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Pocketmags Digital Magazines
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

How to get realistic quotes from builders

Mike Hardwick explains why the prices you call in from contractors can differ – and what you need to know to get an accurate figure for all the works involved in your project

Whether it’s for a complete house build or a job undertaken by an individual trade, gathering quotes is a time-consuming but necessary part of your project.

Simply accepting the first price you get from a general builder is a dangerous game because there’s a raft of reasons why prices can vary. There will always be a difference between quotes for the same work, regardless of what kind of scheme you’re tackling – be it a new home or a simple extension. This month I’m looking at how to approach the process to ensure that you get the best possible value for money.

Estimate or quote?

There’s a lot of confusion about the terminology used for pricing a job. To be clear, an estimate is just that: an educated but quickly reckoned and non-binding guess of what a job might cost. Estimates are common on renovation work where the full extent of work that needs to be done might not be obvious at first glance, and they can vary depending on what happens as the job progresses. A fixed-price quote, meanwhile, is an agreed price based on work shown on a drawing or specification (and the accompanying terms and conditions). So provided nothing changes, that’s the final sum you’ll pay – but any variations to the spec will attract an ‘extra over’ cost.

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About Build It

The April edition of Build It magazine brings you a wealth of information to help make a success of your self build, renovation, extension or conversion project – including: • A stunning oak frame lodge in a woodland setting (page 22) • How to build a healthy home (page 58) • Upgrading your home's insulation (page 68) • Dealing with planning rejections (page 111) • How to get realistic quotes (page 115) … and more!