What are Provisional Sums?

Provisional sums are allowances a builder makes for tasks. If your final selection is not yet confirmed, or the quote lacks detail, an allowance is often made for materials and labour. As these are only allowances, they may be subject to change at the completion of the job. The client will be responsible for the additional costs.Adjustments to provisional sums can be one of the most common areas where clients experience budget blow-outs. This may be because the provisional sum allowance was unrealistically low to begin with.

For example, siteworks may be estimated at $2000 but end up costing $10 000. Your builder may also choose to put a margin on the difference you pay.

To help avoid budget blowouts, review your quote and question your builder about any provisional sums that have been added.
How have these been determined?
Have the provisional sums been lowered to make a quote more competitive?

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