You know that old saying? You get what you...


You know that old saying? You get what you...

When comparing building quotes, there can be substantial differences in prices between builders. You need to make sure you're comparing Apples with Apples.

It’s important to choose the right builder to build your home, one you can trust and work with, while also making sure you are getting an accurate costing of your project with no hidden surprises.

When comparing quotes, there can be substantial differences in prices between builders – it can be difficult to compare based on price alone. But if you’re going to do so, you really need to make sure you're comparing Apples with Apples and not Oranges.

Here’s the long & short of it, things cost what they cost and depending on the quality of products each builder allows for, there typically is a difference in price.

Coles, Woolies or Aldi?

Shopping in the home builder industry is not unlike shopping at the supermarket. Consider if I was to give you and your partner each a shopping list and a trolley and sent you both off to get items on that list. You would both leave the supermarket with a trolley containing the same amount of products, but each trolley would have a different total cost. Why? Well, its simple. One of you may have bought Coke and the other Pepsi. Even though they are both a soft drink containing the same volume there is a difference in product price. It’s the same in building, each construction piece can have a different supply or install cost.


Quoting faux pas – what to understand about building quotes

There are two key elements to a home building quote you need to take note of, these being firstly, Provisional Sums and secondly, Prime Costs. These costs are educated estimates by the builder on what certain items or services will cost. These figures are included in the total cost of the build as provided in the quote.

It’s important to understand that if the costs for these sums come in more than what the builder has estimated, the extra costs then get passed on to you. Vice versa, if the actual cost comes in lower than what the builder estimated, you are entitled to get a reduction for this amount off the total price of the build.

Let’s break it down for you…

For example, let’s say your block of land may require a large amount of excavation work to be completed and there is no way to know what lays below the top soil. If the builder is concerned that your block may contain extensive rock – this  could require additional heavy duty machinery and labour to excavate the rock, they may put in a Provisional Sum for this particular part of the project. If the costs of excavation go over and above what the builder has put in as a Provisional Sum, then the builder is able to pass on the extra cost to you as the client.

Looking at another example, let’s this time focus on Prime Costs, say…for bathroom fixtures and fittings. If you haven’t specified exactly which products you are going to use, the builder may assume a cost that only covers the basics. If you then go and choose products which are more expensive than what the Prime Cost is listed as, there will be an extra cost to you.

Big ticket items

With big ticket items, for example  ‘joinery’ (custom made cabinetry like vanities and kitchen cupboards), these will be allowed for as a Provisional Sums. If one builder has only allowed $10,000 and another builder has allowed $20,000 for your kitchen joinery there is a fair difference in allowance. Choosing the cheaper price is not always the right choice.

Depending on your final selection and design of your kitchen joinery, there could be a substantial shortfall in your quote and you will be up for the extra $10,000 on top of your contract price. Giving the builder at quotation stage more detail on how you would like your kitchen completed, the more accurate the Provisional Sum will be. For example, 40mm Stone Bench Tops with Waterfall ends verses Laminate bench tops – you can already see there will be less potential for budget blowouts.


Do your own research & keep track!

It is also important for you to do your own research on the costs of particular products you would like to use in your new home. Items like; bathtubs, tap ware, floor coverings, joinery, tiles, vanities. The more specific you are, the more specific your builder can be in sourcing and costing your project.

Once you start the build process it’s a good idea to keep a running spreadsheet with a list of all your Provisional Sums and Prime Cost allowances and update this each time you finalise a selection. Remember to ask for regular updates from your builder to keep track. Good communication with your builder will be key to ensuring there are no nasty surprises along the way!

Posted on:

Wednesday, October 30, 2019