Rodeo Cutting & Coring Ltd. has returned to its frequently asked questions blog posts. Look out for the upcoming FAQ web page.
Do I need permits for a window(s) to be cut in my basement?
A building permit and possibly a development permit is required for cutting a window(s) at a residential dwelling. Furthermore, in order to do any digging, we require locates for underground utilities to be done before we dig.
Who is responsible for marking out the required measurements for window cutting?
The customer is responsible for marking out measurements and location of where cutting is to be performed.
How much room is needed to access the window for cutting
Typically our crews need a minimum of 1’ on either side of the cut to be made, 1’ below the cut, and 4’ back from the cut. Keep in mind this may require excavation. Use cut backs to avoid having your excavation collapse.
What if I physically cannot do the digging required to have my window cut?
Rodeo Cutting & Coring Ltd. will dig your windows with excavating equipment and/or manual digging for an additional fee.
Do I have to have overcuts on my marked out windows?
Ideally, yes we would prefer to have overcuts for easier removal of the concrete. We typically estimate overcuts to be 6” on all four corners.
On April 28, 2017 Alberta will roll out its new Energy Efficiency Rebate Program. Earlier this week Energy Efficiency Alberta published information on the program to their website and public interest has been so intense that the site crashed on its first day. The program has multiple segments that can all save you money. Here we’ll lay out some of these potential savings for you.
Home Improvement Rebate Program
Alberta’s Home Improvement Rebate Program offers rebates on three different kinds of home improvement installations. These are insulation, windows, and tankless water heaters.
First, you can install new insulation of R-12 to R-50 in your attic and/or main walls, and insulation of R-0 to R-12 in your basement in order to receive a rebate by the square foot up to an incredible $3500. This project will save you money in the long term and put money back in your pocket towards a renovation project right now. Maybe now is finally the time to renovate your undeveloped basement. You could receive huge rebates just for insulating the walls prior to dry walling.
Second, if you replace existing windows with new ENERGY STAR® triple pane, low-e, argon windows you can receive a rebate up to $1500. The Alberta Energy Efficiency Program has specified rebate rates by the size of the window and its construction material. There are three sizes described: Small (24” x 24”), Medium (36” x 36”), and Large (72” x 72”) windows. You can simply replace existing windows throughout your house with ENERGY STAR® triple pane, low-e, argon windows but now might be a great time to install energy efficient egress windows in your basement. In many homes the existing windows do not meet the government’s requirements for egress windows so enlarging these window openings and replacing them with new energy efficient windows might be a critical part of your renovation project and an excellent way to save money. Consider this work as part of a basement renovation, where you would already be receiving a rebate for energy efficient insulation installation.
Third, you can save up to $1000 with the installation of a new ENERGY STAR®-approved tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters will not only save you money but your family will never run out of a hat water. While being energy-conscious will imply that you don’t leave your water running excessively, this can still be an incredibly helpful feature for large families, especially those with similar schedules where hot water often runs out. As a basement installation, this project is a perfect addition to your basement renovation project.
Residential No-Charge Energy Savings Program
The Residential No-Charge Energy Savings Program allows you to have an inspector visit your home and replace things like light bulbs, power bars, and shower heads, with high-efficiency alternatives. All of these upgrades come at absolutely no-charge to you. Take a look and register today.
Residential Retail Products Program
The Residential Retail Products Program offers you incentives on the purchase of energy-efficient products, even those that you would already be purchasing for some of the upgrades listed above. Effectively, you can get two rebates for your renovation projects. The first one is an incentive on purchases at participating suppliers and the second is a rebate after installation.
Business, Non-Profit, and Institutional Energy Savings Program
Feeling left out as a business owner? The Business, Non-Profit, and Institutional Energy Savings Program offers incentives to businesses that replace inefficient lighting, HVAC, and water heating equipment with high efficiency alternatives. After installation, you can apply for a rebate and send your invoice to Energy Efficiency Alberta. They will then reimburse you for some of your cost. Right now there’s no word on how much this will be, but we should find out in early May of 2017 when the program goes into full swing. Check out a full list of approved products here. (This dead link has been removed.)
