchase Plus Improvements

Many mortgage lenders now offer what is known as a Purchase Plus Improvements mortgage. This is a great product which allows homeowners to purchase an otherwise solid home which may need some improvements, while allowing the cost of the renovations to be rolled into the mortgage. As with any home purchase, a minimum down payment of 5% is required, but with a Purchase Plus Improvements mortgage, the borrower can purchase against the improved value of the home.

How Does It Work?


  1. Once you have found the home you are purchasing, determine what kind of renovations you require and estimate what the cost might be.
  1. Now that you have a vision in mind, find a reputable, licensed contractor and have them provide you with a firm and detailed quote for your project. Ideally, your quote should contain diagrams, a timeframe and factor in any potential cost overruns.
  1. Provide this information to your mortgage professional, who will then find you a mortgage which considers the actual purchase price as well as the improved value of the home.
  1. Upon taking possession of the home, you can have your contractor start the renovations right away. As the lender cannot release the additional funds quite yet, you will have to pay for the improvements up-front using your own resources (savings, credit card, small loan, line of credit, etc.).
  1. Once the project has been completed by the contractor to the satisfaction of the lender, your solicitor will arrange to have the additional funds released so that you can consolidate your debt.

Advantages Of The Program


  • Since mortgage rates are typically lower than the interest rates for credit cards and personal loans, you will likely save money by adding your renovation costs to your mortgage.
  • Consolidate debt with one single payment.
  • Allows you to improve your living space sooner rather than later.
  • Adds value to your home immediately. Renovations can begin upon closing.
  • Retrofitting allows you to reduce your energy costs and carbon footprint.



Disadvantages Of The Program


  • You will have to pay for the renovations up-front before being able to pay yourself back.
  • In order for the lender to release the additional funds, you will have to provide invoices/receipts to your solicitor which may result in additional legal costs.
  • It may be tricky getting a detailed estimate/quote from a contractor if the property has yet to close, or if you are doing this before there is a binding agreement of purchase and sale in place.
  • You may be required to pay for a subsequent appraisal to prove that the renovations have been completed as originally agreed upon.

Other Things To Keep In Mind


  • If you are considering getting a Purchase Plus Improvements mortgage instead of a traditional mortgage, you must let your mortgage professional know as soon as possible. This product cannot be added to an existing mortgage at the last minute, if the transaction has already closed.
  • Lenders may vary as to how much additional funds they are willing to lend you. Your mortgage professional will make every effort to find a Purchase Plus Improvements mortgage lender that suits your needs and lifestyle, but there may be instances where you may need to scale back a bit on the cost of your project.
  • Whether or not funds are released in stages or in one final lump sum may depend on the lender and the cost of the project.

As a proud member of The Mortgage Centre team, I have access to a wide range of lenders and products. I offer excellent rates and strategies that can help you save your money. If you are considering a Purchase Plus Improvements mortgage or any other type of mortgage financing, I would be happy to assist. My advice is alwaysFREE and my services are FREE to qualified applicant.

Purchase Plus Improvements Example

  • Purchase Price = $400,000
  • 5% Down Payment = $20,000
  • Base Mortgage = $380,000
  • Mortgage Default Insurance = $11,970* (3.15% premium on the $380,000)

*plus 8% sales tax of $957.60, added to closing costs.

  • Total Mortgage = $391,970

Now, let’s say you would like to spend $50,000 to finish the basement or update the kitchen upon taking possession of your new home:

  • Purchase Price + Improved Value = $450,000
  • 5% Down Pmt. on Improved Value = $22,500 (an extra $2,500 from original 5% DP)
  • Base Mortgage = $427,500
  • Mortgage Default Insurance = $13,466.25* (3.15% premium on the $427,500)

*plus 8% sales tax of $1,077.30, added to closing costs.

