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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.