4 Common Building Jargon Demystified

Renovation or new build building contract jargon can be at the best of times confusing or misinterpreted when reviewing your builders contract. The team at Style Plus | Renovations | Auckland demystify 4 common building contract jargon, that include the following:

• PC Sum
• Provisional Sum
• Variations
• Minor Variations

Bathroom Vanities


PC Sum or otherwise referred to as Prime Cost Sum refers to a set budget allocated for an item or set of items that need to be purchased for your building or renovation project.

Taps are a great example – if you haven’t specified a particular brand, model and style of taps, or if it’s impossible to get an idea of the price for what you want, then your builder is likely to allocate a certain amount of dollars for taps rather than specifying exact costs.

Contractors are obliged to make reasonable representations in terms of what PC items will cost – and include a separate schedule in the contract that outlines how many of a particular item will be purchased, what they’ll cost the contractor.

At Style Plus, if nothing’s been specified, we will often set a fairly modest budget for these items. The prime cost budget that’s allocated will normally be enough for fairly mid-range fittings.


In 2009, the Building (Minor Variation) Regulations were created to provide BCAs (Building Consent Authorities i.e. Auckland Council) with guidance on how to deal with these minor variations.

It also defined minor variations as being a minor modification, addition, or variation to a building consent that does not deviate significantly from the plans and specifications to which the building consent relates.

Examples of Minor Variations are:

  • Substituting comparable products such as substituting one internal lining for similar internal lining.
  • Minor wall bracing changes.
  • Minor construction changes such as changing framing method used around a window.
  • Changing a room layout such as moving position of fixtures in a bathroom.