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Oct 16, 2017

Building Quotes: How to avoid hidden costs

Oct 16, 2017

Building Quotes and avoiding hidden costs is possible if you know what to look for. Unfortunately, not all Building Quotes are created equal.

If you are embarking on a home renovation project and have received a quote from multiple builders, there are some very good reasons why the bottom line varies between them.

Learn to spot the hidden costs behind quotes and discover why cheaper quotes will usually cost you more in the long term.


Ensure that everything has been included in your Building Quote

This seems obvious, but it is important to ask what has been excluded from the Quote. Do not assume that everything that you think should be included, has actually been included.


Common items to be excluded may include window treatments, floor coverings and painting. Maybe these are items that you are happy to complete yourself? However if they are not, you must insist on a price to be included in the quote. Their exclusion will have a significant impact on the real total cost, potentially adding thousands of dollars to your total project cost that you may not have budgeted for.



Has Asbestos Removal been allowed for?

Danger Asbestos signHouses built prior to 1980 usually have asbestos somewhere in the home. Abestos is a deadly substance that is now banned as a building product. If you are renovating you should be expecting thave there will be asbestos that will need to be removed. Asbestos can lie hidden in all sorts of places in your home such as eaves, cladding, ceilings, fences, backing on vinyl floors and more. It is important that the removal is done by a licenced asbestos removal specialist.


It is not uncommon for builders to leave this cost off a builders quote. Sometimes the asbestos can be concealed and this is an honest omission. On other occasions, builders may leave the cost off the quote to keep the total cost of the quote down in order to be competitive. Then once the job commences you are hit with an unexpected variation.


If you have asbestos in your home – or suspect that you have – ask your builder to make an allowance for the removal in your building quote.


Check that Quality Materials have been specified

Building prices can vary due to different types and grades of materials specified. If a Builder is very cheap, and their Quote seems significantly low, you will need to ask more questions about the materials supplied.

Treated pine timber quality building product


Ask whether the quote includes treated pine or untreated pine. Amerex only recommend using treated pine to ensure that you have maximum protection against termites and borers.


Another example is when a Builder allows a small budget amount for items such as door handles, bathroom fittings and kitchen appliances. In a quality home renovation project, budget fittings do not usually apply (budget fittings are more suitable for project homes and first home buyers), and as such you will be hit with a large number of variations that will very quickly add up to thousands of dollars.


Poor quality fittings and building materials will not stand the test of time as they will break or wear out easily, and the future capital gains in your home may be affected as a result. By contrast, a home that has had a quality home renovation and addition using quality materials and quality workmanship will appreciate at a greater rate and hold its value within the market.



The classic hidden cost: Variation fees!

Has the Builder specified what they charge as an Administrative Fee for Variations? If this is not specified then you need to ask. ALL renovation projects have variations – don’t believe anyone who suggests otherwise.

No hidden costs


Most Builders charge anywhere from $250 to $1000 Admin fee per Variation. In our 25+ years of experience, we have found that it is not unusual to have between 10 to 20 variations on a large renovation project.


The types of variations that occur can include small items such as adding in extra electrical points, to changing your alfresco ceiling from plasterboard to cedar lining, or simply deciding that you would like to have custom built-in shelving in your new linen cupboard after all.

Whatever the reason, we can assure you that from experience there will be at least 10 Variations. If you are someone that changes your mind a lot, there will be more. Consider the cost then if you have 10 Variations, each with an Admin Fee of $1000. This would add $10,000 to your project straight away. So, 20 Variations will add $20,000! You get the picture, and it is not pretty!


Amerex does not charge an Admin Fee for Variations, so you can be assured that on an Amerex home renovation project that you will be protected from this type of budget creep.


Will the Builder complete the job on time? The hidden cost of rent.

Building and renovation completed on time

If you are renting during your home renovation project, it will cost you considerably more if your project runs over time and you need to pay a hefty amount in rent each week/month.


How can you safeguard against this? Find out if the Builder has a track record of delivering on time.


Ask the Builder if they have completed similar projects in your area and how long they took to complete them. Ask if you can talk to the homeowners. Will they provide a reference?


Then most importantly, ensure that any dates promised will be written into your Contract.


Exclusions should be clearly stated

Every building quote should contain a list of exclusions. Typically this might include items such as fencing, landscaping and security. If you have a building quote that does not clearly listed what is excluded you need to ask further questions.


EVERY building quote should have a section that outlines exclusions. If your building quote does not clearly list what IS included and what IS NOT included you need to ask more questions.


Before your project starts you want to know that you are building with a builder you can trust. Make sure they are being honest and transparent with you from the very start. After all, you will be trusting the builder with your home, make sure you are comfortable your home will be safe and trusted hands.


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If you would like more information about any of our services contact us today

t:(08) 9227 1822   e:info@amerex.com.au

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A member of the Amerex team will arrange a time to discuss your
renovation and additions project and assess what stage you are at in the building process.

