Last edited 25 Oct 2018

How to cut down on material costs on the construction site

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Contents

Introduction

One of the greatest problems that most contractors face is the question – how to save money on materials without harming the quality of the end product? This is particularly important in the construction industry, due to the fact that any 'compromise' you make, may put lives at stake.

Nevertheless, cutting down on material costs on the construction site in a safe and efficient way is quite possible, as long as you do it the right way around. Here are four tips that might come in handy.

Go for local materials

Transportation price of a large quantity of material is something you can’t afford to ignore, therefore, you need to ensure that you go for local materials. It’s not just about the cost of gas on default, seeing as how an overloaded truck (or any vehicle in general) tends to spend more gas to traverse the same distance.

Furthermore, the greater the distance it passes while overburdened, the more often will it break down. In other words, going for local materials saves you money in more than several ways. One last thing, by going down this path, you’ll lower the environmental impact of your construction site, which is one more thing worth keeping in mind.

Standardise

The next thing you can do is standardise the materials you use. This may be a bit in contrast with the idea of going for local materials, yet, it saves time, money and effort in the long run. First of all, by having your team accustomed to working with these materials and having your tools adjusted to them, you’ll have a much more efficient work process than you otherwise would.

Most importantly, this efficient work also implies less adjustment downtime and less material waste due to mismanagement. Needless to say, this is a factor that’s hard to quantify, due to the fact that different batches of the same supply might be of a different quality. Therefore, a human error might not be the only factor worth considering. Nonetheless, it’s more than clear that this leads to a direct material benefit of the contractor.

Purchase materials from specialised suppliers

Another rule you’d do well to adhere to is the idea of buying materials from specialised suppliers. Why? Well, apart from the fact that they have a wider variety of supplies, they also tend to provide specialised offers that general suppliers usually can’t match; for instance, when looking for lead products and supplies, you should look for specialised suppliers that have lead for sale in Australia, New Zealand, or any other country where your construction project is taking place.

Same goes for every different type of material, no matter how exhausting such a process might seem. Once you establish these connections, you’ll have a much easier job of automating the rest of the process.

Buy bulk and save

Buying in bulk is always more frugal than acquiring the specific amount you need, especially due to the fact that you can never have a 100 percent accurate guess of how much material you will need. You see, not every material (even from the same supplier) is of the same quality, same as your team isn’t always equally diligent. In this way, you’ll also provide your ream with some replacement material without having to undergo an expensive turnover. Sure, this also means that you would have to invest in storage, yet, more often than not, this is an expense worth making.

Conclusion

Neither of the above-listed four tips suggests skimming on materials or purchasing materials of lower quality. All that you have to do is look for simpler, more pragmatic ways to acquire necessary materials, as well as plan for the long run. Finally, by including abstract terms of human error probability and the effects of standardisation into the equation, you might get the full picture of the savings that you’re about to make.

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