Last edited 20 Oct 2020

Goods in construction

The term ‘goods’, in relation to construction, has a very broad meaning, referring to tangible items such as plant, materials, equipment, tools, other manufactured products and components and so on. Other similar terms include ‘commodities’, and ‘supplies’.

Goods are generally distinguished from ‘services’ which HMRC suggest are ‘something other than supplying goods’, and typically refer to activities such as consultation, maintenance, installation, or sometimes the provision of accommodation.

Guidance for public sector contracting authorities on the procurement of construction works, published by the Scottish Procurement and Property Directorate on 21 Dec 2018 suggests that: ‘Procurement categories are divided into goods, services and works. Goods (also known as supplies) are physical commodities which in construction terms may contribute to the construction of a built asset. In general terms they may include, eg, tables, chairs, computers, pencils etc, in construction they may be bricks, bags of sand, tins of paint etc. The EU defines public supply contracts as "...contracts having as their object the purchase, lease, rental or hire-purchase, with or without an option to buy, of products. A public supply contract may include, as an incidental matter, siting and installation operations."’

The UN Procurement Practitioner's Handbook, produced by the Interagency Procurement Working Group (IAPWG) in 2006 and updated in 2012 defines goods as: ‘Objects of every kind and description including raw materials, products and equipment and objects in solid, liquid or gaseous form, and electricity, as well as services incidental to the supply of the goods if the value of those incidental services does not exceed that of the goods themselves.’

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