How to compare building quotes to find the best value for you photo

How to compare building quotes to find the best value for you

So, you have finalised your plans and you have a few quotes from builders, now what? How do you compare the quotes to make sure you are going to receive the best value for money? 


Check out our tips on comparing apples with apples!


Which one has been the best to work with so far?

Firstly, let's think about the builders you have been talking to. Do you like any of them? You are about to embark on a big project for 6+ months, you will want to make sure you choose a builder you're going to get along with and someone that you trust.


This is so much more important than the dollar figure and is often something that is overlooked in the process of obtaining quotes. 


-       Has the builder been easy to communicate with?

-       Have they provided you with constructive & helpful information? 

-       Do they know your plans well? Or have they spat out a quick quote to win the job? 


Is the quote detailed? 

Okay now let's look at the actual quotes. The quote or proposal, should be a pretty lengthy document detailing everything included in your project.


You may have given them specific details about your project that aren't shown on the plans that you would like included in the quote, are these noted within the proposal? If not, you may be hit with a variation when you bring it up again once the build has started. Make sure you look for your specifics within the quote. 


Be wary of a basic quote, whatever isn't in that document, is not included in the build and can mean a pretty pricey variation later on.


-       Compare the details against all quotes

-       Is one really basic and another really detailed? 

-       Have they outlined your specifics? ie. VJ panels on specific walls, raked ceiling etc.



Are the PC Allowances realistic?  


Often builders will use low allowances to produce a cheaper priced quote and win the job.


Basically, if you choose something that is over this allowance, you're going to have to pay the difference. There is no point having an allowance of $35 per square metre for tiles if the ones you have planned for are a beautiful TileCloud tile at $59 a square metre! These can add up pretty quickly over multiple bathrooms and you guessed it, another variation.


Compare the PC allowances across the quotes. If you have provided the builder with your selections and they have still low balled the PC allowances, that's a red flag.

-       Compare the PC allowances across the quotes, are they the same? 

-       Are the allowances close to what you are looking at choosing? 

-       Have you given the builder your selections sheet, have they made the allowances similar to your selections? 


How many Provisional Sums are in the quote? 

Just quickly, provisional sums are for elements of the project that cannot be precisely costed in advance.


It's not unusual to have a few of these in the quote but it is important that you compare these across all quotes as they may be vastly different. Ask the builders how they have calculated the provisional sums and what the likely worst-case scenario could be. These can drastically increase the contract price very quickly. 


-       Compare the Provisional Sums across all quotes, are they similar? 

-       Do the provisional sums seem low for what they are? 

-       Has the builder included provisional sums for something that could be easily quoted? 



Reviews & testimonials 

Check out the builders Google reviews & testimonials. Better yet, can they give you the details of any past clients that you can contact directly?


If you had a rental property, you would be doing a reference check on your tenant, so you should be reference checking your builder! You're about to spend a lot of time and money with this company, if their past clients aren't happy with the results, you don't want to end up in the same boat. 

-       Ask the builder if they have any past clients that would be willing to speak to you about their experience

-       Check out their Google reviews


The building industry is a bit of a dinosaur and so are some of the builders! 


Find out how the builder does business! There are a lot of moving parts in a building business and believe it or not there is a lot of admin!

You need to find out how the business is structured. If your builder is still working on the tools, who is in the office ordering materials & doing the data entry?


There is too much happening for the builder to be relying on his memory throughout the project, make sure they use systems and processes to keep the job on track.


-       Does the builder use a system to keep you up to date with the project? 

-       Is there a form or system for your PC allowances & selections? 

-       Is there someone employed to do the admin?

-       What role does your builder have in the business? Does the builder work on the tools or oversee the project to keep it running smoothly? 


Who is going to be working on your project?


Often builders will subcontract the carpentry out to someone else as it is a fixed price and can be done very quickly. Some clients are happy with this, other clients want to know who is working on their project. Either way, it is worth asking the question.


The same goes for subcontracts such us plumbers, plasterers, electricians etc. The builder should have a team of trades that they trust to produce quality work and have worked with them on other projects, however, some builders put their projects out to tender and go with the cheapest price. 


-       Does the builder subcontract out the carpentry stage? 

-       How long has their team been working with them? 

-       Who are their trades? Have they worked with them before? 

Reach out if you need help!

We hope this helps you with your decision to choose a builder.

If there is anything we can help you with, please feel free to reach out. We are more than happy to offer any advice & guidance you may need. 


Best wishes,

James Mildner
Builder | Director