Understanding and Evaluating New Home Construction Quotes
Embarking on a construction or renovation project is an exciting but daunting endeavor especially if you are working on a tight budget. In any given project, it is recommended that you obtain builder’s quotes from various building professionals so you will be able to do a comparison.
Sure, requesting for bids or quotes might be easy since there are lots of construction companies who are more than willing to quote you on a project, but the real challenge lies on understanding and evaluating these quotes and choosing the best company based on their quotations. Here are some tips on how to request the most appropriate quotes and advice on how to understand and evaluate these quotes.
Present the Builder with your Working Plans and Drawings
You should provide detailed working plans and drawings of your new home or extension on the initial phase of your new building project. The plans should be as detailed as possible and should show the exact dimensions of the rooms inside the new home, including notes on materials used for each area, and so on. The more detailed the drawings or plan, the more accurate the cost will be quoted on you. And as a result, there will also be less chance that you will be in for any unexpected surprises.
Obtain a Building Specification that the Builder Will Quote
Building specifications are very useful, most especially for the traders who will be working on your building project. The builder should be able to quote you more accurately if they get access to the building specifications, since these provide more accurate information than just the building plans alone. Standard building specifications can be obtained easily from your local council and it should provide detailed information and building standards relevant to the new home construction.
Request for the Quotes to Be Itemized
If your builders will quote you for a new building construction, it is a good idea that you request for the new home construction quotes to be itemized. Itemizing the quote would mean that each and every section of the building work will be listed separately on the quote including all associated costs. A good example of itemizing is to make it appear a little simpler such as the example below:
- Roofing – $10,000
- Windows – $5,000
- Electrical Costs – $10,000
- Trusses, Framework and Studs – $20,000
Of course, these are just estimated costs and perhaps a fraction of what is involved in the new home construction. However, this can greatly help you in seeing how the costs in the quotation must be laid out. An itemized quote can also help to make it easier for you to compare the construction companies from one another.
Ask As Many Questions As You Can
One of the most important things that you definitely should not be afraid of asking is a question. The more questions you will ask, the more informed you would be about your new home construction project.
As soon as you have received the quotation, do not hesitate to ask your builder what each of the cost includes. Does the quote include the hard and soft landscaping work, fencing, water tans, engineer fees, council fees, floor coverings, home warranty insurance, site cost, curtains, light fittings, etc.? These charges are usually left out of the formal quotation and can cause some serious damage to your overall budget if you are not well aware of them.
Engage with a Quantity Surveyor
If you are worried that you may not be able to go through each of the quotations yourself, you can perhaps engage the services of a quantity surveyor. The surveyor specializes in the costing of new building or renovations and you will hire them as soon as the planning has already reached the developed design stage.
The quantity surveyor will determine the cost of each aspect of the building process for you and they can also explain to you in simple and easy to understand terminologies. They are certainly invaluable in you and will help to set your budget since they will not miss anything.
How to Compare the Construction Quotes
By now, you should know how you would be able to request quotes for your new home construction project that you plan to undertake. But then you are probably at a loss as to how to evaluate the costs. If this is your first time to solicit contractor quotes, then you are probably more confused on what you will be paying for than when planning such project. And the more quotations you receive, the bigger the variance will be in between the proposals.
Regardless of the type of project, pricing is definitely indicated on the details of the quotation. The overall price of the quote really does not mean anything if it will not come with specifications of the entire work to be performed.
Find Out What Is Included in the Contract
You should know exactly what are the services included on the contract and it must be specified clearly. Things like “install new siding” are not a specification. This does not detail what kind of siding and for how long or wide. Also, a siding might also require moisture barrier and house wrap in between the siding and the structure so it will be kept protected against harsh weather. What about the other components of the siding, such as the corner boards, window flashing, window trim, cornice molding and outside corner boards?
Describing the siding installation in detail is what a proper quotation should be like. Furthermore, the contract should also include a list of the specifications, such as installing new windows, doors, etc.
Window Installation Costs Are Sometimes Confusing
A new home will definitely require new windows. The cost of installing new windows must also be included in the quotation. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be confusing and misleading as well. A window that costs $190 may not be able to meet similar specifications as the more expensive varieties. As a matter of fact, it may not qualify to meet with the standards set by the Federal Energy Star.
You should also know that windows are available in different varieties and are made from different materials such as fiberglass, wood, vinyl, PVC and aluminum. A double pane window can be possibly produced with the use of a single or double strength glass for each pane and all these factors can also affect the overall cost of the quotation.
The windows are just basically a small component of the overall quotation for a new building. Remember that constructing a new home will include so many things, such as installing new walls, flooring, doors, etc. All of these must also be included on the quotation that the construction companies will provide you. If not, then you better ask them to include these things and provide you with an itemized quotation.
Even if you are trying to save money, do not be tempted to hire the company with the cheapest quote. You need to consider other factors as well such as the scope of the project. You can perhaps take time to interview any potential construction companies so you will know them better and in that way, it will be easier for you to decide if they are really worthy for your new home construction project.