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Understanding Builder’s Quotes (Jargon Buster!)

Understanding Builder’s Quotes

(Jargon Buster!)


Everyone wants to know they are getting good value; it’s not just about the price, but also the quality of the build. To cut through the building jargon, here is a basic layout of how the charges are calculated for any renovation work:

• Labour – This is the charge for the number of hours completed by each tradesman and/or labourer on your project. On a fixed-price Contract, the number of hours that will be allowed for in the quote, should be appropriate to the works that are to be completed. For some services, such a plumbing or electrical, the labour may be included in their service charge, but should be made clear to you by your Builder, prior to contract signing.

• Materials – This is the cost of the actual materials required to complete the renovation project. This could include, anything from timbers, bathroom fittings and fixtures, tiles, nails, plasterboard, and more. Your Builder should provide a summary of the cost of materials for each section of your project (e.g. For a renovation project including a kitchen, bathroom and deck, the material costs for each of those areas should be broken down for the homeowner on their quote). In some cases, a builder will provide a ‘provisional sum’ if the homeowener has not yet selected their final materials (i.e. bathroom fittings) or if there are items that cannot be calculated until works have commenced (i.e. excavation). This is an allowance that the builder has estimated that the homeowner would need to spend to achieve the look or build type that they are seeking. It is always wise to allow a buffer for your renovation project to factor in some of these unknown costs. To read more about provisional sums, click here

• Services – These include speciality trades who are not only charging for the materials they use, but also a fee for their qualification. Trades such as Plumbers, Electricians, Welders, Engineers, and alike will incur a service charge. Often a Builder will show the charge for these types of services as a summarised value on the quote (i.e. All electrical works will be shown as one lump sum; where the value of the works include materials, labour and their fees).

• Variation Invoices & Credit Variations – Although these are not shown on the quote, as they occur after the signing of the contract, we felt it was important to explain how and why these charges occur. A variation invoice is anything that is not covered in the quote and will require additional payment from the homeowner. Sometimes this might be a charge for exceeding a provisional sum allowance or perhaps even additional works that you have requested after the works have commenced. Alternatively, there are times when the builder will issue a credit variation, and this is a refund in the homeowner’s favour; this is often due to an underspend on a provisional sum item. To read more about variations, click here.

At Smith & Sons we aim to provide all of our clients with the best value, quality build tailored to their needs. We are transparent in the way we charge and are always more than happy to discuss our charges with our clients. Selecting a Smith & Sons Builder for your renovation project, means that you get the buying power of a big business, but the warmth and friendliness of a family owned company.

If you’re looking for a friendly, professional Design and Project Management team, talk to your local Smith & Sons Renovations and Extensions contractors >> visit | Contact Us | Phone 0800 764 842 | Locations

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