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Help with extension quotes

(27 Posts)
ixos Wed 21-Jan-15 16:34:31

We have just gone out to tender for a two storey extension and house re-furb. Very detailed spec and drawings, all put together by the architect at great length. We have had 4 prices back - 3 at roughly £225,000 excl VAT and 1 at £192,000 excl. All 4 a lot more than we anticipated!

We are keen to go with the cheaper builder (we can't afford the higher prices!) but the architect has worries about the price being £30,000 less than the others. The cheaper builder comes highly recommended from a number of different sources and is praised for keeping on time and on budget..... Argh - this is so hard! Any advice gratefully received!

brumeye Wed 21-Jan-15 16:43:56

We had a similar experience. In our case the best quote was twice the budget we'd agreed with architect - worst quote was 2.5 times! The lowest quote came from a builder who had glowing references and whose work had been featured in Ideal Home etc - seemed to have very good contacts so got supplies at better prices than the others. Are the quote breakdowns detailed to work out why one is so much cheaper?

In the end we went back to the drawing board with a different architect (and are getting what we want for much less). In our case the original architect had massively over-specified - unnecessarily complicated structural work, v expensive cladding, etc. You should talk to one or two of the builders to get ideas on how you can reduce the cost.

Marmitelover55 Wed 21-Jan-15 17:22:34

We had 5 quotes for our single story extension which ranged from £45k to £80k for the same spec shock. We ended up going with the second cheapest builder at £46k and he did a fab job. He was highly recommended by 2 different. friends.

ixos Wed 21-Jan-15 18:36:04

Thanks both. Brumeye I hope we are not over spec'ed and can't face the idea of starting agsin. Its taken us a year to get to this point! Agh. So marmite, cheaper quote doesn't necessarily = bad idea!

ThunderboltKid Wed 21-Jan-15 18:41:09

I've just finished the spec for our extension and loft conversion; it's 42 pages long, so pretty detailed! The tender returns should have breakdowns of figures so you can compare costs. Also, if you have spec'd specific brands, check that the lowest quite is using things of comparative quality to the others.

Also, builders will always price a job depending on how much they want it. The lowest might have a gap coming up that he needs to fill, or the higher ones might think there will be added complications that they don't want so are over-pricing.

rubyblue Wed 21-Jan-15 20:40:00

Interested in your post and replies as this is pretty much where we are. All we wanted was a downstairs bathroom and new kitchen, architect got all excited and drew us a plan for a wrap around extension which is coming in at double our original budget of 50k. One builder quoted 187k!!! We don't know what else to do, we don't feel it's worth the stretch and two years later, they tell us building costs are massively increased blah blah. Impasse. Should we get a new architect? We have detailed spec and building consent plans gone in, application approved. So pissed off at the architect. Is this normal practice?

rubyblue Wed 21-Jan-15 20:42:01

Also,how do you find a decent builder? We went on recommendations and check a trade but you hear so many horror stories.

brumeye Wed 21-Jan-15 20:56:16

Rubyblue: unfortunately it's a story I've heard from so many people I know. In any other field someone who didn't take account of a key requirement like the budget and so designed something 2x too expensive would be for the chop, but with (some) architects it seems to be standard.

I'd say that for us, although really really annoying to start again after a year of planning, it's definitely been worth it. We got a building engineer/surveyor to draw up plans for what we actually wanted, and it halved the price.

ThunderboltKid Wed 21-Jan-15 20:57:13

Rubyblue, without being rude, how did you let it get to that stage? If it was so massively different from what you originally envisaged, surely you could have told the architect after the first sketches? To have got as far as you have, you must have agreed with it at some stage?

All you can do is amend your spec and go back out to tender.

We're going to builders recommended by our architect, who I will also follow up references for. I also have a couple of builders to approach that friends have used and that I have seen do similar projects.

You need to use a contractor that you can get on with, and that you trust. Then speak to his past customers and make sure they are happy.

rubyblue Wed 21-Jan-15 22:26:48

Architect kept saying he was sticking to build of £1200 per sqm. One builder told us that he could do it on budget, the others were 20k more. We amended plans, increased budget...it wasn't until we got the detailed qs plans that the budget increased massively from all builders, not sure why! So we've down scaled again, but even then, it's only a two meter extension out the back but builders maintain it's costs gone up. We do live in the south east and I know that folks can take the piss because assume you're wealthy (which we are def not). We've spent about 4k just on fees.

nikki1978 Thu 22-Jan-15 18:18:38

You need to get a breakdown of costs. Most builders take the piss massively. We found many were doubling the costs of materials to make extra profit.

