One of the oldest buildings in Canada still standing today is the Osterhout log cabin, built around 1795. The timeless style and clear evidence that log homes can withstand the harshest of Canadian winters make them an attractive option for your home or holiday hideaway.
Whether you’re building your custom log cabin as a permanent residence or you want to create a home-away-from-home hideout in the wilderness, finding the right builder for the job is vital.
The good news is that choosing the right cabin builders in Alberta is easier than you think. This guide will help you hone a clear project vision to take to potential contractors — and gives you essential questions to ask before you hire your log cabin builder.
Step One: Decide on Your Cabin’s Purpose
Before you design a cabin and hire your contractors, you must define the primary use of your new log home.
If you want to create a custom home as a log cabin in a rural or woodland setting, you’ll need to think about the nearby amenities. Does the plot have access to fresh water and electricity? If not, you’ll need to factor the installation of these into your build.
Do you want a holiday hideaway that your friends and family can retreat to for short wilderness trips? If this is the case, consider how many people you’ll need to accommodate and the extra features you want to install to turn your log cabin into a luxury holiday retreat.
You should also consider how you want to use the space and how many rooms you need to live comfortably and efficiently. Think about the local environment, too: do you want to use local materials? Blend into the natural surroundings? Have large windows to let in the light? All of these will affect your project plans.
Vital Questions to Ask Before You Hire Cabin Builders in Alberta
When you know what your cabin will be used for, it’s easier to start creating a design that suits your needs. Clear communication and collaboration with your cabin builder is the best way to create a log cabin you’ll love every time you come home.
Ask your potential cabin builders these questions to find the one that shares your vision.
1. Have You Worked on Similar Projects Before?
Going with an established and reputable company is essential if you want to guarantee high-quality work.
Ask to see examples of your contractor’s previous work. They should be able to show you a gallery of projects – and talk you through how they see elements and techniques they’ve used before could be used for your log cabin, too.
Seeing the previous work of your potential builder also helps you to take note of their style and standards. Do they use high-quality fixtures and fittings to finish the property, or are they more rough-and-ready? Attention to small details shows your builder will care about your log cabin build.
2. Can I Speak to Previous Customers?
Any good contractor will have previous customers ready and willing to provide you with real-life testimonials. For log cabin builders, you may be able to view show homes or the properties of previous customers to see their finished product in reality.
At the very least, your contractor should be able to provide contact details of customers who have given permission to be contacted by new clients. Ask these customers if they were happy with the work, the timescale, and the budget – as well as the relationship they created with their contractor, too.
3. What Cabin Would You Build for Yourself?
This is a great question to find out if your contractor believes in the work they offer customers. Would they live in one of their own creations?
It also provides an opportunity for them to show off their experience and knowledge. You’ll be able to gauge their personal style and how well that matches with your own cabin plans. Having a different style isn’t an instant veto on the contractor – but if you have similar tastes you’ll remain confident they’ll deliver the project to your standards.
4. What’s the Biggest Problem You’ve Experienced on a Build?
Any contractor who denies there have been any problems is lying – run away!
Every build has snags. It’s the nature of the project – especially when working with natural materials in rugged environments. Things crop up – adverse weather, building with frozen ground, or supplier delays are all common examples.
You want your contractor to provide an honest answer. They should be able to give you a clear description of the problem, the potential implications of it, and how they resolved the issue. This paints a picture of their ability to adapt, stay on budget, and manage on-site issues with ease.
5. Do You Build from Scratch?
If you’re on a budget, some builders may offer a prefabricated log cabin build. This is where the elements of the home, such as pre-cut log panels for walls, are ready-made. They’re delivered onto the site and erected in a few days, a bit like a Lego kit.
If you want a truly luxury or custom build, however, contractors who start from the ground up are going to deliver what you want. They’ll have experience in foundations, connecting amenities, and designing cabins that work for your unique needs.
6. What Insurances and SLAs are Included in the Contract?
What happens if a supplier delays deliveries? Who is responsible for the build cost running over budget? What happens if the site floods or the heavy snow comes earlier than expected?
A good contractor will have answers to these questions — and they’ll be fair, too. A log cabin builder who cares about the relationship they create with you will demonstrate that they’re willing to meet you halfway when unexpected problems pop up.
7. Will You Help with Building Regulation Paperwork?
A good contractor will ensure your build meets all regulatory requirements – including those that may come into force in the future, such as the 2025 rewrite of building codes in Canada.
You may still have to manage the paperwork yourself, but your contractor will be able to guide you to the necessary forms and licenses you’ll need for the build to be a viable project.
Build Your Ideal Log Cabin in Alberta Today
It’s important to do your due diligence to find a cabin builder who sees the same vision as you.
As cabin builders in Alberta for over 13 years, we take pride in the honest relationships we build with our customers. You can ask us any of these questions – and many more – and you’ll always be met with the truth.
Let us help you create the luxury log cabin you’ve always wanted. Contact us today to find out more about how we’ll work with you to deliver your log home project.