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Dealing with Quotes
The quote is an important part of the building contract and there some sound procedures to follow and several things to look out for.

Three quotes

Before you contract anyone to do anything but the most simple and straight forward jobs, it's a good idea to get at least three quotes.

The quote is an expression by the builder of the total cost to you of the work they will perform. There is no set format for a quote but depending on the scale of the job it should include an accurate budget estimate, complete schedule projections, and itemised material needs.

Always ask for a written quote and make sure all the quotes you seek are based on identical information you provide. You owe it to everyone to have detailed plans and specifications ready. If you have specifications outlining selected materials and finishes ensure it accompanies the plans for quoting.

Often in the quote process builders will suggest improvements or changes to the plans. If you adopt these changes, it is important to relay these changes to all the firms quoting to ensure a fair comparison. Put the changes in writing.

Dealing with Quotes

Prime cost items

You should pay special attention to Prime Cost (PC) items - items like appliances or finishes you have not specifically selected at this time and for which the builder needs to make an allowance in the total price. In this situation, a builder may base the quote on the cost of the cheapest model or type on the market but the actual cost will be higher if you later choose a better-quality item.

Be careful if a builder has allowed low, unrealistic values for Prime Cost items. This is why you should be wary of any quote that is much lower than all the others.  To get an accurate final figure, try to provide details of the exact items you require, including models, brands or style.

Dealing with Quotes

Other pointers

It's at this time, when you are seeking a quote, that you should discuss with the builder:
  • The sort of contract to be used;
  • Addresses where you can see recent examples of the builder's work (a good
    builder has many happy clients);
  • Who will be supervising the work;
  • What deposit might be asked for, and what progress payments are to be made and when;
  • Firm start and completion dates (a clear understanding of how long the job will
    take); and
  • Who is going to be responsible for cleaning up the site.
the sort of contract to be used;

Dealing with Quotes

From the builder's point of view, great care has to be taken to arrive at the right numbers in the quote. To compile a detailed quote they must use their trade and professional knowledge and judgment. This underpins their livelihood and the sums must be right.

So the quote becomes a very important aspect of the contract. Everything that happens on site during construction must be allowed for in the quote, hence
it plays an incredibly important role in the successful running of the contract.

Variations at any stage to your specifications, unforeseen problems, changes by council, or other causes may affect the final price of the works. For example, there may be rock beneath the surface which needs to be removed, requiring the hire of someone to use a jackhammer. All variations to the contract must be in writing and signed by both parties.

And remember when seeking quotes, price is not everything. A competent caring builder who is a good honest communicator may be worth paying a little more for.
Once you accept a quote, confirm it in writing. It's also courteous to notify those builders whose tender was unsuccessful.