We are starting our extension next month and are getting 40sqm for £48k inc £4.5k of fees. We are doing this by buying materials ourselves, project managing it ourselves and doing the internal works ourselves (i.e builders are giving us a shell and we do everything inside - the £48k includes the costs of what we will do to fit it out including the kitchen). It helps that we have a lot of contacts but costs can be bought down by anyone if you research properly.

The most expensive part is generally the groundwork - is there something complicated in your plans?

ixos Thu 22-Jan-15 22:32:23

Nothing especially tricky in the spec. Expensive area...... Unfortunately no way we can do anything ourselves - both work full time. Should we avoid the lowest quote? Go for one of the ones 30k more? ! Such a lot of money.

Marmitelover55 Thu 22-Jan-15 23:36:14

I would go with the cheaper builder of he is highly recommended. Maybe worth going to see some of his previous work?

Apatite1 Sat 24-Jan-15 00:58:55

I am most annoyed to hear about architects blowing the budget during the initial phase. Hope mine doesn't do that, we have been v specific about the budget at every stage, he'd better be listening!

Go and see the work your builders have done, at least ones that are over 12 months old ie gone through snagging perio.

Apatite1 Sat 24-Jan-15 00:59:32

Perio? Period!

ixos Sat 24-Jan-15 12:17:36

Apatite1 We were very clear about our budget too.......

Apatite1 Sat 24-Jan-15 14:48:53

Our house refurb and two storey extension is coming in at £350k excluding vat and the kitchen and landscaping, it's all v expensive. We are extending from 1200 to 2200 sq feet though plus full back to brick refurb.

Architects are not v good at budgeting so we were mentally prepared to well over initial projected costs. Even so, I asked for as many estimates as I could right form the initual proposal planning stages. eg talking about the cost of stone worktops, bespoke cabinetry, cantilevered staircases, type of flooring, heating, which taps to get etc etc were talked about right from the start. If it was too expensive eg the staircase I initally wanted was £35k, we dropped it right from the start. Even so, we won't be bang on projected targets. Build estimates are £2000 per sqm, typical for better than average (though not uber special) spec, we are in London.

We are tendering only to builders we know or builders with strong word of mouth recommendations. The nightmare scenario is engaging the wrong builders. I don't think we will get 100% accurate costing from the architect: only the builders/quantity surveyors can do that and IMHO architects always underestimate.

JugglingLife Sat 24-Jan-15 14:51:42

Can you negotiate on payment terms? Our last build was 25% deposit, balance on completion. They went bust just before completion, fortunately it worked in our favour but only because of the payment terms.

Marmitelover55 Sat 24-Jan-15 15:19:23

We didn't pay anything upfront and basically paid every couple of weeks as we went along. We paid suppliers e.g plumbers direct and only when the work was done. All very amicable smile

TeddyBee Sat 24-Jan-15 15:33:54

Our two storey extension came in at £140k or thereabouts. That included plans, fees, all building work up to mist coat on the plaster, new fire doors and bifold doors, some windows, a loft conversion and very cheap bathrooms, flooring and an ikea kitchen and utility which I fitted myself (not that hard if you take it slowly and I do work full time. I used holidays and the weekend). We did really pinch every penny and our builder was always 'forgetting' that I had ordered the doors or paid for something myself and leaving it in the invoices. Then he didn't paint the damn thing like he was supposed to. But I suppose it was still a bargain. Anyway. The point is that we're in outer london and managed to bring it in well under your quotes even with a big overspend. You need to go through the plans and spec and work out what is over-specced. Our extension is about 60sqm and the loft conversion went out to create a gable end and added an en suite. There's about 20 sqm up there or so.

TeddyBee Sat 24-Jan-15 15:35:12

I won't recommend my builder however, as he was a knob. Happy to recommend the joiner who did most of the onsite stuff.

Marmitelover55 Sat 24-Jan-15 15:48:15

Twasn't that swarthy lothario Cassian was it by any chance Teddybee? grin

TeddyBee Sat 24-Jan-15 17:41:29

Nah, it was uncouth Jason and his argybargynauts wink

Kieron79 Sat 24-Jan-15 19:49:29

Wowzers! We are getting a single storey 3mx6m rear extension with:
3.5m aluminium bifolds
New boiler
New rads
Oak flooring fitted (we supply)
Kitchen fitted (we supply)
Move electricity meter
New fuse board
Decoration
Utility room split and converted into wc
Garage boarded out
And the usual ie lighting sockets etc for 28.5k
Sounds like I've got a bargain!! Ours ranged from 26-36k

shabbycaddy Sat 24-Jan-15 20:16:53

Sound correct to be honest as your extension is 18sqm and if you times that by £1500 a square metre comes out correct as the quotes you have had same with the others which range from that to £2000, they have just had massive extensions, the size of some peoples houses lol, infact our 3 bed semi cost £135000 in 2009 which is scary when people are paying more on extension works on their homes

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