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Extras, Variations, Nasty Surprises, Cost Blowouts

Posted by Paul Ackling 10th Sep 2015

Extras, variations, nasty surprises, cost blowouts………call them what you will. They can all tarnish the building process.

Unexpected cost increases or being overcharged for charges during construction would have to be people’s biggest concern when undertaking the building process. It seems that most people know someone with a horror story to tell, and we have all seen the current affair programs. This fear/expectation is so ingrained that one of the most frequently asked questions is “that is the price but how much extra do I allow?” People’s expectations can range from 10%, 20% to even 50% of the quoted amount.

What ever happened to a price being a price?

A professional and experienced builder should be able to have a clear and comprehensive understanding of what is required to build your home. Then, it should be costed accordingly with nothing left out or under specified. Unfortunately, it is most often the case that builders do cut inclusions and specifications in order to drive down the quote price.

Comparing Prices and Choosing a Builder

When comparing multiple quotes, the number at the end of the page can speak very loudly and will often guide the final decision. This is perfectly understandable and, with such large amounts of money being talked about, who wouldn’t take the quote that is $50,000 or even $100,000 less. However, going with the cheapest quote is often the first ingredient in the horror story recipe. This is because making the choice of which builder to use involves more than just comparing written quotes (always a tricky thing when quotes are all written up differently). Each builders track record should form a large part of the equation. How do you do this effectively? Whilst most builders will have a list of client references from completed jobs, why not ask to speak to some existing clients. These clients are still in the building process and will have a fresh perspective and first hand account of how the builder operates and exactly how they are dealing with variations or changes made throughout the build.

Flexibility is very important while building as different ideas and perspectives can flow once the building takes shape. With that being the case, what should you expect from your builder when it comes to making changes through the build?

Fair, reasonable and transparent costings should be a minimum expectation. And, if your builder has costed their job correctly (not usually the cheapest quote) then it is in their best interest to cost variations in this manner. After all, the adjustments made once spaces can be walked through and views actually seen, can often be the client’s favourite areas and can make the overall product that much better.This is your home and you will be spending a great deal of time in this space. Your builder should be actively involved in understanding your likes, dislikes and lifestyle, then they should be heavily invested in bringing your home together within the quoted cost.

More Than a List of Specifications

A building quote, especially one that is to design and construct, should be so much more than a list of specifications with a figure at the end. It is a commitment from the builder to do what is required, to bring your home to completion, in line with the original brief, so that you can live/enjoy what has been created.

It is this very commitment that brings the focus required to come through all the ups and downs, during construction, and build homes to the highest standard. It is also this personal commitment that breathes life into each home that we build. And, it’s this life, heart, vibrancy, feeling that remains long after the cost is forgotten.


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