Whether you are adding a small conservatory, remodelling your house or adding a two storey extension to the property, the key to the whole project is the materials.  They are usually the most expensive element and if you get the wrong ones, it can cause a whole series of complications.  So how do you go about getting the right building materials for your project?


One of the primary considerations in any material sourcing trip is the cost but it is wise to consider this from a different viewpoint – that cheapest isn’t always best.  When you are buying materials that will create a part of your home, whether a wall, ceiling, foundation or anything else, you want to ensure you have the best quality.  While nearly all materials will be to the minimum standard that applies, often you can spend a little more to get better quality materials that will offer extra benefits.

Sustainable materials

Another big consideration, as well as the cost for some people is the sustainable nature of the materials.  Sourcing sustainable building materials is a growing trend among homeowners, self-builders and the construction industry as a growing recognition of the damage we cause the environment.  This is encouraging the use of locally made materials that cause less damage to the environment as they haven’t travelled as far.  It also looks at the renewable nature of the materials, that they are non-toxic and even if they could be recycled at some later stage.

Delivery and storage

Having hundreds of bricks or tonnes of sand and cement is one thing but having them delivered and stored at the project site is another.  You need to look at this element when purchasing your materials.  For example, might it be better to buy in small batches if there is nowhere to store all of the materials required?  You might pay more in the longer run but if there is nowhere for all those bricks to go until the builder needs them, it might be worth it.  Also, consider the access required to make the delivery and if this is possible – if not you might need to move the materials from the street to the building site.

Working with a builder’s merchant

A cost-effective way to get the right materials can be to work with a builder’s merchant, whether a local company or a national chain.  These companies will be happy to advise you on the types of materials available for your project and will often know about their sustainable credentials.  You can often receive a discount for buying in bulk and the companies will offer delivery to ensure the materials reach your home in top condition.

If you are working with a designer, architect or builder on a project, they can often offer ideas about what materials you need and even where you can get them from.  You can also shop around to get quotes from various sources and see what works out as the best overall deal for your needs.