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Getting quotes 

Comparing quotes will help you determine what is reasonable. Get at least three written quotes:

  • ensure each quote can be compared equally
  • provide each contractor with the same information.


Written quotations should:

  • include all work to be done
  • include all materials to be used
  • reflect your specifications
  • be checked that materials quoted are what you want, not substitutes.

Job briefs are essential

No matter how small the project you should write a job brief. This can be anything from a few dot points to several pages and will help you clarify exactly what you want done.

The job brief should:

  • be as specific as possible
  • list the brand names and models of all fittings, tiles, appliances, etc that you require
  • include everything you have in mind about the job you want done
  • be attached to the design plans, if you need them
  • indicate if you want the builder to take responsibility for cleaning the site. A good builder or tradesperson will always clean the site but you may want to do it yourself to save money.

If you don't specify exactly what you want in the beginning, the quote may only include the cheapest products and materials.

Changing your mind

Changing your mind before the quote is finalised is OK as long as you provide the changes to each person preparing a quote so they can adjust the final price.

Changing your mind after the contract is signed may cause difficulties and should be fully discussed with your contractor.


Variations at any stage to your specifications, unforeseen problems, changes by council, or other causes may affect the final price of the works. For example, there may be rock beneath the surface which needs to be removed. To do this, the builder may need to hire someone to use a jackhammer to break up the rock.

All variations to the contract must be in writing and signed by both parties.

Unforeseen problems may add to the time and cost

Check with your neighbours to see if they have experienced any unforeseen problems during building or renovation. If a neighbour had problems with rock under the surface, then you might too.