Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to know my budget?

We strongly encourage you to get a sense of what your budget will be for the project and that you disclose the budget during our first meeting. This knowledge will help us tailor our designs and recommendations to meet your needs and vision as well as your construction budget.

Discussing your budget up front will help us save you time and money, and prevent setbacks. There will be fewer design revisions and fewer surprises during construction. If you aren’t sure whether you can do your desired project for the budget available, our team would be happy to discuss the options with you in more detail.

What are typical construction costs?

It is best to discuss the construction costs when you speak with us during your first meeting since we can use our knowledge and experience to help you determine approximately what to expect. Without knowing what you are looking to do it is not possible to provide you with a cost estimate. Projects with multiple systems like electrical, mechanical, and plumbing (a kitchen reno for example) will cost more than simply redoing the bedroom layouts. Similarly interior work, like a load bearing wall removal will cost a lot less per square foot than an addition that includes a foundation, insulation, and exterior cladding, Since the cost depends on the scope of work we can discuss this best in person when we meet with you during the first meeting.

How long does the design process take?

The length of the design process depends on what work it is that you are contemplating completing. A load bearing wall removal or simple interior redesign can be completed in a couple of months, while a rear addition or new build will require more time as there are more complex design considerations.

If your project is more complex and requires an application to the committee of adjustment the design process will definitely be longer. The reason for this is that each municipality has varying lengths of queues for committee hearings so this becomes a determining factor in how long it will take to move to the next phase of the design process.

What is a zoning review?

A part of our design process includes a zoning review. Our team will look at your property and the municipal bylaws in order to determine the items that must be considered for your design. Things such as setbacks from the property lines and size of the structure are particularly important to consider. We will look at all the zoning requirements, your current structure, and your vision. Knowing the zoning bylaws will make it possible for us to either tailor the design to avoid needing a minor variance from the committee of adjustment, or create a design that we know, through precedent, is most likely to receive a favourable decision from the committee of adjustment.

What happens if we have to go to the committee of adjustment?

If it is necessary to apply to the committee of adjustment, Tignum can be hired to represent you. Given our experience with the committee of adjustment we can work with you to prepare an application that will more easily be approved. We will also communicate with all the officials from the municipality to ensure that all the appropriate departments have signed off on the project, and we will address any concerns that arise. As part of the process, we will help you navigate how to communicate with neighbours in order to obtain as much support as possible, and address any concerns they may have. We will also represent you at the hearing in order to present your file and address the committee’s questions.

Learn more about the Committee of Adjustment on our blog.

How long does it take to get a building permit?

Once the building permit application has been sent to the municipality we should hear back within 10 days. Lately, however, due to staff shortages we are finding that some of the busier municipalities are having longer turn around times for the first response. For more complex projects the reviewer will oftentimes have questions for us to address. Once we receive their questions we will respond in a timely manner since we re-enter the queue whenever the reviewer has questions and we submit a response.

Can you do construction?

If you live in the Greater Toronto Area you may be interested in having our sister company, Contignum, do your construction work. The benefit of hiring Contignum is that our team members overlap with Tignum. Your project will thus be managed by some of the same people you worked with during the design process. This helps create a seamless transition from design to construction. You will be familiar with our team and we will be familiar with your preferences and decisions. Deciding to work with Contignum can be done at any point prior to the commencement of your construction.

Do you have more questions?