Variations can be difficult to avoid, no matter how much time and attention is paid to the documentation from the outset. Some builders love them, as they offer more opportunities for them to make money! Professional builders tend to avoid them where possible, as when priced fairly, they can cost the builder money due to the difficulties that can arise when altering the already planned or completed works.
We’re only human though – things happen on site that couldn’t be predicted, you might change your mind about the location of a door, or the selection of a benchtop. Almost all construction contracts include a procedure for varying the scope of works. Further, each building company handles variations differently. We can help navigate and assess this process to ensure transparency and value for money.
Some common issues to look out for include:-
- Administration Fees – Some builders charge an administration fee for variations. They should tell you this prior to you signing the contract (but some of them don’t!).
- Cost Breakdown – You have a right to ask for a breakdown of the charges the builder submits to you for a variation. Some builders are reluctant to provide this, which could mean there are hidden charges they don’t want you to know about.
- Builders Margin – It’s fair and reasonable for a builder to add a margin to the cost of additional works. This is often seen by clients as “profit margin” however this money needs to cover the builders additional insurance costs, warranty costs (ie fixing defects), as well as the additional building fees that need to be paid due to the increase in contract sum. Having said that, you have a right to know how much the builder is charging. This is often stated in the contract and can be cross checked by reviewing the breakdown of costs.