Builders are often asked to quote on jobs based on planning application drawings without the client knowing their budget. At best, a builder can provide an estimate but will have to make a number of assumptions and allow amounts.


That’s a lot! Why?

We often hear “That’s a lot more than we thought it would be!”. That will be because a builder will put in generous allowances so that when it comes to the build there is room for changing the specification. It’s better to overestimate than underestimate so that a client’s contingency doesn’t disappear in the first weeks of the build.


Cost variation example

  1. Roofing – an extension is likely to include a new roof. Unless the materials have been specified and the engineering calculations have been made a builder will have to base this cost on their experience and estimate materials costs. If you supply this information and a budget then a builder will be able to get you roof price options based on what you want and what you can afford as part of the overall budget.
  2. Windows –   unless the potential client provides a detailed specification of the type of windows then the builder will have to make an estimate. There is a huge range of types of windows on the market – costs will vary depending on materials e.g. wood, aluminium, uPVC, colour, finish and whether a window is opening, the handles etc.
  3. Doors – a front door can cost from £300 up to £5000 and beyond, internal doors can range from £30 per door to £300 per door. Garden doors all have different price points: Bifolds can be off the rack or bepoke, can fold different ways etc, then there are French doors and sliding doors.


Be prepared

So when you ask for an quote and haven’t yet worked out your budget or specification then you will need to anticipate a surprisingly high estimate! It’s worth speaking to a mortgage advisor to find out what your maximum budget could be, what the monthly repayments will be and then see what you can afford. You can get a mortgage in principle so that you can provide the budget to the builder along with the drawings.


Work together

A good builder will be able to work to your budget, by providing you with options that you can afford. It’s in your interest to have your build budget ready so that you can be provided with an accurate cost from the outset. Remember estimating a job is time consuming, the more information you can provide the better. For example, if you’re not planning on changing a garage door as part of a renovation project then tell the builder, they won’t look into costs unnecessarily. A good builder wants to work with their client so that there is a good chance of harmonious relationship throughout the build. Your home could become their workplace so the whole project from budgeting to completion is a partnership.


Which should come first – the builders quote or the clients budget?

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