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Why Your Builder Should Charge for Quoting

Why Your Builder Should Charge for Quoting

For most of us, building our dream home is one of the biggest decisions we’ll make in life. It is an exciting journey and process that involves intricate and detailed planning to ensure a smooth and successful outcome.

Before you begin, your builder should provide you with a professional quotation to avoid any unnecessary delays or budget blowouts. This is an important part of the process as it also demonstrates the commitment between yourself and the builder. However, you should be wary of builders that offer you “free quoting”, as a professionally drawn up quote should involve a fee or charge.

Why you may ask? Many industries offer “free quoting” for their services, why then should your builder charge you for the quote?

Firstly, let’s look at the difference between an Estimate and a Quote. Many of us (including builders) use these two terms interchangeably, however, most of the “free quoting” you receive for trades and services are actually just “Estimates”.

What is an ESTIMATE?

An ESTIMATE is a general guess of the cost for your project, it is a ballpark figure based on your basic criteria of the build. This ballpark cost is simply to give you an idea as it is an approximation without the knowledge of the exact extent of materials and labour involved in completing the project.

Hence, Estimates are useful when you initially consider building a home to see if your general requirements can be met within your budget before progressing further. This gives you an idea of whether you should change your structure (for example, a one storey instead of two storey build) and the basic outline of the project to suit your financial situation.

What is a QUOTE?

A QUOTE however, would involve professional estimations and detailing of costs in every stage of the building process including materials, installation, cost of subcontractors and labour. It should show the transparent scope of works, detailing what is and is not included. A quote should also aim to avoid Prime Costs and Provisional Sums as much as possible, which means that the builder needs to spend more time with you to quantify these items. The quotation stage should be a clear and comprehensive discussion with your builder and should not be a ‘quick’ chat or rushed through.

The preparation of a Quote is a lengthy process that often involves many hours of work for your builder. It requires the expert knowledge and experience of your builder and can take multiple consultations with you to discuss your preferences and to fine-tune your project before a Quotation can be presented.

As you can see, this is why your builder should charge for quoting. This ensures your build project stays on track, on budget, and on time. SmartReno offers a professional custom build service with a fully transparent process from Consultation to Completion, so there are no unpleasant surprises. Our quotation charge includes advice and consultation on the material selection process and covers the finishing schedule, so your build project is in good hands all the way through.

Get in touch with the SmartReno team to discuss your build project today: 0406 616 690

De-Mystifying Builders’ Jargon – 3 Key Pricing Components Explained

De-Mystifying Builders’ Jargon – 3 Key Pricing Components Explained

From updating software to signing up for a new account, it is not surprising that many of us tend to skim through the ‘Fine Print’ in agreements, especially when you have pages of seemingly dull and incomprehensible text to get through!

However, when it comes to signing your Building Contract, there is no room for complacency. Afterall, it is your very own Home! Understanding your contract and pricing components is crucial for a smooth building process and to avoid budget blowouts. Not sure about Builders Jargon? Let us explain the 3 Key Pricing Components:

  1. Prime Cost (PC)

This refers to the cost allowance that is made for the supply of certain materials to be selected by the client, such as plumbing fixtures and tapware, tiles, or appliances. Prime Costs are usually included when the builder may have insufficient information on client’s selection (preference) at this point to provide a fixed price quotation. The PC is subject to change depending on final selection and is for the cost of the item only (excluding installation costs). It is important that PCs are realistic and meet the expectations of quality in line with the build project.

  1. Provisional Sum (PS)

Provisional Sums are usually provided for works and activities that are unable to be accurately quantified at the time of pricing or quoting the project. For example, groundworks and excavations are common PS items as they depend on ground conditions. In major excavations the builder will usually propose a PS. Similar to the PC, it is subject to change depending on the final cost of having the task completed. However, the main difference between a Prime Cost and a Provisional Sum is that the Provisional Sum will allow for both materials required and labour.

  1. Fixed Price

Finally, an easy term – Fixed Price means literally what it says – a Price that is fixed and is not subject to change. This means the builder is unable to charge extra if their estimation ends up being incorrect. As work proceeds under contract, the builder must supply everything necessary for the proper completion of the works at the Fixed Price.

Ideally, it is always in your best interest to avoid PC and PS items as much as possible, while aiming for mostly Fixed Prices. However, sometimes it is unavoidable to include several PCs and PSs and, in this case, the builder will need to make realistic and reasonable allowances so that they are as close to the estimation as possible, i.e. final selections (in PC cases) or the actual costs (in PS case).

The best approach to preventing budget blowouts and avoiding unpleasant surprises during construction, is for the builder and client to spend quality time clearly discussing as much detail as possible during the pricing/quotation phase. From there the builder can then provide a more accurate quote with Fixed Price items that would have been PC or PS allowances otherwise.

Smart Reno is known as Brisbane’s trusted home renovations & builders, with a clear and concise process which minimises PC and PS allowances to your building proposal and therefore can provide Fixed Price quotations in most cases. Contact SmartReno today to discuss how we can help you with your proposed build project. Call 0406 616 690 or click here to book an appointment.

