Selecting Construction Materials for Your Next Project
Material procurement is an essential component in the construction process that can either drive productivity if executed properly, or delay a project significantly if executed poorly. Acquiring the right quantity and quality of material within the desired time frame is both an art and a science, so it can be considered a very valuable skill. It requires attention to project specifications, and collaborative communication with supply chain partners. In many cases, choosing the right materials and getting them to the project site can be the difference between on-time, on-budget success, or blown deadlines with cost overruns.
Whether it’s sheet metal, prefabricated concrete panels, or drywall, here are a few considerations to factor into your next procurement task:
You get what you pay for, but when it comes to construction materials, you can achieve the finish and aesthetic you’re going for by understanding project specifications and staying patient in sourcing the materials from a variety of suppliers. Sourcing from many different avenues will not only give you a range of prices to choose from, but also a range of alternate materials that will provide the same quality with a lower cost basis. Furthermore, these construction materials can deliver the required design intended for the project while reducing project costs overall. There is a direct correlation between the look and feel of a project, and the perception of quality experienced by the project stakeholders (and ultimately its end-users).
2.) Lead Time
All construction projects are driven by scheduling. The goal of every project is to successfully manage the alignment between resource availability and workforce availability. Simply put, material must be on-site and accessible so the workforce can utilize it for assembly and installation. Ensuring the correct type and quantity of construction material is a key component to project success. A large part of this is based on material lead time, which is considered the amount of time taken to get products on-site once they have been ordered from the material supplier. Product lead times may vary by material, and commonly used materials will have a shorter lead time. However, large volume orders, fabricated materials, or special materials sourced from a particular geographic location may have lead times up to weeks or months in some cases. Understanding lead times associated with construction materials specific to a project is extremely important for on-time project completion.
The longest stage of a building’s life cycle is operation. Most structures within the built environment are designed and constructed to operate and service end-users for over fifty years; even longer if they are maintained properly The types of construction materials selected and put in place will have a major impact on the building’s on-going maintenance capacity. Different materials may have different requirements to maintain, and if the selected materials are not maintained with consistent regularity there will be a degradation in appearance in function that lowers the value of the built asset. A number of construction projects will use brick, natural stone, or hardwood finishes without accounting for the fact that these kinds of materials require frequent and specific product maintenance. It is imperative that all construction materials selected for a building meet the desired life cycle performing and utilize strategy goals for the facility and its end-users.
How and where you plan to employ your materials on a project is also an important consideration as part of the construction material procurement process. For instance, it would be problematic if a material selection typically used for indoor application was repurposed for an exterior assembly. A product designed for interior use will not perform up to specification standards if installed in an exterior setting where it is exposed to different environmental conditions. Although at times we may want to put materials in places where they aren’t ideally suited, the best procurement approach is to choose construction materials that fulfill the function they were made to satisfy without neglecting aesthetics and design. An example of this could be when you want to install wood in bathroom floors, or lighter color palettes in high traffic areas. It is crucial to remember that construction materials must be useful for the purpose they are designed to serve, and in the places they are specified to be installed.
Procurement is the process of sourcing and purchasing goods and services that are needed to execute a construction project. This process must always take into account factors like cost, quality, quantity, and timing. Material costs represent a huge expense, that can encompass up to 60% of an overall project budget. Making strategic considerations in accordance with lead time, functionality, and maintenance in the selection and procurement process can be used as a tool to achieve more productivity, reduced project costs, and better building performance overall.
Let Avid Contractors help you choose and obtain the right materials for your next project, give us a call at 833-GET-AVID!