Tip 1 – Ensure all the builders work off the same scope, specifications and drawings
Every builder provides quotations in their own format, estimates differently and allows for different inclusions. To be able to fairly compare quotations from your builders, they need to be provided the same scope, specifications and drawings. Even then you will receive quotations which are different to each other in relation to what has been allowed for. As such, you will need to compare the details provided by each builder.
At Broadwater Builds, we provide our clients with our own detailed scope to show our understanding of the client’s requirements for their project. This provides our clients with complete transparency of what we have allowed for in the base price versus what we may have excluded or provided as optional upgrades.
Tip 2 - Go out to 3-5 builders for a quotation
Going out to 3-5 builders is a good idea. Three quotations usually gives you sufficient competition and confidence that you are obtaining value for money for your building project. With 4-5 builders you will get 2-3 builders who should be providing similar prices and 1-2 builders who we call outliers; they are either significantly cheaper or significantly more expensive than the others. Going out to more than 5 builders can be time consuming and cost you lots of time in doing your comparisons. When getting quotations from builders, it is also a good idea to let them know they are competing against other builders. Also ask them to fully itemise their quotes.
Tip 3 – It’s in the detail!
When you receive your quotations, check immediately whether the builders have provided detail. If you receive a brief one pager back from any them with a single figure, be very careful. We suggest going back to the builder and requesting further detail and asking them to itemise their quotation preferably by trade or discipline. Without this detail you will find it extremely difficult to fairly compare between your builders.
When you obtain a quotation from Broadwater Builds, we provide you a detailed breakdown by discipline (e.g. concreting, bricklaying, structural steel, etc.), provisional sums, prime costs and our progress claim payments. Along with our pricing, you get our scope document. With this documentation you have everything you need to make your decision and compare against other builders.
Tip 4 - Don’t compare apples with oranges!
Make sure you do detailed comparison of the quotes from your builders. Check that they have allowed for everything as per your brief, specifications and drawings. Every builder will quote differently and allow for different items in their base price. Find out what the differences are between each builder’s quotes and do the work to ‘normalise’ them. Normalising means you will be able to compare apples with apples. For example, if one builder has left out painting in their quotation, it’s a good idea to ask them for a price for painting so you can add this to their base price to normalise against the other builders who did allow for it.
Note that if one builder quotes much lower than the others, make sure you understand why this is the case. Most of the time it can usually mean they have left out a number of items from their quote or underspecified certain items. It is quite rare that the builder who is cheapest by a large margin is delivering everything you have asked for and at the standard that you expect.
Conversely, if a builder comes in much higher than the rest, it can mean a number of things. They may well have priced in everything that you have asked for (and possibly more), they may have more expensive trades/suppliers, they may have a larger margin and/or they have priced in more contingency into their price. It could also mean they are quite busy or not interested in the job. Regardless, it is still worth investigating why they are higher before you dismiss their quote.
Our advice is to thoroughly compare quotations and don’t be shy to ask questions from your builders regarding their quotations. Be wary of the builders who cannot satisfactorily answer your questions or who are vague regarding their inclusions.