When you’re nailing down the list of companies that will bring your project to life make sure you include Hotwire Electric. With nearly 20 years in the business and many decades of combined experience under our collective belt, we take the worry out of new construction electrical so you can rest easy. Hotwire Electric Serve Toronto, Richmond Hill & Vaughan with over 2500 happy clients and 800+ Testimonial on Homestars with 9.9/10 rating we are #1 New Construction Electrical Contractors of Toronto
Table Of Contents
- How to Identify the Right New Construction Electrical Contractors
- The High Cost of Discount Electrical Contractors
- Finding a Qualified New Construction Electrical Contractor
- Questions to Ask a Prospective Electrical Contractor
- Can you supply references?
- Are you bonded and insured?
- Are you fully licensed?
- Are you a member of any professional associations?
- Who will be taking point on the project?
- Do you perform background checks on your employees?
- Do you maintain a drug-free workplace?
- Are your workers part of the community?
- What type of guarantee do you offer?
- Don’t trust the Future Viability of Your Building to Just Anyone
How to Identify the Right New Construction Electrical Contractors
If things go wrong during the construction phase of your Toronto, Vaughan, or Richmond Hill building project it can have ramifications that spread like ripples on a pond through every aspect of the building for years to come. It’s critical that developers partner with the right contractors in order to minimize the chance of costly mistakes. This is especially true when it comes to the wiring of your new building. Since most of it is tucked away inside walls, floors, and ceilings rooting out problems after the fact can be time-consuming and expensive, not to mention disruptive to your business operations.
The High Cost of Discount Electrical Contractors
Potential electrical problems that may occur during the construction phase of your project include:
Incorrect Wire Size
When an electrician uses the wrong size wire during the construction phase of a project it can have long-term ramifications that can make your building uninhabitable. If the wires are too small it can result in overheating because they’re carrying more current than they’re designed to. This is a serious issue that can lead to fires before you’re even aware there is a problem.
Improperly Secured Wiring
Wires need to be held in place inside the walls, ceiling, and floors and the most common way to do so is for the electrician to staple them down to the joist or stud. If, however, they are stapled down too tight the wires can become seriously damaged. Slowly, inexorably, the staple will break down the cover around the wire with the most common results being short circuits, malfunctioning lights or appliances, and electrical fires.
Electrical wiring needs to be properly protected from weather, tampering, and environmental changes at all times. If it’s not it’s inviting all types of trouble including short circuits. Some electrical contractors, in their rush to complete the job on time, will neglect to ensure all wiring and associated boxes are properly protected, sometimes installing an indoor box outdoors just because it’s readily available and they think you won’t notice.
In order for electrical circuits to function properly all connections must be snug and properly secured. If they’re not is can result in overheating, arcing and other issues which may lead to shorts and fires. Inexperienced electricians or that intent on cutting corners to increase their profit margin at your expense will often give short shrift to the quality of the connections they make thereby putting everyone who inhabits the building at risk in the long run.
There are myriad other potential problems that can arise as a result of an inexperienced or unqualified electrician handling your new construction electrical wiring. As we alluded to earlier these types of issues can be devilishly difficult to detect and most of the time only make their presence known long after the construction crews have left and the building or home is occupied. Therefore it is absolutely crucial that you select the right electrical contractor for the job to begin with, otherwise your future likely involves lawsuits, expensive mitigation work, personal injury to loved ones or employees or worse. But just how do you make sure you’re choosing an electrician you can count on?
Finding a Qualified New Construction Electrical Contractor
Choosing a qualified Toronto licensed electrician for your new Toronto area construction project, whether it be residential or commercial is not as simple as jotting down a number off the side of a truck you might see in the street, or picking the company that comes up at the top of search engine results. There’s more to it than that. And if you have zero experience with such things then it gets even trickier because you’ll be unfamiliar with the lingo the contractor is using as well.
The fact is that almost every master electrician has a specialty they focus on. So while any reasonably experienced electrical contractor may be qualified to wire your new home or building it may not be what they’re used to doing. As a result, you run a real, if admittedly minor, risk that they’ll make what athletes call an unforced error, where they overlook something not out of malice but simply because they’re not used to your type of project. So what are the different kinds of electrical specialties?