  • Total Mortgage = $440,966.25

In this example, by using the Purchase Plus Improvements program to complete the $50,000 renovation, you only have to pay an additional $2,500 up-front for the down payment, plus an additional $119.70 in sales tax on the mortgage default insurance. This is a total of just $2,619.70 more up-front. The remaining costs are rolled into the mortgage.

It is not uncommon for someone to buy a home knowing they will “eventually” have to spend some money on renovations, but often find themselves unwilling to wait as long as they originally thought they would to complete these upgrades. As a result, many such homeowners end up refinancing after only a few years in order to pay for their construction project. This can result in costly legal fees and mortgage pre-payment penalties. In addition, homeowners may find themselves walking away from a mortgage that has a favourable rate, only to find that rates have gone up in the meantime. Another commonly used strategy is to get a second mortgage so as not to touch the first mortgage. But this can also add to more costs in the form of legal fees and higher interest rates. Why go through all that hassle??? With a Purchase Plus Improvements mortgage you can start customizing your home immediately upon closing, keep your renovation costs to a minimum and start loving your home sooner!

Commonly Asked Questions


Q: If I am buying a home with the minimum 5% down payment, and my renovation project increases the value of the home by more than the actual cost of the renovations, how is the 5% calculated.


A: The down payment is calculated based on the purchase price plus the cost of the renovations, taken at face value. For example, let’s say your home is purchased for $400,000 and you decide to spend $50,000 to remodel your kitchen. You then learn that your $50,000 investment has actually increased the value of your home by $80,000, bringing the new value of your home to $480,000. The down payment will be based on 5% of $450,000 not 5% of $480,000.


Q: What happens if I have been approved for a traditional mortgage and decide at the last minute that I want a Purchase Plus Improvements mortgage? Will I still be able to take advantage of this program after the transaction closes?


A: No. If you decide you would like a Purchase Plus Improvements mortgage tell your mortgage professional right away and hopefully there will be enough time prior to closing to make the necessary adjustments. In addition, you will still have to qualify based on the new mortgage amount.


Q: Why does a lender sometimes require that an appraisal/inspection be done upon completion of the project?


A: Lenders sometimes request a follow-up appraisal/inspection because they want to ensure that the additional funds are being used for the intended purpose and not used for something else. Depending on the complexity of the project, a lender might decide that a secondary appraisal/inspection is not necessary, as long as the homeowner is able to provide invoices/receipts showing that the work has been completed. When a follow-up appraisal/inspection is required, assuming the same appraiser/inspector is used, they will usually provide a discount the second time around.

Mortgage Center

Peter Karagiannis, AMP

Mortgage Agent Lic. #M11001143



Direct: 416.319.0110

The Mortgage Centre Ltd. Reg.#10231

67 Old Kingston Road

Ajax, ON

L1T 3A5

Each Mortgage Centre office is independently owned and operated

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MaKenady Construction Services Inc. is a general contractor for all your residential and commercial construction projects in Ajax, Whitby, Pickering, Markham and Toronto. This post is purely for informational purposes only.

Pay For Your Renovation and Save Some Money

Pay For Your Renovation and Save Some Money

Are you looking to complete a home or business renovation, but are not quite sure how to pay for it? Here is one option you might consider. Through Kevin Gillespie, a financial planner, he can demonstrate how you can fund your renovation project and possibly SAVE some MONEY by doing so. Read the following article and see if this path would work for you or for someone you may know. If you have any questions, simply contact Kevin Gillespie by using the contact info provided below or in the provided attachment.How to Get The Government to Pay for Your Renovation (1)


How to Get The Government to Pay for Your Renovation
By Kevin Gillespie
For most people, a home renovation project is a large expenditure that many people just do not have the cash available to fund the project. However, they really need (or want) the project done. So the only option for most people is to finance the renovation project. Typically this means paying $xx.xx a month till the debt is paid. This can be done with a loan or through their line of credit. It could also be a credit card. However, there is another option that most people do not consider. This article is describing another option.

