In the first part of this series - Extension and Renovation Costs - we talked about how important it is to have a specific budget in mind and to relay this to you architect. In this post we will look at how to compare you builders quotes to ensure you are getting the required specification from each contractor.

PART 2 - Building Quote Comparison

Once you have discussed exactly what you want your architect will issue a set of tender documents which will be sent to a number of contractors for quotation. This is the most efficient way to receive a number of quotes from different building contractors.

If your project is relatively small and you are not using an architect it can be a daunting process. Make a list of every room, and what changes are being made in each one. See the sample below*

Once you have completed something like the above you can send it to the builders you are interested in using. As mentioned in part one, you should ask family and friends who they have used and would they recommend them for your project. Arrange to go and see some of their previous work to make sure you are happy with the quality of finish.

Put together as much detail as possible and then arrange to meet the various contractors at your house to discuss the changes and specification. It may take up to 6 weeks for the contractors to send through your quote so be sure to plan all of this well in advance of when you hope to start. As the economy improves the building trade tend to be a little slower in returning tenders and this could have an impact on the start date for your project.

When you receive all of your tenders make sure you read through them very carefully. Compare them to the specification you sent to them and tick off every item that they have included and make a note of the ones left out. As all of the builders will have a different way of wording their quotes make sure that you fully understand what is included and what will be additional. 

Have a look at our sample below and compare it to the specification above*

After all of the tenders have been received you might want to make another short questionnaire to clarify a few points that may be in some quotes but not in the others. This will help you compare all the quotes like-for-like. For example if you have sliding glass doors and one contractor has quoted for 2.4m high doors this would be substantially cheaper than 2.9m high doors. Or if one plumbing quote includes solar panels, one doesn't, one has included for coloured windows and one white. These are all points that should be clarified and your questionnaire will do that for you.

See sample questionnaire below*

*The above samples are from an extension and renovation project for a bungalow. The figures have been altered so do not represent guide prices for building works.