Portfolio Description


Once you have complied a list of suitable tendering builders/contractors (see our blog ‘how to find the right builder’) you should be ready to formally approach your chosen builders/contractors with a set of detailed information and a list of your requirements.

We always recommend the following tips when looking to obtain quotes:

  • Look to obtain quotes from a section of 3 to 5 builders/contractors. This will give you a good section of comparative quotes, it goes without saying if 4 quotes are of similar price and one is exceptionally low, be wary, equally if 4 quotes are similar and one is exceptionally high, chances are that builder doesn’t want the work and was providing an inflated price.
  • You will want to put together a formal invitation to tender letter. This will explain a brief description of your proposed works, the address and relevant contact details for you and or your agent. This could also include an invitation to meet the builders/contractor at the site to meet the client and talk through the work.

When tendering to builders be clear in your tender documentation what you require from them, such as:

  • A definitive tender return date.
  • A list of previous clients that you can speak with and visit their projects.
  • Relevant insurance details.
  • Programme of works, how long will your project take to complete?
  • A detailed breakdown of their costs. (this is critical as it’s important to know what’s been priced for and potentially what hasn’t).
  • Once you have sent out your invitation to tender, it would be a good idea to make contact with the builder/contractor to confirm they have received your tender and if they are planning to put in a submission. Invite them to visit your site and confirm they can work within your tender submission date. Between two and four weeks is a fair amount of time.
  • Take the opportunity to ask if they have any questions. It’s not uncommon for you and the tendering contractor/builder to have questions that need to be answered now and throughout the tendering period. If you raise questions that may affect the tender price, make sure that all tendering contractors/builders are aware of these requirements, which will ensure that you are comparing like for like quotes when the final tenders are all returned.

The more you know about the builder the better

Don’t be afraid to ask a builder:

  • About his expertise relating to your particular type of project.
  • How long have they been established?
  • Employees or sub contractors used?
  • Details of their Health and Safety policy, procedure and records.
  • Evidence of their public and employer’s liability insurance.
  • How they want to be paid and what their payment structure is.
  • Ask for an anticipated completion date.
  • What percentage of the build cost will be retained at the end of the project until all works are signed off and complete? (normally 5% retention).
  • Will he give you itemised invoices at regular stage payment intervals? (these may be essential if you are reliant upon the release of funds in stages from your bank).
  • What contracts do they use? JCT contracts https://www.jctltd.co.uk/ offer the most popular jargon-free contracts for home owners.

In order to obtain accurate quotes from tendering contractors/builders, its vital that you provide them with sufficient detailed information. A set of your Architects/designers detailed drawings accompanied by a set of your Structural Engineers drawings/information will be required. Remember, the more information you can provide as part of your tender, the more detailed your quote should be, which ensures that all items are covered from day one, resulting in less chance of additional costs later down the line.

Review & appraise quotes

Evaluate all quotes equally, run through each element and compare with each tendering contractor/builder’s quotes. Consider:

  • Give equal consideration to all.
  • Shortlist two most favourable tenders.
  • Ask for clarification on any points or a further break down from those shortlisted.
  • Analysis the two break downs and, if necessary, hold a interview/meeting on site to clarify any further points.
  • Agree final points with the winner and agree contract terms.
  • Provide feedback to all unsuccessful tenderer s.


PJH Architectural Services