Rounding out our discussion of construction allowances, have you ever wondered what your lighting allowance includes? I didn’t, because it seemed obvious. Lights are lights, so that’s what it must cover. Right?
Well, unfortunately, it’s not quite so simple…
Lights, doorbells, smoke detectors…
While touring a different house that our builder was finishing up, he mentioned in passing something about the smoke detectors, doorbells, etc. in the context of the lighting allowance. Wait. What? Those things aren’t lights, so why should they be covered by the lighting allowance?
When I asked, I was informed that the standard in this region is for things like lights, doorbells, chimes, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide detectors to be covered the lighting allowance. A bit of Googling revealed that he was right. Interesting, I never would’ve expected that.
Unsure about an allowance? Ask for details
My advice, as I’ve noted elsewhere, is to ask questions (and document the answers) about exactly what you’re agreeing to. Do this whenever and wherever possible. You won’t be able to capture every aspect of the build process, but the more you have in writing, the better.
The above is especially true for variable costs covered by allowances.