Choose to Work With A House Extension Specialist
You have been thinking about building a home extension for some time now and after all the hand wrangling, you are finally taking the plunge and are ready to start getting quotes.
But how should you get those quotes?
Should you just get quotes from random builders or is there a better way?
That old fear creeps back in – a house extension is a big investment and a specialized project. Where should you start?
In this article, we’ll look at five things you need to consider in choosing the right builder for your house extension and some things to stay away from to avoid disaster.
Choose to Work With A House Extension Specialist
Not all builders are created equal. Some builders specialize in building new homes and others specialize in home extensions.
You might ask, what is the difference between the two types of builders?
A home extension involves different building techniques and only a builder with extensive experience in adding on to a home will understand the complexities and costs involved in an extension.
While you might be tempted to work with a new home builder who is top in his profession, he or she may will not be as familiar with the process and there could missed – and quite costly- details when he or she delivers a quote.
Think of it this way – you wouldn’t go to a podiatrist when you need heart surgery – would you?
You Get What You Pay For
You may be tempted after receiving quotes for your extension to go the with the cheapest quote.
Warning, this can be a colossal mistake!
For instance, the cheapest quote might come from a builder who needs the work because they don’t have a good reputation.
Or the cheapest quote may leave out important inclusions that will end up costing you more than a higher quote.
As we’ll detail below, before you get seduced by the cheapest quote review them carefully.
Review Those Quotes!
Make sure you know what is in the quotes you get because they can varyby thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.
One builder’s higher quote may include items another builder overlooked even if all the builders are looking at the same set of plans.
Your quotes should be detailed and always include a Schedule of Inclusions so you know exactly what you’re getting for your money.
Research Your Extension Builders
You should have two or three quotes to compare against each other.
Check each of these quotes against each other and when you have made sure everything is equal, interview the builders..
While every builder should be able to show you a current builder’s license and proof of insurance, you will want to know additional information including the following
- How long they have been working in the area
- If they can provide a list of client references
- If you will be working directly with the extension builder
You need to ask these questions to be satisfied you’re working with a reputable builder. A builder who has just arrived in your area because they couldn’t find work where they were previously located or had earned a bad reputation.
In talking directly with former clients, you will get a better idea about the quality of their work and their reliability
Some building companies hire one person to handle quotes, but assign another builder to take charge of the project.
Knowing that you will be working directly with your builder is important. You want to meet and feel comfortable with them in advance because you will need to talk with them every day throughout the construction process.
No Ambiguities in Your Contract!
Before choosing a builder, clear up any murky language in your contract.
You might find some builder’s jargon you don’t understand, like the difference between a “Prime Cost” (PC) and a “Provisional Sum” (PS)?
This difference is important.
A prime cost is the cost of a particular item. A provisional sum is an estimate. Reputable builders will try to arrive at realistic estimates and should be able to explain in detail the reasons why a PS is included.
For instance, when a builder inspects your site, they don’t know for sure what they will find under the soil until they start excavating. Excavation costs are often listed as a PS to cover unforeseen circumstances.
Again, you want to make sure your contract is fully detailed. If something is missing, ask about it and have the contract amended.
If you asked for quartz countertops you don’t want laminate benchtops. Anything you expect to be included in the contract, should be listed. Assume nothing!
Those details can add up to a lot of money, so be sure everything you expect to be included in your contract is included in your contract and then double and triple check it.
How To Hire An Extension Builder Summary
If you take the above into consideration and are careful, you shouldn’t be in for any gotchas at project completion.
If you’ve chosen and vetted a reputable builder and know and understand what’s included in your contract, you stand a far better chance of being satisfied with your house extension and your budget won’t explode.
Choosing a builder can be a tricky decision with significant –but avoidable consequences if you get it wrong. If you avoiding the common mistakes, you’ll experience a stress free build.