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What a Materials List is Not!

Posted by Dan Sater II on

What a Materials List is Not

Sometimes it is more important to know what something isn’t. In this case, knowing what a materials list is NOT can save you a lot of time and money. But lets start by explaining what a materials list is first.

When a home is built a builder will often ask for a materials list. This list helps him develop an estimate for the cost of construction. Think of the materials list as a shopping list. But it is a very basic one.

While you might write on your shopping list something like, “veggies” and not list each and every type of vegetable you might buy, the materials list does something similar. A home is made up of a lot of things, listing each and every little thing in detail would be next to impossible (unless your name is Frank Lloyd Wright).

A materials list gives quantitative information for everything from the cubic yards of concrete in your plan’s footings, to the number of studs required for interior wall framing. But there is a lot of things it doesn’t specifically specify.

What is in a Materials List?

For example, there is a section for flooring but it is for structural materials. It will list things like the number and size of beams and the number of floor sheathing (think plywood sheets). But it does not specify what type of finished floor will be added on top of the floor sheathing.

The same goes for things like plumbing fixtures. It will specify the number of toilets needed but it does not specify what brand, model or color will be specified.

A builder uses the Materials List to estimate the building materials. Then he will use his own calculations to estimate the cost of the finish materials. Things like tile, carpeting, paint, molding, plumbing fixtures, and even appliances. All those types of things are totally up to the home owner and the builder.

Materials List Myths

Many people mistake a Materials List for a total and complete list of everything needed to build a house plan. They will see some of the fantastic photos of client's homes and they think they can get a list of what color paint was used or the type of bathroom sink faucet.

Some think a materials list alone can be used to estimate the cost of a home. That is FAR from the truth. It is just one tool used in the estimate process.

Our materials lists are just a tool for estimating the general construction costs and thats it. But that doesn’t mean there are any prices on the list. The prices of materials come from the builder. It is impossible for us to know what anyone pays for materials. The builder has to fill in that part.

Not every plan has a materials list available. It is best to contact us to see if your favorite plan has one. In most cases, if one is not ready, it should not be a problem generating one for you.

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