Firstly, a home renovation is typically an asset to the home owner. I define an asset as something that appreciates and makes money. Everything else is pretty much a liability. Often the renovation will increase the value of the home, however, it may not increase the home as much as the project will cost. If you want to maximize your money – then you acquire assets not liabilities. That is what the rich do. So lets look at this funding the renovation option again. What if we could purchase an asset and get our
renovation paid for as well?

If we could do that here is what happens … the renovation contractor is happy – they get paid. The homeowner is happy because now they get an upgrade done on their property, but they also have an asset that appreciates in value in several ways. Here is how to do it … for this example assume the homeowner is in the 40% marginal tax bracket. Also assume the renovation costs $4,000.

Take out an RSP loan of $10,000. The homeowner will get back $4,000 as a tax refund. This refund will completely pay for the renovation. The homeowner will repay the RSP loan with the equal amount of monthly installments needed to pay for the renovation, except over a longer period of time. What I like about this … the homeowner gets an asset. They take the $10,000 and invest it into something that can average a generous return (say 8%). They also improve the value of their home! Over the next 10 years their RSP will grow to $21,589. So would you rather be up $20k or just pay for the renovation?

Kevin Gillespie is a financial planner that works closely with businesses and individuals to help them maximize what they are doing with their money and minimize mistakes. Kevin offers free consultations , where he provides feedback on how to increase your net worth. Often he can make or save you tens of thousands of dollars with just
one idea. Kevin is a founding member of Business Networking International Synergy chapter serving the GTA including Durham and Clarington. Kevin can be reached at 289-928-2294 or

Makenady Logo 115x58 mpix

MaKenady Construction Services Inc. is a general contractor for all your residential and commercial construction projects in Ajax, Whitby, Pickering, Markham and Toronto. This post is purely for informational purposes only.

MaKenady Construction Services Inc. Commercial Renovation of St. Michael’s College 2014

MaKenady Construction Services Inc. Commercial Renovation of St. Michael’s College 2014

This past year MaKenady Construction Services Inc. endeavored on the completion of an institutional renovation at St. Micheal’s College in Toronto. There were five key areas of construction. The renovation of the Chapel, construction of a new science lab, construction of a new shower room, the modification of the existing library and the renovation two existing washrooms.

The chapel renovation came about as one of the sprinkler pipes from the fire suppression system burst due to freezing this past winter causing severe water damage to the ceiling and walls. One of our challenges was the ceiling height of the main chapel area. At 33 feet high, there was drywall repair, light relocation and painting to be completed. Due to the accessibility of the school having no freight elevator or proper freight access and the existing narrow door accesses, there was no way to bring in an electric scissor lift required to complete the work productively. Our best option was to use a single bucket man lift for the main chapel area in conjunction with tube and clamp scaffolding on the second floor mezzanine. The issue with this was that the man lift required you to stabilize it manually with four outriggers and raise the lift electrically that allowed you to work approximately 30 square feet of ceiling area. To move the lift, you had to come down, remove the outriggers manually, move the lift manually and start the whole process over again and again. This used up a tremendous amount of man hours having to continually move and set up the lift. We repaired and altered approximately 500 square feet of drywall, re-mudded approximately 3000 square feet of walls and ceiling, painted approximately 6000 square feet of walls and ceiling. There was a new elevated podium platform constructed, the existing confessionals were re-sized for barrier free access, existing square tubing handrail was removed and a new glass handrail installed on the second floor mezzanine and all the existing and newly installed oak was refinished. As you can see from the before and after pictures, the new chapel is much brighter and more inviting.

In the science lab, we started out with an empty existing class room. This room was apart of a previous school addition and required the installation of all new plumbing. While coring through the concrete floor to access the existing plumbing below, we determined that the concrete floor was approximately 16″ thick which is definitely not the normal. A new steel door and frame was installed into the existing concrete block wall to serve as a secondary exit, a new teachers platform was constructed, new steel framed walls were built out for new electrical panel and electric access control, and new birch veneer millwork cabinets for the teacher and the student workstations were installed topped of with epoxy counter tops.

