Getting Quotes

Ask for an estimate if you need an educated guess about what a repair will cost.
Ask for a quote if you want a considered, fixed price.

Putting together a quote will take a trade firm some time. Some firms will want to know that you will have advance payments from owners in place before they will even consider giving you a quote. Be as specific about what you need as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask about options for carrying out additional works.

Specifying for a quote

You need to give as much detail as possible about what needs to be done.  This is to make sure you can fairly compare quotes when they come back.

  • use the repair checker on the home page or your survey to check what you need to ask for
  • ask for the most work you think you can possibly afford - a large fraction of your quote will be for just getting the job set up, erecting scaffolding etc; adding more work could save you paying all these set up costs again in a couple of years time
  • ask for a detailed breakdown so you can check what is and is not included
  • ask for separate costs for “run ons” – each additional square metre of reslating or repointing
  • ask for some additional options to be costed – it might be worth raising your budget
  • if owners want individual responsibility works included, get these priced individually

Comparing quotes

Try and get at least 3 quotes. When comparing quotes:

  • don’t just look at the bottom line
  • compile a checklist for each one so you see which quotes may have missed something important that might need to be paid for later. 
  • if a firm has missed something, ask them to requote including this item
  • be suspicious about very low quotes -what have they missed out and what will they do when they find they are making a loss on your job?
  • what materials do they plan to use - check quality with a builders merchants
  • check weather protection and safety proposals for each firm (how will they provide safe access for the work and what will they do to protect other parts of the building, gas flues etc)
  • check service proposals, emergency contact numbers etc
  • for how long is the quote open enough time for you to get owners’ advance payments in place?
  • check what insurances and warranties are included

You will also want to check arrangements for work on site such as outline start/completion dates, security, safety, the payment plans, catering and lavatory arrangements, hours of work, cleaning up and the disposal of waste materials.

Further reading

Health and Safety Guidance 

Before accepting a quote

Make sure you have:

  • got all owners on board and got advance payments in your maintenance account
  • followed proper procedures
  • got all the permissions you need

Avoid paying upfront or a cash deposit - it should not be needed unless you request specialist building materials.  Stage payments at defined points can be a good idea.

If you personally accept the quote, you will responsible for making sure it gets paid – make sure you are as well protected as you can be ( see Paying for Repairs, Enforcing Repairs and Help from your Council).

Getting professional help

If you find this process intimidating, if the work sounds complicated  or if the quotes you get back come to more than £10,000, you should consider getting professional help such as an architect or surveyor to detail and supervise the work.