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A Guide To Understanding What is Included in Your Building Quote

Posted by Paul Ackling 03rd Jun 2015

Compare & Understand What’s Included In Your Building Quote


One of the most difficult parts of deciding on a builder is trying to work out what is actually included in the quote amount. Generally, most people look at 2 to 3 builders and can end up frustrated by not being able to have a clear line in the sand on exactly what is and, what isn’t, included. Some factors that can contribute to this confusion are:

  • Differing quote set outs
  • Differing specification levels
  • Omission of preliminary cost items (engineering, Geotech etc)
  • Level of available selections

Residential building, like most industries, is highly competitive and with such large amounts of money being invested, a quote that is 10% cheaper can be hard to look past. Once the building process gets underway, if the builder’s quote is incomplete or has not made adequate provisions for the works involved, that 10% saving can quickly evaporate. One common way that this happens is when a builder provides a very detailed quote with a lot of separated costs, quantities and rates per m2 etc. Most people view this type of quote as fantastic, because they see it as being transparent and in-depth. However, issues can arise when the building gets underway and the quantities required to actually construct the home are insufficient compared to the quote.

A couple of examples where this could occur are:

Concrete slab that is specified as a certain “class” or “m3” of concrete allowed. Both of these ways could allow the builder to charge additional cost if the selected class of slab is inadequate for the site, or that they have simply under allowed on the m3 of concrete required. What a builder should instead provide is to build the house as per plan and to the required Australian Standards. It is up to the builder to investigate and properly understand the site before providing a contract price and commit to delivering the homeowner a finished product for the contract price.

Kitchens play a pivotal role in modern homes and builders will often allow a provisional cost for this area. The issues start right about here. You spec up your kitchen with all the bells and whistles you could imagine and get a quote back from the builders nominated kitchen supplier and the cost is far in excess of the provisional allowance. Simple, you can just shop around and find a more competitive price, right? Wrong. Many contracts state that you must use the “builders nominated supplier” or “builders nominated range”. So, you are stuck having to use a supplier that is costing more that they should and you can end up paying handsomely for a less than overwhelming result.

Driveways are an absolute must for a finished property and are often needed to obtain an Occupation Certificate at the end of a job. The trap here is that many builders will include a nominated m2 of driveway in their contract. People look at this allowance in their contract and think, great, my driveway is sorted. Without further investigation and studying of their plans, the actual driveway size is sometimes double in size as to what has been allowed for. The extra charge to a client here can be in the thousands.

Ask yourself, does your quote include the following items?

  • Consultant Fees (Engineers, Surveyors, Geo Techs, Town Planners)
  • Council Fees
  • Home Warranty Insurance
  • Service disconnections and connections
  • Site Preparation (demolition of existing home, excavation, land fill)
  • The above items are just a snippet of items that, if not properly accounted for, can have a big impact on the final price of your build.

When building a new home, what are the expectations?

To be able to live in the home as a complete and finished home. Sounds so simple but many quotes don’t allow to complete the home to the point where is can be used. Any builder that provides a cost for your home should be making a commitment to include all the items required to allow you to live in and use the house. Anything short of this would be like buying a new car without a motor. It may look ok from the outside, but it can’t be used for its’ intended purpose.

AND, finally……The Occupation Certificate

Will your builder provide this on completion of the home?

It seems like a formality or so far away, at the quote stage, that many people think they will worry about that later. And, very often, it is a worry later on. Repeatedly records and certificates aren’t kept or appropriate inspections aren’t followed during the build because the builder is not taking responsibility for the complete process. You then find yourself in a very unenviable position as, months down the track, you discover that your new home can’t get an Occupation Certificate. The flow on effect is quite enormous. Your new home will have great difficulty selling and, you may even lose several hundred thousand dollars in value, without this certificate. All of this will make that 10% saving at quote stage insignificant.

Peninsula Homes commits to providing an Occupation Certificate on completion of all our homes. We work closely with our Private Certifier to ensure that each stage of your build is certified and signed off, so that when the end of your build is near, you have total peace of mind that the job has been done properly and your Occupation Certificate can be issued.

The message is clear when obtaining quotes for your home. Really understand who you are dealing with and what they are including, or better still, what they are not including. If in doubt, ask questions and keep asking questions until you are 100% satisfied. That 10% saving at quote stage may seem like a deal breaker, but if you don’t truly understand what’s included in your quote, you may well pay heavily for it through the course of your build.


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