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Comparing builders quotes:

If you request a quote from a builder don’t be too surprised if it is only a page or two. I’m not saying that is acceptable, but it does tend to happen. If you went to buy a new car you would expect to receive a full specification, options, and a detailed price. So why is a building contract so different when it can be over 30 times the price of your car?

The reason is to do with how the industry has evolved. Typically, Design & Build is too difficult for project home builders. They target clients building their first home as they are more likely to be guided and less likely to complain which protects their margins.

The client that wants something a bit better (or has built with a project builder previously) is attracted to the custom build market due to the higher level of quality and the flexibility to customise anything. The builders in this market are typically small and building between two and six homes a year. They started out as carpenters straight from school and have progressed to becoming builders.

The problem is a great carpenter does not equal a good businessperson. Although they can build a beautiful home, they are unable to detail the components. This leads to misunderstandings and disappointment on both sides. Most builders are not crooks and do not set out to deceive clients, however, a lack of academic skills and the complex nature of putting together over 250 different activities into a compact timeline and identifying the critical path leads to stress for the builder and frustration for the client.

To help avoid misunderstandings and to ensure you are comparing apples for apples make sure the following questions are answered and included in any quote.

  • Are the site works, footings & slab quoted as per soil test
  • What is the specification for the hot water system?
  • All building approvals, insurances & certification included?
  • Is the site left clean and tidy with any excess soil & rubbish removed?
  • What bathroom accessories are included and which models?
  • Are insulation batts included to all external walls & ceilings? (If so, what rating?)
  • Are supplier delivery charges included?
  • Are the internal WCs externally vented? (BCA Requirement) What is the specification & furniture for the internal doors?
  • What is the finish to the driveway?
  • What type of splashback is allowed for in the kitchen?
  • Is the letter box included?
  • Engineers frame inspection included.
  • What insurance included?
  • What is the handover & orientation process?
  • How many maintenance inspections have been allowed for after handover?
  • Are any external features (hoods/awnings/batten screens etc) included in the price?
  • What type & size are the robe doors & what is the fit out to all robes & linen cupboards?
  • What is the specification of the air conditioning and what percentage of the home can be cooled at any one time?
  • What is the specification for the cabinetry in the kitchen, laundry & bathrooms?
  • How clean is the home at handover? (What is the process?)
  • Is the quote inclusive of any additional materials required for 5-star energy efficiency rating?
  • What is the specification for the security system?
  • Have slabs been allowed for rainwater tank, air conditioning unit etc?
  • Is the TV Antenna included?
  • What size skirting & architraves have been allowed?
  • What size frame & what is the stud spacing allowed for?
  • What is the specification for the garage door?
  • Is gas Installation included?
  • How many coats of paint have been allowed and what is the paint specification?
  • What finish has been allowed for to the ceiling/wall junctions?
  • What length has been allowed for stormwater & sewer connection?
  • How many outside taps have been allowed for?
  • What is the specification for the kitchen sink?
  • What laundry tub has been allowed for?
  • What basins are included?
  • Are all set out surveys including?
  • What is the specification for the shower screens?
  • What is the specification for the mirrors?
  • What tapware has been allowed for?
  • Is temporary power & services included?
  • Which brand of windows & doors have been included?
  • Has external rendering been included?
  • Has any protection been allowed for windows, doors, cabinetry & floors during construction?
  • What is the specification for the stairs and balustrades?
  • What carpets and underlay have been allowed?
  • What is the specification for the external balustrades?
  • What is the finish to the garage floor?
  • What kitchen appliances have been allowed?
  • What is the specification for the water tank?
  • What tiles have been allowed to the walls & floors? If it is an allowance what size and quality does the allowance cover?
  • What height is the tiling in each wet area?
  • Is landscaping, fencing, retaining walls and driveways included in the quote? Typically, these can add up to 25% to the total quote.

A quote should typically be around 20-30 pages to capture all the detail. Anything less than that is ambiguous and leads to an increase of over 36% to the contract price by completion.

If your builder has provided a basic quotation or does not include all the above or you are in the early stages of building your home and want to discuss what options are available, please feel free to call or email us.

📞 1300 268 910

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