Apologies for the radio silence, these strange COVID times have created some logistical issues for us recently. We trust all are safe and well.
The above question ‘What’s it all going to cost?’, rightly so, is the most frequently asked and most important (for the vast majority of clients) question asked at the start of the adventure of the renovating or rebuilding process. Many clients decision to proceed with a project will be based on the answer to this question. Unfortunately, it is a very difficult thing to establish with any reliable accuracy, until you have a reasonable amount of detail, which of course takes time and money to prepare. And, you can be certain the first price you hear is one you will want the works to be completed for.
Many things can be done early in the process to understand an ‘estimate’ once a basic design and scope is understood, and this is a process we regularly complete at the clients request. We do this by engaging a quantity surveyor to prepare an initial ‘estimate or probably cost’, or if the client is happy to commit early, we include a builder in the design team at this early stage to work with us to manage the budget and scope as we move through the detail. However…….
It is important to understand, ‘accurate’ pricing cannot be provided until an ‘accurate’ and ‘complete’ description of what you are asking for a price on is available. This is usually at the point of receiving tenders back from builders. To get to this point your architect/ designer needs to produce several drawings, schedules, specifications, scope of work etc. and you will have supporting information from engineers and other consultants, and…as you can imaging this all costs money.
It is important to understand, that any pricing your receive until that point is an ‘estimate’ and not a quote. Because of this it is very difficult to rely upon. You will often hear builders and architects talk about a ‘cost per square metre’ reference when discussing budgeting early in the process. We do the same, and we do this by revisiting recent projects we have completed and establishing historically what these projects cost/ sqm, providing this information to clients. However…….
Every project is different, every project is a one off, and although a reasonable guide, there is no guarantee your project will cost the same as a previous one. Why?
Material costs are constantly changing, supply chains can vary changing the concept of supply and demand, different builders price projects differently, how busy a builder is can effect their margins, scope for the project can increase, pandemics can hit! etc etc etc.
In short, remember, understanding actual costs without accurate complete information if impossible. The more information you can provide to a builder or quantity surveyor, the more accurate your estimate will be if undertaken early in the process, but remember it is still an ‘estimate’ and not a ‘quote’. Based on this a reasonable % variance allowance either side of your estimate should be considered. An actual quote can only be confirmed once complete information is provided and a formal tender for your works is provided by a builder. If you can involve this builder early in your design process and trust the judgement of those who referred that builder, then their knowledge of material supply costs, labour costs and market forces can help greatly.
Image to the left showing the standing seam cladding being installed at our manly cottage project. Finishing trades now underway!