Contracts are often awarded to the cheapest company providing an estimate, but often ends up not being the cheapest when the customer incurs additional costs throughout the project. This is most commonly through submitted variations (also known as ‘extras’) for what they perceive are additional works, but were items allowed for by other companies in their estimates.

When assessing our estimate against other companies, it is essential to check that they:


Considerations to be made when choosing a contractor or building company 

Priced based on the final submitted drawings architectural and structural drawings, and client specification


Priced all the items required to complete the project


Meet the specification, eg. the need for aluminium windows (more expensive than uPVC), or bespoke newel posts and handrails to match your existing period features


Meet your required quality standards – companies that provide an extremely cheap estimate in relation to the average price will likely have missed items off the scope of works, rush the job, and produce a low-quality finish. See the external link here for details of the Scope-Cost-Time-Quality triangle that explains this in more detail:


Have allowed for all site conditions, such as issues with access; scaffolding requirements; plant hire (such as diggers and lifting equipment); site toilet; temporary site protection (hoarding), etc.


Included VAT in their costs, where applicable


Allowed for waste removal using licenced companies, and recycle where possible (we keep or give away most old non-treated wood to use as biomass fuel; recycle cardboard, and ensure our skip companies have waste sorting facilities at the refuse centre)


Have adequate public and employer’s liability in place


Have agreed any stipulated payment terms and conditions. It is important to check that a disproportionate deposit amount, in terms of % of the whole project, is not requested – more than 40% is generally considered excessive, and that a retention value in the region of 5 to 10% is retained by the client until the project is finished.


Have included the costs of preparing the drawings, building regulations documents, building control plan and inspection fees, where applicable


Have sufficient resources and trained, reliable, skilled, qualified and experienced personnel to do the work.


Use qualified and experienced subcontractors - in particular, gas safe plumbing and heating engineers, and Part P registered electricians.


Take reasonable care to ensure that harm is not done to your property or members of the public. For us, this entails conducting a DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service – also known as a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check on regular subcontractors, to ensure they do known have criminal convictions that would make them unsuitable to be working in your home.