You would think that comparing quotes would be very easy. You hand out plans to builders, they take a look around your home where the work will be undertaken and you tell them about anything that is not mentioned on the plans that you would like them to include. Simple. Well, not really.
Below are some simple solutions to avoid pitfalls that will help you compare like for like quotes.
1. Give the builder the correct drawings
There are two types of plans that your architect will prepare for you. The Outline Drawings and The Structural Specification Drawings. The Outline Drawings are used for the planning office to determine what you are allowed to build. These plans have limited detail and are missing many aspects such as materials to use, or the spec the build requires. They are also subject to change if the planning office require alterations. An honest and reputable builder will prepare his quote based on what, in his experience, you will need to complete the project. Unscrupulous builders may quote the bare minimum shown on these plans in order to get the work and then add extras later to make up their money. It is much better to hand out Structural Specification Drawings with as much detail as possible to give builders as little wiggle room as possible.
2. Relay a consistent personal specification
When you speak to each builder that visits your home tell each one your personal requirements. It is better to write any additions down so that everyone has the same starting point. There will be no excuses later that they didn’t know you wanted something even though you’re sure you mentioned it. Or did you? You told someone, was it him? Sometimes you may amend your ideas slightly after meeting a few builders. Maybe a builder comes up with a good idea that you would like including in the quote. Or maybe a problem arises that you hadn’t thought about. In this case, don’t worry, simply make sure that every builder has the same amendments. If you have already met with builders before you change something call the previous builders and let them know. Better still, email them so that everyone has a copy of the changes. They can quickly change their costing’s before they submit them to you.
3. Read the quote carefully
Resist the temptation to skip to the last page and dismiss a quote because it seems too expensive. Talk to the builder and discuss why it is slightly higher. Perhaps he has included something that the others have not. Did you mention something to him that you didn’t mention to the others? Has he included fixtures or appliances that you would prefer to buy yourself? Maybe a quote is temptingly cheap because something is missing or the builder is using cheap labour or cheap materials. And when I say cheap I mean low quality. This will be a lot of money you are spending. It is worth careful consideration, not just a few seconds glance before dinner or your favourite television show comes on.
4. Compare the quality of the work
Quantity of work and quality of that work are very different. The old saying is true. “You get what you pay for.” This does not mean that the most expensive builder is the best or the cheapest builder is the worst. But it can give you an indication of the quality of their work if you are prepared to scratch the surface. A few quick avenues to investigate are:
a) Have they given you a written quote or just a verbal price over the phone? If they cannot be bothered to write the quote down how bothered are they going to be when work starts. Also, a verbal quote will leave you very vulnerable when work begins and extras start adding up.
b) Do they have public liability? A must if you are trusting them to build on your land.
c) Do they have the money to complete your project? Check out their finances.
d) Check out any memberships. Verify any Logos that they use. Are they actually a member?
e) Do they offer a written contract? If not, why not?
f) Do they have a dispute procedure in place? What if you disagree with something during or after work has been completed?
g) Check out previous and present jobs that they have worked on. Ask to speak to past clients alone so you can get a true analysis.
5. How long will the job take to complete?
When comparing quotes it not just the quality and the cost that’s important. The length of time it takes to complete will be a deciding factor. If you have a deadline for your project then check that the builders can start at the right time and can complete within a certain timeframe. A one man band who undertakes every aspect of the job alone will take much longer than a gang of skilled tradesmen all organised to a scheduled timeframes. But remember, if they are good builders they may be booked up many months in advance so be prepared to wait if you can.
You will find much of the information mentioned above is common sense, but it’s surprising how many people rush through the quoting process to appoint the cheapest builder. You are about to spend a lot of money on this purchase and you owe it to yourself to check that you are getting what you have asked for and what is necessary to complete the project correctly.
If you are looking to build an extension to your home and want a clear fair quote, then fill in the Extension Enquiry form on the left or call 01922 624262 to book an appointment.