FAQ: Tender & Contracts

I want to negotiate a price with one builder rather than a full tender – would you recommend this?

If you know the builder and trust that his price will be competitive, or if quality and confidence in your chosen builder are more of a priority than price, then by all means.

Can I shorten the standard tender period of three weeks?

The three week period is an industry standard and allows builders to collate their supplier and sub contractor prices. We recommend you don’t shorten this, as you run the risk of builders providing an incomplete tender. On larger projects a longer period may be appropriate, you want to be sure they get it right.

What are the implications of client appointed sub contractors / suppliers?

Although you may save costs on certain items, as employer you then become responsible for delivery of items to site and are then liable for any delay to the contract.

Should I employ one main contractor, or project-manage multiple sub contractors myself?

A contractor’s cost has built into it a management fee of suppliers and sub-contractors and a good builder will be skilful and experienced at managing this process. If you wish to take on this role, do not underestimate the time and work you will need to commit to your project. Ultimately it may not save you much money and it will certainly add to the stress of the project.

What is the difference between a supplier’s quote and Pro-forma invoice?

A quote may be subject to variation until an order has been placed and a pro-forma is the actual invoice that will be due.

My builder doesn’t see the need for a formal contract, why do I need one?

A contract is a simple matter, in that agreed works will happen for an agreed cost. If builders were that simple that would be it. However, the contract sets out how either party will behave on timing, extras, bad weather, and bankruptcy; any of the events that can happen during building work.

A contract protects both parties, Client and Contractor and we recommend you always enter into one, even on small jobs. The implications of not having one if a job goes wrong are enormous.

Should I pay builders up front for works?

Some builders ask for mobilisation payments. Assuming that the builders are reputable this should not be a problem, but generally you should not pay more than the work carried out at any time. As contract administrators we would only certify the works that have been built on site.

Why are some builders members of the Master Federation of Builders?

This is an organisation, which promotes best practice, and quality workmanship and builders require references to be included.