The new shower room required the demolition of two separate existing shower rooms and thus expanding them into one. We demolished existing concrete block walls, trenched out approximately 100 square feet of concrete floor for new drainage plumbing, installation of new steel studded drywalled walls, installation of four new stand alone shower units and one barrier free, conversion of existing bathroom to meet barrier free requirements, installation of new wall mounted benches and shelves, and painting completion of walls and ceiling.

The library tech alteration focused on one are of the library only, but required a lot of new work condensed in approximately 150 square feet. We removed approximately 12 lineal feet of concrete block wall that opened up a closed room to the main library area.  A 15 foot steel beam was then installed to support the upper portion of this demolished concrete block wall. Once again due to the lack of proper accessibility to transport a 15 foot beam to the library, it required 10 people to carry by hand this steel beam up two flights of stairs. Once wheeled to the library a manual lift was used to insert the beam into the existing block wall. Two new steel frame and doors were installed into two separate existing block walls and new millwork cabinets were installed to complete along with painting. Due to the high concern with dust control in the library, plastic barriers with the use of water and a dust collection machine were implemented for all block cutting and removal.

Two existing bathrooms were updated with new porcelain tile, painting, new millwork cabinets, new toilets and bathroom fixtures.

MaKenady Construction Services Inc. was very proud and honored to have been chosen to be apart of this construction project. Everyone involved worked very hard and productively to complete this project in a timely manner. Before and after pictures of the project can be viewed on our Website at, on Facebook and on Google Plus

MaKenady Construction Services Inc. is a general contractor operating in the GTA. We work productively and efficiently without compromising quality work or safety while offering a commitment of daily work production from project start to project finish.

MaKenady Construction Services Inc. Before General Contractor Commercial Renovation St. Michaels College (12) 20141113_104424

Hiring A Contractor The Right Way

   Let me tell you that what you may or may not realize as a consumer hiring a contractor, if you want to hire the best, you need to do right things to attract the best. I know what you are thinking right now, and that is if I want the best I have to pay top dollar. And you are absolutely wrong. There are things that you may be doing that are definitely not attracting the right contractors. For instance, placing an add and asking for a quote for a job without wanting to meet the contractor first will draw out the bottom of the barrel. I can tell you, that you will definitely get a bargain basement price, but that will be all that you are going to get. After a month of sucking more money out of your pocket and only getting half the work complete, you will be calling someone like me and saying I have been bamboozled. No matter how big or small the job is you are posting, choose three reliable contractors and make yourself available to have them come over. I can tell you that no reliable contractor will provide you a quote over email or the phone without meeting you first and seeing hands on what you require completed. So posting on the internet that you have 35 square foot bathroom, wanting new tiles, new vanity and sink, please provide me with a quote, may end up costing you twice as much down the road, instead of posting bathroom renovation looking for a reliable contractor. If you post an add and feel that you are not getting responses from contractors you would like to hire, pick up the phone and call them. If they say that the job is too small, negotiate with them. Tell them that you are just starting out with this small project and will be moving on to re-modelling the entire house within the next year. If you do get the contractor you want and the price is over your budget, try offering something in return, such as referrals. Also asking if you can help out to keep cost down, is also an add that will not get the responses you are really looking for. That is like going to an electronic store and wanting a 62 inch tv, but only want to pay 32 inch prices, but you are also willing to sweep up the store after closing. I am pretty sure that the electronic store will sweep you out the door and tell you to have a nice day. The best thing to do is get your three quotes and call back the contractor you feel most comfortable with even if they provided the highest quote. Once you get them in your house, they are not going to want to leave without making a deal.

If you have any questions or comments in regards to this article or anything else that is on your mind, please contact me at