Architectural Design Consultation
, Construction costs
2nd July 2017

Finding the right builder-comparing quotes

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2nd July 2017

Chris Reeves, builder/solicitor CIOB


Finding the right builder

It is usual to go out to tender to 4 builders. Find a builder that you like and persuade them to do your project, you may need to negotiate their price to fit your budget.

Remember time is money, factor in moving out costs. Aim for quality not cheap. You’re looking for value for money.

We are all aware of the T.V. series cowboy builders and builders from hell, is there a programme called customers from hell… The customer that is changing the design whilst it’s been built, this is an expensive route to go down. So how do we avoid a hellish disaster and source the right person?









Remember the building industry is unregulated and the client is responsible for complying with building regulations, not the builder. It is therefore important to have the correct information and drawings to give to your builder. The CIAT, Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists is a body of architectural professionals/practices qualified to help you along your way.

What is a Chartered Architectural Technologist?

Are they the right contractor for the project?

Who should do it? General Contractor vs. Custom Home Builder: Which is really better? Then of course there is always project managing individual trades people and DIY.

Who are you dealing with? A company, partner or individual? Get information about a company

The purpose of the tender process is to select and appoint a main contractor or individual sub-contractors for the project. The type of tender and procurement method is dependent on the scale of the project. Smaller projects would encourage an open competitive procurement method whereby a selection of contractors are invited to quote based on the relevant drawings and specifications supplied. Main contractors will need to include prices from sub-contractors to include in their overall tender price. As they are dependent on outsourced quotations it is important to set a target date to receive the full pricing. Relying on outsourced prices can tend to delay the tender process.

Larger projects often require a two stage tender process. The first stage outlines an estimated costing and reduces the competition. This can be classed as bidding. At the latter stage the preferred contractor can then be selected and asked to negotiate a satisfactory final cost agreed by both parties.

Where the client wishes to act as the project manager they will issue individual trade packages to several of the same trade in order to achieve the most suitable sub-contractor and best price.

All tender processes invite a selection of contractors to tender with a covering letter and a construction drawing and specification package. The documents with include a contract of terms and conditions/preliminaries and conditions along with an expected programme of works and delivery dates.

When evaluating a returned tender bid factors such as contractors experience, qualifications, references, professional indemnity, public liability and other credentials will be taken into account. In some cases interviews can be carried out with potential contractors with the aim at selecting the most suitable for the works.


Look at things from the builders point of view. Builders are very busy and can therefore afford to be fussy, make your project a better bet to price. How do you make a builder interested in your project?

Supply the following:

  • Plans – outline and detailed.
  • Specification – schedule of works, quantities and a list of works required.
  • Payment terms – avoid paying up front, periodic or stage, consider ‘escrow’ account, cash payments – NO!


Quote or estimate, what’s the difference? An estimate is a guesstimate, the more information you supply the more security you will receive.

Always draw up a contract!


The whole process can seem very daunting buy it doesn’t have to be, we’re here to help and support you along your way, it’s what we do.

For more advice call today 01252 714 985 or email

Lewis Visuals – transforming lives through design

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