Construction companies are facing increasing pricing pressures. In an attempt to bring their costs down they are shopping for materials around the world. But do these materials comply with local standards? Are they reliable? Are they safe to use? What hidden dangers do they pose to future occupants of the facility?
Unfortunately owners are often also complicit in this problem, selecting, specifying or approving the use of products that aren’t compliant just to reduce the cost of their building so they can make more profit.
Alarmingly there are reports that many new buildings in Australia have used an external cladding that is highly flammable. View these 2 reports that show frightening images of how rapidly a fire spread up the outside of a high-rise apartment block
Procuring new and innovative materials present many new opportunities and possible reduced costs. However, they do pose challenges.
What you need to consider when procuring materials
When materials are procured from a foreign supplier it’s important to ensure:
1. the items will comply with the project’s standards and specifications (other countries use different standards)
2. the items are approved for use in the country where the facility is located
3. the items are safe to use
4. the tradespeople installing the product have the required skills and training required to install the product
5. the items are compatible with local products
6. spare parts will be readily available
7. warranties and guarantees will be valid
8. there are no additional costs for the importation of the items, such as additional taxes and import duties
9. the transport costs are factored into the overall cost
10. the product has lifetime and maintenance expectations similar to the comparable local product
11. the product is being installed in locations it’s designed for, and faces conditions similar to the ones where it has been tested
Even when procuring from local suppliers ensure that the products do comply with the local specifications.
Replacing a product that does not comply with the local specifications or conditions could be very costly for contractors and owners. It may result in the facility being shut-down. But worse still, consider the potential dangers such as posed by the fire risk in the attached articles. Would you want to be responsible for the death of occupants of a facility you built because you tried to save a few dollars and used a non-compliant product?
Other similar articles by the author:
Is the cheapest really the cheapest?
Increase profits – reduce material wastage on construction projects
Construction guarantees and warrantees
(Written by Paul Netscher the author of the acclaimed books ‘Successful Construction Project Management: The Practical Guide’ and ‘Building a Successful Construction Company: The Practical Guide’. Both books are available in paperback and e-book from Amazon and other retail outlets.)
© 2015 This article is not to be reproduced for commercial purposes without written permission from the author.
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Copyright 2016 - The attached articles cannot be reproduced for commercial purposes without the consent of the author.
The opinions expressed in the attached articles are those of the writer. It should be noted that projects are varied and different laws and restrictions apply which depend on the location of the contractor and the project. It's important that the reader uses the supplied information taking cognisance of their particular circumstances. The writer assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss of any kind arising from the reader using the information or advice contained herein.
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