Why Buying an Extension is not Like Buying a Television

I was at a party some time ago chatting to a friend who wants an extension building. While discussing designs issues, and layouts she made a comment that stuck with me that I couldn’t shake. She said “why wouldn’t you want the cheapest extension?” Now she’s an intelligent women, but she obviously hadn’t really thought her question through. At the time I wasn’t really interested in arguing the point so I let it go. Since then I have pondered the best way to answer her question and explain why you definitely shouldn’t want a cheap extension. I mean, would you want the cheapest clothes, the cheapest car or the cheapest television?

See, a client will assume that if you give a few builders your plans and tell them your personal requirements they should come up with basically the same price. The extension will be constructed using the same bricks, concrete footings, PVCu windows, roof tiles, plastering, carpentry etc. So why are the prices so different? And why are some quotes really cheap and others more expensive?

Well, lets imagine that you want to buy a television. You find the one that you like. A 42 inch HD Sony plasma with all the trimmings. So you pop into a few shops and check online. You know the spec, so the only thing to compare is the price (and maybe the warranty). Now imagine you find the television that you like, but you’re not allowed to buy the television all nicely packaged up and delivered to your door. The suppliers can only sell the components and offer to put it all together for a price. Stick with me. Now, your television is made with all the same components so in theory it should still be roughly the same price. However, when you meet the “engineers” you discover that they have very different approaches to constructing your dream television.

The first “engineer” tells you that he will pick up all the components from his mate and chuck them in the back of his car and take them to his shed where he has an electrical screwdriver and a hammer. He’ll put all the bits together and have your TV back with you in a few week. You just need to pay him half of his price (£600) up front and he promises to come back. He jokingly tells you not to worry if there are a few bits left over. There usually is.

The second engineer tells you that he’ll collect your vacuum packed components from the manufacturer and take them back to his state of the art lab and assemble them with his team of electrical engineers and have the completed television to you within 3 days, install it, tune it in, and even wall mount it if you like. His price is £850 and he’ll not ask for a penny until you are totally satisfied. He’s a fully paid member of the Federation of Television Assembly and offers a warranty for his workmanship.

Now, after reflecting on each of the scenarios above which do you think is the best choice for your fictitious television purchase? I would hope that the second scenario would be your choice. You are definitely more likely to be watching your favourite shows with a glass of wine rather than slapping the back of the TV set threatening to throw it out of the window. As you can see, when you are purchasing your extension you are not purchasing a ready made structure. You are paying for the workmanship, the confidence in your builder, and any guarantees that you require. The actual materials are almost useless and therefore wasted when they are in the wrong hands.

So, if your looking for an extension and want it built the correct way, with confidence and a full written guarantee then fill in the form on the left or call the number at the top of the page.

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