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It may specify materials, products, labour, subcontractors, and so on, with accompanying costs. A written offer is legally binding and becomes part of the contract between you and the builder, if you decide to proceed.

Make sure that you provide each builder with exactly the same information; otherwise you will not be able to accurately compare quotes. This information may include plans, ranging from simple sketches or diagrams to full construction drawings needed for projects that involve altering the structure of your home. Specifications are detailed descriptions of the materials and products you want to be used in your project.

How many bids should you get? Generally, prudent consumer advice tends to favour three bids – more is seldom necessary if you have selected the candidates with care.

However, that’s not the only approach. On large projects, it is not uncommon for homeowners to interview several builders, check their references and previous projects, and then choose one company to work with throughout the whole process, including developing plans and budgets and undertaking the actual work.

In the end it comes down to trust and confidence – trust that you have chosen the right builder for the job, and confidence that you will get what you want.

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