Last week we discussed Will your home build project finish on time we discussed the construction schedule (programme) and what to check on the schedule.
Regrettably many home building projects are finished late. There are many reasons for this. One reason is that building materials arrive late. These materials could be simple like timber and reinforcing steel. But they also include roof coverings, floor and wall ceramic tiles, plumbing fittings and fixtures, windows, kitchen cabinetry, air-conditioning and heating systems, and more.
Usually builders and home owners are quick to blame the supplier for materials arriving late. And yes, sometimes the supplier is to blame. They promised the materials would arrive by a certain date and the building materials did not arrive. But, often materials are ordered late, and the contractor or home owner did not take cognisance of the lead time - the time from when the order was placed to when it is delivered to the building project.
Lead times and why some materials take time to reach your building project
Some building materials take time to manufacture and deliver. Sometimes the manufacturer has to take measurements, design and detail the item, prepare drawings, then manufacture and finally deliver the item.
Some items might not be in stock and come from interstate or another country. There are often shipping times, then time to clear customs. As soon as long distances are involved there's the risk of further delay. Roads could be blocked, ships could be delayed. There are more opportunities for things to go wrong.
The lead time for an item is the total duration it takes to order, manufacture and deliver the item to the project.
Speeding up delivery of building materials
Using standard and stock items could mean the items are immediately available. But building materials which must be imported or manufactured need to be ordered well ahead of time so that they arrive on the project when they’re required. Having items with long lead times may cause delays to the construction schedule if they can’t be ordered in time.
The shortest reasonable lead time for any item is at least a week from when the contractor receives the drawing or information, to when they can physically start the activity. This allows them time to plan their work, order the items and get started.
Some specialist items could take nine weeks to fifteen weeks, so always ensure that the contractor has the information well ahead of time, or keep things simple and standard.
Of course sometimes items can be fast-tracked, but this will cost more money – do you really want to pay extra money to airfreight items from overseas, or for manufacturers to work nights and weekends?
Understanding delivery times and the impact on your building duration
To avoid delays to your building or renovation project it's important to understand where the product is coming from and what's involved to get it to your building project. Are site measurements required before it can be manufactured? Does the item need to be designed? How long will manufacture take? What are the potential hold-ups that could occur along the way?
It's important to place orders early. Understand how long it will take for the product to be delivered. Check if there's an alternative product that could shorten the delivery time. Know what the impacts of the lead time are on your construction schedule or programme. Ensure that there is some allowance for delays along the way - invariably there will be delays and frequently specialist building products take a few weeks longer than promised.
Then equally important is to track progress of the item. Check that there are no delays - maybe the supplier is waiting for payment, to take site measurements, or for final drawing approval before manufacture starts.
Other Useful Articles on Building and Renovating Houses:
Questions to ask before starting a home renovation, or building a new house
Purchasing Building Materials For Your Home Building Project
Steps to constructing your new house. Part 1
This is an extract from the author's book 'An Introduction to Building and Renovating Houses: Volume 1 Hiring Contractors, Managing Construction and Finishing Your Home'.
© 2021 This article is not to be reproduced for commercial purposes without written permission from the author.
Want to learn more about designing, renovating and building houses?
Paul Netscher has written 2 easy to read books 'An Introduction to Building and Renovating Houses - Volumes 1 and 2'. An Introduction to Building and Renovating Houses Volume 1 deals with Hiring Contractors, Managing Construction and Finishing Your Home. and Designing your ideal home Volume 2 deals with Finding Your Ideal Property and Designing Your Dream Home.
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I’m a construction professional, author of several successful construction management books, and a home owner. I’ve made mistakes in construction management, I’ve seen others make mistakes, but importantly I’ve had multiple successful construction projects and I’ve learned from the mistakes. I want to share these lessons and my knowledge with you.
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