Preparing to Get a Quote photo

Preparing to Get a Quote

Building an extension, renovating or even transforming your landscape is a new process for many of us, and for first timers, it can be very daunting if you’re not well prepared. Getting quotes can be a time consuming and laborious process, but it is an essential part of any project and the more prepared you are, the better your outcome will be. Putting in the time and effort to plan what you want to do is always worthwhile. Doing so, ensures that you are going to be able to gather accurate and fair quotes to compare as well as have full understanding of what is included and excluded.

Firstly, prior to your first meeting with your builder, it is important to know what your goals are. This can vary depending on what stage you are at with your project. In most cases, we meet with either of two scenarios. For some, you will have plans prepared and for others you may have some ideas and require some input from your builder as to what options are best for you. In any case, our team at Auscape Exterior Transformations are ready and able to help.

Although you may not be completely aware of the cost of your project, it is still a great time to set a budget and a timeframe. It could be as broad or as limited as you wish but it is a great time saver for yourself and your builder if you do set these parameters so that you are discussing and planning something that will work for you. It is important to be upfront with your builder about your budget from the outset. There is no point in a builder quoting for a job if they know that they won’t be able to deliver it within your price bracket.

The best way to get clear, comparable quotes from builders is to give them a good ‘tender package’. This would be a complete set of plans and documents designed to tell the builder exactly what the project entails, and exactly what needs to be built. It would include some plans to be drawn, which in some cases, depending on the extent of the project, can be done on your own and in other instances may require some drafting by an architect or a designer of your choice or by our in-house designer. For more information about designing your next project with us, please get in touch with us and we can provide you more information. From your plans you are then able to create a scope of works (this will be a detailed outline of works that you need to be quoted on as they will be done by your builder) and a Building Schedule (which is a document that provides details of the specific products, materials, fittings and fixtures that are required for your project).

Things that are often forgotten

There are a number of components to a project that can often be missed. They are components that some people opt to arrange to be done independently so if you are wanting these included it is important to let your builder know.

  • Waste Removal - if you are aware of the type and amount of waste you will need removed, you may opt to make arrangements for this yourself but in some cases it is important to inform the builder if you are not wanting to manage this component.
  • Approvals, Certification and engineering fees – for large projects, there may be a number of certifications and reports required to design and build. For extensions and for some landscape constructions there may be a requirement for a DA to be lodged with the local council. These may be either wrapped up in a total fee bundle and payable in one payment before approval is issued, or may be handled separately. It’s important to ask if and how approval fees have been included in your quote.
  • Site Preparation Costs -This may include excavation, demolition and clearing of the site. This is an important factor that is highly influenced by the location of the site, the slope of the land, the type of soil and the design of the property.
  • Exclusions - One of the best ways to understand what’s included in a quote is to ask the builder what is excluded from the quote. It is important to ask what is excluded as your builder can inform you of additional costs that may come up later on in your project. You may then find there are components that you would like to add to your project for your builder to include or in some instances you may decide to ensure that you will budget for those components should they be required. 


An Estimate and a Quote

There is a big difference between an estimate and a detailed quote, for smaller projects, an estimate may be provided to you on the spot that gives you an indicator as to what you should expect to pay for based on what you have discussed that day. In other instances, we may need to gather a little more information prior to providing this to you. An estimate is an educated guess of what it will cost to complete a project and doesn’t cover the finer details of a job. It is non-binding, but it will give you as best an indicator of what we believe the project should cost. In the estimate you are also able to observe what is included so that you can ensure that is what you are wanting and check for any additions or changes you would want in your quote. Though it is note as detailed as a quote it does come free of charge.

A quote will outline all aspects of a project in detail and is an agreed price for the job, providing the specification doesn’t change. Should you feel satisfied with your estimate and are prepared to move forward, you can request a quote which may come with a small fee for larger or more complex projects. In the instance that there is a fee for preparing your quote, this amount would then be deducted from the cost of your project should you proceed into building with us. It’s important to understand that it takes time to prepare a detailed and thorough quote. You need to allow adequate time for the builder to plan and price your project, which can take a few weeks to produce.

If you have a larger project that requires certification or a DA application, it is highly recommended that you request a quote once you have your plans approved to save on time and money and be provided with the most up to date price. Providing as much detail as you can about your project will ensure that the quote is as accurate as possible.

Comparing Quotes

Upon receiving your quote or quotes, the starting point is to go through the detailed breakdown and avoid putting too much focus on the price. You are going to want to make sure that your quotes are fair and comparable by having the same inclusions. It may be that you will need to ask your builder more questions to confirm some aspects of your quote or project before making the commitment. Professional builder quotes will be thorough, transparent and include a clear scope of works, provisional costs and specific exclusions. While it can be tempting to focus on the bottom line when comparing quotes, be wary of just opting for the cheapest. Check to make sure that each quote covers everything you need and that there is a detailed breakdown of what is included, and importantly, what isn’t included in the price. Beware of suspiciously low quotes. If something seems too good to be true, it usually is.

If you have any more questions about quotes or more broadly about the whole building process, don’t hesitate call us today on 0427 161 025 or get in touch with us online.