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House Renovation, Tradesman Costs


Royston

Question

I've been getting a few quotes for a basic, no frills internal refurb of a small 2 up 2 down mid terrace (worth around £110k once 'done up')... which quite frankly leave me not knowing whether I want to laugh or cry.

Basically looking at no change out of £60k inc VAT.

When I say basic and no frills I'm talking about a £2k kitchen, £1k bathroom suite, new internal doors at £30 each.

 

I thought I'd post a few individual prices up here to see if anyone has had any comparable work done if they paid similar, or if we've actually got any tradies on here:-

-Erect a (non load bearing) 10 ft long stud partition wall with doorway - £1,300

-New skirtings, door frames, and 4 internal doors - £3,800

-Replace floorboards in 2 bedrooms (small doubles) - £1,200

-Insulation to living room ceiling - £950

-Insulation to bedroom ceilings £1,200 (Perhaps they're using Cashmere wool for insulation?!)

 

The one other cost I'm struggling to understand is ''Preliminaries and Site Set up - At £2,950!

I have read up on prelims and it's a very grey area, but pretty much nothing seems to apply to my project in terms of requiring specific expenditure prior to work commencing, so I can only assume my builder is wanting to charge me up front for all his regular fixed costs of being a builder i.e. running a van, office, phoneline, insurance, teabags, daily copy of the Sun etc etc

 

I know this is Dosbods and we're all living in the 1950's and nothing should cost more than tuppence ha'penny but it would be interesting to get some real life, impartial views on these costs, I'm quite happy to be told I'm out of touch and they're perfectly reasonable.

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14 answers to this question

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3 hours ago, spunko said:

Quotes are too vague IMO. For example replacing floorboards - are they oak? Reclaimed?

Need more specifics... Where abouts in the UK?

If you are in the SE then I don't think it seems to dear personally. But things like replacing insulation are quite easy. If it were me I'd break the jobs down, find someone willing to do hourly paid rates (rare as hens teeth nowadays though) and give them the smaller jobs.

As I said in my OP we're talking a very basic, no frills refurb of a small 2 up 2 down worth around £110k once 'done up'...

by ''no frills'' I'm talking £2k kitchen and £1k bathroom suite, £30 pine doors... so definitely no oak flooring, probably just hardboard rather than actual floorboards.

And it's in North Wales so definitely not London pricing!

 

3 hours ago, spunko said:

£3k up front on a £60k job isn't bad at all... If I'm reading it right. Normally it's 25% upfront.

But that £3k is for literally nothing at all, even skip hire and rubbish removal is an additional £550 option on top of the £3k prelims.

My analogy with prelims is a garage charges perhaps £30ph for their labour, they can charge £30ph because they've got the premises tools and equipment to work on my car... they don't charge me £30ph plus an additional £400 up front to cover the cost of their premises, tools and equipment?

 

2 hours ago, Sasquatch said:

Preliminaries are a real thing but not necessarily for a small builder. For larger schemes prelims would comprise of the following:

Site management/supervision incl transport

Temporary accommodation - meeting room, office, welfare, drying room etc

Storage containers

Power and water

Telephones, computers

Fencing, general protection, security (if necessary)

Insurances

Teleporter and driver

Waste removal - skips etc

...and many other similar things.

How about asking for a breakdown of the £2,950?

None of them apply to my project, except skip hire and rubbish removal which as I said above is quoted separately to the prelims at an additional £550.

Oh and I suppose Insurance, but I doubt the builder is paying the equivalent of £3k in insurance for a small perhaps 6 week long refurb job?

 

In answer to a few other comments:-

 

@Sasquatch Yes I have asked for a breakdown of the prelims

@Bobthebuilder These aren't individual quotes from individual tradesmen, they're just examples of specific prices I've picked out from a quote for all the work.

@Bobthebuilder - Do you really think £60k for a very basic, internal only refurb of a non-London house that's only worth about £110k once done up is reasonable? Thanks for the other advice about payment plans and sourcing my own materials.

 

I am no rush at all so perhaps I should try and just source individual trades for specific jobs rather than getting a general builder to take on the job as a whole project.

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Uptherebels
1 hour ago, Royston said:

The rewire quote didn't actually seem too bad to me?...

-Full rewire, including electric wall panel heaters and a new modern immersion heater - £5,300

Yes. That sounds about right. I've just had a quote for £4,000 , but doesn't include the heaters or immersion. 

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Bobthebuilder
On 13/05/2020 at 09:05, onlyme said:

Also important if engaging trades is coordination father job and getting it done in the right order

Start at the top finish on the bottom. Roof , ceilings, walls and flooring last.

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16 hours ago, Royston said:

 

@Bobthebuilder - Do you really think £60k for a very basic, internal only refurb of a non-London house that's only worth about £110k once done up is reasonable? Thanks for the other advice about payment plans and sourcing my own materials.

 

I am no rush at all so perhaps I should try and just source individual trades for specific jobs rather than getting a general builder to take on the job as a whole project.

Does look like way too much of a budget for the house.

Assuming butler is workington 1/3 materials / 1/3 labour / 1/3  profit, then 2/3 of that is not materials so you are paying around 10K in VAT on labour alone - another reason to look for small trades.

