A step by step guide to getting easily comparable quotes for your project.
If you are taking on a building project there are fundamentally two different approaches to finding a builder. The first is a 'consultant approach' where the builder works with you and your architect from an early stage, through the design process providing costings/value advice, up to completion of the build. The second, which will be the focus of this article, is the tender approach. The client (you) sends out the information to multiple companies, compiles the various quotes, and appoints a builder that way.
It is important you make sure the quotes you receive are provided in a timely manner and that you can easily compare them against one another
It is important that, having chosen the tender approach, you make sure the quotes you receive are provided in a timely manner and that you can easily compare them against one another. Otherwise you run the risk of becoming stuck at the tender stage of the project and delay getting a start date booked (most good builders will not be able to begin works straight away). Below is a step by step guide to effectively tendering your project.
1. Gather your Information
The first step is getting all of your information together. Create a file either hard copies or on your PC, this is going to be your project tender folder. You should have a drawing set from your architect, include this. Depending on what you have instructed your architect to provide, you may have building regulation drawings and a scope of works. If you have these already then great, include them; if not then write your own scope of works with exactly what you want a price for. This also includes and extra work you would like carried out that is not shown on your drawings, for example underfloor heating or new internal doors throughout the house. You could also include some pictures of the site, but this is not essential. Doing this will ensure that all the contractors are quoting for the same thing.
2. Contact your Chosen Contractors
Now you have your tender pack ready you can contact the companies you would like to invite to the tender. In the first instance it's a good idea to drop them a line, tell them about the project and ask if they would be interested to submit a quote.
Include a date that you would like to receive the quote by, otherwise you could be waiting a long time for your quotes
Don't send out the tender pack straight away, feel out the company's appetite to quote for your job first. You want to make sure that when you send it you are going to get a quote back, otherwise this will be a missing piece in your process and will hold things up. Send those that reply positively your tender pack which is all ready to go. Include a date that you would like to receive the quote by, otherwise you could be waiting a long time for your quotes! If the company would like to visit you to survey the job then arrange for this to happen at a convenient time.
3. Compare your Quotes
Now that you have your quotes back you can compare them. This should be easy if you followed step 1 as all the quotations should be for the same scope of works. That being said the more detail on the quote, the better and it's important to ask questions on those that don't provide it. Ideally you want to narrow it down at this point to two quotes/companies so think carefully not just about the price, but the overall interaction with the builder and if you feel they are the right fit for you.
4. Meet your Final Two
Invite the two companies that you've narrowed it down to back for a second meeting. At this meeting you can go over the finer points of how they work, how and how often payment is expected, the agreed time for the build etc.
A good and reputable builder won't take offence to tough questions
It's important at this meeting to ask any and all questions you have regardless of whether you feel awkward or embarrassed to, a good and reputable builder won't take offence to tough questions by a client just doing their due diligence.
5. Decision Time
You may ask the contractors to submit best and final quotations, you might not. In any case it's time to decide who you want to carry out your building work. Once you've come to a decision contact both parties to thank them for their time and efforts and inform them of the decision you've made.
And that's it. Hopefully this process will have been relatively quick, easy and efficient and you are now ready to start your project when you wanted to with a builder that you trust and you are confident is giving you the best value for your money.
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