Last edited 17 Aug 2019

Material shortage on construction projects

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Contents

[edit] Introduction

It can be problematic working on a project when materials run out before a task is complete.

Sometimes the materials needed can be quickly obtained from a nearby store, but even so, work is interrupted, possibly workers stand idle while the material is procured, or the workers must be reorganised to do other work in the meantime. In some cases, the material may not be readily available, and it could take several days to get the missing items. Inevitably there are additional costs and delays that could jeopardise the success of the project.

[edit] Why do projects experience material shortages?

There are many reasons for material shortages, and proper care should help avoid this from occurring.

It is worth spending extra time to ensure the correct quantities of materials are ordered. Where necessary, ask for expert advice to determine the normal wastage factors. Look at different options for cutting and installing materials, as well as various sizes the products are available in. Careful planning and ordering can reduce costs.

Ensure that those installing products understand how they should be installed to minimise waste.

Investigate shortages before ordering additional material. The missing items may be lying unnoticed somewhere on the project, or the supplier might not have delivered the material yet. Regrettably, project managers have ordered additional materials to make good shortfalls, only to discover that the missing materials were found or were delivered later – resulting in there being too much material.

Always check the construction drawings because a shortfall of a material may be due to drawing errors which resulted in more material being used than was allowed for.

Importantly, keep a constant check on the available materials and act when it appears that there may be insufficient amounts. Take timely action to ensure that workers are not left waiting for more materials.

[edit] About this article

This article was written by Paul Netscher, an experienced construction professional who has managed over 120 projects in six countries over 28 years. He writes for the ClockShark blog and is the author of five books on construction project management.

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