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Having your new home built is an exciting time, but it can also be a little bewildering. There are always lots of questions to ask and things to think about. To help you get started, we’ve listed some of the more common questions here. We hope you’ll find the answers you’re looking for, but if you don’t please get in touch, we’re only too happy to answer your questions.

How much will my house cost?

This depends on size and complexity, the location, whether the site is sloping or flat, the type of materials to be used, the style of the home and any additional features. When choosing a builder, many people are tempted to compare the square metre rate. There are a number of reasons why this is not a good idea. Some builders will deliberately include very low Provisional Sums for items such as drainage, excavations or fittings in an effort to make their price look attractive. Unfortunately the Owner is left to make up the difference after the contract is signed.

An average home contains hundreds of different ‘ingredients’ including concrete, plumbing supplies, carpet, bricks, tiles, taps, sinks, paint, timber, glass, etc. And all of these materials come in different qualities. On top of that, the way in which these materials are assembled into a finished house differs in quality and attention to detail.

Every house design is different. Some houses are square, some houses are ‘L’ shaped and others have many different angles and shapes. While 3 different houses may all have the same square metre size, the quantity of building materials that go into each of these homes will vary greatly depending on the shape or design.

How long does it take to price?

Once we have working drawings and engineer’s drawings it takes approximately three to four weeks, depending on the job, to get a complete pricing.

Could we use a friend or relative who is a sub-trade to do some of the work?

We do not recommend this because it can often lead to stressful situations. We have chosen sub-trades who work best with our team and share our philosophy of craftsmanship, so we can achieve the highest result in our set time frame. As the Master Build Guarantee only covers work done by Mainland Homes and our subtrades, any work done by subtrades that you hired yourself would be excluded from our Contract and therefore excluded from cover under the Master Build Guarantee.

Can we supply some of the materials ourselves, like bathroom fittings, flooring, or kitchen?

Yes, this can be done. A lot of our clients have a kitchen supplier they want to use and they organize and pay for the kitchen directly themselves. However be aware that if you supply any materials yourself then these items will not form part of our Contract or Guarantee and all responsibility for them rests with you. This means that you will need to have them ready when they are needed so as not to create any delays on the job and if there should be any faults, defects or warranty issues with these items then it will be your responsibility to see to any necessary repairs, maintenance or replacements.

Can I make changes?

Building a home is probably one of the biggest things you will ever do and it’s important to get it right. This will depend on the nature of the changes, especially if they affect the Council approved plans. However non-structural changes are usually no issue and can be achieved via a variation to the original contract. It is important to remember that changes could impact timeframes and cause delays, but we would notify you if this were the case.

How much deposit is needed?

During the design phase of your home there may be a pre-consent deposit required to cover drafting costs (this amount is taken off the contract price if you decide to build with us). Upon signing the contract a deposit of 5-10% of the contract price to build your home is required for work to commence.

What if there are price increases while my house is being built?

We offer a ‘fixed contract price’. This will be the price you pay unless you want to change the scope of the build or something arises in the course of the build that is outside our control that impacts on the price. We do everything we can to limit what is outside our control, but the reality is that changes can happen in the construction of a home. If something should happen outside our control that will have an impact on the price, we will tell you what has happened and explain why. We always strive to be open and transparent.

What are ‘Provisional Sums’ and ‘PC Sums’ and what do they mean?

The terms PC (Prime Cost) Sums and Provisional Sums are used in pretty much every residential building agreement. Both PC Sums and Provisional Sums refer to amounts allowed in contracts for work for which the actual cost is not known ahead of time. However, they have subtly different meanings.

A PC Sum (Prime Cost Sum) covers the cost of a specific item that you may not yet have chosen at the time of quoting. For example, we may have an allowance for certain bathroom fixtures in the contract, but you might decide you want different ones from those allowed for. If you choose more expensive bathroom fixtures than those allowed for, then you will have to pay the difference between the PC Sum and the final cost of the items you have chosen. Likewise, if you choose bathroom fixtures that cost less than those allowed for in the PC Sum then you will receive a credit for the difference. A PC Sum is to be spent at the instruction of the homeowner, meaning you will have some ability to control the final amount.

A Provisional Sum is an estimate for particular work for which the full extent is not yet known. Provisional Sums are estimates that are provided where we can’t give an exact figure for the work required, after having made reasonable enquiries into what it’ll actually cost. A good example is excavation. Even with a soil test, it may be difficult to know exactly what’s under the ground, and therefore difficult to pinpoint the cost and effort required. Accordingly, the amount of the Provisional Sum can be, to a large extent, outside either party’s control.

Clients need to be very aware of PC Sums and Provisional Sums when comparing quotes from different building companies and check quotes very carefully, as some builders will deliberately ‘low ball’ these amounts in an effort to make their quote look more attractive to the owner.

At Mainland Homes our promise is to always be honest and transparent and should we need to use PC or Provisional Sums these will always be a fair reflection of the likely costs involved.