Do you provide a square meter rate?

This is a common question and the short answer is over an entire job, not generally. As no two bespoke projects are ever the same, no site conditions are the same, and no clients selections are the same, a rate of this kind is rarely the same client to client.

While an approximate square meter rate can be useful at the outset for formulating a starting budget, this final rate needs to be verified by the builder. More often the approximate rate applied at the beginning of the design process is different to the ultimate cost as all the elements are brought together.

A proper quote requires your builder to fully understand the plan, the scope of work, site conditions, time constraints and design selections. Much like building lego pieces, each component is priced accordingly before assembled to produce the final figure.



Other builders provide a free quote, why do you charge a fee?

In order for a quote to be meaningful, it has to be accurate, contain clear and detailed information for both parties. An accurate and understandable quote takes a significant amount of time and money to prepare as each project is different in scope and site conditions.

A paid quoting service allows us to spend more time on your project to investigate deeper. We measure for every length of timber, screw, fixing and trade. In particular for renovation work, multiple site visits and confirmation may be required. If we are willing to enter into an agreement with you, we are committed to producing a quality quote with all the scope properly assessed.

During our initial ‘meet and greet’ with you, we will evaluate if your budget is workable to the scope you are hoping for. If we believe there is a mismatch, we will not suggest this paid quoting service. You would only engage us for a paid, prepared quote if you are interested in progressing to the next step in our process.


What documents are required for a quote?

Ideally, a detailed set of architectural drawings, engineering design, soil test report, schedule of finishes, and fittings will be a basic minimum requirement to achieve an accurate quote. The more information we have the better!

If we are provided with accurate and detailed documentation, the quote produced will be precise. Currently, for a typical project, 4 week turn around can be expected. This time frame allows us to gather material measurements and request pricing on each element from our suppliers who run on two week turn-around window also. This includes current prices on all elements : windows, frames, trades etc and also gives you time to make some basic selections from our price categories for us to include at this stage.  It is a thorough process to ensure nothing is missed.


At what stage do I consult a designer and why do I need one?

We offer the services of experienced designer, Melissa Allen, to assist you with your selections, Mel is able to assist you as little or as much as you feel you require, or if you already have a designer of your choice, we can work with yours if preferred. There are design packages you can consider depending on what suits your scope of works, and the kind of assistance you require.

Having a designer make the majority your selections at the stage where we assembling your quotes will greatly assist in accurately pricing all your PC and PS items. Wondering what you will be asked to select? Here are just a few of the items as an indication if you are new to building:

Externally, everything from the roof colour, wall colours, paint specifications, exterior cladding styles, decking timbers colour,  trims, and door styles. Interiors include paints, carpets, kitchen cabinetry selections, hardware, fireplaces, feature materials, floor materials, lighting, bathroom tiles,and laying patterns, grout colours, taps, sinks and vanities and much more.

Other advantages to having a designer available to you, are that you have someone every step of the way,  A designer will check in with you through your install phases, help you to pull together your design style, or even just check the selections you have made to ensure nothing has been missed. Melissa is also able to offer a post-build styling service to help with furniture, layout, art procurement styling and more by arrangement. Inquire with us for further information about these services. 


What if I just want a quick estimate?

If you are seeking an estimate only, and you don’t feel an accurate quote is necessary for you, you are welcome to discuss the scope of works with us in any case. We understand that smaller single room extensions, decks or other projects may require a guide only to get you started and we will happily talk to you further about these instances. 

A basic concept drawing can be used provided that the client understands accuracy will be limited. This kind of quoting process can be done in just a couple of days.


How much do you charge for a quote?

The fee ranges between $275 for an estimate to $3,300 depending on the complexity and size of the job keeping in mind that we work in both commercial and residential projects. We will confirm this price with you after the initial meeting when we have your scope of works.


What is the difference between a Bill of quantity (BoQ) provided by a Quantity Surveyor (QS),  and a Builder’s quote?

For a custom build project over $800,000, it is normal practice to engage the service of a Quantity Survey (QS) and work of Bill of Quantities (BoQ) early in the design process.

The main purpose of a BoQ is to itemise and define a project so that all tenderers are preparing their price and submission on the same information (comparing apples to apples as we say).

It is not uncommon to find that the quotes from Builders differ to the BoQ report, this can be due to:
Tendering builder’s capacity and workload in their pipeline
Quality of the trades that the Builder employs
General market conditions at the time of tender
Builder’s different assessment of the project risk

Each builder has a different assessment to the project risk and applies a different methodology to run the project. This ensures all projects delivered are tested through our rigorous quality assurance program before it is handed over. We have developed systems and procedures to allow a consistent level quality.