Residential and Commercial Solar Program
Whether you’re a business or homeowner the Residential and Commercial Solar Program offers up to a 30% rebate on the installation of solar power systems to reduce your on-the-grid power consumption. This program will launch in the Summer of 2017. Solar power has really taken off in Alberta and the systems are more stable than ever. We also have a range of qualified contractors in this province that are now familiar with the installation, use, and servicing of these systems.
While Alberta’s Energy Efficiency Program offers many different incentives to become more energy-efficient, one of the most advantageous projects would be a basement renovation. This could save you thousands in the purchase and installation of windows, insulation, and a tankless water heater. If your project requires the installation of new egress windows then you’ll need a reliable concrete cutter. If you have any plumbing installation requirements then Rodeo Cutting & Coring Ltd. is your answer for all your concrete trenching, excavation, and removal. Rodeo Cutting & Coring Ltd. is not only an excellent choice for your concrete cutting needs, but we’ll be running a promotion on windows until the end of May 2017. Check our Facebook page for more information.
Every day at Rodeo we get calls from customers with questions and concerns. We’re always happy to answer our customer’s questions but we thought it would also be helpful to put some of this information online in the form of some answers to the most frequently asked questions. We’ll be putting up regular blog posts with FAQ’s and answers and we’ll start populating a web page with this information as we update it. Feel free to mention any questions you want us to address and always feel free to call us any time of day. We’re more than happy to help you with any problem you might have!
What is slurry, and why is concrete cutting so messy?
Well, slurry is a by-product of the cutting process. It’s a waste material made up of the water used to lubricate the diamond blade or bit, as well as the fine concrete dust created by the cutting process. As to the second part of the question, we pride ourselves on keeping our work as clean as possible. That being said, slurry is messy and can be difficult to control. We use guards, poly, vacuums, and other measures to minimize the mess and to ensure your job site or home looks exceptional when we leave.
Why does my job require vacuum cleanup?
Not only is slurry messy, it’s also environmentally hazardous. It is mildly acidic and should never be allowed into the water supply. At Rodeo, we pride ourselves on our environmental awareness. We cleanup slurry at the job site not only because it is unsightly, but it can also pose an environmental risk. On certain jobs this will require an extra cleanup unit or crew. In other situations, our operators will have vacuums or other cleaning supplies with them.
What are overcuts?
When cutting with a circular saw (nearly all linear cutting is performed with a circular saw) overcuts are caused by the depth requirements of the cut. If, for instance, you want a window cut in 8” deep concrete then there will be an overcut of around 8”. Basically, the cut will extend beyond the end of the window opening but this cut is not going all the way through the wall. These cuts are easily patched and they can be minimized in some cases by plunging the blade deeper, but, in most cases, you can expect all your overcuts to be at least as long as the depth of the material being cut.
Should I have my window cut from the inside or outside?
Well, if you have the room, you should almost always have your windows cut from the outside. There’s a number of reasons for this. First, concrete cutting is inherently messy (see above) and it’s much easier for us to keep your house clean if you leave the drywall up and we use it to protect your house while cutting from the outside. Another reason is that overcuts can often run into problems on the inside where we might run into a header beam other obstacles. In other situations, there simply isn’t enough room for us to operate from the inside. Since you’re almost certainly already digging a window well, having the outside wall excavated to make room for a saw is actually very cost-effective.
Why do I (the customer) have to mark out the cutting I need done?
At Rodeo we’re more than happy to help you understand what your job requires and to explain the process. However, cutting concrete is always a structural change. This kind of job requires that the job is marked and approved by the customer. According to legislation, it is the customer’s responsibility to acquire job permits so we can’t take responsibility for marking out the cutting. We’re here to help and work with you but final decisions like this are up to you.
Why are removal fees separate from cutting fees?
