Have you ever wondered: “What is that contractor over there thinking?” or “How did he find out that renovating was his passion?” This week we’re introducing a new section to the RENOMii blog that aims to answer the questions you have about your contractor (or colleague). We will be interviewing contractors on a monthly basis to give you an insider’s view of contractors and the renovation industry.
To kick off the “Contractor Interview” section of the RENOMii blog we reached out to Chris Killian, owner of Killian Building & Renovations from Peterborough ON. We asked him a few questions about his experiences with the renovation industry and as a general contractor. Here is what he had to say:
What is your experience with renovations?
25 years doing mostly renos, I would like to think I am fairly experienced.
How did you get into it?
Thought I would like to build houses and started out helping a friend build two houses. We couldn’t work together so went our separate ways. I stayed in this business and ended up mostly doing renos.
What is your favourite renovation?
My favourite job is installing an elevator in a building. The technical challenges of cutting through the heart of a building from below the basement floor to the roof top, putting a perfectly vertical shaft, and doing all of the different finishes on each floor is very challenging. I also enjoy doing structural changes or repairs in buildings. This past winter we removed a 35-foot long wall and inserted a steel beam in its place to carry the roof structure. This is very interesting work and not everyone is up to the challenges of doing it.
Do you have any advice for homeowners?
Don’t always take the lowest price. Don’t be afraid to ask for references. Ask for WSIB and commercial insurance. If you do this you will probably avoid some scammers and underground people.
If you weren’t doing renovations, what else would you do for a living?
I was a Millwright for 15 years in big industry before going into business for myself. Many times when the going got tough, managing my own business, I wondered why I had quit the security of working for someone else for the uncertainty of general contracting. I loved being a Millwright so it would not be hard to go back to it.
If there are any questions you would like us to feature in one of our future contractor interviews you can leave us a comment below, and we will see what we can do.