“Good morning – we want to build an extension on the back of the house and are looking for a builder to come and give us a quote.”
Everyone knows you will need to make several such calls and go through this process with at least three building companies before you find the one you feel comfortable with and whose quote is about the same as your budget. It is also a well-known fact that the cheapest quote is not necessarily the right one to accept. In fact quotes will vary significantly and it can be exceedingly difficult for the customer to know what is being quoted for, and how to compare them all.
This story is of someone who made the wrong choice and ended up spending a lot more than she had expected.
There are a number of factors to take into account and it is well worth taking the time and effort to go through the following:
- Only approach builders from a trusted source: FMB (Federation of Master Builders) or TM (Trust Mark) are a good starting point
- Look at their websites and read testimonials from previous clients.
- Do they publicise their prices?
- Be clear in your own mind what you can afford (include an allowance for unforeseen expenses)
- Be upfront about finances so builders can be honest with you and make suggestions about the best way to spend your money
- Go through the project carefully in your own mind so you can be clear about what you want and why you are making these changes
- Draw up an outline schedule of works initially for builders to give you an estimate.
Before you give your chosen builder the go-ahead, ensure that the final quotation has been calculated on the basis of detailed specifications – see our example below. The number and type of sockets, radiators, skirting boards and windows you choose, and the quality of the bi-fold doors all need to be agreed in writing before a contract is signed and work commences.
If you need planning permission for your project, outline planning drawings may be drawn up quite simply by an architect. However these will not show enough structural detail for the builder to be able to quote or work from. Neither will they be useful for the Building Control officer who inspects work during construction and on completion.
So who will you choose to draw up those plans?
An architect may charge a large fee to produce plans for a construction that you find you can’t afford to build. Choosing a builder who offers a “design and build” service can often help you understand the full costs of your project from the outset.
Make sure you receive a written quotation from your selected builders and check –
- whether VAT is included
- what other expenses may be necessary
- how long the project will take and when work will commence
- there is a payment plan that you find acceptable
Remember this is your home and the builders may be in your property for many weeks. You need to feel they are trustworthy, respectful of your space and you have a good working relationship from the start.
If you are thinking of using DK Building for your transformation project you can see what other clients say.