What are Prime Cost (PC items) and Provisional Sums (PS)

As discussed above, to make the quote/contract as accurate as possible, we need to define what exactly is going to be included down to details such as what light bulb you are going to use. Sometimes, that is not possible at the time of quoting or contracting. Part of the draw of engaging a bespoke or custom builder is that we offer flexibility to make some changes as you see you home progressing. No one like to be forced into making every selection on the day of contract signing, that can be overwhelming for many.

 There are two common terms used to allow for such variables.

Prime Cost Item (PC):  Is an allowance made in a tender or contract for the supply and delivery only of an item or items of material (e.g. taps, baths, light fittings etc.) that have not been selected at the time of tender or before the contract is signed or for which the Contractor was not able to provide a fixed price on entering the contract. A good example of this would be that amazing pendant light you have be hoping to find for your entrance, but haven’t found quite yet.

In this example, the Client would normally make the final selection of the item, which is subject to a “PC allowance” which in turn is additional cost. Of course, we offer flexibility and can be supplied these special items from you directly when the time comes. If it’s an amazing stove, the same system applies. If we have allowed x amount for an oven in the contract, but you decide you want the latest Smeg that is 2K over that price, you would expect a variation of 2K in addition to your contract price.

Provisional Sum (PS)Is an allowance made in a tender or contract for particular work which could not be finalised before tendering or signing a contract and which includes the total cost of the supply and installation  (e.g. joinery, landscaping, air conditioning, rock removal).
Where Prime Cost Items (PC’s) and Provisional Sum (PS) allowances have to be shown in a tender or contract document, the amount shown should be inclusive of GST. for example:
      Tile allowance PC $35/m2 (inclusive of GST)
      Landscaping Provisional Sum $10,000 (inclusive of GST)

Unlike a variation, PC and PS are adjustments to a contract. If you want a water tight contract, it is better to have as little PC and PS items as possible, making the builder carry all the risk of supplying the items.


What is Identification Survey, why do I need one?

A survey which is required for the purpose of identifying existing buildings and improvements on a parcel of land is referred to as an Identification Survey or just Ident. It may only be undertaken by a Registered Surveyor.

It is always recommended to engage a Surveyor for an Ident survey when you are purchasing a property. Your solicitor will normally obtain an Ident report as a matter of course. He does so to protect you against any problems which can only be detected by a Surveyor. The ‘Vendor Disclosure Legislation’ requires obligatory warranties and other statutory information from a vendor of the property. The Ident report can supply other required information and speed up the sale.

Through your Ident Survey, you can be sure that you are not buying any problems that may make the property difficult to sell in the future.  More importantly, you are sure that you are buying the property that you have been shown and whether or not the property has any defects which may devalue it.

A Surveyor measures the site involved to determine the location of buildings on or adjacent to the land and any fences present.  He will check for the existence of Easements (for drainage, etc.), Covenants and Restrictions on land use, and whether or not the subject land complies with the terms of these conditions. The Surveyor pays special attention to any encroachments by or upon the land or upon any easements. In the instance of a residence, the Surveyor will report on the distances of the walls or eaves and gutters from the side boundary of the land.

        (Source:  http://www.acsnsw.com.au/content/157/identification-surveys.aspx)

What is Contour and Detail survey

Detail surveys are a basic prerequisite for building and land development. In most cases, the purpose of detail surveys is to indicate features on, and adjacent to, a property.

There are a number of site features and levels required by architects and planners. A topographic survey is a vital component of a successful development application for any development of your land.

Features of general detail surveys include:

Levels & contours related to Australian Height Datum (AHD)
Tie into cadastral reference marks & plot approx boundary on plan
Field survey of site detail & features
Field location of visible services
Spot levels & contours over site
Detail of significant trees on site over 0.2 diameter trunk
Note of retaining walls, changes of grade etc onto adjoining sites
Location of existing and adjoining houses/structures and floor and apex levels
Pickup of road & kerb details at site to crown


What kind of service is provided in a preliminary agreement

Preliminaries (or ‘prelims’) provide a description of a project that allows the builder to assess the work required to formulate a scope and or a cost analysis.

Depending on what stage the client is at, some of the preliminary work undertaken by includes:

Detailed and Contour survey
Identification Survey
Feasibility study
Soil or geotechnical report
Engaging of designer/architect to draw up a concept and subsequently detailed design
Engineering design
Town planning advice
Other specialist consultant report
Locating existing infrastructure within the site
Cost analysis/Quoting

A client in the very early stage of land purchasing phase, or have yet to engage a designer/architect, may require us to perform all tasks in the list. If the client has already got these documents in order, may be required to review the documents and produce a tendering quote.



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