How to get a builders quote?

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Building your house is a lifetime project and an exciting opportunity to have your own home. However, complex projects, such as building a house from scratch, can go wrong in many ways. Finding a reliable builder can make or break your house building project. Therefore, assessing the builders quote is just a first step in choosing a reliable builder.

What is a builders quote?

A builder quote or construction quote can be defined as an initial cost estimation to build a residential property. This is the first cost estimation you’ll receive from the builder, and based on that you’ll be able to plan your house building costs. Quotes for building a house can vary in a great extent given the design and architectural preferences, number of square meters, flooring, and location. A house building or renovating quote should include all costs directly related to the house building or renovation projects, such as but not limited to the labour and material costs, and costs for compliance requirements.

The builder or construction quote is the initial estimation you will get for your building or home renovation project. If the quote the builder sends you seems reasonable, the next step is receiving the tender or contract.

What is a tender package?

A tender package is a set of plans and documents whose purpose is to inform the builder about the construction project, what it includes, and the details of the building. The tender package is usually prepared with the help of architects and designers, to provide clarity and proper information. The tender package usually includes:

  • Scope of construction work—it describes the outline of construction work, which will help builders access the overall project cost more accurately
  • Building schedule—has an important role in avoiding cost blowout. This document should include details about materials and fixtures that are going to be used, which will help builders in assessing the total material cost.
  • Engineering documentation including plans and diagrams—these documents give builders a clear overview of what type of building is required, so project timelines can be well planned out.

How to compare builders quotes?

Choosing the right builder has a huge impact on the success of your project. Therefore, comparing the construction quotes can take some time and effort. What you can do is:

  • Carefully go through all the construction quotes you received, and try to understand the specifics, what is included in the base price plan, and what is included with a price upgrade.
  • Make sure you check the quotes in detail, so you can avoid unnecessary and unplanned costs.
  • Provide all builders with the same brief, drawings, and specifications, which will make it easier for you to check different quotes.
  • Make sure to check with every quote what is included and what is not. In case you receive a quote that is much cheaper than others, there’s a chance that some major elements are not included in the quote, or that he might be using some cheap materials to reduce costs.
  • Always require additional details from builders if you receive a quote that’s lacking in details.
  • Check the maintenance period. Legally, a developer can provide only a 4-month maintenance service after the property handover. However, some contractors are happy to provide maintenance services for an extended period, so you can check with them what is their maintenance period.

How to find a good builder?

Finding a reliable builder is of crucial importance to your building or renovation project. Therefore, we can advise on a few things:

  • Reputation and trustworthiness: A golden rule of thumb would be carefully assessing the trustworthiness and experience of different available professionals.
  • Be very specific about the type and scope of work you want to complete, which leaves room for a contractor to prepare a more accurate construction quote.
  • Break down all the building requirements and individual components, such as floor plans, dimensions, materials, design specs, etc.
  • Ask the right question and avoid obsessing over the price once you get the quote since it’s more important that the quote matches your needs and expectations
  • Avoid incomplete quotes or quotes too low in price because it can be an indicator that a contractor is not experienced or transparent enough.
  • Check the background of the contractor, such as the company name and registration number, to see if it’s a legit company.

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Builders quote checklist

In selecting the right builder, what you need to do is to perform a detailed check by following the comprehensive checklist we created below to ask your developers:

  • Proof of licence and insurance
  • References from past clients
  • Fully itemized quotes with breakdowns of different aspects of the building
  • Estimations regarding the clear timeline and overview of the project with start dates, milestones, and end dates
  • Progress payment schedule
  • Waste management plan regarding the building and demolition waste

Can a builder charge more than the quote?

Generally speaking, no. Once you sign a fixed-price contract with a builder, the builder agrees to bear the additional cost that is beyond the agreed contract amount. For example, if the cost of materials increases during the building process, the builder doesn’t have the right to increase the price to cover the additional material cost. If the increased building cost is the result of the client’s additional design requests, then the client will have to pay for it.

However, in cost-plus building contracts, the estimated cost base can be adjusted to match actual project expanses.

Can you negotiate a builders quote?

You can try to negotiate the initial price, as some builders may be open to a certain amount of negotiation. However, price negotiation shouldn’t negatively impact the quality of the project, as quality is always more important than price.

Is it normal for a builder to charge for a quote?

Some inexperienced companies give quotes for free, while others can charge a small amount. Although it might seem like an unnecessary expense, paying a small sum for a quote can help you assess different offers from early on.

However, the price of the quote usually depends on the size and scope of the project. Typically, the cost for a quote can easily be justified since it helps to eliminate unreliable builders before the project has begun.

How many quotes should I get for building work?

We advise against signing a contract with the very first builder who sent you the quote. A general rule of thumb would be to compare at least three quotes for the same construction project. By doing that, you will have enough info to make comparisons and choose the best contractors for your construction project.

What information do builders need to give a quote?

Builders will require house plans and diagrams. Also, some generic advice would be to be as specific as possible, reflect your specifications and include all types of materials that you want to use. It’s best to include all you have in mind about the project to reduce miscommunication issues with your contractor.

What to ask a builder when getting the quote?

Some questions that are important to ask:

  • Do you have a valid building licence?
  • Can we see some examples of your past projects?
  • What kind of warranty do you offer?
  • Do you have some references?
  • What kind of experience do you have with my kind of project?
  • Is your price quote or estimate?
  • What are your payment terms?
  • How we will communicate during the project?
  • Are there any hidden cost?
  • Can you provide a full schedule and time frame for this work?
  • Who manages the workload?
  • What can I expect after the project is done?
  • When can you start?

How can PBAQs help you with your construction projects?

With more than 20 years of industry experience, we would be more than happy to offer our help in your next construction project. If you need help in estimating your overall project costs, or an expert building consultancy, you can reach out here.

Angelo Antidormi
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