- New Construction: Commercial Electricians
- New Construction: Residential Electricians
- Large Scale Commercial Renovations
- Commercial Service and Repairs
- Residential Service and Repairs
- Specialized Installations
- Public Sector Projects
- Defence Contracting
- Home Renovations
Narrowing the Field
While it’s true that many electricians tackle a variety of projects the type of all-purpose electrician who will wire a home theatre one day and then perform an electrical panel upgrade the next day is not necessarily the best choice for your new construction project. In your case, you’re going to want a company that specializes in either commercial or residential new construction. Within that group then you’re going to want to look for several things:
- Their level of experience.
- Their reputation and financial stability.
- Their degree of technical proficiency.
Here’s how you do that…
- Experience – The only real way to judge a company’s level of experience is to take a good long look at its portfolio. How long have they been in business? What similar projects have they completed where they were the lead electrical contractor? When was the last time they handled a project like this? How long has their team been together?
- Reputation – Check and see what their past customers are saying about them. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they’re involved in any lawsuits. Check with sites like Yelp or Angie’s List or other similar sites that provide customer reviews, ratings, and the like.
- Financial Stability – When it comes to financial stability the length of time a licensed electrician has been in business may be the most obvious way to determine if they’re financially stable. If the electrical contractor has been around for 10 or 20 years under the same name there’s a good chance their financial house is in order. Oh, and while you’re on the BBB site make sure you check to see if they’ve ever declared bankruptcy.
Other ways a Toronto electrical contractor can prove their financial stability include:
- Being able to produce a letter from their bank vouching for their character and financial stability.
- Being able to produce letters from suppliers stating they’ve made their payments on time.
- Providing letters from subcontractors stating they’ve always been paid on time and in full by the contractor. This is important because if the electrical contractor fails to pay a subcontractor who works on your project with him, that subcontractor can put a lien on your property even if you’ve paid that lead contractor in full.
- Having a Dun & Bradstreet rating. While this is not crucial it can help you sleep a bit better knowing that you’ve probably chosen an electrical contractor who isn’t going to abscond with your deposit.
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- Degree of Technical Proficiency – When it comes to new construction electrical contractors it’s vital that they possess a high degree of technical proficiency. With technology changing at a breakneck pace and companies needing ever more sophisticated electrical systems to handle the demands of the digital world your chosen electrician needs to be up-to-date on all the latest developments, techniques, materials, regulations, and building codes. In addition, recognized standards of quality and safety must always be adhered to.
Questions to Ask a Prospective Electrical Contractor
So let’s assume you’ve performed all the above checks and received all the above-noted assurances from banks, subcontractors, suppliers, and more and as a result, you’ve narrowed the field to 2 or 3 good candidates. Your search isn’t quite over yet as you’re also going to want to have face-to-face conversations with each. During each conversation, you’ll unload a series of questions that should provide the final information you need to make the right decision regarding who to choose as your new construction electrical contractor. Here are the questions you’ll want to ask, why you need to ask them, and the answers you should be getting.
Can you supply references?
Whether commercial electricians, residential electricians or custom homes electricians if they can’t supply you with references that should be the end of the conversation and you won’t have to bother with the rest of the questions that follow. If the contractor says they’ll need some time to get a list of references to you it’s not an ideal situation but you may want to cut them a little slack (if everything else to this point checks out). If however, they don’t meet their own deadline for supplying references then it’s time to pull the plug and move on to someone else. Look, no company is going to provide you with a list of unsatisfied customers. They’ll all give you only their strongest references. That’s understood. But if they aren’t able to come up with any then that’s a sign something is wrong.
Are you bonded and insured?
