- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 12 Feb 2018
Products v goods v materials
The terms ‘products’, ‘goods’ and ‘materials’ are sometimes used as if they are interchangeable, however there are differences between them determined by what they are made of, how they are finished and whether they are offered for sale. Unfortunately these differences are sometimes rather vague and are not consistently applied.
- Materials are raw, unprocessed substances such as sand, salt, and so on.
- Products are processed, finished items that are offered for sale. That is, they are manufactured combinations of materials and perhaps other products, processed to create items such as doors, windows, light fittings, and so on.
However, this deceptively clear difference becomes more complex when applied to composite materials (such as adhesives), to finished materials (such as processed timber), to unfinished products and so on. For example, steel, whilst it has been processed, might be considered to be a material, whilst a steel beam, which is the same material but in a different form might be considered to be a product.
A slightly broader definition of materials as 'physical substances that things can be made from' excludes items such as doors and windows, but includes items such as processed timber, adhesives, concrete, and so on.
However, the distinction is confused further by unhelpful definitions such as that in Approved Document 7: materials and workmanship, which defines materials as; ‘manufactured products such as components, fittings, items of equipment and systems; naturally occurring materials such as stone, timber and thatch; and backfilling for excavations in connection with building work.’ This would appear to include all the tangible items used in construction works.
All of these can be distinguished from the supply of ‘services’ which HMRC suggest is ‘something other than supplying goods’, and typically refers to activities such as consultation, maintenance, installation, or sometimes the provision of accommodation.
NB: The Construction Products Regulation defines a ‘construction product’ as; ‘…any product or kit which is produced and placed on the market for incorporation in a permanent manner in construction works or parts thereof and the performance of which has an effect on the performance of the construction works with respect to the basic requirements for construction works.’
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
Featured articles and news
Whole-life costs consider all costs associated with the life of a building, from inception to disposal. Find out more here.
Reports emerge of injuries caused by Apple employees colliding with the campus' glazed walls.
The winners of NIC's ideas competition on transforming the Cambridge to Oxford arc discuss their concept.
Create new habitats and improve air quality and wellbeing.
New report provides 12 key actions which could close the structural talent gap in the construction industry.
These can be used to find out whether a proposed development is likely to be approved. Read more here.
Studying a built environment degree? Check out our helpful student resources section.
New BRE research paper explores how blockchain technology can benefit the built environment industry.
Timber is a natural carbon sink, but it must not end up in landfill at the end of its useful life.
BSRIA has collaborated with the Department of Health on research into air permeability in isolation rooms.