The construction industry hails its long history from the day of human civilization—from pyramids, brick houses, and transitioning into apartment complexes and sky-high skyscrapers. That being said, we can identify building materials as essential items from ancient times, especially now. However, no matter what century we are in, building materials still play a huge part in managing construction projects, no matter the intended use. This demand for construction materials has never faded and will never come to a halt in the future.
The manufacturing of building materials had taken a significant leap in terms of innovation and technology. In these developing stages, construction materials have been categorized into specific specialty trades such as plumbing, masonry, carpentry, roofing, grill works, insulation, etc., which can also be broken down into various subdivisions.
Knowing this, it is highly essential that we understand the construction materials we use in our projects. This blog will dive deeper into how commonly used building materials are produced and what factors we should consider in selecting the next one to use for your next project.
After all, old doesn’t mean good. Well, not in project management for construction, anyway.
What to Consider in Choosing the Building Materials for Your Next Project?
When looking for various materials to use for your project, one will realize that the rates vary significantly. As a rule of thumb, the most affordable option in the market is, most often than not, not the best choice you can go for. One needs to take into account the utility or the lifespan of the materials, which is commonly overlooked by those who focus on short-term outputs. If you buy a substandard material, you may end up needing to restore or replace them often, which is more costly than purchasing a premium brand from the get-go.
Choosing products that will serve you well, in the long run, will not only save you money but also valuable time. The material cost is crucial as eventually, it will safeguard your building even after the close-out.
Another substantial aspect of the selection of building materials is the climate. Determinants like the average level of heat or cold during the year, amount of daylight, rainfall or snowfall, and needed ventilation in the area are critical points to consider. When the climate is inserted in the picture, the characteristic of the materials should also evolve and help respond to the weather at any time of the year.
Some building materials serve longer and are more sensitive to moisture, corrosion, and other environmental and external conditions. By determining the most suitable material depending on the climate, you can ensure that they are long-lasting. It is also critical to consult experts when selecting building materials that would respond best to the climatic condition.
Some materials degenerate pretty quickly, especially in humid areas. The selected building materials must possess the strength and durability required for a specific location and condition it will be used. Therefore, it is encouraged to get materials that demand little maintenance and infrequent replacement so they can last throughout the lifespan of the building, consequently giving the inhabitants the maximum benefit.
It is advised to acquire readily available building materials, as this factor will also determine the cost and the total time for installation. Materials obtained from distant places, sometimes international ones, are harder to transport and incur an expensive shipping cost. Not only will your budget suffer, but also the scheduling of construction projects. Look for material that is available locally so you could save transportation time and shipping costs.
However, it is still worth noting that you still should never compromise quality for what is convenient at the moment. Evaluate what specific materials do your project need, make adjustments with the budget and timeline needed to acquire the most optimal material, but always remember that quality is still the top priority.
With the fast-paced evolution of the construction industry, the demand for building materials is also growing, making us accountable for the surge of the carbon footprint we produce. Therefore, the use of sustainable and environment-friendly building materials such as bamboo, soil, fly ash, silica fume, metakaolin, rice husk, etc., are beneficial as a replacement to the conventional materials used that are actually harmful to the environment. You may also consider the method of installation of these materials, as they have a factor in its reusability.
The best materials that you can acquire can be reused to reduce the demand for manufacturing new materials in the future.
Find the most trending sustainable building materials of 2021 in our previous article: New Sustainable Building Materials Trends in 2021.
The most manageable building materials are those that are effortless to maintain. Proper maintenance will aid any structure to look good as new years after it was built. Suitable quality building materials usually require minimal maintenance than substandard and cheap materials. A construction team must study the quality and life of the materials incorporated in the building to ensure long-lasting construction with less maintenance after close-out.
Maintenance is a critical criterion in the selection basis for building materials; you should not only focus on the use of material during the construction phase but also on how you’re going to preserve it after. The construction phase would only take months or years, but post-construction will go on for decades.
7. Aesthetic Appeal
Everyone has diverse tastes, preferences, specifications, and wants. An attractive material to one person can be ugly in the eyes of other people. When choosing the material to incorporate in the structure, you should focus on the functionality and its aesthetic appeal. After all, no one wants to inhabit a structure that lacks charisma, no matter its use. One of the project managers’ responsibilities is building a structure for its sake and making sure that it satisfies the wishes of the project owner and the designers.
Often, a property’s location is overlooked when choosing the materials to use for a building. However, it should be the first and foremost thing to consider as location alone can decide the structural design of the structure. Additionally, it could highly influence the strength and durability of the materials to be used.
For instance, a proposed property is situated in a wooden or mountainous area — you will probably avoid using wooden materials such as timber to evade pests and make the structure less vulnerable to damage. Another example is if you live by the beach, you will probably avoid items that would weaken when exposed to water and salt. Hand in hand with the climate, location are factors to consider from the planning stage, as ‘setting’ is a baseline a project can use to establish the following steps of the construction phase.
How Are Common Building Materials Produced?
1. Asphalt Shingles
Shingles, which are most commonly used in roofing construction, passed the durability check to survive the scorching heat and the bone-chilling temperatures of the climate. Once the roofing lifespan ends, shingles can often be recycled to pavement materials for roads and patching potholes. Moreover, since asphalt singles contain petroleum, they can even be repurposed as fuel for cement kilns and other purposes.
2. Reclaimed Wood
Beauty, provenance, and strength— these are the key characteristics that make a reclaimed wood material so appealing in the eyes of today’s project owners and designers. Many older structures incorporate weathered wood products that will be milled, processed, and transformed into stunning building materials like flooring, paneling, and countertops. Reclaimed timber products can also be used as structural lumber for light building projects.
As everybody knows, steel is one of the most frequently recycled building materials on the planet for the most straightforward reason that it doesn’t lose its structural strength even after the recycling process. In the last 150 years, recycled steel has been employed in new structures and other industries. Steel salvaging and related recycling efforts help offset the earth’s carbon footprint while replacing former manufacturing jobs.
Similar to steel, glass is often recycled without losing the quality and durability of the material. Environmentally aware and conscious contractors are drawn to glass because they are eco-friendly. For every ton of glass utilized and recycled instead of being extracted, plenty of natural resources are salvaged in the process. Window glass that’s been recovered from construction sites can be recycled in any form possible, from sandblasting to paving lots.
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