Materials - if you really shop around you can halve material costs overall, compared to going with most convenient supplier and paying trade plus markup pricing.

Have a look at requirements -you say insulating bedroom ceilings - a blanket of insulation throughout the loft space will do this quickly and cheaply, nothing like the quote - do you need loft access and the space boarded out for storage or is it like that already and that is why it costs so much. Why do you want the living room ceiling insulated - the smaller the house gets the more marginal the mavins with insulation - just cheaper to accept a little heat going upstairs to unused bedroom?

Also important if engaging trades is coordination father job and getting it done in the right order, if you know about these things first fix / second fix, major works first then no problem, if not ask, read up or get advice / pally with trader on the job who can assist. 

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7 hours ago, Royston said:

The one other cost I'm struggling to understand is ''Preliminaries and Site Set up - At £2,950!

I have read up on prelims and it's a very grey area, but pretty much nothing seems to apply to my project in terms of requiring specific expenditure prior to work commencing, so I can only assume my builder is wanting to charge me up front for all his regular fixed costs of being a builder i.e. running a van, office, phoneline, insurance, teabags, daily copy of the Sun etc etc

Preliminaries are a real thing but not necessarily for a small builder. For larger schemes prelims would comprise of the following:

Site management/supervision incl transport

Temporary accommodation - meeting room, office, welfare, drying room etc

Storage containers

Power and water

Telephones, computers

Fencing, general protection, security (if necessary)

Insurances

Teleporter and driver

Waste removal - skips etc

...and many other similar things.

How about asking for a breakdown of the £2,950?

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On 12/05/2020 at 21:01, spunko said:

Quotes are too vague IMO. For example replacing floorboards - are they oak? Reclaimed?

Need more specifics... Where abouts in the UK?

If you are in the SE then I don't think it seems to dear personally. But things like replacing insulation are quite easy. If it were me I'd break the jobs down, find someone willing to do hourly paid rates (rare as hens teeth nowadays though) and give them the smaller jobs.

Yes, but it can be a horrible, dusty, cramped job.  I've seen builders quote high for horrible jobs because they don't really want the work unless overworked.

 

 

I would say if the DOSBODS hivemind view is that a big fucking recession is coming, why wouldn't you wait a little bit until builders are more desperate for work?

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Does sound very expensive. Only thing I can say really if you are not on a tight timescale then engage individual trades, start at the most important jobs and do it somewhat piecemeal at least at the start and see you you go. A tip if you find  good, honest and reliable tradesman he will have a network of others and you can feed off of this contacts for the other jobs, if trust that one enough you can engage them to coordinate and supervise if time/ability a problem for you - it is an easier way of dipping your toe into the water and getting a full team on site relatively quickly. I think you would be looking at nearly halving most of those numbers, especially if you sourced material carefully yourself at best pricing.

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Bobthebuilder

I would say 60k is not to bad for a house refurb, ive seen some costing a lot more than that, depends on materials being used and standard of finish. Of course labour is a large part of the figure 4 blokes on a daily rate quickly adds up.

Sometimes you can control the price by getting price quotes for the individual jobs like it sounds you have.

Make sure you work out a pay plan, best way is to pay a set amount weekly. That way if you fall out with the builder or vise versa,you dont pay that week and they wont be back the following week.

See if you can source the materials yourself, Howdens, Mr central heating, Toolstation, Screwfix etc.

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Quotes are too vague IMO. For example replacing floorboards - are they oak? Reclaimed?

Need more specifics... Where abouts in the UK?

If you are in the SE then I don't think it seems to dear personally. But things like replacing insulation are quite easy. If it were me I'd break the jobs down, find someone willing to do hourly paid rates (rare as hens teeth nowadays though) and give them the smaller jobs.

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The rewire quote didn't actually seem too bad to me?...

-Full rewire, including electric wall panel heaters and a new modern immersion heater - £5,300

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Quote

I have read up on prelims and it's a very grey area, but pretty much nothing seems to apply to my project in terms of requiring specific expenditure prior to work commencing, so I can only assume my builder is wanting to charge me up front for all his regular fixed costs of being a builder i.e. running a van, office, phoneline, insurance, teabags, daily copy of the Sun etc etc

£3k up front on a £60k job isn't bad at all... If I'm reading it right. Normally it's 25% upfront.

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sleepwello'nights

My son purchased a 1960s bungalow for £325k. We estimated the finished value when extended and given an extra floor at around the £650k mark.

The quotes we got for the work ranged from £125k to £325k. We went for a mid range of £180k. That was almost the final cost, we had to pay an extra £20k for completing the work after the builder almost finished before disappearing! 

He found it quite stressful towards the end as the builder started messing him around. He ended up with a 2,500 sq ft house in a 1/10 acre plot. Build cost of £81 or so per sq ft. We came in well under my back of cigarette packet figure of £100 sq ft. 

It took a lot longer than the 30 minutes or so that the TV programmes do it in :D

In answer to your question you need to shop around. The highest quote we got was from a builder who we reckon started at final market value and halved it. 

 

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