The Stuff That Bites!
How often do you reckon unforeseen works creeps and bites you on the backside? Its all well and good to measure all the bricks and sticks…. But unforeseen items that are a bit less tangible, how do you protect yourself from those financially?
SO often, unforeseen works end up being swallowed by the builder as a gesture of goodwill (or perhaps just a conversation they don’t want to have so they don’t claim for it). And we all know how much you guys already end up doing for free.
A simple tag
Let’s take a look at how these show up and some ideas about how to protect yourself from them.
Renos. You are adding to a house or changing rooms around, and you don’t actually own a pair of x-ray goggles….. who knew!
You open up a wall, and Bobs your uncle you find something you have to sort out, like wall framing not up to code or an old DIY job that left a wall unsupported.
Your homeowner can’t understand why you wouldn’t have allowed enough to sort out problems like these in your quote, and you didn’t say anything in your pricing offer that said there was no allowance for unforeseen works, so where to from here?
Honestly? You suck it up, if your homeowner won’t entertain the idea of a variation for the extra work, and you didn’t tag out unforeseen works, then there’s not a lot you can do.
You learn your lesson for next time, and from now on you never ever write up a quote for a job without a tag in it for unforeseen works!
The words you need are as simple as ‘No allowance for unforeseen works’.
going on the record
If you are completing a site visit prior to pricing a job…. I’d recommend documenting everything.
Take lots of photos of what is existing, document the visit itself, who was there, the date it was held, and the discussions had onsite. Keep everything on file back in your office and include this information in your quote to your client.
We always suggest including a clarification in your pricing submission along the lines of ‘A site visit was completed on xxx date with xxx and xxx’. If you have the photos from that visit, then you can use them to help prove your case if there are unforeseen works that come up that you need to fight for later. It also really helps if things become particularly nasty and the job ends up in the disputes tribunal.
Another way to sort this out….. is to allow for a contingency for unforeseen works. Make sure you tag that it is a nominal amount only and that it may or may not be enough to cover anything that comes up.
You still MUST make sure you treat the pricing for the unforeseen works the same way you would as if you were asking for a variation… because using the contingency still calls for that and it saves arguments.
But at least you know there is something in the budget already specifically for this type of work already, so the conversation should be smoother!