Quotes and estimates

You will need to budget for the cost of work completed by the private sector design and building industry as well as any Government fees associated with the work.

The difference between quotes and estimates

Quotes and estimates are different.

An estimate is a reasonable guess of the costs involved without knowledge of the exact extent of the work to be done or the exact costs of materials. An estimate, even if written, will not bind the person providing it to you and you can end up paying more or paying for work you didn't specifically authorise.

A quote is a legally enforceable document detailing all the work to be done and parts or materials to be used. It should have a time limit for which the quote is valid. The quote should always be fixed and state how long it is fixed for. Cost plus quotes, that are based on an hourly rate plus costs, do not guarantee a set price.

Prime cost items

Prime cost items are those items that a consumer hasn't specifically selected at the time of the contract but the person who is providing the quote has made an allowance for in the total price. This allowance will be for a standard or average item and if you choose a more expensive item, you will have to pay the difference in price.

Prime cost items can include stoves, heating, tiles, carpets, taps, bathroom fittings and light fittings.

Prime cost items should be specified in the contract or listed in an attachment to the contract.

Obtaining cost details

Quantity surveyors can help you to get an accurate estimate of private sector prices and to compare options. They can be found by searching for Surveyors in the Yellow Pages. You can also contact industry associations or find a professional.

Before requesting a quote, check to see if the person charges for it to be given. Check all items such as the fittings, appliances and floor coverings so the person knows the exact items you want - they will then be able to give a more accurate quote.

Before engaging someone to do work, it is preferable to obtain at least three written quotes for the same type of work based on the completed plans and specifications if possible. If you change your mind on what you want, write a list of the changes or have the plans re-drawn and ask for a re-quote.

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