Last year, the price of building supplies rose by 25% compared to 2021, leading many people to look for cheap building materials to keep construction costs down.
Unfortunately, the cheapest building materials do not always lead to a successful project. There is certainly a false economy at play here, and unless you are extremely cautious when it comes to cheaper supplies, you might end up paying for it in a serious way down the line.
To ensure quality at all times, below are 7 factors for you to consider before buying low-priced supplies and potentially compromising your project:
You should never choose cost over quality. The quality of your building materials directly affects the finished results of any construction project. For example, heavily discounted timber could be warped, wind-cracked or stained. Such defects could impact the structural integrity and aesthetic appeal of your work. To avoid poor quality materials, always buy from a reputable builder’s merchant and, if possible, assess the quality of the supplies in person before purchasing (free samples are an excellent way to do this).
The durability of your materials affects how often they need maintenance or replacing. For instance, budget drill bits may need more frequent replacement compared to premium options – working out to be more expensive in the long run. That said, some expensive supplies, like solid wood flooring, can be difficult and costly to maintain, so always research your options before buying. Plus, looking for materials with a manufacturer’s warranty is a good idea because if faults occur, the supplier could replace the product for free.
When purchasing building materials, ensure you pick efficient items that will stand the test of time. This is especially true if you are buying second-hand building supplies for a DIY renovation. E.g. if you need light bulbs, choose energy-efficient modern LEDs rather than halogen lamps, or pick smart appliances (like the Google Nest thermostat) for convenience rather than outdated models. Although the newer versions of specific building supplies might be more expensive, they often have many benefits that save you time and energy. Also, remember that many merchants have promotions throughout the year where you can find high-end products for a discounted price.
Every construction company is responsible for its environmental impact. So, instead of buying cheap unethically produced goods, choose sustainable materials such as reclaimed bricks, FSC-certified timber and non-plastic packaged items. This is both better for the environment and helps improve your business’ reputation. If price is a concern, opt for second-hand supplies and recycle or donate the goods you do not use.
The shipping of building materials is important to consider for any project. If the supplier shipping your cheaper materials is not local, the transport fees could be costly and the delivery times could be long. When materials do not arrive on time, it can lead to a delay in the completion of a project, potentially causing problems for the client and a bad review for the contractor. Supplies such as tiles, paving slabs and windows do not ship well over long distances and can easily break; whilst aerosols and paints often have delivery restrictions. To prevent long lead times and expensive delivery, always check your local builder’s merchant first and their stock availability.
6. Meets the needs of the client
Before purchasing cheap supplies, especially accessories and customisable fittings, make sure they suit your client’s requirements. For example, would they prefer a vertical designer radiator over a highly efficient convector radiator? Or does your client have any specific requirements that increase the project’s overall cost, such as the need to add grab rails in easy-to-slip areas? Whilst this might seem obvious, miscommunication is a common customer complaint within the construction industry and one that can be easily avoided.
When purchasing building materials, especially chemicals like solvents and sharp tools, remember to buy PPE and any other extras you might need. From 2019 to 2020 HSE reported work-related injuries and illnesses cost UK industries £18.8 billion, and last year alone over half a million workers sustained an injury in the workplace. Ensuring you and your employees are safe whilst using construction equipment is essential for getting your project successfully completed. So whether it’s a dust mask, a first aid kit or safety goggles, make sure you’re well-supplied with high-quality PPE!