Material Buying Guide in General

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The construction of the house involves more than 100 different materials, and you will have to a spend lot of time towards buying all materials. Buying all materials also requires a lot of stages like a selection of right product, search for the right supplier, right quality/specifications, negotiating a fair price. Now the second phase starts from the delivery of the materials at the site, verifying the quantity and quality delivered at the site, checking the bills of material delivered and ultimately payments and settling accounts. All above stages are time-consuming and demanding and also not so easy as one may think, if one is buying all the materials for the house. Hence, here we have try to provide some basic tips which will help you while buying materials.

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Courtesy - Shutterstock

The below one is a general guide, while herein this website we have provided specific tips for all different types of materials. But in all cases, the following tips shall always be useful.

A) Personnel Requirements:

  • Need or Desire:

One has to clearly understand whether anything which he or she wants to buy is his or her genuine need or it is a mere desire.  Desires have no end, and infinite desires will keep you working whole throughout your life for fulfilling desires.

E.g.: To feed children with nutritious food is his need but when the child wants to eat chocolate, it is his desire.

  • Why you need that particular material:

Once you convinced yourself that a particular material is your need, you must know and find out the object of buying that material i.e. why? You must understand its uses and under which circumstance you are going to use it and how does it meet your need or how it would be useful to you.

Remember the famous saying “when you buy “useless materials”, a day will come in your life, when you will be compelled to sell useful materials”.

  • What actually you want to buy?

Having found out need and object of buying alone is not sufficient. You must also clearly know what do you want to buy.

It happens when you buy out of your desire. You may say, you want to buy a house or want to buy a vehicle or an artificial wood. But you must understand what type of home you want to buy, where and so on. Similarly when you to buy a vehicle, decide whether you want a 2 wheeler or a 4 wheeler and of which type etc. Similarly in case of artificial wood, whether you want to buy a ply, laminate, veneer or MDF etc.

  • Quality and specification you are looking for w.r.t. your need, and ascertain whether you really need all these features:

Based on your need you should define the specifications and quality of materials that you want to buy. Suppose you want to buy cement then you must know whether you want to buy OPC or PPC. Similarly if you want to buy reinforcement steel decide you want buy mild steel or Tor steel and again its grade like Fe415 or Fe500 or Fe500D.

When you identify the product make sure it is a right product for you i.e. it should not possesses too many more properties or features than you even need. Similarly it should also satisfy the basic minimum needs. Hence there should be a balance between properties and cost.

  • Warranty/ Guarantee and study of product literature:

While buying anything, you should also study the product literature and technical specification, which may be either described on the packaging or may be available on the website of the manufacturers. Many times what the sales persons represent to you and what is actual written by manufacturer in the literature and what is understood by you are totally different. Ultimately what is written on the product literature will be final and prevail. So try to understand all the properties, chemical composition, cautions of use, advise for use etc., written by the manufacturer. Also study the terms and conditions of warranty, guarantee etc.

B) Finance:

  • Budget:

You must fix the budget for each and every individual item. When you are buying so many items at a time budget is to be viewed in totality as compared to your overall total budget. Please keep in mind that there are always better materials available in the world and it is your budget which will be a ceiling for your selection. In fact have a habit of not even looking at things which are beyond your budget, unless you can control yourself.

  • Quantity you want to buy:

You should also estimate the right quantity that you want to buy. Knowledge of quantity required will put you in a right position while bargaining. E.g. Quantity of sand or cement you want to buy.

  • Where is it available, from where to buy?

You must search for the right seller and their location. You should also find out whether it is directly available from the manufacturers or manufacturer’s sales depot, distributors, whole sellers or retailers etc. The price at which you buy, will definitely depend from whom do you buy.

  • Cost of transport/Taxes:

While buying a material always add to your budget, the cost of transportation, taxes and duties including cost of loading and unloading at site which are mostly unforgotten.

C) Quality & Brand:

  • Brand:

Please ensure which popular brand of material you are looking for. While searching for a brand you also try to assess the experience of other users. Merely going to buy a brand, may lead you to a wrong decision.

  • Who is the manufacturer?

Check the reputation of the manufacturers. Where they are known or unknown and their reputation in the market including for after sales service and support.

  • Testing:

Always try to learn how to test the materials on site as well as in laboratory in case of bulk buying.

  • What are in field tests that can be done at the site itself? Learn about various field tests from gharpedia.com and do it at site to know whether you are buying the right material or not.
  • What are the laboratory tests? We advise you to go for field as well as laboratory tests depending upon the quantity that you are buying and importance of the material and works
  • Certification like IS/ANSI/ASTM:

Always check whether the material you buy bears a national certification like ISI brand, ANSI or ASTM brand etc. The certifications assure you about its quality as well as the reputation of the manufacturer.

D) After Sales Support & Repairs:

  • Type of after sales support / services needed:

After sales support / service are very important for certain materials. You have to check with the seller what type of after sales support or service they provide and who will provide i.e. will it be a role of the seller or the manufacturer or a 3rd party agency.

  • Need of Spares:

Whether it needs spare etc. periodically/regularly over a period of time and if so, its cost

  • Repairs that may be needed every year:

If you are buying a big budget product, please make sure what is the cost of operations and also cost of normal maintenance. You should also estimate the cost of periodical repairs and maintenance that may be needed.

  • Annual maintenance Contract:

a) Whether the seller or manufacture provides AMC (Annual Maintenance contract) and if so, what is its price? Check if you don’t buy the AMC, will it be still workable?

b) Sometimes the cost of AMC to be paid annually is much higher as compared to the cost of one time purchase. Further if you don’t buy AMC, you lose all the rights from product updations as well as benefits available under the guarantee or warranty.

c) Cost of replacement of major parts, after some years as in case of membrane of RO Water treatment plants.

E) Life of Material:

  • Whether the material required is for life time or temporary?
  • Whether it is one time purchase or regular / periodical?
  • What is life of material? How long it would last.

For understanding the difference between many similar or similarly appearing materials, the common confusion topics of the website may please be visited.

F) Conclusion:

It is thus keeping in view all the above factors, one has to buy the different materials.

  • Selection of Material and Supplier:

Once you study of the above factors please select the right material and the supplier.

  • Placing order:

If you are buying a huge quantity try to place a written order otherwise oral order will do. The written order should include:

a) Specifications of material

b) Rates including Taxes, Transportation, Loading-unloading charges etc.

c) Quantity

d) Time of delivery

e) Warranty, Guarantee

f) Terms of payment including advance, if any.

  • Receiving material:

When you receive material at the site, please check the quantity that you ordered. Also check quality of materials, markings on the product and check whether they confirm to what you have ordered. Also check ISI marks, weight, brand and whether there are any damages to the material.

  • Honouring Payment:

Once you are satisfied with the quality as well as the quantity both honour the payment as per the contract and obtain receipt of payment.

  • Preserving Warranty/Guarantee cards/Bills etc:

Preserve all the bills, product literature and the warranty/guarantee cards etc. Keep them in a safe file. You may need them in future.

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