Extensions Question

Builder error on the original pricing but expects us to pay revised price

I hope someone can provide some guidance. We are having renovation work done and part of the way through the work our builder informed us that he had made an error in his estimating and his prices were increasing in excess of 120%. In fact one component of the work that had already been completed has increased 124%.

The revised estimate for the new prices is on a 'like for like' basis and I do not see how I can be responsible for paying for work that I had assumed one price on only to have it increase by 124%. The other work has not been started and therefore we are cancelling. The estimated prices are in writing and although the letter is entitled estimate he clearly states his price for the work - on this basis we accepted the work. Any guidance re payment please - thx

14/09/2013 - Thank you to all who have responded, we are very grateful that you have taken the time.

Additional information;

We did not go ahead with the cheapest builder - in fact his prices were at the high end.

With regard to the actual works - the work was divided into 6 sections and each section detailed. His work has been satisfactory to date and we had taken verbal references from others who had used him. The issue re pricing arose when we were 3 weeks into the job and he informed us that his original estimate was wrong due to it having been typed up incorrectly. When he submitted his new estimate prices for 3 sections of the work had increased over 120%. 2 sections had not been started and so we cancelled them, in writing, as the price was outside what we deemed to be reasonable. However he had already completed some drainage work and the new price had risen 124%. Estimates for this section of the work ranged from about £950.00 to £1600.00 including VAT and his original price was approximately £1300 inc. His revised estimate after completing this section was just over £3000.00 in VAT. There were no unforeseen issues and the specification had not changed. It was also an aspect of the work which was straightforward to price.

Essentially, if we had been aware of this error before he started the work we would not have gone ahead.

We have informed him that we are happy to pay for the work completed for the other sections and to pay his original price for the drainage section completed but priced in error. He then accused us of trying to rip him off and leaving him out of pocket, which left us speechless.

His original price for the drainage was reasonable however the revised price was excessive - hence our refusal to pay - if it had been £200 - £300 we would probably not have objected.

We suspect what has happened is that when he realised his error regarding the estimate he may have considered the possibility that we would cancel works not yet started and potentially he has loaded the price for the work completed in order to obtain a larger profit margin.

Next time we will go for a fixed price quote.

6 Answers

Best Answer

The builder should not be increasing his cost because of his error. Should you decide to contribute that's your prerogative, but I would recommend not doing so.
The builder could walk off site and leave you in what ever state he has reached; your only recourse is taking legal action. Your case would be strengthened by having a detailed breakdown quotation that you agreed to at the start of the contract. I guess that there is no official JCT contract in place which makes it a bit more tricky.

Building cost can vary during a contract if any unforeseen problems arise or you have request variations to the original agreement. An error in pricing is wholly the responsibility of the builder, if he 'accidentally' over priced the work, would he then refund you? I think not!

Answered 13th Sep 2013

JLM Architecture Limited

Member since 5 Sep 2013


If his paperwork says 'estimate' then you may be in a sticky situation. An estimate is only an educated guess at costings, not a fixed quote. He shouldn't be charging you for his mistakes in pricing, its his fault. If things change because the architect has messed up in the drawings or there are unforeseen problems that's another thing but bad pricing should never cost the customer!!

Answered 13th Sep 2013

R.Hughes Building and Conservation Ltd

Member since 25 Feb 2009

The actual time to change the handles is probably an hour,but consideration must be taken into account for travel time and whether the contractor is suppling the handles.If it was local I probably charge £35,regards Ian Anrian Decorating and Maintenance Services

Answered 8th Jul 2015

anrian decorating services

Member since 10 Nov 2014

the problem is, it is an estimate and not a quote a quote is a set in stone price and should be adhered to and estimate is just that an estimated price which is subject to change, some buildilders come in low with their estimate to attract the work then change to actual prices after the work is achieved as you are now discovering to your cost. it is a bad practice but not an un-commen one.
good luck alex

Answered 13th Sep 2013

ADR Property Maintenance

Member since 1 Mar 2009

I totally agrre JLM.

We always prepare detailed quotation for every single job, and sign a contract that lists that very quote accepted as a attachment. This way everything is black on white.
Unfortunatelly, even recently I came across people chosing contractors with whom I know just a simple letter was a basis for undertaking the work, a route which can lead to dissagrement as the one above. Furthermore these contractors ignorantly quote low prices which are almost impossible to follow if the work is to be done, leaving clients either with work that would be suitable for an episode of Cowboy Builders, or walking off the site.

Have a look how many leeds on this site lists a title 'finish off the job after someone else'. I am sorry to say that I have got no simpathy for you, as if you would have chosen a professional company to do the job you would not have been in this situation and builders as the one you would employ would have find really hard to find job...... now you might end up paying even more to have the job finished than one of the highest quotes you might have received initially.

to summarise, please stope chosing contractors based on price alone, and I hope you will not join the list of people posting jobs titled as above.

Michael Mallington

Answered 13th Sep 2013

MILU Automation Limited

Member since 1 Jun 2011

When getting a price on a job the difference is between the two words estimate and quote. An estimate means that the price can be changed but a quote Means that they cannot change the price. It’s always best to draw up a contract that you both sign so if anything does goes wrong you have a case. Without a signed contract if you decide to take them to court you won’t have a leg to stand on.

Answered 26th Oct 2017

B A Building Ltd.

Member since 23 Oct 2017

No feedback

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