Some customers like to remove their own cut concrete or asphalt. Often, customers require our specialized cutting equipment and operators but they have all the labor they need to remove the job afterwards. Sometimes this is just about time and other times it’s about saving money. So, we simply offer all our customers the option. If you want us to remove the concrete after a job just talk to us about it and we’d be happy to help!
That’s it for now! We’ll get to Part 2 soon. In the meantime, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to give us a call.
Egress windows are one of the most popular renovation projects and concrete cutting for windows using a wall saw is one of our most requested services. However, egress window legislation can be confusing and often customers will rely on their contractor to make decisions for them. In many cases with other contractors the result is an illegally installed window that can hurt you down the line. In this article, we’re going to make the egress bylaws in Calgary perfectly understandable so you can make a well-informed choice and know that your job is being done properly. You can read this whole guide or you can just skip to sections that are relevant to your concerns. We hope this helps to clarify these issues in one place!
What is an Egress Window?
An egress window is a legally required window capable of serving as a fire escape. In Calgary, unless your suite has sprinklers, “each bedroom or combination bedroom shall have at least one outside window or exterior door openable from the inside without the use of keys, tools or special knowledge and without the removal of sashes or hardware” The City of Calgary defines special knowledge as “knowledge of a movement or series of movements that would not be congruent with one simple motion to unlock the window and one simple motion to open it.” If your window or any hardware in front of it requires more than a simple unlatching, or sliding motion then it’s almost certainly illegal.
Keep in mind that all these requirements apply to security bars placed in front of windows. However, the city does require that security bar installation and window well grating is reviewed for approval on a case by case basis. It’s best to check with the city before installing costly security hardware that you may have to remove later.
What are the Dimensional Requirements of an Egress Window?
According to the City of Calgary egress window legislation any egress window must “provide an unobstructed opening of not less than 0.35 m2 in area” and none of the side dimensions can be less than 380mm. When operated in an emergency this window has to be able to maintain these dimensions without any additional support. Keep in mind these dimensions apply to the actual opening of a finished window. So, for example, if you use a slider you can only measure the openable portion of the window, not the full dimensions of the window.
If your window opens into a window well then “a clearance of not less than 760mm
shall be provided in front of the window” This means that your window well has to extend at least 760mm from the opening of the window. With certain types of windows this could mean a lot more than 760mm from the side of your house. If the window sash swings open into the window well then you will still need to provide a clearance of 760mm from this window sash to the edge of the well.
If you want to install a protective cover, such as a grate, over your window well then legislation requires that this “enclosure shall be openable from the inside without the use of keys, tools or special knowledge of the opening mechanism.” Any access requirements that hold for the window will also hold for any protective covering.
Acceptable Window Styles
Acceptable window styles are casement, horizontal slider, vertical slider, and tilt and turn, provided it requires no special knowledge to operate. Awning style windows are acceptable “provided the window may open a full 90 degree swing free of obstructions.” As above, this window has to be able to maintain its dimensions without any assistance. So, if your awning-style window can’t be locked in the open position and will tend to swing shut it’s not acceptable as an egress window. Whatever hardware the window uses to stay open also cannot obstruct egress. And, as mentioned above in regard to window wells “awning windows are not permitted for egress where it opens into a window well, unless there is a space of at least 760mm between the inside face of the window well and the sash of the fully opened window.”
Unacceptable Window Styles
The styles of window that are unacceptable are hopper windows, awning windows that don’t meet the above requirements, and any window that fails to meet legislated requirements due to its design.
Do I need a Building Permit?
Most people don’t realize they need a building permit from the City of Calgary in order to install new windows or enlarge existing ones if this requires structural changes such as concrete cutting. Many contractors will tell you this isn’t the case so they can rush the work through but this is completely unacceptable and could cost you in the long run.
You can see the City of Calgary building permit requirements and start applying here: http://www.calgary.ca/PDA/pd/Documents/carls/building-permit/home-renovations-and-basements.pdf
Do I need a Development Permit?
Window installation is subject to land-use bylaws, so if your egress window project will infringe on any of these requirements you’ll need a development permit. These requirements have to do with use of land near property lines. If you think this may be an issue you can contact the City of Calgary for more information.
