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Help! Wild difference in builders quotes

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We're looking to build a 300 sq m house and have had 3 builders quotes back - main contractor will full project management. Building in Kent. 


One has come in at approx £2k per square metre for finished product (Inc demolition of existing bungalow on site but no landscaping etc - just the building). Another quite similar but about 15k more. 


A third has come in significantly cheaper - a little under £1500 psq which from what I've read seems really challenging for a high standard finished product. 


There could be some reasons for the cheaper quote coming out cheaper - a big team of directly employed people (the first two quotes were going to sub contract quite a bit out I think), and in an area about 30 mins away where I suspect there is less of a geographical 'premium' to the area, but the difference is astonishing.


We've spoken to people who have employed the cheaper builder and mostly great reviews - one or two bitter complaints but I guess that may come with the territory, most people seem to be very happy. We've seen a couple houses ongoing and finished and all look very good. 


We are really struggling though to understand why the price difference is so stark compared with the two other quotes - have people encountered this before and what would you do? 

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It may just be a question of overheads 

The cheap one perhaps is quite a small setup No office or staff or vans etc 

With good management it would still leave him a few hundred per n2 for himself 


Presuming all three quotes are detailed I would make a comparison between the three You could find he’s missing some things that the other two have included 

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It annoys me when the cheapest quote is automatically dismissed, (not saying you are doing so!)


Yes some contractors get it wrong,  a few deliberately quote low, some don't know what they don't know, and some are simply good at what they do.


Give them all a chance, say I


I say this from experience as my business (now handed on) specialised in saving projects that were way over budget. You really can be 30% better value every time, and sometimes 50% less, without any loss of quality. It is down to being expert in your own field.  Wasteful design, and multiple levels of control and overhead were the main differential. A sorts hall for £1.1M or £2.3M? Some would dismiss it, others get the value.

Same applies to any sort of project. And also if you get on with the contractor.


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Go through each quote with a fine tooth comb and see what the actual differences are. They will be certain thing's missing that one builder might have took for granted. One might have included scaffolding hire or toilet hire or crane hire while others didn't. 

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