Lumber And Building
As an owner builder, lumber and
building materials suppliers are your friends in the owner-builder-home-building-business.
Partnering with the right suppliers can make your life a lot
of the really important things they can do is point you towards
some good subcontractors - the ones who do business with them!
want to help you understand what your relationship with them
As the owner builder,
you need to understand how to find the suppliers you need, how
to get them to quote on your job, how to get the best prices,
how to order your materials, and how to pay your bills.
by looking at the kinds of suppliers you may need in your
exciting home building adventure.
TYPES OF SUPPLIERS
GENERAL BUILDING SUPPLY FIRM
Look for one lumber and building materials
supplier who does a lot of builder business - not just retail
business. They will be the most helpful in developing your Cost
Estimate. These "general" construction
materials suppliers will be able to supply much of what you
Here is a listing of other building materials suppliers you may
need to locate in assembling your materials cost estimate:
- Masonry Products
- Sand and Gravel
- Windows and Doors
- Trim Materials
- Garage Door
- Prefab Stairs
- Cabinets and Vanities
- Glass and Mirrors
- Floor Coverings
- Nursery (Landscape Materials)
- Construction Rental Equipment
almost every town has access to one of the big "box" lumber
and building materials suppliers (Lowes, Home Depot, etc.) available
either in their town or in a nearby city.
Some of you owner builders are
comfortable working with the giants.
Others will prefer
working with a smaller, perhaps home-town, construction
Maybe you have a lumber yard in your
town. Be careful here! Your lumber needs to be dried to a certain
moisture content and, if you will come under the jurisdiction
of a building department which has adopted a standard building
code, your lumber will have to be grade marked.
Your general lumber and
building materials supplier will probably be able to tell
you where to find most the things they can’t furnish.
Also, when you’re
talking with your subcontractors, get
their recommendations on suppliers. They
know many of the good subs in the area. And they often hear
about their professional reputations.
Hard to find stuff? Get on the
Internet! It's amazing what you can find to help you complete
your home building project. From good deals on hardwood flooring
to antique plumbing fixtures, it's all there!
Be sure to allow plenty of time
for deliveries. Also be sure to check Internet suppliers out
thoroughly. There are a few dishonest people out there.
Owner builders always ask about getting "builder
course, building materials suppliers are private businessmen.
They can charge what they want.
when they learn you're going to need a whole house full of materials,
they're apt to to be a whole lot more interested in your business.
after they see your construction loan commitment. They
know they'll get paid!
The best policy is to simply ask if they
offer a discount for professional builders. If the answer is
yes, ask if they will extend that discount to you since you
are the builder on this project. If they say "no," it's always
your option to buy from someone else.
A couple of things you'll want to check
out with building materials suppliers is their return
policy on unused materials and if
they offer a cash discount. Lumber
and some other building materials suppliers used to offer
a 2% discount on bills paid within 30 days.
With today's computer
aided payments, it's pretty normal to make that deadline.
So fewer and fewer suppliers are offering it. Hey! It doesn't
hurt to ask!
Cost conscious owner builders will
be tempted to buy the least expensive items available.
And why not? A 2x4 is a 2x4. Right? Doesn't matter where
it comes from. Does it?
actually, wood species and grade marking do come into
play when you're talking about 2x4's. But that's another
topic. The point I'm trying to make here is that sometimes
it's better to stick with one supplier - especially
with materials you'll be using throughout the home building
process. Like lumber.
Having one building materials
supplier means you won't have to remember where a stick
of lumber came from - if, for example, you need to return
it. In addition if you're dealing with one lumber supplier,
you'll get much better service. Believe
me, it'll make you life a lot easier.
Working With Lumber and
Your relationship with lumber and building
materials suppliers begins with getting a quote. This process
- getting and recording quotes is a bit much to cover on a general
page on Suppliers like this one. So we've assigned it its own
page. Click here.
Establishing An Account
Once you have decided which suppliers you will use, it's time to get your accounts
set up so you can buy on credit. Talk with the credit managers at each supplier
to find out what they require.
If you have good credit and local references,
you probably won’t
have any trouble here. On very large purchases, like the framing
package, the supplier may want the framing draw made out to
you and them jointly. This is OK if your bank doesn’t object.
Many home construction loans are automatically
set up to pay that way, or even to pay the supplier or subcontractor
directly. You'll discover all these details when you set up
your home construction loan.
Some suppliers will take
your credit application, but may not finalize approval until
your construction loan is approved. Once
that happens, no problemo!
a construction loan in hand,
everyone will be ready
to do business with you!
A good owner builder is always working
not only with today’s
subcontractors and building materials suppliers, but also those
who won’t come into play for two or three weeks.
have gone through the process of putting your Cost
Estimate together, you will be familiar with your contact at each supplier's
office as well as the details of each item you are ordering
- model numbers, units of measure, etc. You'll need to give
precise information when you place orders.
Modern building materials suppliers
should be selling materials in ordinarily understood increments
- like linear feet, square yard, cubic feet, each, etc.
however, may try to slip a board foot or
worse yet a thousand board feet in
on you. Don’t
let this throw you. Just ask the building materials supplier
to translate these measurements into linear feet.
Translating Board Feet
it isn’t very difficult to convert one to the
other. A board foot is a piece of wood whose unfinished*
measurements are 1" x 12" x 12".
The rule is to multiply the
nominal dimensions together and then divide the
answer by 12. Example - for a 2x4: multiply two
times four. The answer is eight. Divide eight by
The answer is .67. Each
linear foot of 2x4 has .67 board feet. So
a 2x4 which is ten feet long has .67 x 10 = 6.7
board feet. Ten 2x4’s which are ten feet long
have .67 x 10 x 10 = 67 board feet.
To convert board feet to hundred
board feet, divide by 100. To convert board feet
to thousand board feet, divide by 1,000. In our
last example (ten 2x4’s, each ten feet long),
you would have 67÷100 = .67 hundred board
Easy, huh? Lumber dealers
like to price their lumber this way because that
is the way they buy it.
* A "2x4" is actually 1-1/2"x3-1/2"
In many cases the building materials
supplier's representative (salesman) will need to come
out to your home building project and take a measurement
before the materials are ordered.
In many cases your subcontractors
will take these measurements. They
want an accurate measurement because they'll be the
ones that put them in.
Again, be sure that your supplier
will take unused materials back for a refund or credit.
That's the last of our "top level" pages (see the navigation buttons on the left). If you follliwed our advise on the Home Page and ignored some or all of the rabit trails (links), now is the time to go back and explore the supporting materials, forms, etc., that will deepen your inderstansing of the Home Buildint Process.
For additional insight into Materials Suppliers,
see Lesson Eleven of our online course
Successful Home Contracting.
to the Home Building Answers' Home Page
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