Building a house requires the integration of a vast range of construction materials from the first load of concrete to the last lick of paint. Knowing where to get things, what to expect and some useful tips can save you a lot of time, money and hassle.
If you are project managing your self build then you will probably be responsible for sourcing, purchasing and calling off many of the building materials yourself.
For the uninitiated, the world of construction material suppliers can seem a little intimidating at first and industry terminology can leave you feeling like you are listening to a foreign language. We'll introduce the main suppliers and give you some tips for making life easier.
So, where do we start?
The majority of materials required for the completion of the house will be specified in your design package and the structural materials needed will depend on the house construction method being used.
If you are getting involved with design and specification you'll be aware of the dizzying array of products and construction materials available for every aspect of house construction and the number of decisions that need to be made.
As your build progresses your material requirements will change. You need to plan ahead and identify which products and materials are required and ensure that they are delivered as, and when they are needed on site.
Your first port of call as a self builder, particularly if you are using traditional masonry construction should be the local builders merchants. Whether they are part of a national chain or a local independent outfit they will be keen to secure your business and most offer some useful services before you even require the materials on site.
Irrespective of the construction method you use, you will probably require ready mix concrete for foundation construction and if you've decided to use insulating concrete forms as your build method you'll be needing a lot more of it for the structure... oh, and a pump!
As the superstructure gets underway the majority of building supplies from walling to roofing can be obtained by or sourced through your timber and builders merchants. Don't restrict yourself to the main merchants though and bear in mind that you'll also need to contact some suppliers directly.
If you have opted for one of the alternative or modern methods of construction where the emphasis is on 'off site' construction, you will be getting the bulk of structural materials from a specialist manufacturer. Have a look at our house construction method section for more information.
The shell will be made watertight by installing windows and doors. Standard and bespoke solutions are available from a range of sources from local manufacturers to nationwide suupliers.
During your build don't forget about the DIY stores. They are a good supplement to other suppliers and from time to time offer a considerable cost saving on certain items.
Plumbing and electrics are a bit more complicated and you will probably opt to appoint plumbers and electricians on a supply and fix basis. If you have some experience or want to try to make some materials savings then you should discuss your needs with your tradesmen and local plumbers merchants and electrical wholesalers.
As the internal work gets underway you'll still be using builders and timber merchants for joinery and plastering materials. It's nearly time to fit some of the best bits; kitchens and bathrooms! There are loads of options here, plenty of suppliers and always something that will suit your taste and budget.
This section introduces the main suppliers of construction materials for your build but they are by no means the only options. There are plenty of manufacturers and suppliers out there and you might find some interesting material alternatives or cost savings by doing the research and shopping around.
Have a look at our project management section for some tools which can help with the organization of your schedule.