Reduce Risks with builders assumption & exclusions statement

We’ve all seen standard builders’ exclusions but if you don’t also know your builder’s assumptions, you don’t have the full picture.

Traditionally, builders provide a list of exclusions with their estimates that, quite sensibly, include everything from rocks during excavation to asbestos during demolition – plus more.

As builders become more experienced, these lists tend to grow through their “lived experience of gotcha’s” and desire to manage risk – for themselves and your clients.

However, whilst these lists are helpful and clarify the road ahead, they don’t always articulate the full picture.

That is, when estimating, builders have to make a set of assumptions about your project.

Some of these assumptions might include:

• The client (or site) already has electricity and running water.

• In apartments, that a car park will be available. Or, that the supervisor of the apartment will be available to install lift protection as required. Or, that the supervisor will be available onsite during work hours.

• A rear lane closure of 5 days will be sufficient for the required works

• The builder can use photographs from the work site to promote their business

• Specific construction sequencing (which may differ from your understanding)

• Client pays for council asset protect permit (and other disbursements)

• Plus, so much more….

Whilst these assumptions are usually not unreasonable, having them clearly stated at the beginning helps you and your client better understand your builder’s thinking.

Each builder makes their own set of assumptions about your project and knowing them will reduce surprises.

An assumptions and exclusions statement also saves you loads of time when assessing builders’ tenders because it enables the builder (and you) to use your set of documents plus the assumptions/exclusions statement. That is, less sorting through the detail of the builders’ responses to compare it to your own documentation.

Author Richard Armstrong is a project manager & former registered builder who specialises residential construction pricing. With post-grad property qualifications and over 15 years’ design & construct experience, he is the Founding Director of ProCalc – Professional Construction Estimator. Free trial at

A Client Who Wants to "Think About It" Actually Needs Help - Here's What to Do

We’ve all heard those crushing words from clients…” We’d like to think about it”. After weeks of empathy, inspiration and perspiration, they’ve become stuck – and indecisive. Here’s how to help them move forward…

Costing Concepts at the Right Time Supports Great Design & Reduces Budget Stress

We surveyed architects and designers to see when and how they use ProCalc in their design process to improve their design outcomes and minimise budget stress. See how others approach budget management.

The Earlier a Client Grasps Costs, The More Likely They are to Build – Here’s Why

When clients receive their first cost guide they respond in one of four ways (hint: three of them are positive). See how early, reliable information can help you can guide clients to a smooth, constructed landing.

Be the Informed Sherpa, Not the Fearful Professional – How & Why

With volatile price increases, many design practitioners have become reluctant – even fearful –advising clients. See how to provide informed, low risk advice to clients that builds relationships.

Ditch the Crystal Ball for Construction Pricing – Here’s Why

Clients always want to understand construction costs for the future to reduce surprises. Here’s why you should be wary of future forecasts.

One Simple Email Can Dial Down Budget Stress –Here’s how...

Historically, re-setting client budget expectations has been fraught with challenges and risks for design professionals. See how one simple email template can make your life easier…