PO Box 328, North Perth WA 6906
ABN: 67 009 252 680   Builders Registration: 10250


10 Monger Street, Perth WA 6000
PO Box 328, North Perth WA 6906
t: (08) 9227 1822
e: info@amerex.com.au

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MBA Member Amerex Renovations and Additions 

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Google Reviews

Amerex Renovations and Additions
Based on 17 reviews
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Graham Crooke
Graham Crooke
07:24 06 Jun 20
I can't say enough good things about this company! Everyone on the team was extremely professional, but also friendly and easy to deal with. Communication by them was first rate. We gave them approved architect plans for addition to our home and they quickly responded with a well-thought-through bid that was very competitive in price. As soon as we agreed on the contract, they were very quick to get started, and then built exactly what was in the plan, making only a couple of (clearly communicated) changes to increase strength and reduce cost. Subcontractors showed up when promised and were very friendly, as well as tidy with their work, cleaning up at the end of each day and doing a general cleanup at the end of the week (we lived in the rest of the house during construction). The work was completed a very high standard. They also helped with some other repairs around the house (like fixing a gutter that flowed down a wall rather than the down-pipe). The project was completed on time and on budget. They are very nice people and were a pleasure to work with. I recommend them highly and would definitely hire them again!
Garth Mason
Garth Mason
12:29 03 Feb 20
We can recommend Amerex without hesitation. Steve Burke & his team really do produce renovations of the highest quality and standard. Their many Master Builder and HIA awards demonstrate this and look at any of their online case studies and you'll see why Amerex have such an A+ reputation. We contracted Amerex to design, manage and build our character home renovation and 2 storey addition. It was, in Steve's words, "a big job" and took 14 months from demolition to completion. What sets Steve apart is his attention to detail and his integrity, and that of his contractors and staff. Whatever you have signed on for is what Amerex will take great pride in delivering. And even post-build, the customer service is still outstanding. We couldn't be happier with the end result. - Garth & Shelley Mason
Natasha Sealey
Natasha Sealey
13:23 28 Jan 20
We are really happy with the quality of the work done by Amerex. Everyone comments on how fantastic our place looks and how seamlessly the renovations integrate with the existing house. They have a great team who go above and beyond and are lovely to work with. We may even renovate again one day.... :)
Karen Simpson
Karen Simpson
14:32 07 Jan 20
Amerex recently completed a renovation/extension for my parents and the experience was positive from start to finish. We initially discussed the brief with a number of builders and decided to sign up with Amerex as we felt we could trust Steve and his team. It was absolutely the right decision. Steve insisted on good 'old fashioned' service, honesty, integrity, quality products and exceptional craftsmanship from all involved including Amerex team members, designers, tradespeople and suppliers. Everyone was polite, punctual and respectful of the neighbours. As the build progressed, Amerex's reputation became evident. Suppliers, tradies and designers all spoke highly of Steve and commented on the exceptional quality of his renovations and extensions. This was reassuring. Members of the Amerex team were outstanding from the outset. They all went above and beyond what was expected to address any concerns we had, to initiate changes when required and to ensure that the build was on time and on budget. Post completion customer service has also been exemplary. Nothing was ever too much trouble and Kelly's ongoing coordination and responses continued to be prompt and friendly. Mum and Dad love their 'new' home and couldn't be happier with the end result. The old and new sections of the house blend seamlessly and they are continually receiving comments from neighbours, family and friends about how beautiful the house has become. We can recommend Amerex without hesitation.
Cymbie Burgoyne
Cymbie Burgoyne
01:41 17 Jan 19
I was fortunate to have Steve, Kelly and the team at Amerex build my extension. Their's is a professional, highly skilled, approachable business with exacting standards and the ability to work with you from the planning stage to completion. This professionalism extends to all who come on site. Kelly's capable and warm project management ensures that everything runs like clockwork and all your queries are dealt with extreme efficiency. Very Happy!
Laila Gizzarelli
Laila Gizzarelli
07:11 19 Dec 18
We completed our first home renovation in North Perth with Amerex last year. We were undertaking a large two storey renovation of our dream home and the decision to choose Amerex came down to the high level of professionalism, expertise, excellent customer service and vast knowledge that Steve and the team displayed in character home renovations. We had not renovated in the past and we were very unsure of the process however Amerex staff spent a lot of time assisting us with the design process, they were always available to answer our enquires, provided valuable suggestions, were extremely patient and completed our project ahead of schedule. We would highly recommend Amerex as we have ended up with a beautiful home that displays excellent workmanship and a highly functional design. The home is exactly as we imagined it to be and our family and friends have all complemented on the amazing final result. We thoroughly enjoyed the building process with Steve and the highly skilled Amerex team and extend a big thankyou to all the staff who helped us along the way( Kelly, Loretta, Maryanne and Pete !)
Eric Trevaskis
Eric Trevaskis
06:21 11 Dec 17
