FAQ: Costs & Timing

How do you estimate cost of works?

We use a number of methods, including area rates, comparable projects, elemental breakdown and budget quotes from builders.

Most certainty of costs is after a full tender stage. If you require exact costs before tender a quantity surveyor can be employed. We are by nature optimists and would generally recommend getting cost for all you want and removing items rather than adding in later.

How do I ensure cost certainty at tender stage?

The more comprehensive your tender documents, the less provisional sums and prime costs there are, the more cost certain the returns.

I’m pregnant, can we get planning permission and all works complete before the baby arrives?

Unfortunately most building projects take longer than the gestation period of a child. We recommend not trying to combine both simultaneously!

That said, the first few months of a baby’s life are very static and it is much easier than waiting until they are toddlers. A baby sleeping through building work will be able to sleep anywhere for the rest of its life, what a gift.

Why do we need building control approval?

Conforming to building regulations is a legal requirement and separate from planning consent.

Given you deal with suppliers all the time, does this imply that you are able and get us “discounted / wholesale” prices from each supplier?

No we will source and specify the items, the contractor then would order the items and may get trade prices with discounts, which may be passed on. They will charge for items at cost plus overhead and profit. These are either contained within their tender price or if we don’t have a full specification, we put in a budget figure called a prime cost, which is then appropriate for the item.

And what is the process for paying the suppliers? Would they invoice us and we would pay them directly?

They are usually invoiced through the main contractor who is then responsible for quantity, delivery and programming. If a supplier is paid directly by the employer then he / she becomes responsible for their delivery and any delays to the contract.

What is the difference between a provisional sum and a prime cost?

A provisional Sum is for the supply and fit of an item. A prime cost is the supply cost only. Both are subject to attendance costs from a contractor.