A detailed materials list is the next step after your plans are drawn. This will tell you what your building will cost when the plans become a reality. Important for the DIY builder.
Your choices when drawing up a list of materials are to do it yourself, enlist the aid of an architect or experienced draftsperson, or bring your plans to the contractor’s desk of a building supply retailer.
We did much of our own costing and then, especially for the trusses and roof, went to the contractor’s desk of our local “big box” building supply store. For us, this proved a great combination.
For DIY materials list generation, we broke our house plans into discrete modules, i.e. foundation, roof, windows and window bucks, walls and on for the entire building.
This enabled us to logically sequence material purchases and build as we bought material. This accomplished two goals, we could pay as we built and not be overwhelmed by trying to organize the purchase and delivery of the entire house at one time.
To generate the list, we used the Excel spreadsheet on our computer. It is likely that any good spreadsheet software will do or, of course, you can make a list and do it by hand.
When entering your numbers into the spread sheet, the costs of most items can be had simply by walking around your building supply store and taking notes. Don’t forget to do some comparison shopping.
You will be amazed at how much difference in cost items like bags of Portland cement will show from one store to another and from one part of the country to another.
The other important item will be specific numbers of each item. Determining this will not only keep you from either running out of material on the (often remote) job site or buying way too much of any one thing.
Given the two choices, especially in things like fasteners – nails, screws, hurricane straps – it is better to have too many than too few. Generally, you can return undamaged overage or, as is our case, use them up in future projects.
In the course of visualizing your project well enough to generate detail, you will find a level of understanding of the sequence and process of the job that will create confidence and ability.
The books and booklets listed in our book list page will provide a variety of illustrations and photos for applications that we don’t cover. A picture is sometimes worth well over a thousand words.
Below is a partial sample of a materials list. In fact it is the one I used and will reflect prices of materials in Tucson, AZ over the years when I was building, around 2009 and before. Many of these prices will be higher today and prices can fluctuate up of down in the course of months.
In the above table, HD simply stands for Home Depot. We had codes for other stores as well. It helped us keep track of where we found the prices for the materials.
Please note that such items as windows, doors, etc. are not included in the table. This is a short, sample list but serves to demonstrate a great and necessary tool for the DIT builder.
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