understanding your construction quotes

Understanding your construction quotes

You’ve had your plan for your new home drawn whether, by us or an architect, planning granted, and your builders have sent their tenders back. The quotes may be varying, there may be no proper breakdown, so how do you determine which one to go with?

You might think the cheapest one is the best one. This is not always the case.

If you are working with a Quantity Surveyor, they will be able to do a tender report to break down each construction quote for you, outlining exactly what is included and give you a better idea of which contractor is the right one for the job.

If you are doing this on your own, you need to ask each contractor for an outline of what is included in the price. Here are a few things to watch out for in each quote:

PC Sum

Has your builder allowed for a PC Sum? A Prime Cost Sum is an allowance calculated by your Architect or your QS for the supply of work or materials to be provided by a contractor or supplier that is selected by the client to carry out the work. For example, you may have a window, kitchen/fitting or plumber that you would prefer to work with. A builder may put a figure in for PC Sum without knowing the full scope of work required. A QS can guide you on understanding the PC and ensuring the right quotes are included.


Some quotes may be shell only and will not include flooring or wall finishes, some will allow for basic finishes and when the project is underway, and finishes are specified the price may jump. If you know what flooring or finishes you want in your home, send the cost and the material specifications to the builders so that they can account for it in their quote.

Like for like

Ensure all the quotes are like for like. If you are deciding to do landscaping and site works at a later stage, then ensure none of the quotes include it. Check the specifications throughout each quote – are all quotes including oak veneered skirting or are some using painted MDF skirting? You should ensure that all the prices received are based on the same materials so you can compare them easily. 

Chancery Group, we believe in working hard to make progress in the most cost-effective manner rather than working hard to fix expensive, preventable mistakes. Our team specialises in Chartered Quantity Surveying, Cost Consulting Services, Construction Project Management Services, Project Management Surveying and Chartered Engineering Services.

We provide these services across the Republic of Ireland to a wide variety of clients in the private and public sectors, including developers, main contractors, specialist subcontractors, government agencies, religious orders, court services and commercial enterprises. To find out more about our services, contact us via email info@chancerygroup.ie or call us on 057 9352340.