It was an absolute pleasure to deal with the Amerex team for our home renovation. From Steve Burke the office staff & the various tradespeople, we received exceptional customer service. The skilled tradespeople were reliable, obliging & committed to the highest level of quality on our home. NOTHING was too much trouble. Steve, Pete (the foreman ) & the office staff, especially Kelly, were always available either on the phone or on site if we had any queries. We knew we could always make direct contact with them & that any queries would be quickly resolved. We felt that we received a very personal & professional service from the Amerex team. Amerex came in on budget, they completed the work earlier than scheduled & they ensured our renovation ran smoothly throughout. Thank you Amerex. We love our "new" home and our family and friends are amazed at the transformation. We would wholeheartedly recommend Amerex. Eric & Kristine Trevaskis. .
Jacqui Seymour
Jacqui Seymour
05:52 09 Aug 17
AMAZING experience. We have just completed a major renovation, and over 18 months dealing with Steve and the AMEREX team. We had a 1930's California bungalow and required the character at the front to be maintained whilst adding almost an entire new house to the back including a second story. We have built twice before, both new homes one with larger builders. The difference between that and our experience with AMEREX was astounding. This was actually an exciting and pleasurable experience throughout. Rather than a number or just "another" client, we were made to feel part of the AMEREX family. The office staff (Loretta, Kelly and Maryanne) are a pleasure to deal with, nothing is ever too much effort. Kelly in particular is a great help with all the various selections and changes and is always smiling! We did not have an issue with a single tradesman throughout. And finally Pete (working foreman) and Steve (owner) are the most hands on, professional and customer focused we have ever met. I was able to speak to either at any time regarding any issue, many times Steve would suggest changes on site to improve the look or function of the renovation and Pete can do it all. No variation fees, complete flexibility, great workmanship direct line to the owners/supervisor, quality finish. We could not recommend AMEREX highly enough. Brenton and Jacqui Seymour Daglish
Rachel Green
Rachel Green
03:57 04 Aug 17
Amerex carried out a large renovation for us in 2015; almost a year-long project. Amerex, lead by Steve, have clearly been in the building industry a long time and offered valuable input and guidance prior to, and during the build. They used skilled tradespeople and quality materials; no corners were cut and I felt confident that the build was of the highest quality. Steve and his team communicated frequently with me along the way and I was involved at every step. I felt comfortable approaching him if I had any questions or concerns, he was always available and acted quickly to resolve any issues. The team at Amerex were reliable, professional and a pleasure to deal with. In particular Kelly, who would often go ‘above and beyond’, was always positive, and nothing was ever too much trouble. People who visit our home always comment on the finish and quality of the build, most believing it’s a new home and not a renovation. I will definitely use Amerex again, and would be happy to recommend them.
Phillip Madden
Phillip Madden
02:52 24 Nov 16
From the first meeting with Loretta from Amerex until the final check we have enjoyed the experience with Amerex. They have taken our words and ideas and built them into a quality finished extension that is functional and everything that we had hoped for. The entire team at Amerex lead by Steve are friendly, reliable, use quality materials and produce a quality outcomes. Our extension has the “wow” factor and guests comment on the exceptional open plan design that is built to entertain. We are very happy with the final finish and would highly recommend them to anyone.
Christine Tonkin
Christine Tonkin
09:05 24 Oct 16
The renovation of our home was its third reincarnation as it was originally a very ordinary rectangular 1950s Roman Catholic outpost church which we turned into a house on a tight budget in the late 1980s. As is usually the case, this current renovation was very significant and emotional for me and my family but more unusually, I was living overseas for almost all of the time the renovation was undertaken. We wanted a home that would comfortably accommodate our family and overseas and interstate visitors, provide a focus for entertaining a crowd, as well as being low maintenance and energy efficient. We selected Amerex as our builder because Steve Burke and his very competent team gave our family the confidence that they could be trusted to undertake this renovation professionally and sensitively including communicating progress every step of the way. Steve and his team took our conceptual design and made our vision a reality in very quick time with practical completion of this major renovation within 7 months of the start date. The site supervision was tight which meant that the work progressed easily between the various trades. What is more, the estimated cost of the job was accurate with variations only to suit changes that we required. The outcome was a home that delivers so much more than we expected in terms of comfort, quality and our initial objectives. It was a real pleasure to deal with Steve and his team. I would not hesitate to recommend Amerex to anyone who needs the services of a truly professional builder/renovator.
Dona Mecham
Dona Mecham
04:07 11 Oct 16
This is the first renovation/building undertaking we have experienced and we cannot speak highly enough of the quality Amerex provided. The project design was flawless, and we were extremely impressed with the marrying of the old and new. The attention to detail provided by Steve and his team was outstanding and our friends and family are quick to note this. We love the extra space and seamless flow of our family home. The Amerex commitment to using quality trades and ensuring the trades delivered on time and rectifying issues, was present throughout the building of our home. This gave us great peace of mind and for these reasons we would not hesitate to recommend Amerex.’
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