Home Building FAQ
Below you'll find answers to the most frequently asked questions about home building.
What does a Quantity Surveyor do?
A Quantity Surveyor focuses on the materials, labour and services involved in building construction (or engineering works) and the primarily the value or cost of these items.
See Quantity Surveyors for a complete description.
How much will my new home cost to build?
This depends on the size and type of building it is and many aspects are under your control. See more on the factors that affect the cost of building.
Just give us a call for a no-obligation chat if you are thinking about embarking on a project to build a new home.
How are you going to save me money?
We have a number of services that help keep a project's costs on track. For residential home owners in particular, a budget cost analysis will provide you with a very important tool: information.
Builders and even architects will not pay close attention to the impact different decisions (such as additions) have on the cost because it's YOUR money.
They often quote a figure that is approximate - leaving you disappointed in the end product or facing a final bill that is a lot more than expected.
We simply tell you the truth.
Can't anyone can figure out how much materials cost?
Anyone can walk into Placemakers or Mitre 10, but only qualified quantity surveyors know how much material will be need to construct different types and sizes of building projects. They will also know all the materials needed - right down to the nuts and bolts.
We can also work out what the cost of labour will be.
Won't my builder give me an accurate price?
Builders do what they do well - build. But pricing materials and calculating costs of different materials is secondary to the actual construction - it just uses up their time. They simply get on with the job and pass whatever the cost is on to you.
Sadly there are unscrupulous builders who will under-quote just to get a job - much to the property owners surprise when the final account comes in. Some will charge extra for unnecessary items if they think they can get away with it.
Why do building projects run over budget?
Any project that is not well managed risks running over budget. Things that can contribute to costs escalating are:
- Inaccurate cost estimations at the beginning of the project
- Incomplete specifications at the planning phase
- A large number of exclusions included in the tender.
- Changes to plans, quantities, type or quality of materials
- Unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved for a specific budget
- Delays due to disputes, shortages, weather and changes to the design
What is the difference between an architect and an architectural designer?
See the information about Who to Involve
Why do I need to have a contract with my builder?
A written contact protects your interests and sets out your rights and obligations. It also gives your building contractor an incentive to do quality work on time as agreed. It also provides a way of resolving disputes if something goes wrong.
Consumerbuild has information about what should be in a contract and were to get standard contracts.
What are progress payments?
Unless you are paying in one lump sum, chances are you have a clause in your contract that stipulates regular progress payments to be made to your builder. These pay for work-to-date and materials as the building project progresses. The contract will specify the number of payments, the amount and the stage at which each payment is due. Progress payments may include variations - which are changes to the original estimated costs.
Progress claims and payments must be closely managed and monitored to make sure you are not paying any more than what was agreed.
What happens if I disagree with a progress payment claim?
You are legally liable for the amounts due under the terms of the contract. If you disagree with any amount claimed, you must notify the builder within a specified time period (stated in your contract). You must explain how much you think you should pay and why.
Managing progress payment claims are an important part of controlling the costs of your project. Disputes can lead to work being suspended and the problem ending up in court - incurring further costs.