Your design is complete, you are excited and ready to go. Now it is time to transverse the minefield of builders’ quotes and contracts. How do you know who to select and how can you be sure that you are comparing apples with apples when you compare quotes from builders?
Following these guidelines will help simplify the process and give you peace of mind with your decision.
- Ensure your designer creates a detailed scope of works for you. This should include window and door schedules as well as all finishes. For eg if you are using an engineered stone in the kitchen you need to specify whether it is from the standard range or the deluxe. Most builders will quote from the standard range unless told otherwise. This can affect the price by several thousands of dollars. The more detail that is provided the more likely you are to receive a realistic price that will not blow the budget down the track. Even using different paint colours in rooms affects the price. Also check as to how many coats of paint are being used and even the brand. The more detail you give the builder regarding finishes and quality of items the more realistic the quote will be
- Advise builder as to whether you are supplying items such as tiles, tapware etc. or any trades that will be required to work with them
- If builder is providing PC items, handles etc they will typically say from Builder’s Range. This often means the most basic and you need to see the options before agreeing to this as you may find yourself up for a variation in contract which could lead to the budget blowing out.
- Create a check list to cross reference each builder’s quote. I have attached a recent example below. By making a simple table and colour coding it you can easily check if all builders have quoted on the same thing. If they haven’t you clarify if their quote includes the missing items, if not get them added.
- Check to see if the quote includes GST as some builder’s quote + GST and this makes an enormous difference to the final price
- Check builder’s licence http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/About_us/Online_services/Home_building_licence_check.page
- Ask for references and contact details of people they have worked with and actually ring them
- Obtain a copy of their home insurance warranty
- Read the contract carefully to establish what is included or not included in the price such as removal of rubbish
- Ask for a time schedule, remembering this is only a guideline as inclement weather can create havoc as can out of stock etc. which is beyond the builder’s control.
- Determine what is absolutely non-negotiable in the design and what a throw away is. By doing this you will not feel as though you are compromising anything and can make a decision without agonising about it.
- Ask for a running cost from the builder once the work begins and stay on top of the costs.
- Always allow at least a 10 -20% contingency as there is always something unexpected that crops up especially with a renovation