Do I need a Trade Permit?
No, trade permits are only required if the work includes electrical, plumbing, gas or mechanical work.
I had a new window installed or enlarged an existing window without a permit. What should I do?
If you’ve had work performed in the past and you didn’t get the relevant permits you can still ask the City of Calgary to supply you with the relevant permits after the fact. This can save you a lot of headache down the road if you ever plan to sell your home, rent it, or make an insurance claim.
Call Before You Dig (Click Before You Dig)
If you’re digging a window well for your window you’ll need to contact Alberta One Call to get approval before digging. This is an important safety step that costs you nothing. The permits supplied by Alberta One Call are valid for 14 days so keep that in mind when planning your project. Even if you don’t need a window well you may need to excavate to make room for concrete cutting equipment. You can contact us for more information on these dimensions. You can get started with Alberta One Call here: http://albertaonecall.com/
Rodeo Cutting & Coring prides itself on its safety standards and we are happy to work with you to make this process as painless as possible. Most egress window projects will require concrete cutting using a wall saw. In the future, we’ll write an article providing more information about this process. In the meantime, if you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Some Legal Stuff
Let’s get some legal stuff out of the way. This information cannot replace appropriate legislation and legal advice. In this article, we will point to this legislation and help you understand it, but ultimately the responsibility for following the law is your own. If in doubt, call the City of Calgary.
Durable and Sustainable
Polished concrete floors are among the most durable flooring options. Polished concrete floors are incredibly strong. They resist damage from equipment and heavy foot traffic. Polished concrete floors are very difficult to damage and they are nearly impossible to crack. Sealing your polished concrete floors also creates a barrier against contaminants, water, oils, and other material that will degrade your concrete floors over time.
Along with being incredibly durable, polished concrete floors are exceptionally easy to maintain. Occasional sweeping and light mopping are all that is required to keep dirt and grime from accumulating on your floors. This will preserve that high gloss finish for many years to come. When concrete floors are polished and sealed professionally you won’t have to worry about repolishing your floors any time soon. With minimal maintenance that showroom finish will last for many years. You can expect most polished and sealed floors to last for a decade without having to be repolished. In that time the occasional sweeping and light mopping is all you’ll need to maintain an incredible finish. No other flooring option is as low maintenance as polished concrete floors.
Believe it or not polished concrete floors are actually one of the cheapest flooring options available. While you can get into more expensive options like decorative finishes and sealing, a basic concrete polish offers a marble-like natural finish that is durable, beautiful, and remarkably affordable. In fact, concrete polishing is often more affordable that laminate, tile, vinyl, or hardwood. Costs per square foot will vary but you’ll find that a surprising variety of the options are more affordable than traditional flooring options. When concrete already exists, in the case of an existing patio, basement, office space, or garage pad, polished concrete floors become an even more affordable solution.
The process of installing and maintaining polished concrete floors doesn’t require the use of environmentally harmful chemicals. It also produces very little waste. Polishing an existing concrete floor is probably one of the most “green” options. With minimal environmental impact you can transform your existing concrete into a finished floor, while consuming very little in material. Furthermore, polished concrete floors never need to be replaced. You’ll never need to throw out any flooring like hardwood, carpet, or tile, because you can always repolish or refinish the concrete later. This keeps waste out of our landfills and saves you money.
Polished concrete floors are also very energy efficient. They reflect light and heat so well that heating and lighting rooms employing polished concrete is extremely efficient. This is why you see polished concrete used in showrooms so often. It naturally improves lighting.
Mark & Stain Free
No other flooring resists marks and stains like a polished and sealed concrete floor. This is why polished concrete flooring is so common in commercial applications. But polished concrete floors are a great option for residential applications too, especially in areas with heavy traffic and chance of spills. Tire marks, scuffs, and stains are all uncommon on polished concrete floors. And if they ever do happen cleanup and removal is quick and painless. The glassy smooth surface resists staining and marks so well that anything left behind can be easily wiped off the surface.
Check out our concrete polishing & grinding page to learn more.