Building Quotes: How to avoid hidden costs

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?

Houses built prior to 1980 usually have asbestos somewhere in the home. Asbestos 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 the 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.

Ask whether the quote includes treated pine or untreated pine. Amerex only recommends 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.

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

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.