Money does not grow on trees, and neither do construction materials emerge out of nowhere. Every construction project requires material management, which is a difficult and critical component. While many people connect material management with purchasing and delivery, it actually encompasses a far broader range of tasks, ranging from planning and procurement to waste management and disposal.
A well-executed material management strategy can save time and money while also increasing project efficiency. A poorly executed one can result in significant delays, safety problems, and a loss of profit.
Learn about the importance of construction material management in the success and profitability of all types of building projects.
What is the definition of construction material management?
The process of locating adequate materials at a fair cost and assuring their availability — at the proper location and time — to satisfy project needs and deadlines is known as construction material management. It is an essential feature for all types of construction projects.
The efficiency with which you manage your building materials can make or break a project’s budget. By reducing worker efficiency, wasting resources, and missing project milestones and deadlines, a bad materials management approach risks rising costs. A dialed-in method, on the other hand, has some significant advantages, which we shall go over in greater depth.
What are the different types of material management in the building industry?
Throughout the project lifetime, construction material management involves a wide range of activities, including:
- Purchasing and planning materials
- Transportation and scheduling
- Quality control and receiving
- Inventory and storage management
- Transport on-site
- Management of waste
What are the advantages of material management in the construction industry?
Investing in upgrades to your materials management system can have a big positive influence on your entire construction management efforts due to its impact on workflows and economics. The following are just a few of the many advantages of construction material management:
1. Boost Employee Productivity
In the construction business, labor costs are a prominent target for cost-cutting strategies. The most popular method for achieving these cost savings is to lower worker hours and wages to the greatest extent possible. Worker productivity, on the other hand, is frequently overlooked as a cost-cutting strategy. Effective material management can help you boost your production.
In order to meet their goals, a construction crew must have the correct supplies at the right time. The more time they spend waiting for equipment and materials to arrive or tracking them down on the job site, the less they can accomplish, and the likelihood of project delays or overtime charges rises.
2. Minimize or eliminate material handling duplication.
Material handling, which can account for up to 40% of a team’s time on a construction site, is another source of reduced labor productivity and associated expenses. Communication, scheduling, and tracking tools are all part of a successful material management system. Sites can be prepared for materials, and they can be deposited and stored in the best possible spot with these. This level of supervision ensures that workers aren’t spending time moving supplies and equipment that aren’t required.
Material delivery should ideally be arranged so that the necessary personnel are available to receive and inspect them. Materials for the project should be unloaded into a nearby storage space or as close to where they’ll be utilized as possible. This eliminates the need for duplicate handling, which saves time and reduces the danger of damage during relocation. At the end of the day, the less time spent transporting materials, the better.
3. Reduce the Risk of Theft and Weather Damage
The sooner supplies arrive at a construction site and can be put to use, the better. This is especially true when secure, weather-proof storage facilities are scarce (or non-existent).
Accurate scheduling, as well as obtaining the correct number of building materials, decreases the amount of time they remain unused on a job site. This reduces their exposure to the outdoors and the risk of weather damage, as well as their vulnerability to theft.
4. Minimize Material Waste
Effective material management systems guarantee that resources are not only in the right location at the right time, but also that the proper type and quantity of materials are purchased in the first place.
Purchasing incorrect building materials can cause a variety of issues, ranging from small delays to safety hazards. If incorrect materials fail to meet project requirements/code or cause missed deadlines, contract fines may be imposed.
Similarly, a shortage of needed supplies will result in additional expenditures and building delays while more are sought or awaiting delivery. Ordering more supplies in smaller quantities has a greater per-unit cost than ordering bulk items, which raises the total cost. It could also lead to workers substituting inferior products, resulting in safety problems or contract penalties for failing to meet project criteria.
Excess product, on the other hand, results in material waste. Because of the money spent on unnecessary supplies, as well as the accompanying storage and disposal costs, this is costly for construction projects. Material waste can also occur as a result of degradation in storage, which might occur as a result of poor storage conditions or being delivered too early and expiring before being used.
A robust material management system may readily reduce material waste during the project planning, purchasing, and inventory management stages.
5. More accurate budgeting and forecasting
Even when things are going well, material and labor account for a large amount of building project expenditures. However, when difficulties arise, these costs can skyrocket as a result of lower production and project delays.
A comprehensive material management plan aids in the prevention of these issues, resulting in more accurate budgeting and forecasting. When adjustments or upgrades are needed, having a better awareness of the current inventory and future demands will lead to more accurate budget estimates.
6. A Better Observance of Project Deadlines and Milestones
You’ve previously seen how a badly managed material management system may have a negative influence on your building projects. Workers will be able to do their work on time if they have what they need, where they need it, and when they need it. This will keep the entire project on track, ensuring that milestones and deadlines are met and, most critically, that financial consequences for failing to accomplish these objectives are avoided.