Can you save money by supplying your own fixtures and finishes when renovating and building your home?
Many homeowners believe this to be a great way to save money on their projects, eliminating the builder’s margin, and ensuring they get what they want.
Listen to this episode as I share the key things to be aware of so you can see if you’ll save money, and not get into trouble in your project.
This is Episode #198, and in it, I want to dive into something I see cause a lot of issues for homeowners, and it’s happening even more now than ever.
This is the whole topic of supplying your own fixtures and finishes for your renovation or building project.
Many homeowners seek to save money in their building project by extracting specific supplied items from the building contract. They organise to do this with their builder, and sign a contract that doesn’t include these items.
This means they (as the homeowner) then go and personally shop for, purchase and supply, all or various fixtures and fittings for their reno or new build.
And at the time of recording this episode, where we’re dealing with huge demands on products, materials, trades and sub-contractors, there are builders actually recommending to homeowners that they take care of their own supply items when signing their contract.
So, I want to take you through the whole issue of supplying fixtures and finishes, discuss the much-held belief that you’ll save money on not getting the builder to shop for you, and that you’ll also get to avoid a builder’s margin by paying for things yourself.
I’ll be doing this topic over two episodes, because it’s quite a lot of subject matter, and I want to do it justice. So, this is Part 1 of this conversation. Be sure to tune into the next episode to listen to Part 2.
Firstly though, what am I referring to when I say ‘fixtures and finishes’?
These can be everything from your appliances, bathroom items, lighting, tapware, and all the other loose, individual items that you can walk into a shop and purchase fairly easily, over the counter, as a retail customer.
However, they can also encompass finishes such as bathroom tiles, flooring finishes, and other applied finishes, right through to complete kitchen joinery, bathroom joinery and other larger items, such as the entire window package, for example.
Of course, there’s also the idea of whole trade packages too, in that sometimes a homeowner may have a friend or family member who is a plumber or electrician. And so, they want to use them in their project, and incorporate them into the workflow to save money or use a preferred sub-contractor.
This podcast is going to focus more on the inanimate objects, rather than the human ones – so the fixtures, fittings and finishes – and not the tradespeople.
However, similar things apply when you’re considering using a specific person in your project and asking your builder to leave that work out of the main contract, so you can handle that person and their work personally, in an effort to save cash on your project.
And as a sidenote, I have a video that specifically relates to using friends and family in your project, so I’ll include a link to it in the resources (see below) so you can check it out.
So, let’s talk about the main reasons that homeowners AND builders cite to pull the supply of fixtures, fittings and finishes out of the building contract, and make them the responsibility of the homeowner to source, purchase and supply.
I’ll take you through these main reasons, and then we’ll chat about them one by one.
The main reasons that are cited in support of sourcing your own fixtures, fittings and finishes, are:
- Being able to get exactly what you want in your home, because you choose and buy it from the places and people you want to.
- Not having to pay for the builder to shop for you, and generally avoiding paying the builder’s margin.
- Knowing that the items you want are in stock and available.
- Being able to start on site sooner rather than later.
- Purchase things on sale or discontinued / end-of-line items and save serious money.
In this episode, you’ll hear me through these individually. And remember, I hear these suggested as a positive by both homeowners and builders. So I’ll talk about the reasoning behind this from both sides.
This is the thing about working with builders and understanding building contracts:
The builder, as the authority and industry professional, has the responsibility to understand their contract intimately, educate the client about the contract and the process (and the obligations for both parties), and then ensure there’s open and proactive communication as they execute the contract.
And unfortunately many builders don’t do some, or any of these things.
I know there are so many builders out there who don’t understand how to execute their contract, don’t create project schedules, are running poor performing businesses where bankruptcy is one job (or even one delay) away, and can’t explain to the homeowner what the clear responsibilities are in any project.
There are builders who also don’t price their jobs with appropriate admin / overhead margins to be profitable, or cover the true value / cost of being the party responsible for construction and post-construction.
And they don’t create contracts that help them manage the risks we’re currently experiencing.
It’s incredibly challenging what’s happening in the industry in delays and the consistent price rises coming through thick and fast.
There’s a very real threat to many building companies (large and small) that signed up fixed price contracts late last year, who are now
a) are going out the back door because their contracts have no mechanism to pass on the price rises or delays, or
b) homeowners will not be able to afford the incoming variations to get their home finished.
Many homeowners who’ve already signed building contracts think they’ll be fine because they signed a fixed price contract.
However, just because it’s fixed price may not protect you from being subjected to price increases during your project.
It’s essential you understand your contract in detail, see what triggers a variation and where you might see price rises being passed onto you to deal with financially.
Listen to the episode now.
Should you use family and friends for your project? Managing costs and risk >>> INSTAGRAM TV EPISODE
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