How can I ensure I pay the right price for my building works?

It’s important that those who are quoting are in possession of all the necessary documents required to give you the most accurate price.

Ideally you will have had an Architect or designer create a comprehensive design of your building works, outlining each detail of your project. They can be sought through recommendations from your professional team, recommendations from others who’ve had similar works carried out or through national bodies such as the Royal Institute of British Architects. Once you have a design you’re happy with, a precise and detailed specification of the works needs to be produced. After all, a contractor’s quote can only be as accurate as the documentation you provide.

How a QS can help

This is where a Quantity Surveyor can make their mark by creating a schedule of works which includes a detailed specification of the work required in an easy to follow way. This is a great help toward getting you the fairest price, as every contractor will be providing their quote based on the same, pre-defined information.

Depending on the size and nature of your project, it may be necessary to get further reports and surveys completed and included in the documentation you provide to contractors to ensure the price obtained is accurate and based on the right information, such as:

Ground Conditions Report: If any part of your project involves work within the ground, this report will highlight the nature of the ground and it’s suitability for the works involved. A consultant structural engineer can then design foundations and drainage works to suit the circumstances so that the contractor’s price is based on the right information, eliminating potential future claims.

Surveys of the Existing Building: This survey identifies any potential risks in completing the construction work due to the condition of the existing building, for example, finding out if there is any damp, rot, asbestos or lead paint in the building. This is normally carried out by a building surveyor, not a quantity surveyor.

Party Wall Survey: This is particularly important and is a legal requirement if you have neighbours in close proximity of your work site. It can help prevent any potential disputes between you and your neighbours in the future and ensures that your neighbours are aware of the work being undertaken before it begins. Again, this is normally carried out by a building surveyor, not a quantity surveyor.

Ask your team

Once you’re ready to get a quote, consider asking your QS, Architect, or any member of your professional team or perhaps others who have had similar work undertaken on their behalf for recommendations on which contractors to consider for pricing the work.

Before you go out to tender, you should try and find out about the contractor’s history of competitive pricing, look at works they’ve previously completed, speak to past clients of theirs or perhaps there will be an opportunity to view a live job that they are currently completing.

When prices are received, do remember the cheapest is not always the right one. You will want to consider factors such as the financial status and the workmanship of the contractor before deciding which quote to accept.

Midlands Office:
Ridgeway House, 1 High Street, Astwood Bank,
Redditch, Worcestershire, B96 6DB

01527 894514


London Office:
12 Melcombe Place, London, NW1 6JJ

020 3367 1379

Ridgeways Surveyors Limited, Registered Office, Ridgeway House, 1 High Street, Astwood Bank, Redditch, Worcestershire, B96 6DB. Registered in England & Wales. Company No: 9145497