FAQ

What kind of service is provided in a preliminary agreement?


A: Preliminaries 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 provided by Saxony Building may include: • Evaluation of existing dwelling and the clients design requirements • Identification and Contour survey • Soil or geotechnical report • Engaging of designer/architect to draw up concept design and working drawings • Engineering design and specifications • Cost analysis/Quoting • Town planning advice • Certification – council and building approvals • Other specialist consultant reports eg Drainage plans, wastewater plan, energy reports Depending on where you are at in your stages of building, Saxony Building will tailor a preliminary agreement to suit your needs, outlining the particular stages specific to your build. If the client has already got these documents in order, Saxony Building may be required to review the documents to produce an accurate quote.




Why we don’t provide a square meterage rate?


We get asked that a lot. How much a square meter? The reality is, for a custom-built project, there is no set rate. That’s because no two projects are ever the same, no site conditions are the same, and no clients are the same. A square meterage rate can be useful at the outset when formulating a starting budget. If the client has X amount of budget, then the size of the building is approximately multiplied by the rate. This rate needs to be verified by the builder by doing a proper quote. More often the rate applied at the beginning of the design process is different to the ultimate cost. A proper quote requires the builder to fully understand the plan, the scope of work, site condition, and time constraint. Each component is priced accordingly before assembled to produce the final figure. This way the client knows exactly what is included and can identify costs within the build.




What order does all of this happen in and what do I need to do next?


A: In most cases clients get in contact with us with only some rough ideas (some more detailed) in mind about their project. This is fine because this is what we specialise in. Firstly, we offer a free onsite consultation and project assessment. While doing this we both determine what your desires are for your build and identify how to progress with your build. Here is the common schedule of events for most building work: • Onsite project assessment – meeting with the client to discuss your project • Preliminary agreement is signed outlining what documentation you require to be able to start the project From here we take care of the rest: • Architectural plans – concept drawings – working drawings • Soil test (extensions, earthworks, structural concreting or footings) • Engineers plans and specifications (the backbone to the build) • Cost analysis / take offs / quoting • Contract signing • Certification – building approvals • Congratulations you’re ready to start your project!




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


A: In order for a quote to be meaningful, it has to be accurate, contain clear and detailed information for both parties. An accurate quote takes a significant amount of time and money to prepare as each project is different in scope and site conditions. Quotes from suppliers and subcontractors are obtained as well as costings for all fixtures and fittings to suit your need and style. It is easy to get a free quote, but those builders will not want to spend the time or effort. They can apply a square meterage rate but owners tend to find added extras during the build that weren’t taken into consideration during the quoting phase. Too often the owner engages the lowest cost builder and what sounds like a good deal in the beginning can end up more costly or the project just fails to achieve the desired outcome. A paid service allows us to spend more time to investigate deeper. 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 assessed. If you proceed with Saxony Building as your preferred builder, this fee will be deducted from the contract price at the deposit stage of the project. We like to provide a personalised, transparent service with a tender that will give you confidence and certainty that your project will be completed to an exceptional standard, on time and on budget.




What documents are required for a quote or estimate and how long does it take?


A: If we are provided with accurate and detailed documentation, the quote produced will be precise. For a typical project, a 4 week turn around can be expected. Ideally, a detailed set of architectural drawings, engineering design, soil test report, schedule of finishes, and fitting will be a basic minimum requirement for any accurate quoting to be achieved.




How much do you charge for a detailed building quote/proposal?


A: The fee ranges between $750 to $2500 depending on the complexity and size of the job.




What are Prime Costs (PC) and Provisional Sums (PS)?


A: To make the quote/contract as accurate as possible, you need to define what exactly is going to be included down to details such as what light fitting you are going to use. Sometimes, that is not possible at the time of quoting or contracting. There are two common terms used to allow for such variables and these make the quote more transparent for the client to see what the builder has allowed for: Prime Cost Item (PC): PC stands for Prime Cost item. A Prime Cost item is an amount of money which has been allowed for an item in the project. The labour which goes with that item has been included within the total price of the project. The PC amount is to supply the item only. An example is a toilet suite. The labour for the plumber to install the toilet is included in the total project cost but the exact toilet may not have been known at the time of pricing, therefore an allowance was made which could be varied once the toilet was chosen. Regardless of which toilet was chosen the cost for the plumber to install is the same so there is no need to make their cost variable, therefore the labour cost is included in the total price. Provisional Sum (PS): PS stands for Provisional Sum. Provisional Sum items are similar in that they are an allowance for an unknown item but in this case it includes materials and labour. PS allowances are often used for excavation where the exact quantities are not known or things such as a kitchen which the price would include to supply the cupboards and bench tops as well as the labour to install. While PC and PS items allow the contract to be flexible, we always recommend choosing as much as possible before signing the contract and lock away these costs so the whole project cost is known before it even commences. The least amount of changes during construction the better. There will be plenty to do throughout the build so getting these choices ticked off the list early are a positive. We hope that helps you to distinguish the difference. It sounds a little complicated but basically, it’s just a more transparent way to show the client what we are allowing for in the quote/ contract.




How can PC and PS affect the contract price?


A: 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 as possible. For example – if the builder was to allow $35/m2 for 10m2 of floor tiles based off the quality range specified by the client = $350.00 – then the client was to choose floor tiles for $30/m2 for 10m2 = $300.00 – then the builder would then deduct $50.00 from the contract price. PC and PS items only usually make up around 30% of the overall project so the majority of the contract is usually fixed price.




What is a variation?


A: A variation is an alteration to the scope of works in a construction contract in the form of an addition, substitution or omission from the original scope of works by the owner. This could be changing the tapware that was selected, moving a window etc. Variations are costly as should be avoided if possible. What may seem a simple change can actually be problematic and costly. For example if the shower head is changed, this will flow on to the plumbing work already installed. The pipework may need to be moved and this becomes costly and time consuming. The builder will add an administration surcharge for all variations. Another example is the potential to hit rock when the footings are being constructed. If this occurs and extra time and machine costs are required to complete the construction this will be added as a variation. As you can see it is really important to get the planning stage right to avoid unnecessary costs.




What is Soil Testing and why do I need it?


A: In short, the engineer who provides the footing or slab design needs to know what is underneath the ground or what the structure is sitting on. In order to obtain this information for their plans and specifications, they require a soil test. This is usually a large drill mounted to the rear of a truck or ute that can drill a hole in your land to find out what is below, giving the engineer all the information they need.




What are engineers plans?


A: The architectural drawings, concept or working drawings is just the design of the project. We now need the structural information to ensure your building meets all necessary requirements to be structurally sound. Their job is to provide the technical knowledge and calculations to ensure a weight bearing structure is capable of handling the load placed on it. Some typical projects structural engineers can report on or design include: • Internal or external wall removal or relocation • Structural beam design – timber or steel • Structural slab or footing designs • Second storey additions • Retaining walls (over a certain height) Because the engineers specify the structural and technical information of the project it is near impossible to accurately quote on the project until they have been engaged to carry out the plans and specifications.




What is council approval or development approval and do I need that?


A: There are 3 stages to obtaining full development approval for your proposed building work. Saxony Building arranges all of this on your behalf. Planning approval: Firstly, all of your design plans, site plans and land title information are sent to your local council for planning approval to certify that they are happy with the aesthetics and location of your building. Building consent: Once planning consent is received, all of the structural and engineering documents are sent to either a private certifier or your local council to assess and approve the building rules associated with the building design. Development approval: When the planning approval and building consent is granted, this will give you full development approval. Once you have received development approval you can now commence your building project.





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