FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why do you charge for quotes?
Usually when we visit the dentist, or some other specialist, we usually have an initial consultation which we happily pay for. If we perhaps need some remedial work done, it is quoted upon based on what is discovered during that initial consultation. Would you trust the specialist that look’s you up and down in the waiting room and provides a quote for the work you need done?
It’s much the same with building. There is not a one size fits all house or level of inclusions that meets everyone’s needs and desires. So, if a builder provides you with a one page “quote” to build your house based upon a sketched floor plan, you better be ready to hand him your wallet because the project is going to end up costing you a lot more than anticipated.
In order to come up with a home that is exclusively yours, and meets all the functionality and aesthetic desires that you and your family have, takes a considerable amount of time. For this reason, we charge to provide a quote, which include the production of plans, the soil test, the contour survey, the foundation engineering, the BERS report all of which are statutory requirements to proceed with a building approval anyway. Aside from this we will help you through a process to select all your inclusions, from the front door handle, to the tiles, to the cabinetry, in order for us to provide you with a true fixed price quotation. One that you can trust.
Do I really need a contour survey?
A contour survey is a plan of your building site that details the height of the ground on where you are intending to build. In an area like Gympie and surrounds it is a vital piece of preparatory information for several key reasons.
Firstly, the contour survey enables the builder to determine the amount and extent of the earthworks required for the building platform. Quite often without this detailed survey the builder will include a Provisional Sum for this aspect of the building. This figure can be below what it will actually end up costing for the work to be performed and therefore you will end up out of pocket from what you thought was the price to build your home.
Secondly, it helps to ascertain important information to enable the design of effective sanitary drainage and stormwater systems that comply with local regulations and also whether or not the building is above the local flood level. All these things if determined early in the process help the professional builder to determine the exact cost of performing the building work, and therefore pass on to you the confidence of the guaranteed fixed price quotation.
How can I compare apples with apples for building quotes?
This can be a difficult thing, especially for those who aren’t experienced in reading builders’ quotations and who aren’t aware of several contractual “tricks” builders can use. You see a building contract, while professing to be fixed price, actually contains provision for items to be not fixed, and also there are many small items that are part of the display home, but may not be included in the price you are given to build that home. Things such as Driveways, Paths, Air-Conditioning and T.V. Antennas are usually installed on these homes but you need to carefully read your quote to see if they are included in the price.
Also, items such as kitchen joinery, tiles, and tapware can be included in the quote as a Prime Cost Item. This is effectively an allowance that the builder can supply the items for, but effectively is not usually what you will choose or want installed in your new home. These builders will usually include the price of the cheapest Chinese items that they can find in order to keep the price competitive but then when you make a selection through-out your building process the price will be varied to pay for the items you have selected and eventually, that competitive price isn’t looking so good.
Another common discrepancy between quotes that can be difficult for homeowners to reconcile between quotes is the slab or foundation pricing. You see while an experienced builder can look at a block of land and take an educated guess at what the soil might be classified as, until the money is paid and a soil test and engineering conducted, it will be a guess at best. And if your builder needs to secure your job there is nothing to stop him from underestimating what will be required for this very important aspect of your home, to make his price look more competitive. Again, you will only find out the expense at a future time.
So all in all, when you are comparing quotes from builders you need to be very, very wary of those one pare quotes which really are only a guess at best. Go with a builder who steps you through the process and takes the time to gather the information related to your block of land and to what fittings and fixtures you want included in your build. If the builder does these steps properly and gathers the information required to present you with a proper “fixed price quotation” his quote will include detail and will most probably end up between 30 to 40 pages in length. It is only with this kind of information that you can be confident that you have everything included in your home that you want, and that the price isn’t going to vary through-out the course of the build because the right information wasn’t collected at the start.