Don’t want to move? (But you’ve outgrown your home)

Don’t want to move? (But you’ve outgrown your home)

So, you have outgrown your home. However, you are in an ideal location, the children are settled in a good school, and the neighbours are great. You don’t want to move but you need more space! Perhaps it’s time to consider a Home Extension to create the added space and functionality needed in your home.

House Extensions have become increasingly popular for homeowners who wish to stay in their area, but require more space due to lifestyle changes such as a growing family with children, multigenerational living or the increasing trend of ‘working from home.’ 

The Home Extension option provides many benefits such as:

  • Save on costs associated with selling your home and repurchasing another, e.g. real estate fees, inspections, government charges, removalists etc.
  • Add value to your property (especially in highly sought-after suburbs)
  • Less expensive compared to knock down and rebuild, subject to the extent of the work – please refer to our Guideline on Renovate or Rebuild 
  • Options to suit your existing home and budget (Ground Floor Extensions, Second Storey Additions, or Lift & Build Under Extensions)
  • Minimal disruptions to your activities (stay in your home during the process, in most cases).


  • Home Extension Types

Common Extension options include Ground Floor Extensions, where an area is extended on the existing level of the home.  It is one of the most cost-effective and time-efficient ways to add space.  A Second Storey Extension is well suited to homeowners wishing to add floor area and views without sacrificing backyard space.  Certain homes such as the iconic Queenslander can achieve great outcomes with a Lift & Build Under Extension that create flexible lower level options such as garaging and additional accommodation.


  • Why Choose a Professional Builder?

Whichever Extension project you choose, it is important to ensure that the construction matches the existing structure in style and finish, so that it will appear to be part of the original build as opposed to an unappealing “add-on” look. This is where a professional builder can make the difference. 

SmartReno are specialists in Home Extensions and we offer a professional design and construction service to help you create the space and functionality that you envision. We listen to your ideas and offer our expert suggestions, while keeping within your budget. Whether it involves removing a load bearing wall to replace with beams, or completely changing the layout of a home to cater for the extension, SmartReno has the ability, knowledge, experience and understanding to create something which will enhance the property both visually and in practical terms, making spaces become more usable and functional. 

Even if you just have a general idea of what you envisage for your home extension, SmarReno can start by showing you how to achieve the best outcome within your investment budget. Contact us today, ph. 0406 616 690, to discuss your Home Extension needs! Brisbane’s trusted home extension and custom home specialists. Click here to view our Gallery showcasing SmartReno’s quality workmanship and design.

Building a Custom Home? 6 Pre-Construction Tips from Smart Reno Experts

Building a Custom Home? 6 Pre-Construction Tips from Smart Reno Experts

There is undoubtedly no better feeling than witnessing your dream home project coming true. But, the most common mistake most homeowners tend to make is to rush. They suddenly jump to the construction process before they are even properly ready.

Being in the industry for many years now, I have encountered the same thing with my clients too. And, later on, they regret claiming that there were so much that could be done with design or styling.

There should not be any room for regrets when it is about your DREAM HOME. And, when you are hiring the best custom home builders in Brisbane, you should check everything beforehand.

Here it from us. Our experts have framed some tips that you may follow during the pre-construction phase of your home.

  • Have you Finalised the Layout?

The layout of your house should be clear to you. Have you set any budget? If you wish to stay within your budget, you should go for a simple and minimal layout. Remember that the more complex the structure will be, the more it will be expensive.

  • How Many Levels Do you Need for your Building?

Double Storey Home Extension

Don’t think that having a two-storied building always means too much of expense. If you have a complex layout in your single storey home, it can be more expensive than building a two-level home. So, determine the number of building levels according to your need.

  • Determine the Room Space Ahead

Have you considered the size of the rooms? Well, not every place will have the same number or size of furniture inside the room. For instance, the bedroom needs to be wide, not long. Where will you keep the bed? Will it take too much of space leaving no room for any additional furniture? Calculating all of these small issues can save you from the future hassles.

  • Think of Storage Solutions Beforehand

Storage Space

It will be a big mistake on your part if you don’t consider the storage facilities beforehand. Being the specialists of home renovations in Brisbane, we can suggest you check how much storage space do you have currently and then decide how much you will need. Don’t let the storage facility look odd or out of place in your building layout. Talk to the renovators beforehand.

  • Have you Paid Enough Attention to you Plot?

There are a lot of things to consider for using your plot in the right way. Can the neighbouring structure cause any problem in solar access? Is the soil type of the plot okay for the kind of building, floors or sub-floors you are planning?

  • Permissions and Restrictions of the Councils

Extension builder Brisbane

You cannot move forward with the construction without talking to the council. Ask them about the local restrictions if any. Seek the required permissions from them regarding the heritage overlays that are probably there. Also, if there are any boundary setback requirement, you must settle all of that before the construction of your custom home starts.


You should not approve or finalise anything before you have viewed the final layout. The design may appear differently in theory, but until you do not check the blueprint or finished drafts of the structure, you should not proceed. We don’t want you to regret anything. We know how significant this investment is for you. So, we suggest you follow these ground rules at any cost before the construction.