In all likelihood, any company that made it through your vetting process to this point is fully insured and bonded. But you still need to ask because it’s always possible that up until now they’ve just been running a very skillful con. Not likely, but possible. While commercial clients understand the importance of this question some residential customers may not so we’ll spell it out. If your electrical contractor does not have plenty of liability insurance and if they’re not paying into the workmen’s compensation system for their employees and one of those employees gets hurt on the job guess who’s responsible? If you said the contractor, you’re wrong. It’s you. But how can an electrical contractor get around paying workmen’s compensation? By hiring people under the table and paying them cash. That’s how. It’s more common than you can imagine. So ask for proof of insurance.
Are you fully licensed?
Every Province in the country requires you to obtain a license in order to become a practicing master electrician. Again, if your contractor has made it this far it’s likely they’re a licensed electrician but you need to ask anyway because there are plenty of people out there working as electricians in Toronto who never bothered to get a proper license for one reason or another. This is especially true for electrical contractors working on smaller residential projects. So ask if the contractor is licensed and don’t accept vague answers.
Are you a member of any professional associations?
A licensed electrician that belongs to related professional organizations is beholden to live up to the standards of conduct and quality established by those organizations. Membership in one or more professional associations also shows a commitment to their vocation.
Who will be taking point on the project?
Sometimes a company will send their most personable representative to sit down with the prospective customer. That customer naturally assumes the electrician they’re talking to will be the one running the project for the electrical contractor. But when the day comes for work to commence that person is nowhere in sight and they’re told someone they’ve never met is going to be running the show onsite. Find out who is actually going to be the go-to person on site. If it’s going to be someone else arrange to meet and discuss the project with that person before you sign any contracts.
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Do you perform background checks on your employees?
Most everyone deserves a 2nd chance but at the same time, you also deserve to know exactly who is working on your home or business construction project. It may seem harsh but not everyone wants somebody with a history of assault convictions working on their project. If it’s your house or restaurant that’s going up chances are you’re going to bring the kids around from time to time to check on progress and you want to know they’re safe when they’re on the Jobsite with you. If the electrical contractor is in the habit of bringing in subcontractors ask if he screens them as well.
Do you maintain a drug-free workplace?
Electrical work requires concentration and a clear head. The last thing you want is someone installing the wiring on your home who is sparking up joints on their break or ducking out to the bar at lunchtime. Responsible electrical contractors will have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drugs and alcohol in the workplace. Many will go so far as to conduct random drug tests on their workers to ensure compliance. This fact alone often has the effect of scaring off the stoners and heavy drinkers so you can be fairly certain everyone working on your project is occupying the same space-time continuum as you.
Are your workers part of the community?
This may not come to mind immediately as a question you’ll want to ask a prospective electrician but it should. If the people doing the work on your commercial or residential construction project have roots in the Toronto, Richmond Hill or Vaughan communities they’re more likely to be motivated to do a good job. That’s because they don’t want to see angry customers when they go out to dinner with their girlfriends or are taking their kids to the movies.
What type of guarantee do you offer?
Even the best electrical contractors sometimes make a mistake or install something that fails after the fact. As such you need to know what type of guarantees/warranties the contractor offers. The electrician doing the work should have their warranty/guarantee policy all written out in plain language for you to consider. They should also know it well enough that they don’t have to look at the printout to know what is covered and what isn’t. Make sure you understand their coverage policy before signing on the dotted line.
That may seem like a lot of questions to ask but there’s a lot at stake when it comes to making sure your new construction project is a successful one and not one that’s going to haunt you for years. We can’t stress strongly enough that if what you’re getting in response to these questions is evasion, delay, or attempted misdirection you should pull the plug and move on to someone else. There’s simply too much on the line, including the health and safety of everyone who will ever enter your building or spend time in your house.
Don’t trust the Future Viability of Your Building to Just Anyone
No electrical contractor in Toronto, Vaughan or Richmond Hill is more experienced or has a higher degree of expertise than Hotwire Electric. From start to finish we handle every aspect of your new construction electrical wiring installation with competence and confidence and we’re always available to answer all your questions and address all your concerns. If you are unsure about which electrician you want in charge of your new construction project give us a call and discuss the project with a master electrician from Hotwire Electric. You’ll be glad you did.