5 Things to Consider When You Plan for an Open Plan Living Extension

5 Things to Consider When You Plan for an Open Plan Living Extension

It is often said that an object placed under the eye will appear differently if the same thing is put above it. Same is the case with an enclosed space. The real ambience and the essence of the objects placed in the room will look very different in an open area. What remains the most crucial aspect in the case of open plan living is connection.

Gone are the days when the lounge or kitchen served a specific purpose. With doors being the demarcation surface, living in such houses was simple, and it was the only way.

But with the changing lifestyle, the concept of floor design has changed. With the growing urge to stay connected with the family members, the idea of open living came into existence. In short, open plan living provided a greater convenience and comfort.

The following are some of the crucial things to keep in consideration while renovating your house and transforming it into the above-mentioned concept–

1. Customising your Open Plan Living


The purpose of such plan is to stay connected with the members and motivate each member to take part in the family activity. Therefore, every renovation project that involves extension should ensure the presence of ample open space to ‘socialise’. Evading the things that clutter the area/space should be avoided. Customising the extension would help to get what you want.

2. Removing a Wall or Two

Well, if you think removing a wall is easy, then you are wrong. Remodelling a house with old facilities into a modern, attractive, useful one is challenging. Getting the help from the professional extension builder in Brisbane from SmartReno Pty Ltd will make the plan successful. What is needed is careful planning of the areas that are to transformed into open space.

3. Ascertaining Smooth Movement

Every design of the renovation should ensure that there is enough space available for the smooth movement of not only people but also house commodities. Therefore, while planning an extension, it is always advised to inspect the space and how it should be designed. The open living plan considers this aspect as well.

4. Keeping the Right Length to Width Ratio


Keeping the Right Length to Width Ratio

Every house has a different floor plan. Therefore, a thoughtful floor design helps in creating the right living space. As far as this is concerned, experts of home extensions in Brisbane trust the rectangular shape when it comes to functionality. A wider area with apt length fits in all sorts of furniture and assist in interior decoration.

5. Ensuring Natural Lights Everywhere

Always remember that a successful open plan living extension takes into account two vital elements- the height of the ceiling and presence of windows. The right amount of each of them guarantees a great ambience apart from being functional. The presence of natural light ensures great curtailment in the electricity bills. In addition to it, the right extension will give the illusion of a larger space. Renovators believe that a soaring ceiling adds grandeur to the interior of the house.


Creating space in a streamlined manner shows the true essence of a significant renovation project. When it comes to open plan living, not only planning but keeping an account of all the aspects of extension is going to transform your living effectively. Contact the professional home builders from SmartReno Pty Ltd to have your dream of ‘open space living’ come to reality.

Choosing The Right Deck Builder – Your Homework Before Hiring One

Choosing The Right Deck Builder – Your Homework Before Hiring One

Adding a deck to property not only adds a new range of aesthetics to it but also adds a fresh lease of life. Frankly speaking, they have always been popular anywhere in the world, and that is one good reason why companies that come up with these decks are so popular.

However, there is a catch! You need to absolutely bang on while choosing the company that will be serving you. It has to be an experienced one, with a fair amount of reputation in the market. But that’s not all! Besides being perfect while picking the right company,  you need to do some other homework as well.

Finding out the most credible service provider

The first and foremost thing that you need do is proper research. You will find a lot of companies around you that offer decking services. However, it is your responsibility to carry out thorough research to gauge their credibility as service providers.

You need to do a lot of fact-finding to arrive at a credible solution. See how experienced the company is. A company with considerable experience under its belt is always more preferable than the one that has just started its endeavour.

Look for the clients’ feedback that you will find on the testimonial page. It is best to put your stakes on a deck builder in Brisbane that has the best customer feedback for its services.

Selecting the design of the deck

You need to decide upon the design of the deck before selecting one. You need to consider your purpose of having one before you choose the deck. Again, the catalogues will come in handy here.

It’s your liability to decide upon the theme of the deck as well. You must make sure that the theme you opt for, gels with the rest of your property. This is to guarantee that the newly-added deck and the rest of your property collectively lift the look and feel and the aesthetic appeal of your property by quite a few notches.

Getting to know the nature of work

It is your responsibility to talk to the service provider in details about their way of working. For instance, the builder you eye on, must be utterly professional and work with utmost care and delicacy to maintain perfection.

You must have a talk with them regarding their way of ‘doing things’. If possible, you can go through the catalogues that will provide you with a clear notion about their previous works, and how well they will fit in your needs and tastes. This will only give you solid proof of the quality of their workmanship.

Prioritising the safety factor

It is again your onus to consider the safety factor and make sure you do not compromise with it. You need to decide upon the materials that are superior in quality and will make sure the resultant deck is the best from the qualitative and safety points of view.

Though it is ironically the obligation of the service provider in question to ensure safety, you cannot shrug your part off in this aspect.

So when planning to put up a deck at your property – carry out your roles in a perfect way so that your investment pays off!

Frankly speaking, following these procedures would help you to get to the best in the business like us at SmartReno Pty Ltd without much of a fuss. But again, when you avail our service you do not have to face all these. For our technicians would make sure that you get the best business without the risk of being at the wrong side of the table.